EskoArtwork’s Bangalore Global Resource Centre

Exponential growth in business


EskoArtwork’s fully-owned subsidiary and Global Resource Centre at Bangalore will be headed by Mr.  Dinesh Chandra, who has been overseeing Esko’s Indian operations since 2000. According to Mr. Chandra, “The opening of the Global Resource Centre in Bangalorre reinforces EskoArtwork’s global market coverage, complementing the resources we have already deployed in Europe, North America and the Far East.”
The main focus of the newly established Global Resource Centre will be to support sophisticated systems integration projects currently originating mainly in Europe and North America. Mr. Chandra further adds, “Unlike many other companies, EskoArtwork is not moving low-skill jobs to India. On the contrary, we are building a completely new business model around an enhanced service offering. We have chosen to base our new Global Resource Centre in one of the world’s fastest developing pre-production and IT market clusters. EskoArtwork has more and more collaborative software systems integration and workflow management projects in the pipeline and we need access to top talent.” Bangalore, India’s fifth largest city, accounts for a third of the country’s IT revenue and is recognised as the Indian subcontinent’s “Silicon Valley”. It is home to India’s largest IT giants and is the regional hub for many international hi-tech companies.

EskoArtwork set up base in India in Bangalore 12 years ago and has seen exponential growth in business, particularly since Esko Graphics and Artwork Systems joined forces in August 2007.

Press control technology
QuadTech acquires Vigitek
QuadTech Inc., a world leader in press control technology that sells its automated auxiliary control systems for web offset newspaper and commercial applications, packaging and gravure publications in more than 100 countries through facilities located throughout Europe, Japan, China, Singapore, India and the Americas, has announced that it has purchased Vigitek, a leading designer and manufacturer of 100 per cent print inspection systems. The acquisition will improve offerings of print quality solutions for the packaging industry by combining QuadTech’s expertise in advanced register guidance systems with Vigitek’s state-of-the-art print defect detection systems.

Ireland based Vigitek are pioneers in print defect detection technology based on continuous 100 per cent inspection of the web for all kinds of printing like gravure, flexo, web offset, sheetfed, labels and corrugated packaging for all kinds of configurations (roll-to-roll, roll-to-sheet and sheet-to-sheet). Their solutions are considered the best in the industry. In our last issue, we had given details of their system used by Uflex, India’s largest flexible packaging company, at their new Jammu plant. Their technology uses a linescan system that utilises high-resolution 3CCD cameras with optical prism and customised software that runs very complex detection algorithms. This technology will eminently complement QuadTech’s well-known Aututron Packaging colour-to-colour registration technology.

Vigitek will operate as a subsidiary of QuadTech and continue to function as a separate entity. QuadTech itself is a subsidiary of Quad/Graphics, the largest privately held printer in the Western Hemisphere. Both QuadTech and Vigitek are exhibiting at drupa 2008.

Innovation award
Omet X-Flex bags FTA Technical Innovation Award
Omet has won the FTA Technical Innovation Award for its X-Flex narrow-web press. It has several outstanding features, the most remarkable of which is that it has the shortest web path (only 5.5 ft. per print station) of any flexo press available today. This was achieved by engineering the print station to combine the impression roller and and the chill roll. The press claims to average only 98 ft. of start-up waste on an 8-station machine. The other special features of the X-flex are:
–Identical register stability at start-up and production speed.
–Web tension control stability in the various areas of the machine.
–Automated follow-up links to reduce the operator’s variable influence in starting a new job.
–Reduction of ink waste. The inking system allows starting print with the same amount of ink as the content of a glass of water.
–Automatic cleaning of the anilox roll in the machine before replacement.
–Aniloxes without gears, which are easily removable.
–Removable basin.
The X-flex is equipped with the Vision-1 automatic register control system, which adjusts both machine and lateral web directions on each station. Each printed image is recorded immediately and the system does not require any data input and the plates can be mounted anywhere on the sleeve.

Food contact notification
FDA approves UV/EB cured coatings for food contact
The FDA has approved the use of UV and electronic beam cured formulations on polymeric substrates, paper/paperboard, metal substrates or as a component in adhesives for direct contact with foods. It has approved the Food Contact Notification (FCN) 772, which had been promoted by the Food Notification Alliance that includes Gidue and other leading chemical industries and packaging manufacturers, after evaluating the work done by the alliance and a long and in-depth analysis of data since 2004.

FINAT to focus in India
Harveer Sahni inducted into committee
FINAT, the worldwide trade association for self-adhesive labels is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2008. In a move to increase its focus on the Indian sub-continent, FINAT has inducted Harveer Singh Sahni, Managing Director of Weldon Celloplast, into their membership committee. Mr. Sahni has been a pioneer in the manufacture of self-adhesive labelstock in India.

Saphira line extension
Heidelberg acquires Hi-Tech Coatings
Heidelberg is all set to take over Hi-Tech Coatings based in the UK and the Netherlands. This will enable it to add the manufacture and sale of high-performance coatings to its portfolio of consumables including offset plates and inks.

Based in Aylesbury in the UK and Zwaag in the Netherlands, Hi-Tech Coatings produces over 1,000 environment-friendly products and formulations for the print media industry, primarily water and UV-based coatings.

The operations of Hi-Tech Coatings, founded in 1993, were mostly confined to Britain and Eastern Europe. The proposed acquisition is being scrutinized by the German anti-trust authority.

Our view
Our own perception is that although the thrust in consumable selling is a world-wide strategy of Heidelberg, it may not be implemented in India anytime soon. This could be for any number of reasons that we are not privy to. However we can imagine that the supply chain and logistics issues of consumables are challenging in the Indian subcontinent.

Creating a BOPP giant
Taghlief acquires Radici
Taghlief Industries, part of the Al Ghurair Group of UAE, is to acquire leading European BOPP film producer Radici Film. Taghlief Industries is a large manufacturer of BOPP and CPP films with factories in UAE, Oman and Egypt. Radici has production sites in Italy and Hungary. The combined capacity will now go up to 290,000 MT per annum including TI’s new Oman line of 35,000 MT per annum that will come on stream later this year. This would make the combined entity the world’s largest BOPP film producer. TI intends to add further capacity. TI also holds 50 per cent equity in Shorko Australia.

PVC under threat
Walmart, Sears phase out
Both Sears/Kmart and Walmart Canada have announced that they will phase out PVC plastic packaging in their stores. While Sears/Kmart (3,800 stores in North America) have cited “the potential health and environment risks tied to the manufacture, use and disposal of PVC” as the reason, Walmart intend to replace PVC packaging used for energy saving light bulbs with  environment-friendly cardboard packaging made from recycled materials and vegetable dyes.

Basell operate JV’s for PP
Basell to Expand in Trinidad & Tobago, China
Polyolefins manufacturer Basell will build and operate an intregrated 450,000 MT per annum polypropylene facility together with the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago and the National Energy Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago. The plant is due to commence operation in 2012.

Basell is also planning to build its second PP compounding facility (15,000 MT per annum) in China located near Guangzhou, which will commence production from September 2008. It already has a PP compounding plant at Suzhou.

Developing economies fund growth
Tetra Pak clocks record sales
Tetra Pak, the world’s largest packaging company, recorded a turnover of Euro 8.7 billion (US$ 13.61 billion) in 2007, a 6.1 increase over the previous year. Packaging sales of Euro 7.8 billion (up 4.1 per cent from 2006) and processing equipment accounted for Euro 911 million (up 12.1 per cent from 2006). Growth drivers were emerging markets like India, Pakistan, Russia, Brazil, the Middle East, Latin America and China. Part of the packaging sales increase came from new products like Tetra Gemina, a roll-fed aseptic gable-top package for juices and milk-based products, and the Tetra Top Eifel 038, an easy-open cap for the Tetra Top package. In 2007, Tetra Pak supplied 137 bil. packages, an additional 592 packaging machines and 2,107 processing units.

Sustainable PET
Pepsico lightweights bottles
Pepsico has announced that it will light-weight it’s non-carbonated bottles by 20 per cent to effect a saving of some 20 million pounds (9,100 MT) of PET annually. The new 500 ml bottles will be used across its brands Lipton Iced Tea, Tropicana juices and Aquafina. The new bottle will weigh just 13.2 grams. Pepsico will also be reducing label sizes by 10 per cent and cut shrink wrap film consumption by 5 per cent.

Global upgrade
DuPont expands Ethylene Copolymer plants
DuPont is making large investments in the USA, Netherlands and China to upgrade and expand ethylene copolymer production. US$ 150 million will be spent in expanding and upgrading facilities in Europe and USA for producing Surlyn ionomers, Vamac ethylene acrylic elastomers, Elvax EVA, Fusabond modifiers and Bynel adhesive resins. 200 million lbs. of additional capacity will come on stream. DuPont is also commissioning a JV with Sinopec near Beijing in China for EVA that is due to commence operations in 2009.

Defra initiative
UK to target 50% recycling in milk packaging by 2020
The UK government is targeting that 50 per cent of its milk packaging will be made from recycled materials by 2020.This is part of the initiative launched by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to enhance recycling and reducing emissions of CO2, methane and nitrous oxide emissions by 30 per cent against 1990 levels.
Meat and milk production are estimated to account for 7 per cent of UK’s greenhouse emissions. The UK dairy industry produced 13.6 billion litres of milk in 2007 of which about 6.5 billion litres were sold as liquid milk. About 80 per cent of retail sales of milk are in HDPE containers.

Cereplast plan big biopolymer expansion
Cereplast is planning to enter the big league in biopolymers with a 500 million lbs. per year (227,000 MT per annum) expansion at Seymour, Indiana. Its present plant in California produces 50 million lbs. per annum. Cereplast’s biopolymers are made from renewable resources like corn starch, tapioca and other starches.

PVC from ethanol
Solvay to expand PVC capacity in Brazil
Solvay Indulpa of Argentina, one of the largest manufacturers of PVC in the Mercosur region, is to expand its PVC capacity at Santo Andre in Brazil with an investment of US$ 135 million. This will include an integrated plant to produce ethylene from sugarcane-based ethanol. According to Solvay, this will be the first plant in the Americas to produce PVC from renewable resources

Jindal Poly Films up the ante
According to our information, Jindal Poly Films have decided to go in for even higher capacities of oriented films than we reported in our last issue. Highly enthused by the response received at Interpack 2008 and by their latest market estimates, JPFL have really upped the ante and decided to instal additional capacities for BOPET and BOPP films over the next two years that would make them far and away the world’s largest BOPP film manufacturer and the largest producer of all oriented films combined.

JPFL started in the BOPP film business only in 2003 with a 13,000 MT per annum line and grew rapidly to reach a capacity of 90,000 MT per annum in 2006. Two new top-of-the-line Dornier lines are under installation and they will reach a total capacity of 180,000 MT per annum of BOPP film by September 2008.

They have now finalised six more Dornier BOPP lines to be commissioned in 2009 and 2010. Three of these lines (combined capacity of 100,000 MT per annum) will be operational in 2009 and the other three will come on stream in 2010. With this, they would have a total capacity of 380,000 MT per annum of BOPP films, some 90,000 MT per annum more than the next largest producer.

Their BOPET film business is also witnessing robust growth, especially in the thin film segment that caters mainly to packaging applications. JPFL has decided to increase the thin BOPET film capacity from 72,000 MT per annum at present to 150,000 MT per annum by early 2010. Their total BOPET film capacity (which includes a thick film line) would then be 168,000 MT per annum. One 25,000 MT per annum thin film line is expected to start up by mid 2009 and two more lines with a combined capacity of 53,000 MT per annum are expected to come on stream by January 2010. According to our information, the last two lines are expected to be fed by a new continuous PET polymerisation plant.

The film lines are complemented by metallising capacity of 40,000 MT per annum (6 metallisers). A further 10,000 MT per annum of metallising capacity is being added with the installation of a new state-of-the-art 3.3 meter wide plasma enhanced metalliser by mid 2009. They also have two PVDC/acrylic off-line coating plants for high-barrier and specialised applications.

By the end of 2010, JPFL will be capable of turning out a total of almost 550,000 MT per annum of oriented films – all from one facility at Nashik in Maharashtra. Now, that’s something to really marvel at!

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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