KBA Rapida 7-color press with a battery of Bobsts spices up the East

Nextgen Printers commences production in Kolkata unit

A few samples of cartons printed at the new Kolkata unit of Nextgen Printers. Photo PSA

Nextgen Printers, based in Kolkata, is a rising packaging converter. In 2008 it decided to bring packag-ing solutions to the Eastern part of the country equipped with experience and expertise from its sister concern, Avail Printers, based in Kolkata. Nexgen’s first packaging unit was set up in the year 2010 in the hills of Majhitar, near Rangpo in East Sikkim. Already ISO 9001:2008 certified, the Sikkim plant is a supplier to major pharmaceutical companies, the local liquor industry, state cooperative and other local man-ufacturers. Nextgen’s plant in Rangpo has been extremely successful – it is busy 24×7 every day of the year

A couple of years ago, Nextgen took another major step in building its position as a major packaging converter in Eastern India. It set up Kolkata’s first fully integrated UV multicolor sheefed press specializing in packaging solutions with a new 60,000 square foot plant on 2.5 acres of land in Howrah district, around 30 kilometres from Kolkata. A highly configured KBA Rapida 105 7-color plus coater full UV press is the centre-piece of the just commissioned monocarton plant. The raised combination press is equipped with UV inter-deck, as well as end of the press dryers with full flexibility in curing that will allow Nextgen to handle the most complicated jobs in the market. The machine has a foil package to handle foils and plastics, automatic camera register. Additionally there are sensors in the UV modules that assure completely safe and complete curing of low migration inks for food packaging.

While discussing the company’s upcoming plans and ideas Bijay Agarwal, director of Nextgen Printers in Kolkata says, “The general perception is that the market in and around Kolkata is lethargic and slow to pick up compared to some other parts of India. However, at Nextgen, we feel that the market over here has been waiting for the change to come. We have come up with this setup which can attend to any and every segment that requires value-addition. According to our initial survey, we found that many of our target customers do have specialized requirements but there was no one to supply and meet their needs. These customers had to get their jobs done in far-away states. We shall be addressing this void and plan to meet these kinds of requirements.”

Bijay Agarwal, director of Nextgen Printers. Photo PSA

Nextgen has also purchased two Bobst Novacut 106 ER diecutters of which one is already installed while the other will be shipped in April. The new Novacut ER provides blanking functions for double-cut cartons that were previously only available with Bobst’s top-of-the-line Expertcut, says Agarwal. There is a Bobst Expertfold 110 folder-gluer and also one Bobst Visionfoil foil stamper, a first for Eastern India, says Agarwal. Other special machines at the new plant are a rotary window patching and lining system from Heiber Schroder and a Zund cutting table for carton prototyping and samplemaking. Apart from the 7-color KBA Rapida, Nextgen is also putting in a refurbished 6-color offset press from Roland. The packaging prepress workflow is based on software from Esko.

The new plant is partly operational at the moment and by the end of the current financial year in March 2016, it should be fully operational, says Agarwal. “We have invested a lot of money in these projects as we have got specialized equipments and machines which is why are confident that we can really make a positive change in the market here. The amount of value addition that we would be able to provide in the market at the moment is something that we are proud of and we hope our efforts will be recognized and appreciated by our customers. There are challenges of course as the market remains a bit soft over here, but with the right tools, right skills and right attitude we should be able to meet and attend to the needs of our customers,” Agarwal concludes.

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.

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