Bobst FFG powers Pioneer Packaging Industries’ growth

Pioneer Packaging looks to grow beyond West Bengal

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Bobst FFG powers Pioneer Packaging Industries’ growth
(L to R) Upendra Deglurkar from Bobst with Ram Gopal Agarwala, Dinesh Kumar Agarwala and Nandkishore Agarwala from Pioneer Packaging Industries at their plant in Kolkata, India Photo: Bobst

Kolkata-based corrugation specialist Pioneer Packaging Industries is looking to expand beyond West Bengal in a bid to explore new growth areas, Dinesh Kumar Agarwala, director of Pioneer Packaging Industries, told Packaging South Asia. “The Covid-19 related restrictions have been lifted across the country, and the economy is getting back to normal. To capitalize on the growth potential of the Indian packaging industry, we are looking to set up operations outside of West Bengal. The growth in the state has plateaued, so it makes sense to look for opportunities in newer areas. We have not decided the location, but central India could be an area of interest,” says Agarwala. 

Pioneer Packaging is one of the oldest corrugation specialists in east India, making regular slotted containers, duplex, diecut, self-form and variable size boxes. It is a key supplier to a large number of multinational companies in the FMCG, food, beverages, and eCommerce segments for their requirements for quality corrugated boxes. 

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Bobst FFG helps the company’s growth

Pioneer installed its first Bobst FFG 8.20 Discovery machine at the end of 2018, the first inline flexo folder gluer in Eastern India. Pioneer ordered a second FFG 8.20 Discovery machine in 2020 based on its experience with the first machine and the prompt service and support from the local Bobst team based in Pune. Successfully installed last year, the Discovery 8.20 has 18,000 boxes an hour production speed. 

The RSC boxes produced on the Bobst FFG 8.20 Discovery are as per global standards and perform well on auto erecting lines. The performance of the corrugated cartons on such machinery without any complaints is considered a big advantage by Pioneer in meeting and exceeding the expectations of its customers. 

In the last three years, the company’s production has grown rapidly due to the exponential demand for packaging during the pandemic. While the company’s production was approximately 30 million square meters in 2019, it grew to 43 million square meters in 2020 and reached 50 million square meters in 2021. “Our production grew rapidly during the pandemic as demand for food and FMCG products was very robust. We will not see the growth rates that we saw in the last two years, although the growth of the Indian corrugated industry will remain robust,” says Agarwala.  

Ram Gopal Agarwala, chairman and managing director of Pioneer Packaging, adds, “We feel that eCommerce is booming in the post-pandemic during the market recovery phase. Therefore corrugation in India has a deal of scope going forward, taking India from a US$ 2.9 trillion (approximately Rs 2,21,91,757 crore) to a US$ 5 trillion (approximately Rs 3,82,61,650 crore) economy.”

Talking about the Bobst FFG machine, Ram Gopal Agarwala says the company evaluated a few machines from the Far East. It also looked at the Bobst machines at a few locations until the company management was convinced that a Bobst machine was the one that could adequately resolve its production shortcomings. “Soon, we required another machine to fulfil the further increase in requirements and demands, and we did not think of any other machine than the Bobst Discovery 8.20 itself,” says Ram Gopal Agarwala.

Getting into E flute cartons 

Pioneer Packaging has bought a 50,000 square foot area near its existing plant that it plans to use for setting up its E-flute carton making operations. “The land parcel was being used to keep stocks during the pandemic. Now we want to use it for making E-flute cartons. We do not make E flute cartons at present, and this expansion will help us diversify our product range,” concludes Dinesh Kumar Agarwala. 

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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