Vasai’s Packeteer acquires new Bobst Ambition 76 A1 folder gluer

First brand new folder-gluer removes converting bottleneck

L to R: Chirag Bhalavat and Parag Ghelani with the Bobst 76 A1 folder gluer Photo by PSA
L to R: Chirag Bhalavat and Parag Ghelani with the Bobst 76 A1 folder gluer Photo by PSA

Vasai-based carton specialist Packeteer recently commissioned it’s first ever brand new Bobst machine, an Ambition 76 A1 folder gluer. The decade-old company is managed by the duo of Parag Ghelani and Chirag Bhalavat and operates from the Niddhi Complex in the Vasai suburb of north Mumbai. It prints and converts cartons and inserts primarily for the pharmaceutical industry.

“We received our very first brand new Bobst equipment, the Bobst Ambition 76 folder gluer, in late June. Being a small company, buying a brand new Bobst folder gluer was a big deal for us but we decided to go ahead with this, as we realized that productivity and efficiency in the converting department were of utmost importance. We were using locally made machines which had low productivity, and high running costs. By getting the Bobst Ambition we have increased productivity by 60 to 70%. This has opened up the bottleneck or constraint in the converting section to a large extent,” says Ghelani.

Bhalavat says that his earlier thinking was that there is no point in investing a large amount of capital in a folder gluer and the better option was to buy multiple locally made folder gluers, instead of one new machine from Bobst.

“Once we began operating the Ambition folder gluer, we realized our earlier thinking was flawed. At present, the one Bobst folder gluer is more productive than the two other locally made folder gluers. Also, the quality of the finished cartons is much better and the wastage and labor costs are significantly lower. The changeover time is also very quick. One lesson we have learned is that if you invest in world-class equipment and technology, the initial cost may be higher but the long terms benefits are significant. If we had invested in Bobst machinery earlier, we would have been in a much better position today,” Bhalavat says.

Packeteer operates a number of Heidelberg multicolor offset presses in its pressroom – a 6-color, a 5- color, two double-color, and a single-color press. It has two autoplaten die-cutting machines – a pre-owned Bobst and a Maxima. Apart from the newly installed Bobst Ambition, Packeteer has two Indian-made folder gluers. The company sources its offset plates from third-party trade suppliers.

The Bobst Ambition A1 folder gluer at Packeteer is capable of being run at 300 minutes a minute and is configured to run straight line cartons, crash lock bottom cartons, outer cartons, and sleeves and envelopes. The new Bobst folder gluer is processing about 600,000 cartons daily.

Expanding carton production for the food industry

Although pharmaceutical is the main revenue generating segment for the company, Packeteer is looking to expand its footprint into the food industry. Ghelani says that the food packaging sector has solid potential as the demand for paper-based packing in this industry is witnessing continuous growth.

“Yes, we are now looking beyond the pharma industry. Food packaging is something which we think will give a boost to our growth. Also, with the new Bobst Ambition in our converting section, we are confident we can manage bigger volumes,” Ghelani adds.

Cost pressure is a major headwind

Like most Indian companies in the printing and packaging industry, Packeteer is also facing major headwinds due to rising paper and paperboard prices. The cost of raw materials has spiked sharply in the last year, which is hitting the company’s bottom line.

“We are very bullish about the growth in the carton industry and the recovery from the pandemic lows is very sharp but the high raw material costs and the unpredictability of supplies is something which is hitting us hard. We have passed on some of the costs to the customers but cannot keep doing so as we might lose business to competitors. It is a precarious situation and we are hoping that input prices settle down soon,” Ghelani 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.

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