Rs 20 crore investment by Shree Arun Packaging for next phase

New Sapco Kalyan factory adds two Bobst converting machines

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Rs 20 crore investment by Shree Arun Packaging for next phase
Vishwamdev Bhotica, technical director at Shree Arun Packaging Photo: PSA

Carton and corrugation specialist Shree Arun Packaging Company (Sapco), with its corporate office in central Mumbai’s Sun Mill Compound, recently wrapped up a multi-crore investment phase to underpin its growth in the next five years, Vishwamdev Bhotica, technical director at the company told Packaging South Asia.

“We have recently completed a huge Rs 20 crore investment drive where we have commissioned a new 60,000 square foot factory near Kalyan and bought a brand new Bobst die-cutter and a Bobst folder gluer. We have also added a pre-owned automatic flute laminator. With the state-of-the-art factory and a fully loaded converting section, we are ready for the new growth phase. We expect to take our topline from around Rs 40 crore today to about Rs 60-65 crore in five years,” Bhotica says with palpable optimism. 

Vishwamdev Bhotica is the third generation at Sapco founded by Bhotica’s grandfather, Narayan Prasad Bhotica in 1970. The 32-year old Vishwamdev Bhotica has a diploma in printing technology from Germany and an MBA in ‘family-managed business growth management’ from the SP Jain Institute of Management Research in Mumbai. He joined the family business almost a decade ago. 

Before moving its operations to Kalyan, Sapco was operating from two separate 15,000 square foot units in Mahape in Navi Mumbai. The two printing and converting lines at Navi Mumbai were shifted to Kalyan. The move to the new factory started last year and the unit became fully operational in March 2022. Sapco added the new Bobst Novacut 106E 3.0 die-cutter with stripping facility and a Bobst Expertfold 80 A2 with Accubraille GT. Bhotica says that the new factory is very well planned with all operations on the ground floor.

“The lack of space in Navi Mumbai was the biggest reason for setting up the Kalyan plant. Also, operating from two separate multi-level units was a challenge and created some apprehension among our clients, especially those from the pharmaceutical industry. With a single ground floor unit in Kalyan, we have taken care of both the space crunch and fragmented operations. Also, there is space for expansion and if need be we can add a third monocarton line in the future,” he adds.

Sapco has three main verticals – monocartons, corrugation unit for B and E flute cartons, and leaflets. Its clients are in the cosmetic, FMCG, pharmaceutical, electrical equipment and food industries. 

Bobst machines provide muscle to Sapco’s converting section

Sapco has been a long-time user of Bobst machines. The Bobst Expertfold 80 A2 with Accubraille GT replaces an old Bobst folder gluer while the Novacut 106E 3.0 die-cutter is a fresh addition. “The speed and productivity of Bobst machines is why we went ahead with the two machines. We save an extra few hours because of the higher speeds and better productivity and this gives us the peace of mind that if we get a windfall order, we would be able to manage it well. Also, the Accubraille feature is something which gives us a big edge when it comes to pharmaceutical cartons,” says Bhotica. 

While the company’s prepress department is based in the Sun Mill office in Mumbai, the Kalyan unit has a Screen CtP for outputting plates and an Esko Kongsberg sample maker. The press room includes two sheetfed offset printing lines – a 6-color Heidelberg coater press with UV and a 5-color Manroland press with coater. It also has a 2-color Heidelberg press for printing leaflets and a folding machine from Pratham. Sapco can convert about 400 tons of paper and paperboard every month. 

Sapco’s recent investments have increased its converting capacity with four folder gluers and three die-cutters. The company has two Bobst Expertfold folder gluers and two folder gluers from Acme. It has a Bobst 900 die-cutter, a Bobst 102 die-cutter and the new Bobst 106E 3.0. In addition, it has four hand-fed punching machines. There is a Brausse foil stamper, three hand-fed lamination machines, two Heidelberg cylinders converted to foiling machines, window patching machines, and label applicators, among others. 

“The huge die-cutting capacity has helped us to increase the volumes of corrugated cartons. We were not able to scale up our corrugation volumes earlier but in the new factory, a new automatic flute laminator and bigger converting strength has resulted in higher production of corrugated cartons,” says Bhotica.

Focusing on new areas

Although Sapco has a well-diversified customer base, pharmaceutical and FMCG are its two biggest revenue generators. The company is now looking to increase its foothold in the food packaging segment.  And as already mentioned, corrugated boxes are another growth area for the company. 

“I see a huge potential in the food segment. There has been a huge growth in digital-only brands in India. We also work with a number of digital-to-consumer brands in both the cosmetics and food segments. However, there is a massive growth potential going ahead. Food is especially a segment where we see great potential,” Bhotica argues. 

Talking about the recent rise in raw material prices and disruptions in supplies, Bhotica says that these are short-term challenges which will get ironed out in a few months. “Yes, rising raw material prices, especially of paper are a challenge. But a bigger challenge is the uncertainty of supplies. However, these issues will get sorted out in a few months, maybe a year. In the long-term, the growth potential in India packaging is huge,” he 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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