Armor India’s new plant in Bengaluru

Five-fold growth since 2014

Hubert de Boisredon, chairman and chief executive officer of the Armor Group inaugurating the Bengaluru plant

On 5 April 2017, France-headquartered thermal transfer products manufacturer Armor Group inaugurated its new state-of-the-art slitting and packing plant in India, located in Bidadi industrial area near Bengaluru. This is the second relocation for Armor India since it first set up a local base in 2014 by acquiring a Bengaluru-based slitting company. The company’s tremendous growth trajectory in India is what has resulted in commissioning of the new plant. The new plant, which is spread over 45,000 square foot, is almost four times bigger than the previous one.

Armor India’s Bengaluru plant shop floor

Before setting up a base in India in 2014, Armor was servicing the Indian market directly from Singapore. Then in order to get closer to its customers in India, Armor in 2014 acquired a Bengaluru-based slitting company, owned by Prabhat Sehgal, who is now vice president and general manager of Armor India, and used their set-up until it made the first relocation in India when it moved to a new premise in 2015. With India business expanding, it became necessary to make another shift; and this is when Armor decided to construct the latest plant and make the second relocation.

The new plant has one automatic core cutting machine, one automatic packing line and three slitting machines. The fourth slitting machine is expected to arrive by the mid of this year. The plant has a dedicated finished goods warehouse with controlled temperature. Armor India has just passed the first stage of QSE certification done by TUV Rheinland while the second and final stage will be done shortly. Armor India will also be triple certified—ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and DHSAS 18001.

Talking to Packaging South Asia after the inauguration of the plant, Hubert de Boisredon, chairman and chief executive officer of the Armor Group, said this move is part of the company’s focus on emerging markets. “This is part of our global strategy to expand in emerging markets. In 2014, we set up base in India. In the same year, we also set up physical bases in Mexico and South Africa. We see India as an important market because of its size and dynamism. We don’t have a short-term view on India as we see the market as strategic business. We have grown almost five time since 2014,” he said.

Mark Day, vice president and general manager – Asia at Armor, said that the new plant is capable of handling future growth as the annual capacity can be easily doubled from current 60 million square meters to 120 million square meters with minor adjustments like bringing in robots and narrowing the aisles to fit in more slitting machines. The next step that Armor India will look at would be to invest in a sales team and on warehousing infrastructure. Day added that big markets like Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai are now on the radar. Asked if Armor India will set up another plant in some other part of India, Day informed that this is not likely to happen in the near future but the company will look to set up a logistics hub in Delhi as well as a sales and customer service office. Armor India offers to customers three thermal transfer variants—wax, wax-resin and resin based.

The inauguration of Armor India’s new plant coincided with Armor Technical Club conference, which took place on 4-5 April and was attended by a wide spectrum of customers and companies. During the conference, Armor Group informed about new product launches, AXR EL and AXR TX. While AXR EL is meant for the electronics industry, mainly for printed circuit boards, AXR TX targets the textile sector, primarily care labels. Armor also announced a new solution for its channel partners called Armor Pack, which will help its distributors cut down on inventories and service customers faster. Armor business model in India is same as what it has across the world, which is that it does not deal with end users directly.

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