Henkel Flexible Packaging Academy completes one year

Skilling the Indian flexible packaging industry

Henkel Flexible Packaging Academy building. Photo Henkel

One of the most, or some would say the most, important ingredient for the success of any economy or any industry or any company is to have ample skilled workforce. There is a unanimous view among all stakeholders that the flexible packaging industry has tremendous growth potential in India. However, at the same time, lack of sufficient skilled workforce is a matter of concern. This skill deficit could put a spanner in the industry’s quest to achieve full growth potential.

When Henkel Adhesive Technologies India inaugurated the Henkel Flexible Packaging Academy in Navi Mumbai in February last year, the idea was to address this pressing issue. The academy provides formal training on lamination technology to entrepreneurs, production managers, supervisors, operators and quality control professionals of the flexible packaging industry. The Indian academy is the third such academy after Germany and China and meets the demands of the Indian, Middle East and African markets.

“I would like to inform you that the year gone by has been extremely fruitful, exciting and successful. There has been a continuous flow of people. The idea was to spread knowledge among industry people, enable them to reduce wastage and help them make money. Participants have gone back and executed excellent projects on the shop floor,” says Jayachandran Nair, business manager, flexible packaging adhesives, Henkel Adhesive Technologies India, on the occasion of completion of the academy’s one year in existence.

The week-long course combines essential theoretical knowledge and hands-on practical training. The modules are designed to cover all aspects of flexible packaging lamination techniques through practical experience on commercial scale lamination machines.

A session in progress. Photo

The training sessions include topics on printing, lamination, web handling, finished product testing, substrates, their properties and material handling. The academy is equipped with a Comexi Nexus Dual laminating machine. The certification process is in two stages – a participation certificate is awarded after completion of the training programme and a completion certificate is awarded after three months of reviewing the participant’s performance on shop floor post training. The certificates are jointly issued by Henkel and the Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP).

Henkel Flexible Packaging Academy building. Photo Henkel

Since the start in February last year four batches of about 10 to 11 people have done this course. Although the batches comprise participants who represent multiple companies, the third batch comprised totally of employees of Huhtamaki PPL. Since Huhtamaki has close to 18 factories across the country it was convenient to have a batch made of employees from one company. “Another fact that attests the success of this course is that Huhtamaki has planned to send another set of employees to attend the course later this year. Even the next batch that will come in June is nearly full,” Nair says.

Participant feedback
As part of the course every participant has to provide his or her feedback at the end of the session. There have been a number of feedbacks that have been incorporated in the course. A session has been added on machine maintenance and planning is being done on how to cover inks in greater detail.
“Some suggestions that we got were very interesting which we incorporated like a session on machine maintenance. However, one suggestion that would be hard to incorporate is that of extending the duration of the course beyond one week. This is not feasible,” adds Nair.

Packaging South Asia is the cooperating media partner for drupa 2016 which is scheduled to be held from 31 May to 10 June at Dusseldorf, Germany.

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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