Open House at Bobst India’s Pune plant

Packaging printing for commercial printers

Expertfold 80 A2 folder-gluer. Photo PSA

In the last few years there has been a clear trend of commercial printers diversifying into the world of packaging printing. Many have taken the plunge as they were not able to sustain growth in their traditional business while some have made the move to add further meat to their successful commercial printing operations. With robust growth projections being made for the Indian packaging industry, more and more commercial printers are getting attracted to the packaging printing space. A gathering of such commercial printers took place at Bobst India’s Pune plant on 22 April. ‘Packaging for Sustainable Growth’ was the slogan for the Open House, which was attended by about 20 printing companies from around the country with most of them being commercial printers or book printers.

The objective of the Bobst Open House was to invite commercial printers who are looking or aspiring to get into packaging or who have the potential to step into the folding carton business.

A lot of commercial printers are meeting the demands of many buyers or end users for their commercial or brand promotion needs as well as the requirements of packaging buyers. So sometimes as a strategy packaging printing could help them to fulfil the business needs of their end customers. Guests were able to watch different kinds of jobs being executed on a Novacut 106E diecutter and an Expertfold 80 A2 folder-gluer.

Industry perspective
Although a commercial printing background comes in handy if one wants to make a switch, a complete change in mindset is needed to succeed in the packaging industry. A greater understanding about the functioning of different branches is necessary. Bobst organized a panel discussion to enable guests gain a better understanding of the industry perspective. The panel made up of Ramesh Kejriwal of Parksons Packaging, Soma Roy of Marico, Yogesh Bhambal of Mondelez, Tarakeshwar Bhattacharya of Nivea India and Yasser Siddiqui of ITC discussed a variety of issues ranging from environment to substrates to technology to operations to design. Kejriwal narrated Parksons Packaging’s journey from a successful commercial to a highly successful packaging player. He told the audience about how the packaging journey started in the early 1990s with a Bobst machine and that association continues till this day.

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Panel discussion (left to right):
Soma Roy of Marico, Tarakeshwar
Bhattacharya of Nivea India, Yogesh
Bhambal of Mondelez, Ramesh
Kejriwal of Parksons Packaging and
Yasser Siddiqui of ITC. Photo PSA

His advice to the audience was that printing on the packaging side was a totally different ball game where color balance was very important. Another very pertinent point he raised was that of giving due importance to the converting aspect of packaging. “Do not ignore the converting side of packaging operations. Unfortunately, many do tend to focus more on the printing side and hardly pay any attention to converting. My advice would be that you invest in a quantity converting equipment,” Kejriwal said.

Another very important topic he raised was that of inventories. There is not much inventory in commercial printing post the printing process but in packaging that is not the case. In packaging there are a lot of processes involved after printing so there will be inventory post printing and post diecutting. “It requires a lot of space. This needs to be kept in mind,” he said. He concluded by saying that although the Indian packaging space is highly competitive there is still a lot of room for lot many players to operate given that they carve out their niche. “It is a competitive market so focus on one aspect, one niche and be good at it.”

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Novacut 106E at the Bobst Open
House in Pune. Photo PSA

Subhasis Roy and Venugopal Menon of Bobst India also spoke to the audience. Roy talked about various nuances in the process of converting. He also reiterated the fact that change in mindset is needed to make the switch from commercial printing to packaging printing. “Entry cost for the packaging segment factors-in change in mindset. That cost is not just investment in converting equipment like a diecutter or a folder-gluer.” Menon spoke about the current and future trends in packaging, both in India and globally.

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.

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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– Naresh Khanna

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