What next for Indian corrugators and box makers

43rd FCBM Conference concludes in Udaipur

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Ramchand Arora, president of FCBM. Photo PSA

The 43rd FCBM Conference organized by the Gujarat Corrugated Box Manufacturers Association in Udaipur was once again the annual opportunity for corrugators to come together and share their views and help the industry to grow together. Held from 16 to 18 December 2014, the conference was well attended with the number of participating delegates being more than at least 600 from all major regions of the country and even overseas. Being hosted at a historical and picturesque city such as Udaipur added to the charm of the show. Alongside the conference, the Corrtech Expo was held which allowed the exhibitors and visitors a chance to reacquaint themselves with the latest trends and developments that are taking place in the country.

The mostly two-day conference featured motivational speakers such as Radhakrishnan Pillai who spoke on managing survival and growth in the unenviable position in which the corrugated packaging industry is caught today. While the paper prices have been increasing frequently, the customers have been showing reluctance to compensate the box makers for increased cost of inputs. In this see-saw situation, the corrugated box industry is being hit with margins coming down. Under these trying situations for the industry, Pillai explained Chanakya’s way of managing micro margins which could help any organization or individual to reach closer to their goals.

While speaking to the delegates, Ramchand Arora, president of FCBM said that the corrugation industry in India has seen a lot of ups and downs over the last couple of years. He explained that since many years, the corrugation industry in India has been caught between the paper mills and corrugated box users. The irregularities and reluctance to compensate the box makers for increased cost of inputs has drastically affected the margin levels, he said. The annual growth rate of packaging in India is around 15 to 16% an annum and it is expected that the current turnover of the Indian packaging industry will touch almost Rs 1,92,000 crores by 2025 he added. Arora said, The Indian per capita packaging consumption is growing strong and promises to offer mammoth business opportunities to manufacturers.

The 43rd FCBM Conference was themed as What next? Lets step up. Pankaj Shah, director of Supack International and one of the chief architects of the conference explained that with focus on better printing and demand on quality and consistency, it is time to make the necessary changes to go to the next level. Shah also reiterated his requests for all corrugators and box makers to modernize and train their staff with new technology available adequately to change and remain competitive along with the changing requirements of the market. Keeping the theme in mind, some of the topics which were discussed at the conference included a shift to automatic casemakers, comparative analysis of platen, semi-auto and automatic diecutting.

Chiranjeevi Sastry, sales manager of Emba Machinery highlighted Emba contribution to the industry since the early 1960s. Sastry said, Today’s technology has changed but the main concept has not. While citing the benefits of in-line casemakers, Sastry spoke about the differences between conventional in-line and quickset in-line and stated that quickset in-line machines have 40% more efficiency with the added benefit of non-stop job compatibility.

The assembled audience and delegates were also in for another brainstorming session with Vidhu Gautam, business and product manager of Kodak Asia-Pacific who spoke about the upcoming trends in the corrugated industry. Flexcel NX post-print corrugated technology from Kodak, if adopted by corrugators would increase the overall speed by 10%, reduce ink usage by 5% and reduce wastage by 5% as well stated Gautam.

Multi-color web flexo printing in corrugation is another new trend which is emerging in the country. Deepanshu Goel of Creative Graphics demonstrated some samples which had a refreshing look which could change the boredom associated with the look and feel of corrugated boxes in the long-term and which could redefine corrugation packaging in the not so distant future. The Corrustar Awards instituted by FCBM to generate awareness and to improve the standards of packaging in the areas of functional design and increase in visual appeal, and also, to generate new avenues for the use of corrugated board and boxes were presented to the winners during the conference.

Overall the general mood and intent of this annual conference has been to enthuse the corrugators to make a genuine effort for an all-round improvement in their business. With stiff competition coming from countries such as China which have huge resources, Indian corrugators need to up their game pretty fast if they want to remain competitive and profitable. Most of the technical and inspirational speakers at the conference urged the corrugators to dream big and take their game to the next level. As Pillai said, Lets make the cake big enough so that everybody in the family can get a large enough share of it.

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