Monday, June 16, 2014

A Successful Finat Congress at Monte Carlo!


FINAT Congress 2014 was recently held from 5-7 June in picturesque destination, Monte Carlo, Monaco. The Principality of Monaco is a sovereign city-state, located on the French Riviera in Western Europe. It is bordered by France on three sides; one side borders the Mediterranean Sea. It continues to be an ideal tourist preference. 




 

 
The Finat Congress with its theme “The Battle for Shelf Appeal – Winning Strategies for the Label Industry”, attracted many stalwarts of the label industry. Modern day retailing across the world indicates that success in the battle to catch the eye of the consumer is of prime importance. There is an imperative need for the most attractive yet cost effective product decoration solutions. For label printers to excel and stay ahead of competition, they need to be in tune with emerging trends, developments, legislations and customer preferences. They need to take decisions to enhance their own competence as also invest in alternatives to meet the ever growing competition and challenges. Finat endeavors to empower the label printers across the globe. 

FINAT is the world-wide association for manufacturers of self-adhesive labels and related products and services. It was founded in Paris in 1958, and since then has been representing the whole self-adhesive supply chain. With 600 members in over 50 countries around the world, FINAT has much to offer to label converters and all suppliers to the labeling industry in terms of information exchange and the opportunity to network internationally. Over the years, the FINAT Congress has served as a vehicle for knowledge exchange, networking and inspiration among current and future label business leaders, suppliers, analysts and observers of the self-adhesive supply chain. 

I fondly remember my first Finat Congress at Paris in 2008. It was the year in which YMC was launched and it was also the 50th year celebrations of Finat. It has been a memorable event when I made the maximum number of global Label Friends! That is what a Finat congress does, it brings you in contact with peers around the world. Your vision and connection to the world of labels gets wider. Also unlike label shows, it is not restricted to a single destination and provides an opportunity to label printers to meet at exotic tourist spots in Europe.

Jules Lejeune, Managing Director Finat, while commenting on the Congress says, “Many useful business takeaways under the header 'The Battle for Shelf Appeal - Winning Strategies for the Label Industry'. From the '5 star diagram' of brand appeal (Cartils) to a 360 degrees overview of the label industry in France and Europe, via the future of product decoration in the eyes of the applicators, the mix of packaging and labeling technologies according to the brand industry, going beyond the shelf into 'mass customisation' (Mike Ferrari), helped by A.O. printed electronics (McClelland), right into the 'grand finale' of 3rd generation Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard.”




 

Andrea Vimercati past president of Finat says, “For me it has been one of the most interesting congress since 2001, my first one in Rhodes. We had high profile speakers and two panels full of ideas for the attendance, especially the one with end users. The Friday night at the Villa was great! All our guests were very surprised by this stunning place. Last but not least the experience of Piccard has left a cherry on the cake. This is the way the Finat Board intends to project the future events, in order to give more bullets to our members so they can help their customers to win the battle for shelf appeal!” Bertrand Piccard, Swiss aeronaut and explorer delivered the Keynote closing address.



With increasing number of exhibitions, events and conferences for labels taking place around the world, Label printers seem to have been stretched as to how much time and money they should spend on travelling to these premium shows around the world. Domestic event organizers in their respective countries also take away a lot of the committed indulgence that printers make in this respect. For this reason we see a decline in the number of printers coming to such events even though there is promise of constructive value in the content. Finat has always been able to offer extremely important content at their congress and thus I feel it is time to restructure the event so as to bring in a bigger number of printers from across the globe. This year ironically the number of printers was quite low as compared to suppliers. The suppliers are bound to get demotivated eventually as it is the printers for whom they invest. Even though the visit to Monte Carlo has been a satisfying experience for Isidore Leiser of Stratus Packaging, France yet he too feels it is time we dwelled on ways to improve attendance. He says, “I found the Congress very interesting and with many interesting topics the atmosphere was very cool. The places were exceptionally beautiful but there was one big thing that was missing is the number of label printers. How can we improve our industry if we, as members of this label printing fraternity are not indulgent and are not involved?”


Lisa Milburn, Managing Director of Labelexpo was at the show with her team along with the Label Guru, Mike Fairley. In her words, “The FINAT Annual Congress 2014 held in Monte Carlo was a great event. We had a wonderful opportunity to meet many industry colleagues and friends in beautiful surroundings. The conference programme was very informative and the signals of positive growth that were shared were extremely encouraging”. 


Jakob Landsberg, Chairman Finat membership committee and Sales director. Nilpeter summed it up as, “Last week FINAT conducted its annual congress in Monaco with 280 visitors from the entire value chain of the PS-industry. The growth in M2 seems to be back to pre crises with +3,5% from 2012 to 2013 - and optimistic projections of +6,4% 2013-2104 Europe wide. The congress was a great success with the theme "Battle for shelf appeal". How can we as the PS-industry help brand owners to create stronger brand awareness and shelf appeal?  The speakers came from sectors downstream in our industry and all expressed the importance in working together for success.  We managed to introduce a new interactive format with top panel participants - they represented application technologies in one panel and brand owners in the other. They both gave positive and inviting feed back to the PS-industry to keep close to them and to keep innovative. I have never seen so many questions from the audience at any congress before. The congress at the same time introduced the new FINAT Radar - a half yearly industry report with trends, statistics and bench mark information - to converters and suppliers members of the organisation. Finally the congress ended at a high with the inspirational speaker Bertrand Piccard, a Swiss pioneer that will fly the world in 2015 in his solar powered airplane, Solar Impulse. His message to all of us: "Welcome to those who believe in the power of dreams and who would like to join me in my exploration of life.  "Think the impossible possible" and "drop your ballast - it doesn't make you happy only heavy". We must all look for ways to improve the quality of the world we hand over to next generations - but same time bear in mind that good sustainability is profitable sustainability”

Gavin Rittmeyer of Martin Automatic USA says"Great Congress in Monaco. Good balance of speakers to inspire ideas for good leadership and practical measures to be creative and effective." Iban Cid of Germark Spain said, "The venue, Monte Carlo! with nice Ferraris but very expensive city! Socially it was very nice to meet all the industry friends. Specially the American's who have joined us. I had the opportunity to celebrate my 50th anniversary with them. In terms of presentations it was one of the best I remember. The most remarkable were the end users panel with L'Oreal, Reckit Benkiser, Lego and a guy of a big US winery. I could summarize it in two sentences: all of them love to have innovations from their label suppliers but they are not willing to pay a penny more for the labels!" Mikael Dahl of Nordvall's Sweden commented, "As usual, a very well organized event and as always it was nice meeting and networking with all friends within the industry. The working program at this year event was a little different to previous ones, in my opinion I must say it was to the better.The panel discussions, was an interesting concept. I think it is a very important issue to improve and engage our industries end users to learn what they think about printers and what they expect we can improve, so that we can do better.This kind of an event is a tremendous opportunity, when all stakeholders in the supply chain are gathered.The grand young man Helmut Schreiner, patriach of Schreiner Group said, "Finat Congress was a great experience. Especially for the Schreiner Group; also because of the number of awards."
 
Finat Congress is a premier global Label event! Printers worldwide need to congregate in big numbers to draw the benefit of what this unique institution provides. It is a platform that unites the label fraternity to a destination once each year in a fantastic networking environment with no barriers. It brings about the opportunity to interact with and exchange ideas with peers in different countries and explore the possibilities of alliances for mutual benefit. Many a joint ventures internationally owe their origination conceptionally at the Finat congresses. Printers return from Finat Congress with memories of good times lingering their minds. As luck would have it I regret I could not attend the conference this time but it gives me extreme pleasure that my friends missed me at the congress. Steve Katz editor Label and Narrow Web tweeted so. Calvin Frost President Channeled Resources wrote, “Everyone missed you at the Congress and hope you will make it next year” Yes I will make it next year!

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Written by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi India June 2014

Monday, May 26, 2014

Rajesh Chadha's Update Prints; From small beginnings to big success!

From small beginnings to big success

An Indian label converters' story

INDIA The history of Rajesh Chadha, Managing Director of Update Prints Pvt. Ltd. which owes its inception and inheritance to P C Chadha & Co. started by his grandfather is an interesting one. The first thoughts on letterpress, managing waste problems and family support were all highlights along the way. Come on a journey from Kobe in Japan to New Dehli in India, following the Indian Label converter’s history and thoughts for the future.
The very beginning
In the late 1970s and early 1980s driving on New Delhi’s Ring road, many factories could be seen from far away. One such tall building was the factory of P C Chadha & Co. in the Naraina Industrial Area. Around the mid 1980s when I was a commercial siliconiser selling release papers, I came to know that P C Chadha & Co. manufactured stickers and was a prospective customer. It was then a matter of time that I supplied some reams of release paper to them. During on of my visits I spent two hours discussing why the stickers they were supplying were curling. I was quite naïve then but with time and experience, I have written on my blog a very widely read article on controlling curl. The young man I met was Rajesh Chadha, who was running P C Chadha & Co. and is the present Managing Director of Update Prints Pvt. Ltd. which owes its inception and inheritance to P C Chadha & Co. started by his grandfather. Come on a journey from Kobe in Japan to New Dehli in India, following the Indian Label converter family Chadha. Read more...

Written exclusively for Narrow Web Tech Germany by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Flexo Gurukul; A booming success!



Frank Burgos
The first edition of “FlexoGurukul” an ongoing flexographic print training program launched by New Delhi based Fasco Printech Private Limited was held at Khar Gymkhana Mumbai on 28th and 29th of April 2014. The trainer was Frank Burgos President of USA based FlexoExchange.com, a company based in USA and recognised for training services provided by them in the field of flexographic printing. Frank has been in this industry for the last 30 years. Ever since 1997, when he founded FlexoExchange.com, he has served as the moderator of FlexoExchange's technical forum, troubleshooting print problems and offering advice to thousands of members from across the globe. Many of his articles can be found on FlexoExchange.com, covering topics as wide-ranging as attitude to blending and working of inks efficiently. In addition, he has created a YouTube channel dedicated to flexographic printing; UglyFlexo.com He has produced over 90 educational video tutorials! 

A Part of the audience
The print fraternity marked its stamp of approval by the large attendance resulting in a full house. The success confirmed the vacuum that exists in our printing industry in respect of training and technical empowerment. Fasco Printech has with success attempted to fill the void and need for trained human capital in the flexo printing industry. This program is initially spread over two years with two sessions each year, one in spring and one in autumn. The first session has touched upon the basics of flexographic printing and in the following sessions more advanced training will be delivered. The autumn session is proposed to be held just before the Labelexpo India at New Delhi. Fasco Gurukul has come as a welcome step in view of the growth in the industry and dearth of trained manpower. Out of over 130 attendees at the event, more than 70% were from printing companies which included those from Narrow web flexo, Wide web flexo and Offset printing. The balance, were mostly suppliers to the industry.

Pawandeep Sahni, CEO Fasco Printech Pvt. Ltd.



FlexoGurukul is the brainchild of Fasco Printech CEO Pawandeep Sahni, he says,” FlexoGurukul is the concept for empowering the owners and senior management on flexo printing. We are committed to help flexo printing companies grow to global levels”.







Chief mentor Harveer Sahni said, “We would like the training and education part to grow up to
L to R: Harveer Sahni, Frank Burgos and Pawandeep Sahni
become an institute. We have a vision and hope to accomplish it substantially some day for the benefit of the flexo printing industry”. On the first day Frank spoke about the Importance of inks in the flexo process he said, “Ink is one of the difficult variables to control in the entire process” He dwelled on the three main types of inks namely, solvent-based, water-based and UV-cured inks, their composition and functions. Later in the day he spoke on various tools and methods for monitoring basic ink properties and problems related to ink and the importance of measuring as also controlling pH and viscosity of ink. He also covered topics like photopolymer plates, both analogue and digital and problems related to plate defects. Frank, on day two continued with plate defects and there after moved on to plate mounting tapes and anilox rollers. He emphasized, “Anilox is the heart of flexo printing process. Depending on the type of the job, anilox rollers should be opted. Since they are one of the expensive components in the press one has to follow proper maintenance procedures.”   

Lighter moments
The event was attended by leading names in narrow web flexo printing like Pragati Pack, Sai Packaging, Webtech, Zircon, Ajanta Packaging, Seljegat, Jain Transfer, Synergy Packaging, Prakash Labels, etc. There was an impressive presence from the wide web flexo like Positive Packaging, PPL Huhtamaki, IDMC, Multiflex, etc. The suppliers at the event included Avery Dennison, UPM Raflatac, Siegwerk, Fujifilm Sericol, etc. Kaygee Loparex, Rotometrics, Tesa Tapes, Esko Graphics, Daetwyler, X-Rite, etc.


W&H Team


Leading equipment suppliers like Windmoeller and Holscher, Nilpeter, Multitec and Jandu were also present at the event. As per the feedback forms filled by the delegates, most of them have confirmed their participation in the autumn edition of FlexoGurukul.





The event was sponsored by Italian Label Press manufacturer OMET. They have communicated their resolve to make flexo grow in India. They have demonstrated their mindset by agreeing to the sharing of this event with all constituents of the flexographic print industry. While throwing the event open Harveer Sahni added, "Today we are not competitors here. We are friends in a technology that we like, and are confident for its positive growth. Without support from Omet, this may have become difficult".



Those attending were a satisfied lot and commented;

 



Priyata from Sai Packaging said, “An engaging, well structured technical training with a management perspective and no brand endorsements, complete value for the time invested - Frank has left most of us looking forward to the next FGK”







Nikhil Khanna of Printers Den said, “The time spent at first FlexoGurukul has made me crave for more, made me fall in love with the process, looking forward to the next session”.











Manish Kapoor, Sales Manager Nilpeter said, “An initiative that the Indian Industry required and will go a long way”.












Amit Ahuja of Multitec commented, “Informative and well executed!”








Sanjeev Sondhi of Zircon summed it, “The missing link of knowledge delivery in our flexographic printing industry has been created as FlexoGurukul





The event FlexoGurukul was thus a booming success!


Fasco Printech Private Limited
S-49/37 DLF Phase-III
Gurgaon-122002
Haryana, India
P: 0124-4115380  

Saturday, April 5, 2014

RIP Jagdish Zaveri! A label industry pioneer passes away!



He was a part of India’s label history!


In the early 1980s, I was only a commercial siliconiser and screen printers making stickers were my customers. Label presses had yet to make a big impact and labelstock was still not a very viable market. All the stickers that were produced were coming from screen printers. Most of the work done was manual! Exposing the negatives or positives and then producing a screen to print, it was an art. It was the pre press and press work of that time. Printing was also done manually using a squeezee on an exposed screen… He was an expert, an artist who perfected the art and pioneered the evolution of that technology. He was my first customer in Mumbai!!! I sold to him five reams of silicon paper at that time. Jagdish Zaveri was the man. Last evening on 5th of April 2014, at the age of 75 years he breathed his last. The industry pays tribute to one of initiators of label in India. Rest in peace, Jagdishbhai!

It is ironic that almost exactly a year back on the 7th of April 2013 another legend in the label industry, Kartar Singh Dunglay had passed away.

I still cannot forget the time I first visited his office in Royal Industrial Estate Wadala. My in-laws lived in Wadala at that time, so his office was very close and with every visit it became a ritual to start my BOMBAY tour by meeting him first. As I entered his office the first time, I was overawed! Elegant as he looked with his all white apparel, a Tilak (A religious symbol or a line) on his forehead, a large table; which was very clean, had fancy telephones and gadgets of those times… Jagdishbhai was class. He was passionate about screen printing as I am for labels today. When I visited him that time, he probably saw the passion that I had for the industry. He took me inside his factory to show his innovative abilities. The cleanliness in the unit was evident. It was a time when people screen printed and used wooden racks or the factory floors for printed sheets to dry. He had pioneered in using spring loaded Aluminium drying racks for optimizing space and manufacture lean so that constraint of space would not restrict continuous production. More so in a place like Mumbai where place available is always short.

He was indulgent in his work and passionate about the industry. He took keen interest in the leadership of industry associations. As the founder president of Screen Printing Association of India, he spared and invested his valuable time for the growth of the screen printing industry. He was the Vice President of BMPA (Bombay Master Printers Association) in 2002-2003 and was also actively involved with social and sports associations. A man, who accepted change and evolution as it came, adopted the self adhesive label industry as it has evolved. He has passed on the heritage to his soft spoken son Sandeep Zaveri. Their present company Total Print solutions Pvt. Ltd. at Navi Mumbai is a successful label enterprise. Sandeep, taking the heritage forward is the vice president of LMAI (label Manufacturers Association of India) and the President of the YMC (Young Managers Club) of LMAI. His work for the label industry is widely appreciated.

Jagdish Zaveri lived an eventful life full of vigour and socializing. He strongly believed that one should give back to the society that gives you so much. He would never miss his association meetings and loved to spend his evenings with his friends in the club. He lived a full life and will always be missed by industry colleagues, family and his social associates. Rest in Peace my friend Jagdishbhai…

We ALL will miss you!

A tribute on behalf of the Indian Label Industry written by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi-110008.  6th April 2014

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Indian Label Industry- Cautious, but still growing



I have always been of the opinion that there is nothing as stagnation in an industrial enterprise, more so in the Indian label industry. There is either growth or recession. Anything that stagnates starts to deteriorate. Growth or change is inevitable and an imperative part of any enterprise. Fortunately for a country like India with a large and numerically enhancing young population achieving increasing literacy levels, the demand for consumer products will continue to grow steadily. This growth in consumerism is obviously expected to give fillip to the already growing organized retail. This may witness exponential expansion of the retail sector if FDI in multi-brand retail begins to happen. All this will definitely drive growth in demand for labels. The industry maybe facing momentary slowdown due to circumstantial situation, but on a “year on year” basis the Label industry continues to register a near double digit growth. The slowdown in the manufacturing sector is expected to end and the economy is slated to lookup once a new stable government takes charge at the centre after general elections. India has no dearth of investors who drive growth in an industry that registers automatic growth consistently.  All growing industrial segments do experience the entry of new entrepreneurs besides expansion moves from existing companies. There are at least three types of expansion initiatives in the Indian Label Printing Industry. First, it is the existing printers who, in response to the need of their natural growth, have to invest in new capacities. Secondly, it is the commercial offset printers facing slowdown due to the impact of internet, who are expanding into the label industry which is growing. Then, it is the new investors who are flush with funds, maybe due to some real estate deals, who have no knowledge of printing but on hearsay or with prospective partners, make investments in Label presses. With investments growing in an unregulated environment, it is likely that there is creation of excess capacities. The pressures to break even for the new entrants into the industry, escalates and they start making desperate sales bringing down prices and putting margins under pressure. This creates difficulty for existing established printers. As a result of this situation we find printers complaining of a slowdown and difficult situations arising out of haphazard capacity growth. Despite such situation the label market has over the years segmented substantially and each segment has individually started to branch into their fields and register growth to contribute to a situation such that when we review it on a national level, the label industry shows up definite growth both in capacity and investments. However due to reasons explained herein, the industry is cautious but still growing.
Segmentation of the self adhesive label industry is a very important part of its growth and evolution.
In the earlier years a label printer would indulge in all types of stickers. These include from plain stickers to printed, hot foiled and decorated labels. With passage of time and investments being made in high-end equipment, it has all changed. The sticker became an engineered product called label. Size of the label industry is measured largely by the amount of labelstock consumed by it. The industry is segmented into various segments like the plain labels or variable information labels, pharma labels, product (FMCG) labels and the innovative/security/special labels. Strange as it appears the largest consumption of labelstock comes from a segment that has the least investment in equipment and the least margins. The plain label or the VIP label segment producing Price labels or gun labels, A4 labels and Barcode labels accounts for the largest share of labelstocks consumed in self adhesive labels. This also is the segment that has the lowest margins due to less value addition. Converting these does not really need very high-end machines with enhanced capabilities, neither does it need the expensive slitting and inspecting equipment. Most of the time converters are just die-cutting and finishing. These converters are always under pressure to drive in large volumes to stay afloat due to depressed profitability. With low initial investments and because of new entrants into labelstock manufacturing ready to fund their working capital needs with required raw material on credit, there is a rapid growth in the number of entrepreneurs in this segment. It is interesting that with so many new entrepreneurs, even though in the micro and small sector, they are likely to eventually settle down and start growing to higher levels providing further impetus to the growth of label industry.
The pharmaceutical labels and product label segment is perhaps the face of the self adhesive label industry. It is responsible for producing the highly engineered, converted and decorated labels. This segment accounts for bulk of the investments made for acquiring sophisticated European and American branded label presses. The label printers make huge investments to upgrade their capability not only in printing but also in expensive inspection and quality enhancing finishing equipment to meet the exacting demands of their customers. It is these days a difficult situation for the established players when they are pitched against new entrants who in their efforts to service their investments are ready to forego margins and create intense competition in the marketplace. This makes it difficult to justify returns on investments. This may appear to be a win-win situation for the print buyers. However, in the long run these new entrants may not be able to sustain their customer’s demands for quality control, tight schedules and short runs that cannot be catered to, in view of reduced margins. The pharma sector has in recent times faced slowdown due to circumstances at a global level however in view of the growing health concerns of a large population locally, this sector cannot remain down for a long time. It is thus that printers continue to invest even while exercising caution and restraint.
Microtext labels
The top end of the label industry these days seems to be the forte of a miniscule segment that is foreseeing high growth and higher margins. It also is attracting the highest investments in equipments with multiple capabilities in combination printing processes, decorating and diverse converting methods. For obvious reasons there appears to be less competition in this segment. This segment is perhaps the most innovative for its indulgence in creating products that stand apart from the mainline products. Some of the label products that this segment offers are; high security labels, booklet labels, lottery labels, document security, etc. Printers in this segment have acquired and continue to acquire additional capabilities like producing linerless labels, online siliconising and gumming. This enables them to print subsurface or on surface. The equipment they possess has capabilities to shuffle between self adhesive labels, shrink sleeves, lamitubes and folding cartons. They have access to diverse printing and converting capabilities on their expensive equipments.
At this time it is interesting to note that with the advent of indulgence in flexographic printing in self adhesive label industry in India, indegenous production of narrow web flexo presses commenced in the early nineties when an Indian entrepreneur Baldev Singh Jandu developed a flexo rotary label press. These machines catered well to the gunlabel (Price label) segment and later with growth of barcodes to barcode labels segment.  Jandu Engineers have been consistent in sale of their label presses and have created a very specific segment for their product. On another scenario since there was a definite segment for flatbed label presses created by the earlier Japanese presses and since it was a lower investment as compared to rotary western equipments, Indian printers invested continuously into these flatbed presses. Also given the fact that flatbed dies were much cheaper as compared to flexible dies used in rotary presses, these presses were popular. Ahmedabad based R K Label machines saw a market potential in this segment and developed flat bed machines that found a ready market. So successful were they in their venture that at the last Labelexpo India they claimed to have sold almost 700 machines till date. With rising prices of high-end label presses from the western world, Faridabad based Multitec developed their flexo rotary modular label press so as to find acceptability in comparison to the imported equipments. It is credible that the press has found acceptability with established printers like Update prints, Syndicate labels and Kumar labels. A satisfied Aditya Chadha at Update says, "We have recently installed an 8 colour multitec flexo press and are satisfied with the performance. It offers stability at high speeds, smooth production and flexibility to print on various substrates.” Multitec has also successfully exported many of its presses. An industry that was initially dominated by European, American and Japanese has gradually shifted equation. Mulitec has created a segment by successfully offering an acceptable alternative to Mark Andy 2200. While the European and American presses have maintained a steady presence yet the market has a very obvious presence of Chinese, Taiwanese and Indian label presses.
started with investments in Japanese flat bed label presses. Over the years with need for faster machines and evolution of flexo printing process, the shift from letterpress to flexo is evident, gradual and steady. With growth in demand for flexo printing label presses, soon many branded rotary flexo machines started coming to India. These were mostly from Europe or USA. These presses have over the years carved out a definite market for them self. Brand names like Mark Andy, Gallus, Nilpeter, Omet, Gidue, Rotatek, MPS, Edale, etc. are dominant in the label industry now.
The Indian label industry is now extremely diverse in its spread across the nation. I have attempted to estimate the no. of presses installed in the preceding year. It is my personal estimation after interaction with industry peers and machine suppliers. I have also relied on press reports. Samir Patkar, MD Gallus India has stated earlier at Labelexpo-Europe2013 that Gallus had sold 9 presses in 2013 and hoped to close the year with 10-11 press installations. Manish Kapoor Sales Manager Nilpeter India confirmed sale of six Nilpeters. There are other sales made by Mark Andy, Omet, Gidue, etc. According to Gaurav Roy whose company FIG sells the Mark Andy presses, they have sold 8 presses in the last one year. Says Gaurav, “We have over 150 Mark Andy installations in India. The trend is changing now; with printers opting to buy the high-end performance series, the number of installations per year maybe coming down but the value of equipment has risen”. In my personal opinion about 30 label presses from the established western suppliers have been installed in India in the last twelve months. Ahmedabad based Manish Hansoti selling Chinese Zonten presses has informed sale of five flexo presses and 13 die cutting machines. Though the die-cutting machines cannot be termed as label printing presses yet they contribute to the usage of labelstock and eventually growth of label industry so I will include them in the grand total of label converting equipments. Installations made by the Amit Sheth led Label Planet and their Asian principals are almost 14 Weigang flexo presses and 25 rotary die cutting machines. As for the Indian press suppliers Jandu has sold 12 presses. Ahmedabad based R K Label Machines says they have sold a total of 22 label presses, which is a mix of flexo rotary and flatbed. According to Amit Ahuja of Multitec, they have sold a total of 16 presses out of which 4 have been exported. There are other Indian machine suppliers but their contribution is miniscule. I estimate the total no. label presses and die cutting presses that would convert labelstocks into labels is in excess of 140 that would include other local presses and the used presses coming in.  Out of this grand total more than 50 machines are plain die-cutting presses but as I mentioned earlier, since they play an important part in the total usage of labelstock in India they have to be considered in estimation. Moreover it is the basic entry point at the micro level for people entering the label industry.
The Indian label industry would have ended the year on a very positive note and registered higher investments and growth rate but for the exchange rates having played the spoil sport. Before the Labelexpo Europe last year, all looked very good but when the Rupee fell by almost 15% making equipment costlier, label printers put purchases on hold and also many of them put off their trip to Brussels. Another factor that has been responsible for slower growth is the political unstability of the central government facing the nuances of coalition politics. Also FDI going on hold in anticipation of stability after the general elections this year, impacted the economy adversely. However still the Indian label industry is moving ahead with caution, to achieve growth and cater to the market that still has a lot of potential.
Written by Harveer Sahni Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi India. March 2014

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