Tuesday, May 3, 2016

LMAI, vibrant and astir!

Label manufacturers association of India LMAI, is now an association that is vibrant and astir!

Sandeep Zaveri
It was September 2015 when a new young President Sandeep Zaveri took over the reigns of the association. In November south India’s biggest metro city suffered a calamity whereby the city was inundated by floods leaving many homeless and in pitiable state. Sandeep took upon himself to collect kits that would help sustain life for a few days till normalcy retuned. He was in Chennai himself distributing to those who had suffered. In early December 2015 on the sidelines of Pamex, a print and packaging show, LMAI organized a networking event at Hotel Courtyard by Marriot, Andheri, Mumbai where they also announced that soon LMAI will launch its own magazine “Label Legacy”. The event was attended by leading printers and suppliers, some of whom travelled from different parts of the country to also be at Pamex. On January 22nd 2016 LMAI organized a very successful and well attended Technical workshop and networking event at New Delhi’s prestigious Chelmsford Club. The show was a full house and highly appreciated by the attendees. At this event Sandeep Zaveri announced similar Technical Workshops at Bangalore and Ahmedabad.

The Bangalore event on 15th of April 2016 was a busy full day program. The day began at the Avery Dennison Knowledge Centre where at 10am, 45 LMAI members gathered for a visit to understand the nuances of flexographic printing.  Sridhara Gopalakrishna Zonal Manager South & East of Avery Dennison received the guests. After delivering safety instructions to be observed within the knowledge centre, the printers were split into two groups to tour the centre.

The printers got to appreciate the variety of labels displayed there with information on the user segment they were intended for and knowledge to select appropriate substrates. This was followed by demonstrating the art of using graphic software to highlight, sharpen, soften or alter images before proceeding to plate making. Information was also imparted on the plate making process and the impact of plate thickness on printing. Infact the full pre-press procedure upto plate making was explained.

Finally the process of checking the plates and correctly mounting them on the press was demonstrated followed by actual printing, foiling laminating, die-cutting on a running press at high speed while also controlling wastages. Welcoming the group Sridhara thanked Sandeep and the LMAI on behalf of Avery Dennison for coordinating and bring a large number of printers to the knowledge centre. Lunch was served to the visitors by Avery before the group left by two mini busses on to their next sojourn.

The next stop was VeePee Graphics, a premiere pre-press service provider. Jai Prakash Peethambaram, partner VeePee, his wife and daughter welcomed the guest and took them around the facility to showcase their capabilities in prepress. It was time then to congregate at 6 PM for the Technical workshop at The Paul, Bangalore.

The Technical workshop was attended by 125 delegates. Speaking at the event Khushal Patel from Shailesh Kumar Sharma, senior manager-technical, Flint Group India, enlightened the delegates on the quality aspects of inks as well of the role of UV light in curing. He also mentioned that the present UV curing scenario was undergoing transformation leading to the implementation of LED UV technology as a more stable and futuristic one. Other presentations were made by Arun HS of Esko Graphics and Vikas Sharma of Yes Bank.
BST explained the importance of 100%defect detection in label printing and how it improves customer confidence in label suppliers. He explained in detail the defect detection process, its technology and dwelled on the choices available. Sanjeev Atre of PGI technologies Aurangabad
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nostalgically narrated the path traversed in the last 14 years from being a narrow web label printers to becoming the only internationally recognized tooling manufacturer from India. His journey he stated, into the production of tooling was inspired by none other than LMAI past president Manish Desai of Mudrika Labels. He spoke about the usage and requirements of good toolings in label conversion and the pitfalls if care is not taken in selecting the toolings like magnetic cylinders and print cylinders. Laxminarayanan of Rotometrics spoke on the Precision in Rotary Die cutting Clearance. He explained in depth the importance of the clearance which is the difference between the height of the blade and the height of the bearers and that this is what controls the depth of the cut. To determine the proper clearance the exact thickness or caliper of the liner is required. He also explained how die cutting takes place dwelling on blade height, blade angle and the impact of liner thickness on a perfect die-cut or a through cut.

Jade Grace-Labelexo
Surprise visitors at this event were Labelexpo Managing Director Lisa Milburn and show director Jade Grace. Jade went on stage to give information on the upcoming Labelexpo, later this year in Greater Noida. Leading printers from South India who came to the show were Raveendran from Seljegat Sivakasi, Narasimha Subramanium from Essae technologies Bangalore, Dhanasekar from Protocol Solutions Chennai, Subba Reddy from SGRE Bangalore, besides many others. Printers who travelled to attend this event from other parts of the country included Sanjay Purandre of Shree Ganesh Graphics Mumbai, Anurag Mohan from Interact Kolkata and Arun Gupta from Wonder Polymers Delhi. 

The workshop ended with networking cocktails and dinner.

Anil Sharma
On 23rd of April LMAI organized yet another event, this time to felicitate Anil Sharma, Managing Director, South Asia & Sub Saharan Africa, Avery Dennison Materials Group who is shifting to Avery, Singapore from New Delhi to handle bigger responsibilities, at Hotel Courtyard Marriot, Andheri, Mumbai. The event was attended by leading printers from across the country. Speaking at the event, Sandeep Zaveri reminisced about the support that Anil Sharma had extended to LMAI during his six year tenure in India. He remarked about the LMAI-Avery partnership for various events for the benefit of the Indian label industry and thanked him for his endeavours in growth of labels in the country. In response Anil spoke on his transformation from managing a soap business at Hindustan Lever to the label and packaging industry. He went on to dwell on the fast developments, changes and innovations in the print and label industry. 

Some of those who paid glowing tributes to Anil included Past President LMAI Vivek Kapoor, former General Secretary R L Deshpande, Gururaj Ballarwad of Wintek, and Kuldip Goel of Any graphics. Some of the other leading label printers present at the event were Amar Chhajed from Webtech-Huhtamaki, Sanjeev Sondhi from Zircon Technologies, etc. Supplier members included Ajay Mehta of SMI and Amit Sheth Label Planet besides others. Pankaj Bhardwaj, director for South Asia, labels & packaging materials at Avery who will be taking Sharma’s place at Avery’s India operation assured LMAI, continued support.

LMAI also used the occasion to launch the maiden issue of their magazine Label Legacy that has been compiled by joint efforts of many members and the editorial board. The quality of the magazine and its content were appreciated by all. The magazine design and printing is the result of painstaking effort of Kuldip Goel of Anygraphics, where the magazine was printed.

LMAI has yet another Technical Workshop coming up on the 14th of May 2016 at Hotel Novotel, Ahmedabad. Sandeep Zaveri is a man on the move, making LMAI an interactive pan national association creating bonds and platform within the industry to share thoughts and technological developments with industry peers. Platforms that bring the industry constituents together contribute to the growth in the industry. We already look forward to more news from the President!

The above article maybe reproduced or published by magazines giving credit to author.

Written by Harveer Singh Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi, India May 2016

Sunday, April 3, 2016


Twenty eight years ago in July 1988 I wrote an article titled,"The story of Ink" for a Times of India Publication,  At that time I was a leading producer of fountain pen inks under the brand "Weldon". Today as a part of the global label industry I endeavour to write a three part series under the same title extending it to inks used in "Label Printing". I reproduce in original, the article that I wrote 28 year ago as the first part of the proposed series!

From the dawn of civilization, man has been making concerted efforts to develop deferent modes of long distance communication from the scalp cries, drum horn and flute signaling of North American Indians to the present day electronic communication he has come a long way in the field of communication. Still, writing remains one of the most widely used and potent forms of expression.

The skill of writing grew out of the early civilization’s quest for a way to communicate efficiently. Before the advent of a systematic scnpt, man used various ingenious techniques to make himself known. Monuments were, for instance, erected on graves not so much to glorify the dead but to perpetuate their memory. One of the commonest devices used by our forefathers to remind themselves of tasks to be performed was to tie knots in a handkerchief. The Ecuadorian Cara tribes put pebbles of different shapes colors and sizes in a small wooden box to record numbers or events. The Lu-tze on the Chinese Tibet frontier is believed to have at one time called their enemies to battle by dispatching a message in the form of pieces of chicken. Three pieces of chicken fat and chili all wrapped in red paper; the meaning of this message: “prepare to fight at once”
Systematic and conscious writing started in the middle of the 4th millennium B.C. and with it started a demand for improved writing materials. The first written words are found etched on stone, later the Egyptians invented papyrus or parchment from which the name paper is derived. Before the invention of paper in A.D. 105 by Tsai-lun, a minister of agriculture in the court of Ho Ti, the Chinese wrote on silk and thin fibers of wood and grass.

As for writing instruments, a reed cut like a quill pen came into use late in Egyptian
history while bronze pens appeared in the Roman period.  Chinese and Japanese writings were however done with a small brush or a hair pencil. The quill, the English pen (Derived from the Latin word Penna meaning feathers), the French plume and the Germen feder were used by Europeans till as late as the first quarter of the 19th century. With the birth of writing, papyrus and the pen, appeared also the “writing ink. Ink, the term for any writing fluid, got its name from the old French word “Encaustum”. That name referred to encaustic wax painting but was applied to iron gall ink, presumably due to its caustic, eroding action on vellum made from calf skin.

The earliest ink was made from carbon and all writing was done with it, through the classical times and it still continues to be used in the East. Those inks were made from carbon soot (Lamp black). Carbon black suspensions in water with shellac are still used and sold as Indian Ink, Chinese ink or Drawing ink. In the earlier times illuminating inks were sold as water soluble cakes, similar to the water colours of today. These were actually sold in organic pigments like Red Ochre, Yellow Ochre, Gypsum, (white), Malachite (green) and blue frit. Writing inks of today are a far cry from those early concoctions. Ink making which is still an art, has also been caught up in the hi-tech wave and today we have specialized inks of the finest quality for every type of pen; Fountain pens. Ballpoint pens and Porous tip pens.

 Fountain Pen Inks:    

There are two main types of these inks .The water fast blue - black inks and the easily washable dye-based inks. The water fast inks are solution containing Ferrous Sulphate, Tannic or Gallic acid with small quantities of mineral acid and soluble dye.  It is widely believed that iron writing inks originated in early medieval times. Iron inks were used to write on parchments in the 7th and 8th centuries Iron inks were developed further with the advent of skins as writing materials. In the beginning gall extract was derived from gall nuts. The extract was blended, with wine, vinegar, ferrous sulphate and   gum. The ink thus formulated was subjected to prolonged fermentation and the atmospheric oxidation led to the formation of blue-black precipitates. The first English ink factory established by Stephen in 1834 used a revolutionary ink making procedure which truncated the role of fermentation and eliminated the time consuming process of oxidation. The soluble pale ferrous salts get oxidized into insoluble blue black precipitates within the paper fibers after writing. Therefore, blue-black ink is used to maintain records. A good writing ink should be a fine, odorless, non-poisonous fluid, stable in glass, non corrosive to metel pens and fountain pen plastics. It should have good colour that does not get washed away on prolonged soaking in water. All these qualities are present in iron gall inks.

Washable inks are simple solutions of dyes. They contain a certain amount of gum as a thickener and to restrict feathering. Man’s desire to develop writing instruments did not end with fountain pens. In 1889, A Werner patented a primitive type of the ball-pen. The find revolutionized stationery business and reduced fountain pens to antiquity. Already in the developed countries it is hard to find a bottle of fountain pen ink. In 1936 the French introduced a more advanced ball pen in which a manually operated pressure device allowed the application of a column of ink against the rotating ball. J J Biro, improved upon this with his Biro pen in 1939 and during the war years these pens were manufactured in Argentina. With the arrival of the ball pen started the development of ball pen inks

Ball Pen Inks:

A special type of ink is required for ball point pens. One of the earliest makes
patented by Werner in 1898 consisted of a solution of lamp black in castor oil. The main requirement for ball point pens are that the ink should be stable, it should not clog, it should flow freely when slight pressure is applied to the ball tip and when the ball rotates at the same time it should not leak. One of the most important requirements is that it should be absolutely free from any particles because the smallest particle may scratch the rotating ball, hindering ball rotation and thereby, either rendering the pen useless or giving a very bad writing. The ink is fed by a capillary tube through the clearance between the ball and its housing. It leaves a thin layer of ink on paper as the ball rotates. Since the ink film applied on paper is very thin, the ink has to be highly concentrated.
The early oil- based ball pen Ink are not much in use now. These inks consisted of solutions of dyes in oleic acid. The viscosity and wetting of ball was improved by adding ester gum and castor oil.  As the specifications and requirements of these inks became more exacting, glycol- based quick drying inks based on resins in alcohol-type solvents came into vogue around 1951 and have been extensively developed in the last two decades. They dry better, smear less and have little tendency to transfer on most grades of paper. Materials used successfully for these inks include glycols soluble pthalo cyanine dyes etc. Recently an erasable type of ball point pen ink has been patented. This is essentially a two-phase system. One consisting of the solid colorant is the discontinuous phase and the other consisting of cohesive properties is the continuous homogeneous phase. When writing upon paper the continuous phase precipitates and blocks the pores of the paper thereby not allowing the colorant to penetrate and bind with the fibers of paper. The colored layer thus formed can be easily eased without damaging the paper surface.

Porous tip pen inks:
These inks must remain moist and must be of the non-evaporating type. They generally dry by absorption in paper.  A humectant (glycols glycerine, etc.) is used in their formulation. However as a variety of writing instruments are being designed a generalized ink can’t be formulated. For each type of system specific inks have to be formulated after studying the material of construction of the writing instrument, its writing point and the surface to be written upon. At times the atmospheric conditions of places where the pens have to be sold have also to be taken into consideration.

To the end, it would not be out of place to mentions that ink making, even though it incorporates the best technology, yet remains an art in the hands of the ink makers.

Harveer Singh Sahni Partner Weldon Sales Corporation July 1988. Presently Managing Director Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi Posted on Blog April 2016

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Label industry marks its presence at Pamex 2015 event

Pamex is the flagship event of New Delhi based All India Federation of Master Printers (AIFMP) which has been held for 23 years. AIFMP represents 59 affiliate associations across India and aims to be the country’s pre-eminent organization in developing cooperation among national, regional and global print specialists.

The scope of the show

Waiting for the chief guest before inauguration
The topics that Pamex 2015 attempted to cover were print, package converting, narrow web printing and corrugated packaging. The venue in Mumbai where the show was held from 9–12 December at Bombay Exhibition Centre (BEC) was widely spread out in a huge hall with over 300 exhibitors. Altogether 20,441 registered visitors came to the show and a total footfall over the four days of exhibition was over 40,000. It was interesting to see the fairly large show area buzzing with visitors from the very first day!

Udhav Thakeray inaugurating the show
The two major Mumbai printers associations, The Mumbai Mudrak Sangh (MMS) and theMaster Printers Association (BMPA) supported this event. MMS was the affiliate partner organizing the International Technology Conference on the periphery of the show. It was their President Tushar Dhote who toured across large areas in the state conducting road shows which brought in many visitors to the show and the conference, creating unprecedented success. Even though the show is largely aimed at offset printers one could see the narrow web label segment also visible both in terms exhibitors and visitors. At Pamex, one could sense that the printers are now ready to experiment with the integration of various print technologies and attempt various segments of printed and packaging products to register growth.

Label printing in a lower profile

Since it was primarily a show for commercial printers and large suppliers to the print industry who cater to the commercial printing, narrow web printing and the packaging segments kept their exhibits in the narrow web segment in a lower profile even though concerned managers were present to attend to specific customers. HP who had a large presence exhibiting digital printing equipment for commercial printing exhibited digitally converted labels and lamitubes on their stand. A. Appadurai, country manager – Indigo and inkjet solutions, HP India, personally explained the digital conversion of labels and packaging. The company also hosted a knowledge session for cosmetics brand owners and agencies at its stand, showcasing the possibilities in labels and packaging using HP digital printing technology.

Printing and converting on display

Other companies in the digital printing equipment segment present at the show included Epson, Xerox, EFI, Konica Minolta, Ricoh, and Canon. Guy Gecht, Chief Executive Officer of EFI, a leader in customer-focused digital printing innovation was present at their stand to launch the Matan QW inkjet printer, with “white ink” feature, showcased for the first time in the region.

Affordable label die cutting machine with slitting
on display at RK Label machine stand
Ink supplier Flint showcased their new UV LED ink called EkoCure, demonstrating this at the stand of UV Graphics. In addition, Flint also exhibited their range of UV cleaners, flexo inks and press room chemicals. Even though global label substrates supplier Avery Dennison did not have their own stand their team lead by Pankaj Bhardwaj, Commercial Director was present and promoting their solutions for digital printing for sheet fed machines at a stand shared with their distributor. Chennai based Monotech Systems Limited who is a channel partner for UK based Focus Label Machinery and UVRay Italy for UV lamps were displaying their JETSCI VDP inkjet label printing machine. Ahmedabad based R. K. Label Printing Machinery showed their entry level rotary die cutting machine with slitting arrangements, well suited for barcode and plain labels. According to Naresh at their stand, they would soon be launching their indigenously produced nine colour rotary label press. They sell 25 label presses per year out of which 10–12 are rotary and the rest are flat bed printing and die cutting machines. They will exhibit their new equipment at Labelexpo India 2016.

The Mumbai based Label Planet group headed by the LMAI (Label Manufacturers Association of India) founder and director Amit Sheth were offering a range of products at their stand. These included Orthotec Label presses of Taiwan, Weigang label presses of China, Packers Ram punching equipment of Korea, Cartes label equipment from Italy and UV digital inks from Inktec USA. Amit Sheth said, “We are also launching Dilli UV presses from Korea with whom we have a strategic partnership”. Manish Hansoti, managing director S Kumar Multi Products, Ahmedabad, was happy to be displaying the only running label press at his stand in Pamex 2016. S Kumar is the Indian agent for Chinese press manufacturers Zonten. The press on display was a six colour tower type machine with cold foil. Manish said, “By Labelexpo India 2016, the Zonten press population will grow to 50!” He further added, “We are soon launching a full servo model”. Mumbai headquartered Genius Flexo machinery Pvt. Ltd. lead by Vijay Pareek were exhbiting information on various products of their foreign principals offered by them. These included MPS and Codimag label presses, Pamarco aniloxes, Rantec plate mounter, Eye C inspection systems and Polymount sleeves. Another label press distributor Standard Printers Providers, who are veterans in this line, were offering the Taiwan made Taiyo label presses. The father/son team consisting of J Sachdev and Gaurav Sachdev did not wish to divulge the number of Taiyo presses installed in the country. Morsef Machines agents for Tangshan Wanjie, China were displaying information on label presses offered by their principals. Bodhi Professional Solutions launched VeriPak 3D, a complete 3D visualisation tool for graphics professionals in the print, packaging and labelling industry. Provin Technos who represent Spanish label press manufacturers Rotatek were present in a big way but information on the label press was limited to signage only.

Leading label printers from across the country were seen visiting the Pamex exhibition including Narendra Paruchuri of Pragati Hyderabad, Raveendran of Seljegat Sivakasi, Gururaj of Signode Bangalore, Manjunath of Global Graphics Bangalore, Kuldip Goel of Anygraphics Noida, Sanjeev Sondhi of Zircon and all the leading Mumbai printers. One of the reasons for a high number of label printers was that the LMAI was holding a networking event on one of the evenings and for which the label printing fraternity had congregated in Mumbai.

The conference programme 

On the side lines of Pamex at the same venue a conference titled “International Technology Conclave” was held. The conference was attended by over 200 delegates. It started with an inspirational keynote address from Manoj Mehta past President of AIFMP and the Director of Manipal Utility Packaging Solutions, which is a part of the Manipal Technologies group who have substantial interest in the label printing business. Manoj Mehta gave his ten commandments which he called, “Dus Ka Dum” meaning “Power of Ten”, for printers to be efficient, growing and profitable. A. AppaDurai of HP India gave an insight into the benefits and comparable advantages of inkjet digital printing. He dwelled on many issues that are a deterrent in many printers decision to invest in digital printing equipment. 

Paolo Grasso, export area manager of Italian label press manufacturer Omet and Harveer Sahni of
Weldon Celloplast who represent Omet took the stage next to speak on, “In-line converting with multiple printing technologies”. Harveer Sahni, traced the evolution of label printing from simple flat bed copper block printing, as it gradually reached the stage of in-line combination or hybrid printing and converting, using various processes and how the narrow web has gone wider to integrate into the packaging segment. Paolo Grasso then carried it forward giving details of the equipment and its capabilities to employ printing processes like gravure, flexo, offset and screen inline on the same press along with decoration and finishing like cold foil, hot foil, lamination, embossing, die cutting and slitting or sheeting all in a single pass reducing wastages and saving on manpower.

LED-UV has been attracting the attention of printers in all segments of printing whether offset or label or digital. Vinay Kaushal director of Provin Technos enlightened the audience on this emerging technology. According to him, “In Europe, the use of UV lamps with mercury is banned. Hence, LED UV is the only possible technology solution for the future as it is a green technology.” He added, “It is a myth that LED UV inks are expensive. The cost of these inks is comparable to regular inks.”
Printed electronics is another area which is growing rapidly with advancements in technology enabling printing of circuits on flexible materials in roll form to bring down cost of production as also the size and weight of modern day electronic devices. According to Wikipedia, “Printed electronics is a set of printing methods used to create electrical devices on various conventional substrates. Printing typically uses common printing equipment suitable for defining patterns on material, such as screen printing, flexography, gravure, offset lithography and inkjet. By electronic industry standards, these are low cost processes. Electrically functional electronic or optical inks are deposited on the substrate, creating active or passive devices, such as thin film transistors; capacitors; coils; resistors. Printed electronics is expected to facilitate widespread, very lowcost, low-performance electronics for applications such as flexible displays, smart labels, decorative and animated posters, and active clothing that do not require high performance levels.” Ashutosh Tripathi, team leader at National Centre for Flexible Electronics, IIT Kanpur spoke on the future growth potential of printed electronics that is likely to escalate to a level of USD 330 billion by 2027 opening immense opportunities in this line.

The conference was organized quite well with the content being very diverse and informative. There has been a thought process that the conference venue should be different from the exhibition venue as the speakers and delegates are tempted to take time off in between their visit to the exhibition.

A well-attended show

As initially mentioned, the exhibition was well attended right from the first day. However, more working printing presses would have added to the value that this successful show has created. This satisfying result will surely attract more companies to come forward to exhibit in an effort to gain a foothold in a growing market such like India. Despite this, the show compensated in many ways as there was a lot of ancillary and complementing equipment on display to keep the printers busy and involved. The level of satisfaction in visitors and exhibitors indicate that the 2017 edition of Pamex, which will be held 18–21 December, will be bigger and better.
Hopefully it will also have more label industry participation.

Written Exclusively for Narrow WebTech Germany by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi-110008 December 2015. 
The article maybe published with the permission of Narrow WebTech Germany giving credit to them and to the author

Friday, January 29, 2016

North Indian Label Printers at LMAI Technical workshop!

Part of the audience
After Sandeep Zaveri took over as the new president, LMAI (Label manufacturers association of India) organized the second technical workshop and networking meet in his tenure at Chelmsford Club, New Delhi. The first such event was held at Mumbai in December 2015. It was interesting to note that almost all of LMAI printer members from Delhi NCR pre-registered for the show and more than 100 delegates attended the workshop as against a targeted and expected 80 members. This was despite the fog, chill and an extremely difficult traffic situation in New Delhi that day.

Kuldip Goel of Anygraphics and Vice President LMAI,
welcoming guests. Behind him is Naveen Goel, the host
for the evening
Welcoming the guests Kuldip Goel, Vice President LMAI and Managing Director of Anygraphics, speaking in Hindi (India’s national language) likened the association LMAI to a devotional place like a temple. He said a temple is built on four pillars, each of which has a special significance. “In our association” he said, “the four pillars are members, suppliers, sponsors and the media!” Initiating the technical part of the workshop, Shailesh Kumar Sharma, senior manager-technical, Flint Group India, spoke on the quality aspects of inks as well of the role of UV light in curing. He also dwelled on the present UV curing scenario undergoing transformation leading to the implementation of LED UV technology as a more stable and futuristic one.

Carston Barlebo
Explaining the capability of LED UV to cure ink on thinner substrates and provide better adhesion, Carston Barlebo of AMS (Air Motion Solutions) cited a case study conducted by them with their AMS Flexo Series LED UV system for the narrow web label industry at a food packaging converter in Italy whereby this system is fitted on a seven-colour 530mm Omet VaryFlex F1 530. He informed that this is the largest UV LED system ever installed which provides savings in energy, replacement costs and increased productivity. The system is compatible with LED-optimised inks and varnishes from leading manufacturers. 

Manish Kapoor
Manish Kapoor of Nilpeter spoke about the growth and increasing market size of Flexographic printed labels segment and it extension into the packaging industry. He also dwelled on the need for printers targeting the huge packaging industry to invest in combination printing so as to derive benefits from each technology to create innovative and highly decorated packages. According to him even though the label industry was growing at 15% per annum yet it was a miniscule portion of the packaging industry whose size he said is Rupees 1.5 lakh Crores or about 24 Billion USD. He emphasized that it was opportune time for the industry to invest in these emerging technologies. Flexographic printing is highly dependent on the quality of pre-press. Deepanshu Goel of Creative Graphics, a pre-press company, spoke on the importance of pre-press in plate making. He also explained the importance and proper use of double tapes and anilox rollers.

Chirag Chokani
Finance and wealth management are a sensitive part of growth in any business. Chirag Gokani an expert on the subject spoke on the importance of financial planning leading to wealth management. Sandeep Tiberwala from Yes Bank commenting on Kuldip Goel’s remarks on the constituents of the association being the pillars of association remarked, “Banks are an inherent part of this structure that provide strength to the pillars”  He also spoke on the procedures and requirements for getting adequate finance by label printers for their businesses.

Harveer Sahni
Finally there was an interactive session by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director Weldon Celloplast Ltd. where all the speakers were a part of the panel. Most of the questions were about the LED UV and were answered by C P Paul of APL and Carston Barlebo of AMS. Harveer Sahni commented, “Pre-press is the heart of flexo printing that has evolved in quality over the years” in response Deepanshu Goel further elaborated on the imperative need of good pre-press in flexo printing. Shailesh Sharma of Flint while replying to questions informed the gathering that Flint will be hosting many open house sessions for LED UV inks in the near future.

Aditya Chadha
Finally the host for the evening Naveen Goel invited Aditya Chadha of Update prints to deliver a vote of thanks. Aditya in his concluding remarks stressed the need for the label printing fraternity to be more interactive, so as to share the importance of better prices for raw materials, selling prices, employee retention, etc. and more profitability. It was evening where one saw a big number of next generation young managers that included Aditya Chadha of Update prints, Anuj Bhargav of Kumar Labels, Naveen Goel of Anygraphics, Rishab Jain of Jain Transfer, Parshav Jain of Jain Transfer, Pawandeep Sahni of Weldon, Gurdev Jandu of Jandu Engineering.

The evening ended with a networking cocktails and dinner. Happy at the success of this event, Sandeep Zaveri President LMAI and Rajesh Nema Secretary LMAI announced that the next similar workshop would be held in the south of India, probably at Bangalore, followed by one in Ahmedabad.

More pictures from the event:
Pawandeep Sahni,Weldon, handing over the mike at
the interactive session for delegates to ask questions.

The President and Secretary felicitating Nalin Sharma of Intergraphic
C P Paul, Rajesh Nema & Sandeep Zaveri President LMAI
felicitating Harveer Sahni for conducting interactive session


Rajesh Chadha, Update Prints & Rajesh Nema, Pragati Global

Written by Harveer Sahni Managing Director Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi January 2016
The above article maybe reproduced by giving credit to author.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Labelexpo Europe 2015 – Global interaction with Indian visitors!

With western and established markets for consumer products showing signs of saturation and decreasing growth rates, there is an extensive search for alternate markets that look promising and appear to offer high growth rates in the near future. Markets that are expected to grow include packaged retail products which will drive volumes for packaging and printed products including labels. India, in recent times is being referred to as the economic powerhouse for buying.

India – A powerhouse market

This thought process emanates from the fact that even though India is the second most populous country in the world after China, it is home to the world’s largest youth population. The November 18, 2014 edition of India’s leading newspaper The Economic Times published from a UN report, that there were 356 million 10-24 years old in India as compared to 269 million young people in China. India is projected to be the world’s most populous country by 2025, surpassing China, its population reaching 1.6 billion by 2050. More than 50% of India’s population is below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35. It is expected that, in 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years, compared to 37 for China. As literacy levels grow, more and more young English speaking people are coming out of schools, colleges and universities seeking employment. These youths which are in employment have disposable incomes and have made the burgeoning middle class a powerful buyer segment driving a huge demand for consumer products. With the advent of widespread television coverage, the effect of ecommerce, growth in communications and mobile telephony, the young Indian population is providing the impetus for retail spending.

Supplier’s opinion on Indian visitors

The global suppliers to the label industry have high expectations of the Indian markets and they
continue to focus on this area in hope of catering for the expected growth. Labelexpo Europe 2015 was bigger than previous shows, 35789 visitors came to the show as against 31795 in 2013. There were more visitors from India as well; 436 Indians attended the show as against 411 in the previous edition. In an effort to gather the global industry supplier’s opinion about the Indian visitors, I questioned some of the leading exhibitors. Since I visited Labelexpo for the first time some 16 years ago, I have seen the number of Indian visitors grow steadily. While the industry was transforming itself from being predominantly flat-bed letterpress driven printing to rotary intermittent letterpress and then on to rotary flexographic printing, at the same time the Indian economy was opening up and liberalization was making Indians open up their vision and think of expanding and upgrading to global levels. It was because of this state of affairs that they started travelling and visiting international trade shows. The visitors from India started becoming more visible in numbers by the middle of the first decade of the new millennium. It was towards the end of this decade that they were recognized by the suppliers as serious buyers. The focus that had all along been towards China started now drifting to India. “About 436 Indian visitors attended Labelexpo Europe as against 411 in the previous edition of the show.” Traditionally most of the Indians believe in slow and steady growth. I feel the time has almost come when we can accept the global opinion of India becoming the power house of buying but the caution of slow and steady will always apply. One cannot expect the floodgates to open immediately and abruptly.

Serious and inquisitive visitors

Esko was exhibiting new products like the equinox process which allows a printer to fast change the plates while retaining the same inks to achieve the entire gamut of pantone shades with vibrancy in the colours. Shrihari Rao, Sales Director, Esko South Asia, said many Indian printers visited them and were serious and inquisitive to know more about the process. “They are definitely expanding and new presses are moving into the country” he added. Anil Sharma, vice president and managing director of Avery Dennison Materials Group in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, said that Indian printers visiting the premium Brussels show were more focused, more educated and were using this platform to expand their knowledge. They also are exploring ways to improve margins in times of intense competition. However he had a word of caution for growing printers to decrease their dependence on commodity markets and to innovate. They cannot expect Avery or other material suppliers to reduce prices each time there is pressure on margins, “reverse engineering is not the solution” he says. The focus of the Indian printers was evident when I went to the Ritrama stand. They have very little or no presence in the Indian market. When I asked Tomas Rink about Indian visitors, he said, “We haven’t had many visit us”. Unlike the last show where they launched a linerless option; there were no new launches at this edition of the show. Japanese specialty material supplier Lintec who have offices and a slitting facility in India said they had many Indian visitors and found that 75% appeared to be serious buyers.
Jakob Landberg Sales Director Nilpeter says, “The quality of visitors coming from the region has been improving over the years, both in terms of numbers and in their seriousness of doing business. This is also a reflection of the maturity of the Indian label market. India forms a major part of the Asian region which is one of the fastest growing global regions for label consumption.” He further added, “We felt that the quality of visitors to Labelexpo 2015 was an improvement on earlier years”. Nilpeter, have shown their commitment to the Indian growth story my making an investment to build equipment in India. “Indian printers visiting the Brussels show were more focused and educated.”Mike Russell of Mark Andy also felt there were no “tourist visitors” from India this time as in earlier years, the Indians visitors to this show were serious label printers. Gourav Roy also of Mark Andy felt the Indians appeared to be less visible but the important ones were all there. Even though digital printing continues to attract the interest of the printing industry worldwide, the Indian label industry in general is hesitant to make large investments in this segment due to the high cost of equipment and inks. It is interesting to note that they still regard the segment with interest. Many printers were seen perusing the offerings in the digital equipment hall. However some low priced digital equipment attracted many Indian label printers. 

I spent time at the stand of one such company Trojan Label where I saw many leading Indian printers, some ready to buy before some confusion moves in and the decision goes on hold. In the words of Kim-Regin Sustmann, Director Business Development at Trojan, “Labelexpo turned out to be extremely good for Trojan we never expected to create so much interest.” The HP stand also was extremely busy and had a lot of Indian printers. A very interesting response came from release base paper supplier Munksjo. Base paper prices directly impact on the price of self-adhesive label stocks. As pointed out by Anil Sharma of Avery Dennison, our printers were looking for ways to improve margins, so the interest in this company’s offerings was obvious. According to Marco Martinez, Munjsko, “We had many Indian visitors, actually the biggest number from any country, which surprised us!” He further added, “India now appears to be the market for the future”. However most of the visitors to the stand enquired about stock lots and side runs. This confirms the focus of our printers trying to improve margins. Labelstock is the major part of the cost of a label and to remain close and connected to the suppliers, printers ensure that they visit the labelstock stands as a matter of urgency. For this reason, the three main suppliers to the Indian label industry i.e. Avery, Raflatac and SMI had many visits from local printers. All technical and new product information from these suppliers is available locally so it was pointless to spend too much time on these stands..
Leading tooling manufacturers like Rotometrics, Spilker, Kocher + Beck, Lartec, Electro-Optic, etc are well represented by strong and efficient sales agents in India and for this reason they did not get too many Indian visitors. In the words of Raul Silvestre of Lartec, Spain, “I had few visits from India”.

More and more Indian attendance

The Omet stand at this year’s show was extremely busy with a lot of Indian printers. According to Paolo Grasso Sales Manager, “We see more and more Indian printers attending Labelexpo Europe year after year. This time I had the impression that the Indian presence was one of the highest ever. Most of our visitors were definitely seriously looking at investing. It is difficult to say if this market will actually drive global growth because it has a very high growth rate with the fastest growing middle class in the world, yet the numbers need to grow, there is too much caution, hindering growth. The Indian label industry still has a long way to go. Companies need to scale up levels of efficiency to become market drivers. Many times, not due to the way they manage, but often due to the surrounding impact of bureaucracy, “The Indian label industry still has a long way to go.” inefficiency of supporting organizations and lack of required infrastructure delays growth and may take years to fix those aspects, but hopefully this will happen one day soon and India will shine more. By this time entrepreneurs will be highly educated on how to compete on world markets. I still see too many “followers” with the mindset of watching what their competitors are doing rather than to think what they could do best with their strength and conditions. They have the capabilities and need to have faith in themselves and implement decisions. There are also many who’ve learnt how to think out of the box and are taking those “unusual” steps that lead them to become market leaders. One more problem is that price takes precedence over the real value of the solution. This superficial approach to the topics is a deterrent to growth because often what looks cheaper in the beginning later turns out to be the most expensive solution in the long term. It is important to note that when delivering technology, it is impossible for any equipment manufacturer to create and deliver innovation without any profit.

Moving out of the crowd

My personal opinion is that since the Indian label industry is still largely family managed with the businesses falling into the SME (Small & Medium Enterprises) category, the promoters have to expand within the comfort level that the existing economic parameters allow. They have to make decisions facing constraints that rules and regulations impose including those of financial institutions. They are under pressure due to intense competition and have to exercise caution so as to be able to service debt effectively. However success always comes with calculated risks. So our printers, even while exercising caution, need to move out of the crowd and emerge from their comfort zones to stand out and empower themselves with capabilities to innovate and excel!

Written Exclusively for Narrow WebTech Germany by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi-110008 October 2015. 
The article should not be used or published without the permission of Narrow WebTech Germany. Should you wish to reproduce, please contact the author or editor Narrow Web Tech

Monday, October 26, 2015

Labelexpo Europe 2015, the way I saw it: A photo feature!

Sometimes words are not needed, the pictures say it all. I decided to share my personal pictorial journey through the show at Brussels. It just came to my mind to share the pictures with my global label friends. I wish I had taken more pictures. Unfortunately the idea did not come to my mind while I was at Labelexpo. My formal article on the show will follow later.

Atomium in the backdrop, aday before the show opened

Shrihari Rao, Sales Director Esko with Sanjeev Sondhi, Zircon
With Marco Calcagni, Director Omet.

With Isidore Leiser, Stratus, France at the FINAT Stand
Jakob Landberg of Nilpeter with Steve Katz editor LNW

Amar Chhajed Webtech Labels with Pawandeep Sahni, Weldon
The HP Stand

Pawandeep and Kim at Trojan Label stand

SMI Stand

With Raul Silvestre, Lartec Flexible Dies
Sharing a snack with Steve Katz editor LNW

With Ahmad Kavoosi, Parsian Labelling, Iran
Ritrama Stand

With Helmut Schreiner & Torsten Jung Lenz

Label Industry Global Awards: The awards evening!

Tony White and Thomas Hagmaier President FINAT

With Andy Thomas, Group Editor Labels and Labeling

With Geoffery Martin, President and Global CEO CCL

With Dean Scarbrough Chairman & CEO Avery Dennison Corp.

With Kurt Walker, Past President FINAT & winner of lifetime achievement award!

An evening with important friends in global label industry!

With my mentor and Label Guru Mike Fairley
With Lisa Milburn, Managing Director Labelexpo group

With Finat President Thomas Hagmaier and the mother-daughter team who are label printers at Mexico!

Relaxing evenings and the grandeur of Grand Place!

The vibrant restaurant lanes of Grand Place
SMI Team; It is party time!

Amazing grandeur!
With friends in a casual state!

Before leaving Brussels, the night before, I stood at my hotel room window watching this beautiful sight. Hoping to be back again in two years to be with global label friends.

Presented by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi, October 2015.