Avery Dennison Label and Packaging Materials

Sunday, April 15, 2018

P C Jain- Pioneer who introduced variable data labels in India

Nine years after a supermarket cashier in Troy, Ohio-USA, on the 26th of June 1974, scanned a barcode for the first time in history on a 67 cent 10 piece pack of Wrigley’s Chewing Gum, Prem Chand Jain popularly known as P C Jain, introduced variable data labels to India in shape of price marking labels. This was in 1983 as a precursor pioneering in barcode labels. Another seven years hence in 1990 he yet again led the country’s indulgence in producing and using barcode labels. This was almost 40 years after Norman Joseph Woodland and Bernhard Silver patented the barcode co-invented by them in the shape of conclavic rings of varying widths in 1951. Twenty years later in around 1971 George Laurer with support from Woodland, his colleague at that time in IBM, created the present day barcode. Barcodes have eventually become an absolute essential in modern day organized retail. The usage of barcodes that was initially limited to mega malls and retail stores have now found extensive usage in small local colony stores, industry, logistics, banking, travel and almost all segments of society. RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), another invention whose history can be traced back to 1940 during World War II, has also found application in variable information labels in recent times. Jain’s company Great Eastern Impex now renamed GreatEastern IDTEDCH Pvt. Ltd. which he heads as Chairman, has truly pioneered the introduction and proliferation of variable data labels in India!

P C Jain was born in a family of hosiery traders in the small town of Patti some 45 KMs from Amritsar in Punjab. After initial schooling the family moved to Ludhiana, the industrial town of Punjab. Alumni of star college of Ludhiana, after his college education he took employment in a hosiery unit owned by the Oswal Group, where he worked for 3 years. He gained knowledge and experience of handling exports of yarn and imports of machinery, raw materials and equipment at a time when documentation and procedures were licensed, complicated and cumbersome. Coming from a family of businessmen, in 1966 Jain decided to venture out on his own. He took selling agency of some Ludhiana based hosiery companies and for the next 4-5 years he was selling for them to customers in MENA region countries. Nostalgically he reminisces that he used to carry two bags as baggage, one was always full of samples to demonstrate his offerings and book orders. He would never leave any city until the LC was established by the buyers who placed orders with him. There were times when he would even interact with buyer’s bank to expedite matters. Achieving a sale of 500,000 rupees at that time was a substantial amount with the exchange rate at just Rs.7.50 for one US Dollar! By 1975, he had made some good earnings and indulged further by starting exports of T-Shirts to UK, Germany and USA.  However when exports of these items became difficult due to quota restrictions imposed, he shifted focus. He started to import heat transfer presses and printing solutions to print on T-Shirts. His biggest customer then was the makers of Smash T-Shirts that gave him enough money to buy his own office in central Delhi’s Rajendra Place.

In 1983 he started Great Eastern Impex Co. in partnership with his brother in law. At that time he came in contact with Harjit Singh Kochhar of Giggles gift shop in New Delhi’s Connaught Place. This connection was the starting point of P C Jain’s journey into the world of variable information printing labels. Kochhar, during one of his foreign trips had bought a price marking hand labeler. When he ran out of labels he requested Jain who was experienced in import procedures, to help him import labels. Great Eastern Impex imported a full carton of price marking labels for Giggles from Monarch Marking Systems USA; that was their first indulgence in labels. The US based company Monarch saw an opportunity in Great Eastern Impex Co. and soon their sales person Cliff Cuttele landed in Delhi to meet P C Jain. He demonstrated the usage of labelers and how to open and load labels, Jain found it so interesting that they immediately headed towards Connaught Place to visit shops and asses the interest. Almost all customers wanted these machines. When they landed at Harjit Singh Kochhar’s shop Giggles, Kochhar was excited about the prospects of the business for his friend and took them all for dinner to his home and it was that day the decision was taken for Great Eastern Co. to be Monarch’s exclusive agent in India. In 1985-86, P C Jain and his brother in law decided to part company in business, so Jain in a new partnership with his clearing agent Prem Khanna and Surinder Singh Bakshi, a financer joined hands in their new venture GEIPL (Great Eastern Impex Private Limited) and became exclusive agents of Monarch Marking Systems USA for the next five years. They would import the Monarch Labelers and labels and distribute them. In 1986 A S Shekhawat who came from a publishing company joined GEIPL as a manager to expand their sales network and setting up dealership network across the country.

In 1991 GEIPL entered into a technical collaboration with Monarch to manufacture and sell labels in India with a Japanese ITOH label press that was re-engineered by Monarch in USA to their particular specifications to produce 5 different types of labels. This press was supplied by Monarch to GEIPL under a royalty agreement of paying 5% on sales to their foreign partner.  In 1992 Bakshi left the company leaving the reins of the venture in hands of P C Jain and Prem Khanna. In 1996 HSSIDC allotted to them a 2100 square meter plot in Gurgaon on which GEIPl built their double storied 25000 square foot factory building. By 1990 barcode usage had surfaced in India and GEIPL had already made up their mind to indulge. At almost the same time Shobhana Shah Dharia, an alumni of Wayen State University and working as a software engineer in Symbol Systems USA had migrated back to Mumbai India. She launched bar code scanning technology in the country to make complete Barcode solutions available.  With GEIPL being the first entrant in the trade to offer barcode labels and printers and Dharia offering scanning solutions the Barcode, the technology was available in totality. Proliferation of Barcodes started and by 1995 it was fully developed and being widely used.  There were two organizations that were offering barcode symbologies i.e. EAN or European Article Number from Europe and UPC or Universal Product Code from USA. GEIPL opted for adopting the European symbology.

IIP (Indian Institute ofPackaging) was identified by Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, for establishment of EAN India for the introduction of Bar Code Technology for export in India. The then Director of IIP P V Narayanan called a meeting in this regard and it was attended by  P C Jain, Shobhana Dharia and Sameer Parikh of Intellicon. It was decided to first form EAN India with license from EAN Europe and supported by IIP and Ministry of Commerce. In 1990, the country code 890 was allotted to India followed by the manufacturer’s code. The typical configuration of a barcode is; the first 3 digits is the country code followed by manufacturer’s code issued by EAN India and then the product code. The barcode becomes complete when the last check digit is added. Eventually to bring global uniformity in language controlling barcodes business, in 2005 EAN and UPC merged to create one body called GS1(Global Standard1) worldwide. In India the business is controlled by GS1 India covering all Indian manufacturers from segments like retail, Pharma, automotive, fmcg, cosmetic, liquor, etc. By the start of new millennium GEIPL had added another unit called Rachna Overseas Pvt. Ltd (ROPL) in its fold. ROPL was formed with wives of P C Jain and Prem Khanna as partners to produce thermal transfer ribbons for barcode printers and to be supplied to GEIPL. 16 years after being together as partners in 2002, Jain and Khanna, over a luncheon meeting decided to split amicably. ROPL was taken over by Prem Khanna while GEIPL remained with P C Jain.

P C Jain’s wife Usha is a home maker, their only daughter Ekta was born while they lived in Ludhiana. Ekta is now married and her husband is in business manufacturing injection molded cones for textile mills with factories in Ludhiana and Bhopal. Their son Shakti was born in Delhi in 1977 who, after schooling in St. Marks School Delhi, graduated in commerce from Venkateswara College New Delhi and followed it with an MBA in finance, sales and marketing from Rochester School of Technology in 2001. Shakti now manages the company as Managing Director while his father is the Chairman. Proudly P C Jain says, “Under Shakti Jain’s leadership the company’s sales that had initially dipped after division of assets amongst erstwhile partners, has doubled”! Carrying his father’s vision of moving ahead of time, Shakti foresaw that RFID labels will be the future. In 2012 Shakti and his wife Neha, who is now the Executive Director in the company, visited Spain to be trained in RFID technology and to see the RFID inlay insertion machine. In yet another pioneering step they bought this machine and became the first Indian label company to offer RFID Self adhesive labels. At this time they even changed the name of their company to Great Eastern IDTech Pvt. Ltd. so as to project its modern approach and indicate their digital offerings.  Great Eastern has had steady and smooth operations however the only challenge came when they took up a complete barcode and RFID project for Government’s warehouse management systems. They had estimated to complete the project in 3 months and it kept on getting delayed due to technical issues. Persistent efforts helped them achieve success in implementing the systems in one year. Their biggest order came when they supplied, installed and commissioned 2500 barcode printers to HDFC Bank in all their branches, some in distant places.

Great Eastern IDTech Pvt. Ltd. now has their manufacturing facility spread over 25000 square feet with 135 employees. They have five offices besides their head office in Gurgaon. These are at Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai and Kolkata. Sales that fell to Rupees 10.00 Crores after the split between partners in 2002, but after achieving a steady growth over the following years, it is expected to reach Rupees 32.00 Crores by 31st March 2018. Two third of their business comes from consumables and one third from hardware and software. Barcode technology accounts for 85% of sales, RFID 5% and price marking is 10%. They sell 200,000 square meters per month of thermal transfer ribbon, convert 150,000 square meters per month of labelstock and sell 1 million RFID labels per year. Visualising future the father son duo expresses that by the year 2020, they will reach a turnover of Rupees 50 Crores just by organic growth.

In progressing years P C Jain has tried to give back to the industry and society that gave him success and recognition. Other than spending his quality time with his best friend, his grandson Samar Jain, he is involved with many charitable institutions. He initiated the formation of AIDC (Automatic Identification and Data Capture) Associationof India and was its founder president for the first two terms of 3 years each. The association was started with just 30 members and has now grown to 150 members with pan national presence. In 2012 the AIDC Association at its annual conference in Kovallam resort Kerala, conferred upon P C Jain the “Lifetime Achievement Award”!

Written by Harveer Sahni, Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi February 2018

First published in Printweek India.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

LMAI Brand Owners event at Delhi

Label manufacturers association of India (LMAI) organized an event for their Printer Members in the evening of 30th March 2018 titled:  “Brand owner’s perception of labels in changing scenario” at RADISSON BLU MARINA HOTEL CONNAUGHT PLACE New Delhi. The program had lead sponsors as AveryDennison, SMI Coated Products and DuPont. Support sponsors were Vinsak, FIG, Creative Graphics and J N Arora Group.

Speakers at the event included:
Barun Banerjee: Head of Packaging NestlĂ© South Asia region, NestlĂ© India Ltd.
Rahul Bhargava: Vice President, Packaging, SUN Pharma

Kousik Saha: Associate Director - Head Packaging Commercialization, PepsiCo

Amiya Pradhan AM- Corporate Packaging Dev., Dabur IndiaLtd. (FMCG division).
Deepak Manchanda: Packaging Expert

Sandeep Zaveri

The event having been restricted only to printer members and sponsors comprised of label printers and sponsors to the event yet it was fully booked and over 100 delegates attended. Past president LMAI, Sandeep Zaveri of Total Prints Mumbai who anchored the evening, opened the event by welcoming the guests and introducing the speakers to the audience. 

Kuldip Goel

LMAI President Kuldip Goel, Managing Director of Any Graphics NOIDA speaking next apprised the audience of his programs. He dwelled on his efforts and successful implementation of tree plantation in NCR Delhi; this would in time be undertaken at various places across the country. He informed that this brand owner program would also be conducted in different zones of the country. He also announced the launch of a web Portal “Advantage” that would help label printer members of LMAI to offer their surplus left over raw materials and excess equipment to other members. Lastly he announced that LMAI will be hosting the LMAI awards on the sidelines of Labelexpo in November this year and will also be hosting the L9 Meet at that time. L9 is the global confederation of nine leading label associations in the world.

Barun Banerjee

Speaking first and setting the tone for the evening Barun Banerjee from Nestle, speaking from food perspective, expressed the imperative need for change and asserted that change is the only constant in an every evolving packaging scenario. He said that there are now three megatrends: 1. Visual & Tactile Changes 2.Green Initiatives and New Technology. 3. Digital Print and Personalization. He also spoke about the different decoration technologies that the brand owners are looking at to enhance the shelf appeal, sustainability and reducing the adverse impact on environment as also the need of combining digital capabilities in label production so as to enable variable data and personalization.

Rahul Bhargava from Sun Pharma gave information about requirements in respect to pharmaceutical packaging. He explained the need to adhere to statutory requirement and compliance through information on labels and packaging. Stressing that it is expected of all pharmaceutical and health care products to be labeled correctly for consumer safety, the responsibility is clearly with Brand Owner. Besides the aesthetics the label should have space for Product Name, Active/ Inactive ingredients, Strength, Directions for use, Warnings, Purpose & use of drug product, Drug facts etc. He also mentioned the need to ensure that the migration of solvents or plasticizers from inks on labels or adhesives into the plastic containers does not take place as it would impact the performance of the products. Lastly he informed about the font sizes that need to be adhered to while providing information on labels.

Kousik Saha
Kousik Saha of PepsiCo focused his presentation to beverage labeling and mentioned the four imperatives i.e.
  •         FMOT (First Moment of Truth) which was about brand positioning, Label Printing and Decoration. He spoke of the decoration technologies needed to catch the consumer’s eye.
  • Brand visibility/product positioning/consumer engagement/marketing campaign’;  Here he mentioned the impact of personalisation by adding variable and personalised images on labels.
  • Regulations/Legal/ Claims.;  He spoke on amendment of PCR 2011 which deals with Font sizes of Net quantity, Best before, MRP, Consumer helpline to be 1.0mm and above as per principle display panel area. Guidelines of legal metrology
  • Barcode/MRP, Date of Mfg / Expiry/Net content etc.;
He summed up by talking about performance parameters that were needed like GSM variation – Label orientation on gripper drum, release from vacuum drum leading to line stoppage, Elasticity – cut length variation, Eye-mark to eye-mark distance – cut length variation, Core damage – alignment of reel, loading on labeler, Static on label – Unwinding, labeler stoppage, etc.

Amiya Pradhan from Dabur spoke in reference to the labeling needs of the FMCG segment. He stated that a label projects the identity of a brand or the product, so it needs incorporate Branding Elements (Brand/ Sub Brand), Mnemonics (Major Ingredients), The Prepositions, Aesthetics, Visual/ Sensoria and Legal Metrology and other details. He extensively impressed upon the need to dress up the label so as to appeal to demanding consumers. He asserted that good “Branding & Packaging” can do magic in generating millions even from a freely available Item and that labeling and packaging can involve and engage target customers. He also spoke on the need for quicker response and turnaround times when developing something new.

Deepak Manchanda

Deepak Manchanda, packaging and design consultant, despite being extremely unwell that evening, made a huge effort to stand up and make a wonderful presentation titled “EMERGING NEEDS OF LABEL DESIGN; Delivering customer delight in an increasingly Regulatory Environment”. Stressing that design is the foundation of a good label or package as it  delivers Brand Communication, Design – Delight- Desire and  dwells on Disruption–Experience and Regulatory needs. The design establishes relationship between packaging and communication with the end user. He gave examples of designs that contributed to success of brands and products.

In the ensuing panel discussion moderated bay Harveer Sahni, all the speakers together with
lead sponsors represented by Pankaj Bhardwaj of Avery, Ajay Mehta of SMI and Prasenjit Das of DuPont, discussed besides other issues, sustainability. Rahul Bhargava mentioned that they were going thinner on grammages to reduce the impact of wastage on the environment, Pankaj Bhardwaj informed that Avery Dennison was pioneering in efforts to make recycling of release liners possible and Ajay Mehta stressed the need for interacting with brand owners to offer products that were sustainable. Barun Banerjee and Kousik Saha informed that the industry brand owner constituents were coming together to recollect plastic materials and recycle in their efforts to aid sustainability. He also appealed to suppliers to offer a single polymer substrate rather than multi substrate ones so that recycling becomes convenient. Harveer Sahni updated the audience about Any Graphics NOIDA and Mudrika Labels Mumbai having been announced the winners at World Label awards and also appealed to label printers to participate in forth coming LMAI awards.

Dinesh Mahajan, Prakash Labels and treasurer LMAI proposed a vote of thanks after Sunil Jindal made a presentation on the new LMAI portal announced by LMAI president.

The author had requested comments from those who attended this event, their responses are reproduced as here under;

Rajeev Chhatwal, Kwality Offset Printers; The presentations given by the brand owners were helpful in understanding needs of the Industry, this should help us all in planning our way ahead. Hope to see more such events in near future.
Honey Vazirani, Leap Digiprint Pvt. Ltd.: The event was well organized and well executed. I was also quite impressed with the companies and the delegates that LMAI managed to get as speakers. The last panel discussion should have also had a label printer on the panel because our industry is already stuck between giants (big customers and big suppliers!). Food was good as well! Overall comment: An informative and pleasant networking evening!
Ajay Mehta, SMI Coated Products: It was a very innovative and successful event which is well appreciated by us. This is the need of the hour and we have been suggesting that we to do this kind of programs where there can be an open interaction between brand owners and Label manufacturers. We look forward to many such events in future. 
Gaurav Nema, Pragati Global: I must say the event that happened on Friday was one of its kind and it made us learn about the aspects of packaging from the brand owner's perspective. Sustainable and re cycled packaging is need of the hour globally and this aspect was covered well. I however feel that a dedicated session should be organised for this aspect alone.I suggest that more such events should happen in different cities so that fraternity gets the maximum advantage.
Sandeep Zaveri, Total Prints: Printers should have more time to interact with brand owners, the idea is to improve our industry and stop the price war, reverse auction and many other aspects.
KPS Shetty, Sai Printers: It was an excellent event. We could listen to brand owners about their expectations.
Anuj Bhargav, Kumar Printers: Great initiative. More such interactions would truly help the industry.
Barun Banerjee: Thanks for creating that interactive space for user and label partners forum.
S. Mahesh, The Manipal Group: It was a great experience in terms to understand brand perception towards to label industry. It is motivating us to work towards their expectations.
Deepak Manchanda, Design and packaging consultant and speaker: "The event was a rare type of occasion where well recognised brand owner packaging representatives were available to mingle informally among competing label convertors as well as raw material suppliers. This is indeed a welcome initiative by LMAI to provide a platform for knowledge sharing and break down formal business processes into more innovative and networked ways of working together. It was impressive to see participants who had specially flown in from other cities to attend also."
Trilok Mittal, Wonderpac: The event was very fruitful for label manufacturers. Brand owners created awareness which today is the need for smart and security featured labels. We would like to attend such programmes as we become aware of the changing needs of brand owners.
Vivek Kapoor, Creative Labels: Great Work! 
Prasenjit Das, DuPont: It was one of the better events that I have attended after a long time. The idea of calling Brand Owners and listen to their views was very unique and informative. In most of the events we as a supplier listen to each other’s product benefits but in this event we could understand the views of the end users. This will definitely help us understand the VOCs much better and plan our strategies to meet those.
Mukesh Goel, Gopsons: It was indeed a great event and helped us in understanding the brand side as to what they need and their future expectations. It will definitely help us to realign our future strategy.
Amiya Pradhan, Dabur: It was a privilege meeting you people and sharing our views in front of the association. It was indeed a nice platform for the exchange of valuable feedback from both sides (the user and the converter industry). It really will strengthen the partnering between users and vendors towards sustainable innovation and value engineering.
Sanjeev Sondhi, Zircon Technologies: It helped us to prepare ourselves for future investments based on customer's requirement.
Pankaj Bhardwaj, Avery Dennison: The event was very useful in getting brand owners perspective and some very useful insights. I also liked the panel discussion bringing some very important points to the fore.

Written By Harveer Sahni Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited New Delhi March 2018

Print magazines may publish this article giving credit to the author.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Huhtamaki-PPL acquires Ajanta Packaging, India!

The Indian operations of privately owned and Chandan Khanna lead Ajanta Packaging has been acquired by Mumbai headquartered Huhtamaki-PPL. Ajanta packaging has been a leading provider of labels with units at multiple locations. They have factories at Daman and Baddi.

Huhtamaki-PPL Ltd. or HPPL (Previously known as Paper Products Limited) is a Rupees 2200 Crores flexible packaging company in India and is listed on the Indian stock Exchanges since more than 50 years. They are providers of flexible packaging, labels, tube laminate webs, thermo formable laminates, promotional materials, and gravure cylinders. The parent company Huhtamaki OYJ is a NASDAQ listed packaging company with a turnover exceeding 3 Billion Euros. 

Amar Chhajed
In November 2012, they acquired Amar Chhajed lead Webtech labels and with this move they became market leaders also in the label segment besides Shrink Sleeves, Wrap Around and Wet Strength Labels as well as IML making it the only true and complete Labeling solutions provider in the country. Amar Chhajed now heads all the labeling businesses of Huhtamaki-PPL as President.
HPPL has entered into a business Transfer Agreement for acquisition of the business of Ajanta Packaging India as a slump sale at an enterprise valuation of Rupees 1003 million, on a cash free debt free basis. The merger will enable customers to get benefits of new technologies and stronger innovation capability. This partnership will further consolidate HPPL’s position of being the leader in labeling market in India.

Chandan Khanna

Chandan Khanna says, "this move will make the label market in India to grow in a healthy way. The expanded market reach and size of HPPL will help them serve the customers better with further enhancement on service quality. Moreover the enhanced capabilities will help them offer superior and innovative products."

Reported by Harveer Sahni, Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited New Delhi March 2018.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Creating Innovations in labels

In a largely populated country India, the normal of growth of population itself, translates into large volume growth in demand. For label industry growth in India estimates have been made at 7-15%. Even if we assume a 10% growth, market will probably grow by 100 million square meters adding a whopping 2500 million Rupees or about 38 million US Dollars to the existing market size. One is left wondering that with demand growth in double digits, why is then the label industry, facing intense competition and stressed margins? One simple conclusion can be that in a growing economy with government encouraging new industrial investments and banks ready to finance, people start looking for areas that have stable growth over the years, labels do move into their focus. Packaging industry in an effort to offer a complete bouquet of packaging products, keeps on adding labels in their manufacturing program. The capacity seems to be growing a little faster than demand. This leads to a situation whereby to service their debt and stay afloat, printers flock toward leading brand owners who pitch sellers against one another to get lower prices. There are other reasons like increasing raw material prices, reverse auctions and short runs which bring further pressure on margins. In such a situation it becomes imperative, that to achieve a better bottom line, there is need for “creating innovations in labels”. Many label companies in India have already moved into this direction by investing to enhance capabilities to create products that do not fall into the commodity or simple label range. Even brand owners who are in a race to catch the consumer’s eye while shopping, are on the lookout for such labels that make their premium products on the shop shelves being picked up faster.  They are willing to pay higher if the label has unique features escalating their brand image. Some of the printers who have moved in this direction are listed below with details of their moves to create labels that are different.
Gautham Pai

Gautham Pai lead Manipal Technologies, is a multi product and multi location company that has made substantial investments in label manufacturing. Though they have units located in India and abroad, a tour of their facilities in Manipal leaves one in awe of what they have achieved. The company has integrated backward and forward with investment in extremely diverse technologies enhancing capabilities to innovate. As for labels, they produce their own holograms, security labels, security envelopes, etc. They also produce their own self adhesive labelstocks on a Nordson hotmelt coater. 

Recent developments include; Electroluminescence Label: This is an eye-catching and low power consuming optical lighting system developed in-house with strong competency on printed electronics. It works best for promotional activities with various activation options using any of the touch sensitive, pressure sensitive, motion sensitive sensors. This can be adopted for both labels as well as carton packaging.

Glow in the Dark: The Glow-in-the-dark feature will completely transform packaging by hiding messages, creating a nightclub atmosphere, or an element of surprise.


Kuldip Goel

Kuldip Goel of Any Graphics Noida has repeatedly proven the need to invest time and money in creating innovations. Though he has always wanted to produce the best, stressing on aesthetics yet it was in the start of new millennium that he realized the pressing need to strengthen capabilities to produce labels that were not commodity labels done on one simple flexo press but those with added value by indulging in creativity. Anygraphics have to their credit the world label awards, Fespa awards, only Indian company to have been nominated for Global Label award for innovation, winning Printweek label printer of the year award for five consecutive years in a row, special Printweek Jury award for innovation and many LMAI label awards. 

Label created by Any Graphics

Anygraphics creates innovative labels and packaging using multiple equipment and processes for the same product employing technologies like Screen Printing, Foiling, Embossing, Doming, Narrow web Letterpress printing, Narrow web Flexo printing, Offset printing and Digital printing.

Booklet Label by Unick-Fix-A
Hemen Vasa’s Unick Fix-A-Form was set up in 1985-1986, in rented premises with one small machine (Semi automatic model) for making Booklet/Leaflet labels in Ahmedabad. In the initial years they outsourced printing.  They convinced Bayer-India to be their first customer for their Innovative leaflet labels made by using wet glue, developed for manual application on containers of agrochemical bottles. In 1992 another customer came for these labels in self adhesive format. Since pressure sensitive products were in a nascent stage that time and locally made silicone release paper was not consistent creating problem of label dispensing from applicator, Unick started import of Self Adhesive Paper.  Being the only manufacturer of booklet/leaflet labels those days, their business grew profitably and they expanded by moving into own premises and installing high-end rotary label presses, booklet making equipment and offset press. Their business has expanded to the pharmaceuticals segment with a range of offerings that include Cartons, Labels, in mould labels, Shrink Sleeves, etc. They have won many awards at home and abroad. Their supremacy in innovative leaflet-booklet labels segment has been the main reason for their success and expansion!

Pragati Pack (India) Pvt. Ltd., being one of the most awarded printers in the country is hesitant to share their work and endeavours in creating innovations. However still, Hemanth Paruchuri says, they try to bring innovation in labels by investing in the right equipment and pushing the limits of that equipment. Their knowledge and experience gained in the carton, commercial printing areas aids their efforts. The aim is to create innovations that are unique and have a high shelf appeal.

U K Gupta, Managing Director of India’s largest Hologram manufacturing company and specialty label manufacturer Holostik India Ltd. says, “Innovation is the key to drive any industry in the ever-changing dynamic world, anything that does not keep changing, ultimately loses track and is out of the race.” He has mentored his team to understand that ‘Change is the only constant’ and therefore they have to innovate with their products. Extraordinary labels, that are not just visually appealing but also render security to the product are now a necessity in view of the fact that security feature of labels cannot be ignored due to the tremendous growth of the counterfeiting business. Holostik has on an ongoing basis been making significant investments to enhance their capabilities.

Anil Namugade at Trigon Digital Solutions says, “Innovation is a continuous process.”  They are passionate, entrepreneurial, collaborative and creative to always deliver on their commitments. Trigon Digital established in 2007 has production facilities in Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Dubai and an office in Singapore offering services in Pre-press, Print Packaging, Color management and serving over 350 brands including 20 out of top 100 global brands in 12 countries.  They provide packaging mockups on actual substrates with finishes like foiling, embossing, varnishing, lamination etc. for cartons pouches, shrink sleeves, lamitubes and labels. They specialize in Print on Demand, small and medium quantities for shrinks sleeves and Labels with personalization and variable data printing. With an ongoing innovation developing vision they aspire to be the best in the innovative label and packaging business.

Anuj Bhargava of Kumar Labels belonging to an extended family of label printers, is excited that his company has been recipient of many label awards in recent times including Printweek label printer of year award 2017. His team is trained to look at the product, its target audience, its selling price bracket and the brand’s desired perception that it wants to create amongst its customers, before proposing a label solution. For them innovation is not just increasing price of a label or adding shots of foil or screen inks. Different brands need different innovations. A mass market brand needs a re-engineered cost effective label stock with which it can reduce its decoration costs. A brand from the same customer, which may be targeted for the upper market segment, may need multiple foils and textured stocks. So no one formula works for all. By utilizing their expertise in print process, machine manufacturing and label stock making, Kumar Labels is able to offer different innovations. They produce their own specialized labelstocks that include textured and unique substrates normally not available.

It is evident that to drive in better margins, capabilities in print and decoration need to be substantially enhanced by making the correct and timely investments. Earlier only a reasonably designed and printed label was enough. Now with growing, knowledgeable, and well informed consumers one needs to study the demand perception and design the label to appeal and communicate with the end consumer in a short while that he or she is in front of the shop shelf. Pre-press is extremely important process to draw out the creativity that the design tends to deliver. Selecting the right substrate, the adhesive and shape of the label is another imperative. The label has to last the life of the consumer product as it remains visible until all of its lifespan and keeps delivering value to the brand by its aesthetic appearance. Finally it is the Press that will not only do full justice to the print but also decorate, inspect and finish the label with speed; ease of use and with least waste generation. Productivity and managing production waste are other imperatives that affect the profitability. Brand owners attempt buying at the lowest prices for their established products, however the fact still remains that to stay ahead of competition in getting the consumer attention, they need to dress up their products well. With numerous options available in an already crowded shelf space, brand owners will only consider higher prices if a label promotes their sales. To reach a win-win situation for suppliers and brand owners, printers need to invest in “Creating Innovations in Labels”!

Written exclusively for Narrow Web Tech, Germany by Harveer Sahni Chairman Weldon Celloplast Ltd. New Delhi India December 2017. 

The above article is restricted for reproduction without permission from the author or Narrow Web Tech, Germany

Friday, February 23, 2018

Waste matrix removal in label production

Waste matrix stripping or removal in production of self adhesive labels is a very important part of label conversion and is an imperative that leads to a web of labels which can be dispensed on automatic label dispensers in high speed packaging lines. Even though it sounds to be a simple process of stripping the ladder like extra waste after die cutting of labels, yet it remains to be one of the most complex and problematic area of label converting process. A problem with waste removal, like matrix breaking or labels lifting with the waste ladder may slow down the machine or in some cases make it extremely difficult to remove it online. Converters may have to resort to removing the waste manually offline making the process unproductive and costly. A host of parameters affect the process and it is difficult to address the issue in a singular way. With so many variables that impact the waste removal process, it is difficult to predict a simple solution. It could be due to the shape of label, size of label, release liner, face stock, adhesive, die cutting process, speed of conversion, die blades or the design of the waste removal section that may affect the correct and efficient removal at the optimum machine speed. Any of these may impact the final result and slow down the machine and the printing process. No one solution can apply to all problems. The traditional waste rewinding system is gradually becoming unpopular due the fact that tension is the key to efficient waste rewind. The rewound waste matrix ladder roll has empty spaces from where labels have been die-cut and as the roll becomes bigger there is lot of irregular tensions leading to breaks. As the market becomes extremely competitive with rising prices of labelstocks printers tend to reduce the gap between the labels to 2mm making the process even more difficult. This article will dwell on most of the variables mentioned here above.

Release Liners: The most widely used base papers as release liners in self adhesive label materials are glassine, super calendared Kraft and clay coated Kraft. These are uniform caliper, densified and non porous papers that have adequate strength and accept a uniform coating of silicone giving excellent releasing properties to become a proper backing for self adhesive papers. In recent years due to possibility of recycling and reducing the tonnage of waste generated, filmic liners also are being used as backing in labels. Release liners play a major role in die cutting and in turn impact the waste removal process. The die blade has to cut through the laminate and stop at the face of the liner so has to achieve a perfect half cut or kiss cut. The uniform thickness or caliper of the liner is an imperative. If the liner has variations, it will create problems at die cutting and eventually at waste stripping. If the release gets thicker the die will pierce the liner making a through cut and exposing paper fibers to the adhesive.  This also may result in web breaks. If the liner gets thinner, the die will not cut resulting in labels lifting with the matrix. Release level of the liner is also very important. If the release level is tight the matrix will tend to break due to tension and if it is too easy, labels will tend to lift with the ladder. Uneven silicone coating or pinholes in coating may also create problems. If the labelstock prior to waste matrix removal goes through a nip roll that has excessive pressure between them, the edges may develop micronic nicks that may render the face paper susceptible to web breaks. The paper rolls may also develop these rough edges in transportation and mishandling. The web needs to be inspected thoroughly before taking up label conversion.

 Face Paper:  Paper and films are generally used as face materials. A fairly high strength paper will perform well if all other parameters are addressed. If the gap in labels is too small, 2mm or less, the matrix will tend to break repeatedly. Moisture content in paper should ideally be between 3.5% and 5.5%; sharp increase in moisture will affect the strength adversely. The tensile strength of paper at Relative Humidity (RH) up to 50% is maximum after which it moderately decreases with RH up to 65% and on further increase in RH, it drops sharply. The uncoated papers are hygroscopic, so they tend to absorb moisture faster than coated papers. Evidently weather and storage condition of paper does have an impact on waste removal. Even when using emulsion based adhesive if the adhesive is not dried properly, the face paper will tend to absorb the residual moisture from the adhesive and result in deterioration of paper and affect waste stripping. In case of filmic face stocks, weather may not impact but the condition of die and quality of die cutting does play a major role. If the die is damaged or blunt it may not cut properly resulting in label lifting or film tear.

Adhesive: Commonly available labelstocks are coated with either emulsion based or hot melt pressure sensitive adhesives (HMPSA). In both cases for a perfect waste removal it is necessary that the die cuts through the adhesive as well, as otherwise if the coated film of adhesive is not cut, labels will lift with the matrix. Emulsion adhesives have good die cut ability however hot melt adhesives for better die cutting properties have to be specially selected. In case of HMPSA if the waste is not lifted immediately after die cutting the adhesive may rejoin and lift the labels with the matrix.

Size and shape of a label: These are parameters that are customer driven based on their specific needs, so the converting company cannot request changes from customer.  Small labels have a very limited area of contact and reduced tack holding it to the release liner and with little force the label may fly off or lift off with the matrix. In such a case die makers suggest packing self adhesive foam in the die shapes so as to push the label back on the release liner. Other times printers have found limited success in addressing this problem by increasing speed of the web. Waste ladder removal of irregular and complex shaped labels with sharp corners like in a star shape, is even more complex to handle. This becomes even more difficult in substrates like BOPP where a small nick may lead to web break. Converters need to slow down the machine to a great extent to finish the labels online. Machine manufacturers have addressed this issue of handling complex shapes as explained later in this article.

Die design: The die has a definite role to play in waste matrix removal. The subject is extensive and can take a full article to dwell on the nuances. The blade angle, blade height and coating on the die are factors that lead to ease or difficulty of label conversion.  Thickness of the face materials, type of adhesive and thickness of release liners are all imperative inputs that are needed before a die is put into production. A die that is designed for paper material is not recommended for filmic materials. Blade angle for paper is kept wider so that after penetration of around 80% into the paper the rest of the cut happens by crush or bursting of the material before stopping at the surface of the liner. In case of filmic face material a sharper acute angle is needed to pierce the film as in case of a wider angle the film will stretch and not be cut. An acute angle blade appears to cut better but wears off faster than the wider angle blade dies. Depending on the materials used the die angle varies between 45degrees and 110 degrees. The blade height needs to be adjusted to cut through the face, which maybe paper or film or a laminate, and adhesive without piercing the release liner. If any of the parameters is not right, the waste matrix removal will become a challenge. If the blade pierces the liner even slightly, it may expose the release paper fibers to the adhesive and get stuck to them causing waste ladder breakage. If the blade does not cut through the adhesive, labels will lift with the matrix. In case of coated materials like direct thermal and thermal transfer the coatings on the paper are abrasive in nature and tend to make the die wear off soon. In such case laser hardened dies are recommended. Adhesive sticking and building up on the dies also results in uneven cutting and also resulting in early die wear off. This is more evident where aggressive high tack hot melt adhesives are used. For this reason special non stick, coated dies are available so that the adhesive will not stick to them. The standard gap between the magnetic cylinder and the anvil is also very important as in case of die wear off the gap increases resulting in spaces where labels are not cut and would lift off with the matrix and to get a perfect cut the die pressure is increased. This results in faster wearing off of the bearers leading to a smaller gap and over cutting. Care has to be taken in die storage and handling. Before commencing any job proper inspection of die should be done regarding cleaner blades, blunt edges or nicks. The dies need to be stored in an environment avoiding excess humidity which may result in rusting.

Machine manufacturers have been consistently making efforts to address the issue of waste matrix removal to aid faster converting. Some of the steps taken include; 1.Lifting the waste matrix immediately after die-cutting. 2. Taking the die to a larger diameter stripping roller that would support the waste ladder on separation rather than a thin diameter roll that would provide a sharp angle to waste being stripped off. 3. By rethreading the paper in such a manner that the label web is peeled off the matrix instead of the matrix being pulled off. 4. De-laminating the web and re-laminating it before die cutting as this would reduce the tension required to peel off. These measures did help to some extent but complex shapes and a host of issues and factors that impact this process have had machine manufacturers continuously researching this area to keep implementing changes. One such solution that came around some years back was suction of the waste matrix into a suction and shredding system. This does take care of the tension and also manages waste by cutting it to small pieces and compacting it, but such systems have other problems. They are expensive, large in size so difficult to be fitted on presses due to lack of space, costly to operate as they use extra motors, compressor or vacuum and very noisy to run. Yet there is a brighter side to it, there is development going on to separate the waste and recycle it inline so as to reduce the impact on environment.

The larger established press manufacturers seem to have reached a viable solution. Some years ago they have introduced a big innovation in the industry by designing a simpler contact system rewinder for waste matrix. The idea was very simple; instead of pulling only the matrix up to the rewinder, we pull the entire web up near the rewinder. Here the matrix is peeled off against an idle roll and immediately pasted on the rewinder. Basically this reduces the travel of the matrix from 1 meter to hardly 5 cm and the journey is even supported by a roll. This system has now become the standard with many label press manufacturers

“Simple solutions are invented to simplify the label converting process however It does not hold true for all jobs, when a problem comes it can be challenging and creating a solution can be another game changer”!

Written by Harveer Sahni Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited New Delhi January 2018

NOTE: This article is exclusively written for magazine Label and Narrow Web USA. Publications desirous of reproducing the article may write for permission to Steve Katz editor LNW : skatz@rodmanmedia.com