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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Label printers visiting Labelexpo, in search of emerging technologies!

Ray Stanton Avery
It is a time in the evolution of label producing technologies when development is taking place globally towards various tangents. Until the 1930s, wet glue was perhaps the only technology for label production and application. When in 1936 Ray Stanton Avery created the self adhesive label, another process evolved and started to grow so much so that in recent times the usage of self adhesive or pressure sensitive labels reached a level of almost 50% of all the labels produced. Screen printing is a very old technology, with evolution and further development of this process into other applications somewhere in the 1960s, when plastic containers started replacing the heavy glass containers in packaging consumer products, screen printing directly on containers became popular. This could not really be classified as a mass usage technique as it lacked the decoration capabilities that were fast becoming the need of increasing consumerism. Initially flat bed letterpress and then flexo rotary printing presses with in line die cutting provided a good platform for producing multi-coloured labels at faster speeds. Introduction of more decorating processes like varnishing, lamination and foiling on these presses made the screen printing on containers loose ground even though screen printing evolved and grew in other application.

Flatbed label press
Over the next three decades narrow web label production saw landmark changes. Flexography saw immense technological advancements. Print quality improved tremendously and PSA (Pressure Sensitive Adhesive) label markets started to register amazing growth and proliferation. The printing and converting speeds which, in the initial years was 10-15 meters per minute on flat bed letterpress Japanese machines of 5-7 inches width had grown initially to 10 inches which later increased to be 13 inches to 20 inches and more. The printing and converting machines have also registered increase in speed, the new label presses are running at over 200 meters per minute. Ink technologies have also seen rapid changes. From the thick paste inks in letterpress to liquid inks in flexo printing. Drying techniques also changed drastically. In the initial days printers would hang paper web after printing on a clothes line to dry and then manually re-roll the labels. Then came the time when hot air drying was introduced on presses to increase speed. With introduction of UV inks the speeds shot up tremendously. As production speeds increased, number of printers also increased bringing intense competition. The need to reduce wastage and energy became an imperative to stay profitable. New changes and processes started to emerge on presses. The short web path, continuous production, inline inspection, and host of other changes were taking place in label presses. Introduction of LED UV inks is another step towards conservation of energy. Need for short runs, variable data printing and the speed of creation from computer to print made digital printing to also grow and evolve. 

Hybrid label press
In the beginning of a new millennium, to stay ahead of competition, label printers started to invest in hybrid machines with capabilities to print and convert with multiple technologies. Different printing technologies are now possible on the same equipment. Screen printing re-emerged in label printing machines with rotary screens, where high deposition of colour is needed. Gravure printing is also now a part of a label printing press where metallic inks are to be printed. Today presses are available with Flexo, Offset, Gravure, digital and Screen printing inline on the same press along with decorating and finishing like varnishing, lamination, embossing/debossing, die cutting, waste matrix removal, slitting sheeting in a single pass. The label presses have further evolved to have multi-substrate printing and converting capabilities. They are now capable of handling from films of 12 micron thickness to thick boards. These equipment are now able to produce a wide range of end products like labels, flexible packaging, shrink sleeves, lamitubes and folding cartons.

Labelexpo Europe has been the front runner in showcasing the evolving label printing and converting
technologies. Over the years it has acquired the status of being the Mecca of label industry. It remains the must-attend show for label printers spread across the world. Global suppliers of equipment, tooling, consumables, software, other related material and service providers exhibit their products alongwith new developments made by them at this premium show. This year 650 exhibitors will showcase their offerings at Labelexpo 2017. At the last showing in 2015, 31795 visitors came from 158 countries to witness the labels evolution taking place and showcased in 7 halls that have now increased to 9 halls. Digital label printing and converting that had miniscule presence some years ago is now spread in dedicated halls with 65 digital presses in operation. The show has grown from strength to more strength over the years. It has now become the must attend show for the global label printing and packaging companies. The story in India is no different, as one the fastest growing economies in the world, the label industry also is growing at a healthy and steady pace. Indian label printers have started to patronize this expo in growing numbers that keep swelling in every showing of this premium event. In an effort to assess the mood of the leading label companies in India I have asked them about their interest in the event or what motivates them to be there and maybe about their intention to buy.

Arvind Shekhar
Planning to visit Labelexpo Europe for the first time, South India Bangalore based Arvind Shekhar Director of Sai Packaging says, “Yes I will attend Labelexpo, It will be my first visit and I am looking forward to the opportunity to learn.” Also planning to visit first time is Himanshu Kapur, Director of J K Fine Prints Pvt. Ltd. Mumbai. He is son of past President of LMAI, a veteran of label industry, Surendra Kapur. Himanshu feels it is necessary to be at the show since no one wants to be left behind in the technology race for achieving perfection. His views are reaffirmed by Uday Lodha, Director Barcom Ltd. Mumbai. He says “I will attend Labelexpo because I have missed out on last two occasions and being part of the label fraternity I can’t afford to do that this time around and of course I look forward to connect with friends, colleagues and associates under one roof which is brimming with world class innovation and supreme technological advancements”. Rajendra Gandhi, Director Maharshi Labels Pvt. Ltd. Ahmedabad states that the event cannot be missed as we must attend to gain knowledge and update ourself.

Changing scenario in the global label industry has made many printing companies to sit up and study
Hemanth Paruchuri
the developments taking place. No other event in today’s time brings together the complete gamut of changes happening in the label industry globally. Mukesh Goel, Director, Gopsons Papers Ltd. New Delhi wishes to understand the technological advancements and future direction of this industry.  Y H Solanki, Managing Director Sicon Packs Pvt. Ltd. Mumbai expresses that it is the biennial knowledge point for understanding the evolution of labels and the direction it is going in. The Indian industry is convinced that it is time to make strategic decision to restructure or plan their moves for leading their companies to new directions and excel. Hyderabad headquartered Pragati Pack has been in the fore front of industry constituents who are consistently investing in emerging technologies. They have never missed a Labelexpo for many years. Though the CEO of Pragati Group and industry stalwart Narendra Paruchuri is not attending but heading their label business his son Hemanth Paruchuri Director, Pragati Pack (India) Pvt. Ltd. Hyderabad will attend and he says “It is an important show that gives insights into trends in the industry and also showcases the latest technology”.  Jaideep Singh Owner Zodiac Printers also from Hyderabad expressed that it is a melting POT of all new innovations from across the globe. To be there is necessary for us to understand and assimilate, which enables us to plan our future strategy.

With India attracting the interest of global players in labels and packaging notable investments have taken place mostly as acquisition of running successful enterprises by companies like Huhtamaki, Skanem, ITW, etc. Amar Chhajed President Huhtamaki PPL Ltd. says, "We will be studying the latest developments in digital printing and finishing as well as new age technologies like EB curing. Sustainable raw material is also an area of special interest to us". Hariharan Venkataraman Managing Director, Skanem Interlabels Industries Mumbai- India will attend Labelexpo to catch a glimpse of the frontiers of labeling technology. 

Raveendran of Seljegat
 Exhibitors are always on the lookout of printers who will take purchase decisions. Raveendran Managing Director of Sel-Jegat Printers PrivateLimited, at Sivakasi in South India will attend Label Expo Europe at Brussels. They propose to finalise a machine with latest technology for the production of special labels as well as for the packaging line. They also intend spending more time on the digital printing equipment to understand and subsequently invest in the same. Dinesh Mahajan Managing Director Prakash labels says, "The expo will provide us with a platform for important buying decisions.". Harish Gupta, Director Sai Com Codes  Flexoprints Pvt. Ltd. Rai Distt. Sonepat NCR Delhi said “We intend to line up with new technology and to finalise two more lines for our new expansion”. Recently concluded LMAI conference titled “Innovations Simplified” left an indelible mark on the minds of the label fraternity attending the event. Tejas Tanna, Director Printmann Group Mumbai, India asserts that to keep up with the latest trends in the label industry and to identify simplified solutions to improve production efficiency, he will attend this exhibition.

Sandeep Zaveri
A rapidly growing market size and increasing number of label printing companies has brought with it intense competition. Added to this, the print buyers resorting to cost cutting measures like reverse auctions has made converters to sit up and consider measures to innovate, create new products, be more efficient and produce cost effectively. Sanjeev Sondhi, Director Zircon Technologies India Limited, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India  will attend Labelexpo with an intent to explore new technologies to produce to economies of scale and to add such value which can command better price. U K Gupta Managing Director India's largest Hologram manufacturing company Holostik Ltd. sees labelexpo as the showcase of latest innovations, trends and developments that lead to future growth of label industry. Sandeep Zaveri, Managing Director Total Prints Pvt. Ltd. Mumbai and President LMAI (Label Manufacturers Association of India) will be looking forward to see many innovations and latest equipment running on the show. 

Manish Desai
Networking at such events brings about comradeship amongst global label industry printers and suppliers. It builds bridges of friendship that leave lasting memories for industry members to look forward to and to return to the show in its next edition. Kuldip Goel, Managing Director Anygraphics Noida, U.P. is convinced that Labelexpo is not just an eye opener to the future trends, it also brings the global label fraternity a lot closer. It provides amazing networking opportunities. Manish Desai of Mudrika Labels Pvt Ltd Mumbai India and past President LMAI says "Label Expo delivers endless knowledge and networking opportunities with fellow label printers and suppliers.

Written by Harveer Sahni, Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi India August 2017

Printing magazines and publications may reproduce this article giving credit to author. 

For advertising on this blog please email to harveersahni@gmail.com 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

LMAI creates knowledge, entertainment and networking magic at Label Conference!

The 4th LMAI conference was well managed from start to finish. Incoming delegates were picked up from Delhi airport and transported in 8 coaches to Jaypee Palace Hotel and Convention Centre Agra, in the historical city of Taj Mahal. There were many from Delhi and other north Indian towns who drove in their own cars. On reaching the hotel, as delegates descended from their vehicles, they were welcomed with beating of drums, traditional welcome by hostesses and LMAI conference team. 

Lighting of lamp

The conference commenced with a welcome speech from Sandeep Zaveri followed by lighting of the lamp. This is considered as an auspicious ritual before commencing any important event. LMAI initiated their new creation, the LMAI anthem which was played after the lighting of lamp.

Sandeep Zaveri, welcoming guests. LED screen in backdrop

Welcoming the over 550 delegates and thanking sponsors, Sandeep Zaveri mentioned that the label industry was like a joint family. He dwelled on the conference theme, “Innovation Simplified” and stressed on the need for innovation to spread to all processes of label creation. Label is the important part of a product and connects it directly to the consumer. 

Pankaj Bhardwaj

Pankaj Bhardwaj Senior Director and general Manager, Label and Graphic Materials South Asia Avery Dennison, delivered the keynote address.

Lisa Milburn Managing Director LabelexpoGroup

In her special address Lisa Milburn, Managing Director Labels Group, Tarsus Group PLC UK mentioned the strong and ongoing partnership with LMAI. She also spoke on the forthcoming meeting of L9 (The federation of nine leading global label associations) which is scheduled to be held next year in India. Pradeep Saroha, Country Manager for Labelexpo group gave information on Labelexpo Europe in Brussels in September this year. Conference Chairman Kuldip Goel apprised the audience with agenda of the event. 

Harveer Sahni awarded lifetime award with family and LMAI leadreship team

At the same time he announced an award to Harveer Sahni of Weldon Celloplast for a “Lifetime in support of the Indian label industry”.

The day ended with an entertaining evening sponsored by BobstFirenze and themed, Mughal-e-Azam followed by Dinner. Many delegates were in traditional Indian dresses.
Entertainment program

Jitesh Mehta, Director Avery Dennison
Next morning after breakfast Rajesh Nema secretary LMAI initiated the conference by showing avideo of LMAI activities during the past year and informing the day’s agenda. Jitesh Mehta, Director Avery Dennison had interesting questions for the audience on innovations in the structure of Taj Mahal. Interesting facts came to light. He also said, “Innovation is a team sport and aids profitable implementation of ideas, creating value across the value chain” he further added, “By making innovation complex, we maybe killing it”.

Ajay and Rohit Mehta SMI being felicitated

Ajay Mehta and Rohit Mehta of SMI Coated Papers cautioned that reverse auctions were affecting printers adversely and instead of becoming complacent, they need to move on. Competition brings innovation making quality and consistency in product offering an imperative for driving growth.

Paolo Grasso Omet and Pawandeep Sahni Weldon

Pawandeep Sahni of Weldon and Paolo Grasso of Omet made an impressive presentation titled “simplify Visions, innovate processes” The presentation which was interactive with the audience, was highly appreciated. Shaun Paullen of Mark Andy spoke on “Turning market needs into machine deliverables”.

Amit Ahuja Multitec
 Amit Ahuja of Multitec spoke on wastage control. Gavin Rittmeyer of Martin Automatic explained the need for automation and nonstop continuous production to reduce wastage. Impressive knowledge delivering presentations were made by the large number of speakers representing companies who sponsored the event. A holistic session was held by Isha Foundation of Sadguru fame. The swami ji hosting the session taught the delegates the nuances of meditation. A session of “Isha Kriya” was taken up with audience participation. He said that for the power to create, we need to meditate to success. Success is not an aspiration, it is your work that others will connect with and say he is successful. He also advised the congregation that creating happiness at workplace will get full potential from employees.  The last part of the evening hosted by SMI Coated Papers, began with a high powered motivational lecture by renowned management guru, Shiv Khera.
Motivational speaker Shiv Khera

 Shiv Khera spoke for almost three hours and the delegates in full attendance were glued to their seats listening in rapt attention. Quoting boxing legend Mohamad Ali he said, “We need the skill and the will to succeed. Between the two, will is more important” Such was the delivery of his address that the audience was left in awe. Quoting the former President of India, Dr. A P J Kalam he said, “Dreams are not that make you sleep, dreams are those that don’t let you sleep”. Adding more to this he went on to convey that success is not absence of problems, it is the overcoming of problems. Luck is not designed to deliver success but concentrated efforts do deliver it. His advice to the audience was that for conflicts in life learn to resolve issues and not dissolve relations. The evening ended with dance performances and networking dinner.

Appadurai Country manager HP

Two days of hectic schedule and non-stop presentations, did not tire the delegates and one was surprised to see they were ready for more. The final day again had a holistic meditation session by Isha foundation. This was followed by presentations by Samir Patkar-Gallus, Appadurai-HP, Manish Jain-Loparex, Seigwerk and A K Datta- Kurz. Guest speaker Sudhaker Kasture spoke on export strategy on labels. The day’s presentations ended with presentations from Huber group and Tesa Tapes.

Round Table in Progress
This was followed by a very interesting event; LMAI Round Table. For this part of the event all the sponsors were divided into different groups that were allocated different rooms with round tables. Each sponsor was allotted a table. The printer members were also divided into groups. Each group of printers were the made to sit on round tables with sponsors for 10 minutes and then asked to move on to next sponsor’s table. The sponsors and printers got to interact one to one driving in satisfaction in the process whereby their queries were answered face to face. All through the conference, a well spread out table top exhibition was in progress. Delegates were able to visit, interact with exhibitors and collect literature.

Gala Evening

 The final part of the conference was a gala evening hosted by Avery Dennison with theme “an Affair to remember” and titled “Moulin Rouge”! The evening started with conference chairman Kuldip Goel giving vote of thanks.

Sophie Choudry

This was followed by a vibrant musical performance by celebrity artiste Sophie Choudry. After this the dance floor was thumping with delegates dancing till wee hours of the night or the morning.

This conference was appreciated and enjoyed by all. They left Agra with lingering memories of a euphoric networking event. The industry was a little more bonded and connected giving credence to Sandeep Zaveri’s statement that the Indian Label Industry is like a joint family. As the delegates bid good bye they went with hope of yet another similar event in the summer of 2019!

 The sidelines and the "Fun Part";



Printing magazines and publications may reproduce this article giving credit to author. For a copy of this article in word format or high resolution pictures please email to harveersahni@gmail.com 

Written by Harveer Sahni, Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi July 2017