Most of the Indian monocarton converters have already finalized their orders sheetfed offset multicolor presses to be installed in the current financial year that ends on 31 March 2023. It is necessary to order quickly because the delivery times are long.
In the main, the overwhelming majority of multicolor offset press orders are for automated 7-color plus coater machines with both interdeck and end-of-press UV curing in addition to the standard IR dryers. There are a few machines with less than this number of units and at least two with more. But the high level of automation and inline quality control systems and other complex specifications and features is the theme – emerging from a better understanding of the features needed to achieve innovative decoration techniques with efficiency.
The desire of the leading converters to differentiate themselves from those just entering packaging is great, as they are building new plants and installing the latest, most complex, and fastest presses that they can buy, given the long lead times for delivery and installation. Notwithstanding the increase in prices because of higher cost raw materials and energy, the negotiations are, by and large professional – similar to the best and most mature global buyers anywhere.
Aditya Surana of Indo-Polygraph, which is K&B’s distributor in India, says, “We see the Indian converters buying automated presses on par with any machine sold in the US, Europe, or in any developed economy. They are buying these latest and highly configured presses to save on wastage and with automation to do more of the work inline.”
K&B expects to install eight presses in the current year of its ‘Black’ model in the country. The majority of these are highly configured packaging presses of 7-colors or more plus coater with UV curing systems and a couple of machines that 6-color plus coater conventional curing presses going to Canpac, Parksons, and another multilocational converter. A couple of K&B ‘Black’ presses are 6-color plus coater conventional presses, and there is a 6-color plus coater 1+5 UV perfecter to be installed by the book publisher and printer Navneet Prakashan. In addition a 4-color plus coater is scheduled for installation at the playing card and games manufacturer Parksons Cartamundi.
Heidelberg has given the names of four customers of its packaging presses, with the expectation that it will install another four presses at customers that have not yet been finalized. These will include ITC at its new plant in Gujarat, Kumar Printers in Manesar, Suki in Bengaluru, and Rai Labels in Punjab.
Sandeep Bhargava of Kumar Printers says his purchase of CX104 is part of the normal growth of the company for which it has expanded its working space. Bhargava says, “We are quite excited by the new automation and color control features that we have ordered on the press which are one level above what has been imported in the country before our purchase.” The press also contains the newer, lighter and easier to change anilox system for the coating unit that was shown in the Heidelberg online Showtime presentations in the fall of 2021.
Meanwhile, Manroland Sheetfed has announced the sale and installation of two highly configured multicolor sheetfed Evolution series 7-color plus coater presses to Sain Packaging and Galaxy Offset both in the Delhi NCR. Both of these presses have a high level of automation including color controls and interdeck and end-of-press UV curing, in addition to the standard IR curing for high-quality throughput and productivity. Galaxy’s well-specified Evolution is destined for its new plant further south of the Delhi NCR. For Manroland Sheetfed, the two recent Evolution series sales represent a significant comeback to the Indian market – where its 700 series presses, were highly coveted in the B1 packaging segment.
Apart from its domination of the commercial multicolor press segment, Komori has done well in the packaging segment in the current financial year. It expects to install at least six packaging presses – both 640 and 740 GL UV presses to customers such as Ruchira Papers, Salem Printpack, Kora Pack in Chennai, Weepack in Surat, and Arunodaya Press in Hyderabad. One GL40 6-color plus coater is already installed at Kamakhya Packaging in Ahmedabad.
Komori’s smaller GL37 presses for packaging include the second such press just installed at Vijayshree in Indore and another soon-to-be-installed press at Prakash Packaging in Lucknow. Another GL37 6-color plus coater is to be installed by Trailblazer in Bengaluru. A GL 29 6-color plus coater will be installed at Kala Jyoti in Hyderabad next January. Komori has also sold its flagship GX40 7-color plus double coater press to Pragati Offset, which will arrive towards the end of the financial year.
RMGT 970 has sold a highly configured and automated packaging press, a 7-color plus coater with interdeck and end-of-press UV curing to HBD packaging in Greater Noida. It is RMGT’s first 38-inch press in India for packaging, and it will contain LED-UV curing for the interdeck printing units plus conventional UV for end-of-press coating. Both curing systems are from GEW. The automation includes the PDS-E spectrophotometer closed-loop color control system and features the RMGT retractable coating unit and 55-inch information display with tablet access.
Rajeev Bhargava of HBD said to us that machine on order meets the criteria that the company set for itself. He is pleased with the automated color controls and to be among the first converters installing LED-UV interdeck units on a packaging press. “The reduced consumption of both materials and electricity on the press reduces the carbon footprint of production on the press and also meets our viability criteria,” says Rajeev Bhargava.
Approximately 28 new multicolor packaging presses will be commissioned in India – in the current year till end-March 2023. The majority will come from the three German manufacturers who continue to dominate this segment, especially the highly configured 7-color plus coater full UV presses. However, the competition from the two Japanese manufacturers is intensifying in packaging – with high automation and highly configured presses on order. These include the first RMGT LED plus coater with conventional UV curing press purchased by HBD packaging. In the packaging segment, the upward valuation of the Rupee against the Japanese Yen does not yet seem to have played a significant role.