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Growth in India’s label press industry sector

Growth in India’s label press industry sector, Weldon Celloplast Limited, Asia packaging, India, labelling
Harveer Sahni, Managing Director of Weldon Celloplast Limited, looks at India’s production capacity investment in self adhesive label printing.

With the recent growth of flexographic printing in the Indian self adhesive label sector, local press builders have been expanding their product lines.

Production of narrow web flexo presses in India started in the early 1990’S when Indian entrepreneur Baldev Singh Jandu developed a flexo rotary label press catering mainly to the gunlabel (price label applicator) segment and later to barcodes as they began to be introduced at retail checkouts. Jandu Engineers is still consistently selling their label presses and has created a very specific segment for their product.

At the same time, since there was a definite segment for flatbed label presses created by the earlier Japanese presses and since it was a lower investment as compared to rotary western equipments, Indian printers invested continuously into these flatbed presses. Also given the fact that flatbed dies were much cheaper as compared to flexible dies used in rotary presses, these presses were popular.

Ahmedabad based R K Label machines saw a market potential in this segment and developed flat bed machines that found a ready market. So successful were they in their venture that at the last Labelexpo India they claimed to have sold almost 700 machines till date.

With rising prices of high-end label presses from the western world, Faridabad based Multitec developed their flexo rotary modular label press so as to find acceptability in comparison to the imported equipment.

It is credible that the press has found acceptability with established printers like Update prints, Syndicate labels and Kumar labels. A satisfied Aditya Chadha at Update says, "We have recently installed an 8 colour multitec flexo press and are satisfied with the performance. It offers stability at high speeds, smooth production and flexibility to print on various substrates.”

Multitec has also successfully exported many of its presses. An industry that was initially dominated by European, American and Japanese has gradually shifted equation. Mulitec has created a segment by successfully offering an acceptable alternative to Mark Andy 2200. While the European and American presses have maintained a steady presence, yet the market has a very obvious presence of Chinese, Taiwanese and Indian label presses.

Over the years with need for faster machines and evolution of flexo printing process, the shift from letterpress to flexo is evident, gradual and steady. With growth in demand for flexo printing label presses, soon many branded rotary flexo machines started coming to India. These were mostly from Europe or USA. These presses have over the years carved out a definite market for them self. Brand names like Mark Andy, Gallus, Nilpeter, Omet, Gidue, Rotatek, MPS, Edale, etc. are dominant in the label industry now.

The Indian label industry is now extremely diverse in its spread across the nation. I have attempted to estimate the number of presses installed in the preceding year through my personal estimation after interaction with industry peers and machine suppliers as well as press reports.

Samir Patkar, MD Gallus India has stated earlier at Labelexpo-Europe2013 that Gallus had sold 9 presses in 2013 and hoped to close the year with 10-11 press installations. Manish Kapoor Sales Manager Nilpeter India confirmed the sale of six Nilpeters.

There are other sales made by Mark Andy, Omet, Gidue, etc. According to Gaurav Roy whose company FIG sells the Mark Andy presses, they have sold 8 presses in the last one year.

Says Gaurav, “We have over 150 Mark Andy installations in India. The trend is changing now; with printers opting to buy the high-end performance series, the number of installations per year maybe coming down but the value of equipment has risen”.

In my personal opinion about 30 label presses from the established western suppliers have been installed in India in the last twelve months.

Ahmedabad based Manish Hansoti selling Chinese Zonten presses has announced sale of five flexo presses and 13 die cutting machines. Though the die-cutting machines cannot be termed as label printing presses yet they contribute to the usage of labelstock and eventually growth of label industry so I will include them in the grand total of label converting equipments.

Installations made by the Amit Sheth led Label Planet and their Asian principals are almost 14 Weigang flexo presses and 25 rotary die cutting machines. As for the Indian press suppliers Jandu has sold 12 presses. Ahmedabad based R K Label Machines says they have sold a total of 22 label presses, which is a mix of flexo rotary and flatbed. According to Amit Ahuja of Multitec, they have sold a total of 16 presses out of which 4 have been exported.

There are other Indian machine suppliers but their contribution is miniscule. I estimate the total number label presses and die cutting presses that would convert labelstocks into labels is in excess of 140, including other local presses and the used presses coming in. 

Out of this grand total more than 50 machines are plain die-cutting presses but as I mentioned earlier, since they play an important part in the total usage of labelstock in India they have to be considered in estimation. Moreover it is the basic entry point at the micro level for people entering the label industry.


Growth in India’s label press industry sector, Weldon Celloplast Limited, Asia packaging, India, labelling

Article contributed by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director of Weldon Celloplast Limited in New Delhi, India.


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