DuPont’s Desai: “Flexo has its own advantage, in its own space”

By 09 Feb 2019

On the sidelines of Speciality Films and Flexible Packaging Global Summit 2018, WhatPackaging? spoke to Shyamal Desai, DuPont’s marketing manager for Americas, on DuPont Cyrel Easy portfolio, its sustainability benefits and strategy for India.

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Shyamal Desai(r) spoke on the DuPont Cyrel Easy portfolio

What kind of conversations have you had with the Indian packaging converters at this two-day global summit?
One of the key things that we are seeing at the forum is that there is a lot of pressure on our customers to become more sustainable and DuPont has solutions that will help our printer customers meet their goals. My role is to explain to the converters at this summit that not only do we have the solutions to help with sustainability but also why these solutions will be beneficial to all of them.

What kind of solutions are we talking about? 
When you look at the printing technologies in use for flexible packaging, you have flexo and you have gravure. When you look at the differences between both in terms of sustainability, flexo is a clear winner. Flexo is the technology of choice if you are looking at these technologies in light of sustainability. The second is that even within flexo there is a range of options to select. DuPont has the Cyrel Fast platform, a thermal processing system, which eliminates the use of solvents. Cyrel can help our customers take another step towards environmental sustainability in processing. The third part is related to the fact that the quest for sustainability, down-gauging is important. But with downgauging, our printer customers are a bit nervous about achieving the same quality of print they achieved before. -for this, we offer the CyrelEasy screens.

So, in your evaluation what challenges have you observed among customers in adapting to the new technologies?
Fundamentally, customers in India have predominantly chosen gravure -the emphasis on quality is very high and it’s one of the deciding factors when choosing a printing technology. The DuPont Easy platform can help bridge that gap. In my opinion, flexo has always been viewed as an inferior printing technology and now the gap has gone, for the printers to have equality in both types of printing. I can do this with gravure or with Easy. I would recommend choosing the one that will make more sense?

So can we say that today the gap is eliminated altogether or does it still exist?
Easy has innovated substantially and has really helped bridge the gap. In fact, we have seen results where you won’t be able to tell the difference between gravure and Easy, so the innovation that has been put behind the East is amazing.

What is the standard for your customers in India for flexo? 150 lpi, 5 percent dot? 
When you talk about the flexible packaging customer, gravure is preferred, which means higher lpi (175-200 lpi). To reproduce the same image quality in Easy we have to print with higher lpi. In Easy, we have been able to demonstrate that without using the higher lpi that is with 133 or 150 lpi - you can still get a very good quality print. This makes it more attractive for the customers to choose Easy. But coming to labels, it has been coming from the offset, where that lpi expectation is much higher (175 and 200 lpi), there we were able to do it easily (with UV inks, finer aniloxes, shorter widths); and repetitively and that’s not a challenge.

What has been the penetration to your customers in the Indian printing market with the Easy portfolio?
A year ago, we examined the global adoption of Easy plates. Imagine you have stacked all the Easy plates that DuPont customers have used and we stack all the plates up like a deck of cards and that stack is taller than the Bhurj Khalifa and that’s the tallest building in the world. So, that gives a good idea of how widespread Easy has been.

How do you see the Indian flexo market segment growing from here if regulations change as per what government has been planning?|
We believe the main thing is reinforcing that flexo is here to stay.

What will happen to the bottom of the pyramid printers who have installed new gravure machines, now they don’t have the mindset to change, how easy or difficult is the shift to flexo?
To get into that level of print quality, I believe it requires investments. We have seen top gravure printer customers have flexo now because they understand the value of flexo. But this doesn’t mean that they have stopped printing in gravure. A gravure printer will continue to print jobs with gravure but flexo has its own advantage, in its own space. Data shows that in India, gravure printing comprises 90-95% of the market, unlike Europe or the USA.

What is new about the Easy portfolio? How different it is from your earlier products?
One of the most recent additions to the DuPont Easy portfolio is the Easy Brite Screens. The Easy Brite Screens are a way to address a lot of concerns printers have in putting a white under layer. White is a very important colour as an under layer. If you don’t use white then any graphic that you put on top is going to be flat and won’t pop out. The same thing is with spot colours and high solids. Our objective with the Easy Brite Screens is to provide options for printers not only to get a white under layer and get good graphics on top but also to potentially help reduce the cost since less ink will be used. If you have much better lay down you actually use a thinner layer and that will not only help reduce the amount of ink you use, but it can also help your presses run faster; it helps with productivity and ink consumption benefits.

Any enhancements on the processor?
The DuPont Cyrel Fast 2000 TD is our latest inline processor. DuPont invented the thermal Fast processor in 2000. And this machine is sort of a culmination of all the machines that we have – we hope to bring to the printers and trade shops is a total package solution. In that way, we can help them improve the cost, quality and productivity altogether. 

Does this also change DuPont’s strategy towards its customers in India?
No. We have always believed that the right way to approach is to provide the total solution. What we are doing now is, we are optimising the different elements and we are expanding on that. For example, we have never had screens that we developed before; this is the first time that we have done that. When we have focused on Fast, we have always focused on the sustainability benefits of Fast.


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