Signode is an acknowledged global leader in transit packaging solutions with over 100 years of heritage, 80+ manufacturing locations across six continents, 35+ valued packaging brands and 7000+ employees. Signode is a trusted partner offering customised packaging solutions for diverse industry segments across the globe. It is a part of $11 billion Crown Holdings, a leading producer of aerosol, beverage and food cans.
Signode India, acquired the complete operation of Bengaluru-based Wintek Flexo Prints in 2012. Wintek, had been an established brand in the market since 1996 for its quality and consistency. It offered a wide range of labels with special embellishment using combination process of flexo with screen and foiling.
Wintek acquisition was a perfect fit in Signode’s strategy to expand its portfolio of offerings and offer complete packaging solutions to its customers. P Lakshminarayanan, business unit head at Signode (Wintek) operations says that since the acquisition, Signode has invested considerably in infrastructure development and technology to expand its gamut of labelling solutions and add value to the customers.
Signode has been successful in positioning Wintek as a leader in the labelling industry. This has been validated by winning several label industry awards at national and international platforms like Finat, Flexographic Technical Association and LMAI.
Gallus EM 280 - 12-colour flexo press
Signode (Wintek) defines itself by the equipment it uses and the value it adds to its customers. The company is one of the largest users of Gallus narrow-web presses in India. A long time Esko and DuPont customer, it houses the upgraded Esko CDI 2530 imager equipped with inline UV curing and workflow software. The company has also upgraded its DuPont flexo plate solvent processer with the Cyrel Fast thermal platemaking workflow.
In 2014, the company also established a new label plant in Rudrapur, which houses two Gallus EM 280 flexo press with capability of screen combination inline.
In the last five years, the company invested in a 10-colour Iwasaki flexo-offset combination press, and Gallus 12-colour Labelmaster flexo and screen combination press. It has also added a set of DuPont flexographic platemaking system - Cyrel Fast 1000 TD solvent-free processor and Cyrel Digiflow 1000 ECLF.
In November 2019, Wintek manufacturing moved into a new premise with a plant area of 40,000 sqft. “It’s a state-of-the-art infrastructure built to international standards and is equipped with most modern production lines,” says Lakshminarayanan. “Our customers demand the best. They require high-quality labels with high graphics and special effects like tactile images, screen effects, a combination of matt and gloss finishes, foils and use of special colours.”
Signode (Wintek) is QMS ISO 9001; 2015 and OH & S 45001 ;2018 certified facility and pursuing FSC certification 2021.
Precisely printed, timely delivered
Among the several measuring and monitoring mechanism, one of the key performance indicators (KPIs) for Signode (Wintek) is, maintaining on-time-in-full (OTIF) levels. Lakshminarayanan says, “In terms of supply, we have been maintaining an OTIF of almost 95% for the last four years in our supplies and service to customers. We also have the practice of first-in-first-out (FIFO) in terms of orders created and released by our customers.
However, in special cases, we do cater based on customer defined priorities.”
In-house pre-press capability, a fleet of technologically advanced presses and continuous upgradation of technology have been their hallmark of success. With fleet of presses comes in flexibility and faster turnaround time. The DuPont Cyrel digital plates ensure superior quality.
“Using DuPont Cyrel system with Esko Suite, Signode (Wintek) has been able to ensure that the critical components for print; the aniloxes, inks, plates and pre-press are completely harmonised and deliver standardisation across all the presses. In layman terms, all the presses get input to deliver identical print output,” says Lakshminarayanan.
The Gallus 12-colour Labelmaster flexo and screen combination press
The pre-press capability of Signode (Wintek)
Wintek has always had a strong press and pre-press set-up. It was one of the earliest label converters to adopt pre-press in-house, and it has been a continuous strength.
For Signode, evaluating the plate performance has been part of its KPI indicators. “We evaluate plates for external and internal rejection as part of our quality measurement. It is ensured that there are no defects or internal rejections due to plates,” claims Lakshminarayanan.
So much so, Signode has been part of DuPont’s beta site for some of the plates the company introduces in the market.
Not just the quality of DuPont plates, the service of DuPont has been commendable. “Any hiccup is solved within 24-48 hours. We have never had any kind of supply issue from DuPont.”
Sustainability, waste, managing it
Behind the capabilities of the flexo presses to deliver high-quality labels, efficiently and with minimum waste, is DuPont’s simplified production workflow. The DuPont Cyrel Fast 1000 TD thermal processor eliminates solvent from our pre-press room and delivers press-ready plates in less than 60 minutes. Signode has transitioned from using the Cyrel Digiflow system for creating flat top dots to the new Cyrel Easy built-in flat top dots plates, to further simplify the platemaking process. The Easy plates are well suited to run perfectly with their water-based as well as UV ink jobs.
The Bengaluru facility also caters to in-house requirement of plates for its Rudrapur unit. This standardisation across the units helps to deliver identical print quality in both the units and we can control and sustain wastage levels and improve productivity.
As a result, Lakshminarayanan claims, Signode (Wintek) is flexible even across the region to use the capacity to deliver on time. With this standardisation we can control and sustain wastage levels and improve productivity.
“This immensely benefits our customers. We process our orders simultaneously from different locations to different markets,” explains Lakshminarayanan.
Safety and sustainability are key to Signode’s ways of working. Both the label manufacturing facilities have ETP (effluent treatment plant) and STP (sewage treatment plant) for water treatment. The ETP is used for the treatment of waste produced during the processing of plates, while STP is used to recycle consumed water for green area of the plant.
All matrix and liner waste is used as raw material for manufacturing Signode’s transit packaging product, Edge board. The Edge board is an L-angled corner protection and structural reinforcement product used for transit protection of industrial goods in segments like durables, automotive, engineering, and pharma. It is probably the only label converter in India recycling all the waste and not a single square inch of waste is sent out for land filling or polluting the environment. This is also a great value add for Signode’s customers, who are ensured that none of their branded labels fall into wrong hands.
The 40,000 sqft Signode (Wintek) plant in Bengaluru
Signode has emerged as one of the strongest players in the label arena. New technologies in labels will be focussed on digital labelling for anti-counterfeiting solutions, interactive labels, track and trace labels and augmented reality labels for brand protection and brand interaction. Labels are expected to perform many more value-added functions than what they do today, and Signode is geared up to drive this change.
“At Signode (Wintek), we strongly believe that – every label has a story,” says Lakshminarayanan. “We work with our customers to turn their stories into reality. We are the preferred partner to key customers and contribute significantly to enhance their brand value,” he concludes.
“Signode has been carrying on the Wintek legacy of high quality labels catering to FMCG markets. The company continues to be helmed by strong technocrats who understand and exploit the platemaking technology to the fullest. That brings in standardisation and productivity even when catering to the high quality demands of the high value labels they produce.”