Technomec has been a manufacturer and exporter of rotogravure cylinders for the last 30 years. With its new facility in UAE, the company now aims to produce close to 70,000 electronically engraved cylinders annually. And with the combined strength of the India and UAE units, the roll manufacturer has set sights to produce close to 8,000 base cylinders per month.
The new set-up boasts a full-fledged infrastructure – right from the raw material preparation and base cylinder manufacturing to electronic engraving. The infrastructure consists of an in-house cylinder fabrication unit having CNC machining centres, computerised dynamic balancing, bore and cylindrical grinding machines and a full-fledged Galvano line. While its polishing department features the latest CFM and a 3.6m wide Polishmaster.
Besides this, the unit is equipped with the latest electronic engravers and hardware and software accessories to generate near-laser results. The company also employs fully colour-managed graphics workflow supported with GMG and proofing kits, which enables the company to produce both – shaft-less as well as fixedshaft cylinders.
When PrintWeek asked about the strategic decision for choosing the UAE, Amal Amin, director, Technomec Roll Manufacturing, says, “Along with our Santej unit, this set-up will give us the geographical edge to tap the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and also cater to Europe, Africa and Asia – the major markets for gravure printing – in minimum time-frames. Apart from this, as the work environment and time-zone of UAE resembles India, both units can work in synchronisation. I am confident that this venture will surely help us increase our global market share.”
Technomec – at a glance
The company was established by Amal’s father Nehal Amin in 1988 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Technomec began its journey with steel-base cylinders, which gained traction in the market on account of interests from leading industry players such as Huhtamaki, ITC and Amcor. It has been catering to these companies for more than a decade now.
In 2006, Technomec forward-integrated into copper-plating by installing an automatic copper plating line, which was further supported with the inclusion of a Daetwyler Polishmaster in 2013. The Santej-based company then ventured into electronic engraving in 2016 with two Ohio Spectrums, one Hell K500G3 and two Hell K5 Smarts engravers.
The company boasts of being acknowledged and endorsed by major OEMs such as W&H, Rotomec, Pelican and K-Walter and converters such as Constantia, Huhtamaki, Amcor, ITC, VPP and Vijayneha Polymers among other companies.
The rotogravure cylinder specialist has lined up itself to cater to the flexo market as well with the addition of platemaking services in its horizontal expansion plans
The horizontal expansion
Industry experts say that the flexible packaging market comprises 80% gravure printed and 20% flexo printed jobs. This highlights gravure’s dominance in the Indian market. However, as there have been a range of developments in flexo, especially in Europe, which has a 50-50 gravure-flexo ratio and the USA with flexo having an upper hand, Amin foresees substantial growth for the industry. And thus, Technomec has lined up to cater to the flexo market as well with new facilities for platemaking and other hybrid services.
However, as gravure still has a competitive price advantage over flexo, Amin mentions that flexo has a long way to go. “There could be some applications, where flexo might have an upper hand, but these applications will also provide the gravure industry with an opportunity to explore newer avenues and offer a competitive advantage. Moreover, in regions such as Asia, where the consumption volumes are more and job runs are long, gravure is eventually cost-effective and beneficial,” says Amin.
He adds, “Gravure is not going to be replaced anytime soon in India, but flexo is catching up. So, it is going to be an interesting mix, and it all depends on how one changes with time and adapts to newer technologies. This is the reason we have devised plans for horizontal expansion to extend our stake as one of the major vendors in the industry.”
The customer expectations of cylinder deliveries in crashed lead times is the biggest challenge in the gravure market. “This is why we have equipped all our manufacturing facilities under one roof. This enables us with an opportunity to reduce and control our manufacturing time better,” says Amin.
In addition to the delivery time-frames, Amin highlights that printers and converters are striving to achieve reductions in set-up time, on-line wastages, optimise press speeds and most importantly, reduce machine downtime. “We have certainly enhanced our capabilities to cater to these industry demands as our dynamically balanced printing cylinders help printing machines to run at higher speeds with lesser wear and tear.”
TECHNOMEC FACT FILE
- Established in 1988
- Location: Santej, Gujarat, India and Ras-Al-Khaimah, UAE
- Speciality: Rotogravure cylinders
- Equipment (in UAE): Cylinder fabrication unit - CNC, computerised dynamic balancing, bore and cylindrical grinding machines and a full-fledged Galvano line. The polishing department CFM and a 3.6m wide Polishmaster
- Turnover USD 10 million
Gravure presses on the rise
As compared to earlier times, procuring a gravure cylinder is not as tedious with a fortnight waiting period. Plus, the cylinder cost has reduced. However, there has been a steep cost reduction, as converters are looking to cut corners by compromising on quality, explains Amin.
“This is why we had to define our paths differently. As the industry has evolved and evolved for the good, we have equipped ourselves with advanced technologies at our disposal to take care of the tediousness and the monotony of operations. This enables manufacturers like us to combine our vast industry experience with innovations to produce high-quality cylinders.”
Besides the cylinders, the gravure presses have also evolved significantly in recent years with the increasing demand for packaging jobs. “We are seeing more and more high-speed gravure presses with longer cylinder lengths, which are boosting the demand for good cylinders as it is a prerequisite for print quality.” “We are expecting substantial growth in the number of gravure press installations in the country, which will give a boost to our business,” concludes Amin.
Inputs by Abhishek Muralidharan