SIES’s national symposium discusses plastic ban and AI

SIES Graduate School of Technology’s Impressions 2019 college fest culminated amidst lot of energy and enthusiasm last weekend at the college campus in Nerul, Navi Mumbai.

11 Mar 2019 | By Abhishek Muralidharan

The highlight of the event was a national symposium on the latest trends in printing and packaging that was held on 9 March 2019.

The symposium kick-started as LMAI president and managing director at Any Graphics, Kuldip Goel delivered an inspirational keynote address to 50+ engineering students sharing personal stories and life lessons. “Striving for perfection in whatever one does is the key. Build passion for quality. When you follow your passions, you’re doing it because it feels good, because it’s something you deeply enjoy. That’s the secret recipe of my success.”

Rohit Mehta, director, SMI Coated Products, which is celebrating 26 years of operations in 2019, spoke about factors influencing label application and how to choose a right labelstock for any particular surface and product. He highlighted a case-study of paper label versus filmic label performance on a lubricant packaging.

Discussing the latest printing technology shifts, Faheem Agboatwala, managing director, Hi-Tech Printing Services, moderated a panel comprising of Ramu Ramanathan, editor, PrintWeek India and WhatPackaging?, Swarnangka Samaddar, chief marketing officer, TechNova, and P Sajith, director, Welbound Worldwide. The panel shed light over the developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning and how it will impact the print industry.

“Lots of automation engines are being built. These engines try and anticipate user needs. AI is part of this larger game. Today, through our mobile phones and apps, our lives are influenced by SMAC – social, mobile, analytics, cloud computing. The next step is going to be DARQ – distributed ledger technology (DLT), artificial intelligence (AI), extended reality (XR) and quantum computing,” said Swarnangka.

Ramanathan said, “We seem to be handing over our lives to the tech giant and that is something we have to be extremely wary of. The Indian model should be like cooperative technologies. Otherwise, it is turning into an ultimate form of digital colonialism.”

Enthusing students with regards to the future of print, P Sajith said, “Printing is one field where every other form and science and engineering are employed, be it metallurgy, electronics, chemistry among others. So when you are studying printing technology, you have already acquired a lot of skills. You need to think about how you can use your skills to fulfil the needs of an end-consumer.”  

Swarnangka added, “The irreplaceable value of print is that you can touch a printed product. Hence print thrives. If one has to give a projection of the next five years and prediction of the next fifteen years, one must think what is the irreplaceable value of oneself? It’s one’s creativity. We are blessed to be in a field where we work with creativity and transfer it with technology.”

The panel also discussed the significance of data in today’s age and the ways for the print industry to leverage the data available to them. Swarnangka also spoke about hyper-hybridisation and how conventional and modern technologies will work in tandem to produce a value-added product.

The second panel discussion focused on the plastic ban and how to move towards sustainability. The five-member panel consisted of Nitin Nair of Godrej Consumer Products, Harshavardhan Nayak of Henkel, Ajit Gadgil of GD Environmental, Milind Chavan of Dow Packaging, and Sunil Bhagwat of Huhtamaki PPL. The discussion was moderated by Rushikesh Aravkar of PrintWeek India and WhatPackaging?.

The panellists concurred that there the confusion with regards to the rules of plastic ban exists however, it is clear that if the plastic packaging is recyclable it doesn’t come under the ambit of the plastic ban.

Nair said, “Legislation only acts as a catalyst for FMCG companies which are looking at going green and tapping the consumers who are biased towards environmentally friendly products.”

Milk packaging sees a high degree of recycling, said Milind Chavan. “Tata Chemicals salt pack has introduced a completely recyclable pack and Adani's edible oil pack in made of recyclable material,” added Chavan.

Gadgil explained the process of plastic pyrolysis technology and how it has developed mobile pyrolysis units that can be used for plastic recycling at the village level.

Printing consultant Kiran Prayagi spoke about print beyond colours and novel applications with printed electronics.

The third-panel discussion deliberated on printing and packaging eduction with Ainain Shahidi, director, SIES School of Packaging; PV Narayanan, chairman, SIES School of Packaging, Anurag Kulshreshtha, faculty, IIT Roorkee, Kiran Prayagi of Graphic Art Technology and Education, and Rajnish Shirsat, CEO, R&S Enterprise.