Flint India: The year in review; investments in 2016

From manufacturing inks to blankets to providing innovative solutions, Upal Roy, managing director at Flint India, tells Noel D’Cunha, his company is committed to investing in a standalone non-toluene, non-Ketone manufacturing facility in 2016 for packaging

11 Dec 2015 | By Noel D'Cunha

PrintWeek India (PWI): What’s Flint exhibiting at Pamex? 
Upal Roy (UR):The objective of Flint participating at Pamex is to showcase the Flint Group brand and our offerings to the Indian market place.
PWI: Digital in flexo is being seen as a big part of the label industry move. Does Flint’s Xeikon takeover indicate the growing clout of digital world over?
UR: It’s too early to comment. But yes, in November, Flint Group announced the acquisition of Xeikon, the digital print specialist, with Flint Group using Xeikon’s products and services forming the foundation of a newly created division to be called digital printing solutions. This new division of Flint Group will further broaden the group’s conventional and digital printing solutions, offering a ‘unique proposition of equipment, consumables and services across its global markets’.
PWI: Flint was part of the Revo digital flexo project. Two Revo presses will soon be part of the Indian label industry. Are you excited?
UR: Yes, we are excited because as one of the partners of Revo, we are very eager to see it being implemented in flesh and blood in India.  The Revo project aims to optimise working capital and SKUs of the printer by providing him almost the entire range of Pantone colours with a smaller set of inputs from Flint.
PWI: Though India is a flexo press dominated market still, do you see digital making inroads?
UR: In India, we are starting to see some narrow label printers looking at digital as a standalone option for low small run jobs. They are not adding a digital station to their press but looking at a standalone option.
PWI: Your plant in Savli, Vadodara. Give us an update?
UR: Flint Group is committed to India.  India is one of the few areas where the print media market is still growing and that is the reason why we are committed to increasing our capacity in news ink. 
PWI: Any new investments for 2016?
UR: We are also investing in setting up a state-of-the-art blanket converting facility in Vadodara in 2016.  We believe that this will help differentiate Flint from competition. We are committed to providing quality bar Day blankets in India.
PWI: Anything on the packaging front?
UR: On the packaging side, we are investing in a standalone non-toluene, non-Ketone manufacturing facility, which hopefully will be ready in 2016
PWI: Your value proposition is very unique. What does it include?
UR: Our product product portfolio includes ink, coating, press-room chemicals and transfer media. All these products are harmonised portfolio which has been designed to optimise and enhance productivity. Our R&D with advanced analytical capabilities provides an innovative and revolutionary solution which include low migration technology.
PWI: Low migration is interesting. Would you like to mention one key product that’s a must-use for the print industry?
UR: We have always introduced products that are targeted at the Indian market keeping in mind Indian conditions.  For example, we are introducing the Newsline 435 NT and 435 Turbo. The OEM approved fountain solution formulated with proprietary technology offers superior cleaning, less build up of contaminants during press even at lowest water settings.
PWI: What trends are the printers and allied segments of the printing industry following? Do you have products that meet the requirements of these trends?
UR: The printer is always looking for a solution to reduce applied cost and to optimise press performance. We believe that we have everything ranging from pre-press to inks to fountain and finally to press and plate cleaner which can help the printer to optimise the press performance
PWI: Can you give one or two typical examples which can reduce cost and boost performance?
UR: The OEM approved 435 NT and Turbo fountain solution is an example of the Flint India team working closely with the global Print Media team in Flint to quickly develop a solution to address Fogra requirements in India.
PWI: With the kind of internal improvement strategy like lean manufacturing and best practices like clean environment, etc, in place at your Vadodara site, how much of that has help your company gain, both in terms of production and quality?
UR: We believe that by working in conjunction with our colleagues around we are helping implement best practises at our Indian plants.
PWI: We are at the fag end of 2015. Flint’s performance volume-wise, both in India and globally? 
UR: Flint Group continued to perform strongly despite difficult market conditions, it managed to increase volume in its packaging markets and solidify on its market leading position with the publication markets.
Consolidation, particularly within the established print media markets continued to affect volumes across the board in 2015. However, Flint Group’s long-term strategy continues to position it well to succeed in 2016.
2015 also witnessed a significant year on the M&A front with Flint Group announcing a new joint venture in June with Continental Printing Inks and Eagle Ink Systems in South Africa. Operating under the name Flint Group Africa - this new entity combines two of the leading ink and coatings suppliers to the Packaging and Print Media markets in South Africa and the Sub-Saharan region.