HP Indigo 6900 helps Janus International speed up print jobs during the lockdown

Mumbai’s label and packaging specialist Janus International continued to operate even as the coronavirus halted most print companies. Denver Annunciation, director at Janus relied on his HP Indigo 6900 digital press. “The economics are there to see in times like this when everything is limited. Digital is a viable and quick alternative.”

08 Dec 2020 | By Noel D'Cunha

Annunciation (l) and Janus: Led from the front, ensuring that they were present in the factory daily

For Janus International, the HP Indigo 6900 digital label press couldn’t have come at the right time. The 6900 was installed on 24 January 2020 at Janus’ Thane plant, after the company decided to sign a deal to upgrade its 11-year-old HP Indigo 4500 during the Labelexpo Europe 2019 held in Brussels last September.

Denver Annunciation, director at Janus, says, that the reason he opted for the 6900 was the machine’s ability to print wrap-around labels, pouches, IML, lamitubes, security labels, pressure-sensitive, shrink sleeves as well as folding cartons. “We are quicker not only in production but also quickly match Pantones. More ink options enable us to boost our offerings to the label market,” says Annunciation who manages the company along with his brother, Janus.

The 24-year-old company currently has over 300 customers, some of which fell into the essential categories. During the pandemic lockdown, it was obvious that these companies manufactured sanitisers, food, nutraceuticals, pharma, sanitation and PPE equipment. “In the last few years, we made a pivot to enter other industries besides alcoholic beverages, which helped us continue doing business even during the lockdown,” says Annunciation.

The seven-colour HP Indigo 6900 can print on substrates thickness ranging from 12 to 450 microns at a speed of up to 40 m/min in full colour and can print all the HP’s ElectroInk – metallic ink, invisible inks, fluorescent inks.

Annunciation explained, “We produced new jobs related to essentials like sanitisers, and immunity boosters among others. All these jobs were printed using HP Indigo, so there was minimum file preparation required and no plates to be made. All the Pantone shades were matched on the 6900 using their seven-colour process so no time was wasted in preparing the inks in the kitchen. The job turnaround time was pretty quick. Many a time we delivered these jobs on the same day. On average, we produced 20 jobs per day on the 6900 press during the lockdown.”

Janus houses six Gallus flexo presses but preferred to push the HP Indigo into operation. Annunciation says, “Due to the lockdown, during the first few weeks all allied suppliers were shut, so to run the flexo presses, we would have needed plates, inks, and dies. For digital, except for material all the consumables required were in stock, and needed just four people on the shopfloor to run the entire operations, compared to about 10 required for the entire conventional workflow.”

Janus employs a workforce, 90% of whom belong to Maharashtra, and about 80% of them staying right next to the plant. “This made life easy for us,” says Annunciation, adding, it enabled us to get them to the factory without much effort.”

While it was encouraging seeing his company add two to three customers a week, Annunciation and his brother, Janus, had to ensure that they meant business, and that everyone on the shopfloor is equal. “We decided to lead from the front, and ensured that we were present at the factory daily,” says Annunciation. Those team members who could work from home, such as employees in the purchase, pre-press, accounts were asked to operate from home. “For the rest, they were called on a need basis, For example, our invoicing staff would come only for three hours at the end of the day to make invoices.”

However, there were a few operational challenges. A certain section of the staff had safety concerns. “Even those who wanted to come to work were either prevented to do so or emotionally blackmailed by the family not to go to work. People who had family back in the villages were forced to return to the village. So the first week went in deciding who could come to work and who could not. A lot of people who turned up one day did not return the next,” he says.

In all this, Annunciation says, all government guidelines were followed, the safety of my people come first, necessary insurance policies were taken and all sanitisation procedures followed. “For us, people come first. That's why we were able to get a dedicated team to come,” concluded Annunciation.

Besides, the HP Indigo and Gallus presses, Janus also houses three Heidelberg offset presses in the 25,000 sqft plant Thane plant and is set to make a further investment in a five-colour press. The company also has a studio for studio-level mock-ups.