The GenNext series: Abhishek M Khadkikar

They say students are the future of society. And we agree. In this series, PrintWeek introduces some of the students from the premier printing institutes across India who are poised for future leadership. Here’s introducing Abhishek M Khadkikar.

01 Feb 2023 | By PrintWeek Team

Abhishek M Khadkikar

Where are you based?  

I hail from a Marathi family settled in Bangalore for the last 10 years.

Describe your course.

The course I’m pursuing is focused on printing processes, colour management, pre-press, post-press and packaging. Their main focus is to make us aware of the current industry trends in the printing and packaging industry. The course is meant to prepare industry-ready graduates who can sustain any difficult situation they face in the industry by implementing their pursued knowledge.

What is print’s USP?

The USP for any print output can be its print quality. The finest quality product with minimal colour deviation, cost and less prone to environmental pollution can be considered as the best one. Providing the best service at a minimal cost to the customer is what is the key point to be considered.

Where do you see the print in the next five years?

It’s true that with the development of technology, people are getting more attracted towards digital content because it is more cost-saving and also convenient, as you can read it anytime anywhere without spending anything extra. But still, there are some factors which can’t be fulfilled by it, for which only the printing industry has to come forward. Talking about the packaging industry, printing still acts as the heart of the packaging industry and this industry is considered a never-ending industry. With people nowadays getting more environmentally conscious, printing inks with more organic substitutes are also used nowadays, which can help a lot in the future for saving the environment. According to me, the printing industry is a need of the current generation and it’s always going to upgrade with some or other innovations.

One webinar you attended that you thought was terrific…

In the last three years, we have attended so many webinars, but the one I liked was the one conducted by Kaku Kohli, chairman of Kohli industries. In his webinar, he demonstrated the new nine-colour ELS gravure press manufactured by Kohli industries — the 9one8 press. Kohli properly demonstrated the working and the difference between the MLS and ELS press. He also gave a speed trial with water-based and solvent-based inks. And it was found that solvent-based ink can be used for a more rapid process.

A print or packaging item you use regularly that impressed you?

Recently, I came across a water-biodegradable soluble film which can be used for packing fruits and vegetables. They are completely biodegradable PVA films which I consider as demand for the current situation. They completely get dissolved once they are placed in water.

A recent comment about print/packaging which is your mantra?

Packaging is the fastest-growing industry in the world. People are getting more attracted towards packaged food. Looking at the current demand of the industry, I think more people should get engaged with this industry. There is a huge requirement for quality graduates who can surpass the current situation of the industry and come up with their own innovative ideas.

Which is your favourite piece of paper? Why so?

My favourite piece of paper is matte-coated paper as I feel it gives a premium look to the product and gives a little solid texture to the print.

How many print/packaging firms are in your city?

There are a lot of industries which are working directly or indirectly in contact with the printing and packaging industry. Some of them are raw material manufacturers, some are convertible or some are service-providing industries. All of them are interconnected with each other.

One factory you have visited? What is the first thing you noticed when you walked around in the factory?

During my previous internship, I visited a flexible packaging firm based in the Hosur district of Tamil Nadu. The company is involved in the manufacturing of multilayer-monolayer films, tapes and all printing-packaging material. The first thing I observed there was the company’s systematic approach towards achieving specific goals and the way it had set its standards for every job.

What’s your favourite item of print and packaging?

My favourite item in the print and packaging industry is the spectrophotometer, as this is a device which can tell us the proper colour coordinates for the particular colour sample — LAB values. With this, we enhance the print quality.

Which is the most innovative packaging that you have come across?

Recently, I saw a shopping bag made of banana fibre, which I felt was innovative and eco-friendly. The fibres were made out of banana tree waste, which we get large in number. As the raw material itself is made out of waste material there is no extra wastage that could be developed out of it. Once the bags are made, they are also ready for printing on top of it.

What is your take on sustainable packaging?

While taking on sustainable packaging, it is the people who have to come forward and become more conscious towards it. Knowing about the sustainability of reducing carbon footprints is possible only if people take this thing personally and showcase their support towards it.

One thing the print/packaging industry should do to convey a solid sustainability message?

The industry could arrange various workshops or arrange campaigns which can encourage people to come forward and give their input for the betterment of society by using environmentally friendly packaging.

One trivia about print/packaging which no one knows?

The first cardboard shipping box was patented in 1903, while cardboard is even older and was patented in 1856.

Is there a print or packaging legend in the industry you like to have 60 seconds with…

As of now, I have not figured out any such personality in the packaging industry unless I consider my father, whom I consider my legend in the packaging industry, who is an expert in packaging having experience over 25 years.

Social media has become the newest way of promoting packaging innovations and trends in packaging. One suggestion on how PW or WP? magazines can do something brilliant in this space? 

Social media has become the current trend in the industry and acts as the strongest tool for expressing our thoughts. By this, we can express our views to a wider audience, which I think is not possible by any other means. Talking about the magazines, they can be made available free or with some minimal charge for the students online so that the information through them can be circulated between large audiences and people could understand the importance of sustainability and innovative packaging.