Vijayshri Packaging: Where every idea counts - The Noel D'Cunha Sunday Column

We know packaging rules are being re-written in 2020. Hence what the Indore-based specialist is embarking on, becomes important

Gen-next Ayush Jain, discusses the latest investment. Read on ...

08 Nov 2020 | By Noel D'Cunha

A week after installation of the brand new Bobst Ambition 76 A1 with a Handypack attachment, an impressed Ayush Jain, director at Vijayshri Packaging says that he already finds the Ambition to be better than the raft of other folder-gluers his company has.

“Though we have been feeding the new kit with  straight line jobs, the consistency has been super. Once you feed them even at top speeds, there are no interruptions at all. That is something which is refreshing,” says Jain, who likes to believe that Vijayshri is the largest offset specialist paperboard packaging company in Central India.

In 2016, Vijayshri rolled out more than forty packaging and corrugation machines – an investment of Rs 55-crore – which was then capable of converting 2,000 tonnes of paper per month. The factory is equipped to provide total solutions for all kinds of folding cartons and litho laminated cartons with an installed capacity of 1.25-crore cartons per month.

Promoted by the Jain family - Vijayshri is headed by Rajendra and Pritesh Jain along with their sons Ayush and Prakhar.

Besides the new Bobst folder-gluer Ambition 76 A1, the company is equipped with an Eterna folder-gluer, which is 1,100mm in size, and is filled up to the brim. There are also two Indian made folder-gluers and a Paktek installed in 2011.

Ayush Jain, director, Vijayshri Packaging

“In folder-gluer, I feel that it is essential to have different brands in your armoury. You may not know which machine suits the jobs you have on hand,” says Jain, adding, “What prompted our Bobst decision was to try out a new brand, and Bobst being Bobst, everyone kept telling us, ek baar kharid ke dekh lo, to try out their machine expertise and service.”

Vijayshri bought a Heiber & Schroder Speedliner Window Patching and Lining machine from Bobst back in 2016, so Jain was familiar with Bobst on that part of the operation. However, this is the first time he has invested in a brand new Bobst machine and a repeat investment in Heiber & Schroeder Window Patching and Lining machine.

Overall efficiency
According to Jain, his company does 10-15 major jobs which come at a certain volume, where a machine like Bobst can do justice to, which can produce more in less time with less manpower and this is where Bobst can add value. “Currently those jobs are operated on the other machines we have on an ad hoc basis. On those machines we would run around 2.5- to 3-lakh cartons a shift. Recently we ran a job on the Bobst Ambition and we could achieve 5.5-lakh cartons in the same shift,” he says.

And with Bobst comes accuracy, says Jain. “Even at higher productivity, there are hardly any cartons which are damaged or unglued. The turnaround time is quick.”

The company also added a collection table called Handypack GT for automatic collection of cartons after the folding-gluing operation, to optimise the utilisation of the Ambition. It also added a camera-based barcode scanning system, a glue-line detection system and a plasma gun on this machine. “The aim is to produce more cartons per shift but on lesser machines. Automation is the key here, which we get on the Bobst. It should give more productivity,” says Jain.

Vijayshri are suppliers to FMCG and food packaging companies.  The company also has a couple of pharma clients with whom it works very closely. 90% of the two pharma companies’ jobs are catered to by Vijayshri, who do not have batch printing capabilities in-house. “We do it for them,” says Jain, explaining the reason for the various add-on to the Ambition, “There are chances of batch mix-up. Our operators have to be extra cautious. We don’t intend to do anything fancy with this machine, but basic side pasting of mono cartons, we make them 100% quality assured.”

Jain is excited about the Handypack. “When we know that we will be feeding the job non-stop, you need your workforce to not tire. If they are tired, they will automatically slow down the machine, and that’s the end of your investment. Handypack is a kind of automation which will enhance productivity. You can run the machine at 400 or 500 meters but until your people are able to comfortably work on an eight hour shift without getting tired, then I think it is a good decision.”

Vijayshri Packaging’s two-lakh sqft plant in Indore, produces over 1.25-crore cartons per month

The easy Ambition
After placing the order and before accepting the delivery of the Ambition folder-gluer, Vijayshri sent its operators to the Bobst training facility in Pune. “So, in a way we had a little comfort of knowing the machine. It’s very easy to operate,” says Jain.

Many folder-gluer manufacturers have a feature of recalling major settings of jobs you have done on their kit. There’s a dial which does it. However, Jain says, Bobst engineers were the first to use them so that next time around our setting time is drastically reduced. “These are small things which matters, and Bobst has been a motivator of sorts.”

Equipment utilisation
Till 2016, Jain says his company did not operate night shifts. Now the company runs night shifts. So effectively it has more than doubled its output in the last three years. “At 70% of the capacity right now, we can go up to say 80% to 85%, going northward beyond that is really going to be a daunting task because it’s a pressure on the logistics management and the maintenance department, which takes away the machine’s productive running time. One can achieve 100% on very few machines, but not all of them.”

Jain gives an example of the H&S liner patching line which it installed in 2016. “We run it for 24 hours, and our focus is on that machine. It goes on a two-shift-maintenance routine every month. There’s a wait time for jobs to be processed on that machine. “On one or two machines like H&S you can say you have achieved close to 100% utilisation. But when you talk about 40 machines, it is very difficult to achieve that kind of utilisation.”

Jain adds, “Also, you may not have enough jobs for all the machines, which means you cannot run it to maximum utilisation, but you need the machine for your operation. For example, a machine on a day can produce 50,000 sheets in a day, and you have jobs for only 35,000 sheets. So obviously that day, it’s underutilised. It’s not the machine’s fault, but that’s how it is. So, that’s why I say, even if we are at 80-85% of the machines’ capacity, we are very happy with it.”

Directors at Vijayshri: Pritesh (l) and Prakhar Jain with the Bobst Ambition folder-gluer

A new expansion phase
Until 2016, Vijayshri were running two plants, one dedicated to litho laminated with a basic printing machine, and the other a mono carton plant that also had a liner, window patching, but never operated in the metPET carton segment. “When we moved in to the new plant with the investment, we moved into highly value added litho laminated and metPET cartons.”

Since 2016, we have five die-cutting  cutting machines – two Eterna machines, one installed in 2016 and one in Jan this year; two Maxima, the 35-inch format machines, one installed in 2016 and one in 2019. “We installed a Yawa foil stamping machine in 2018, which is quite occupied.”

The company is equipped with a battery of seven presses, four of which are five- and six-colour presses with coaters. The others are two-colour press. All the presses are a mix of  Heidelberg and Komori.

Jain says, his company has been able to justify the investment made in 2016 and after.  And now, Vijayshri is poised to enter its second phase of expansion. This investment in Bobst is also part of its sizable next phase investment, where it has begun work on building a new plant with a built-up area of 70,000 sqft.

The new plant being constructed has reached the plinth level. “We are hoping to complete the construction of the plant by March 2021. It will be our second major expansion, the first being in 2016, and the investment in terms of size, building aside, it will be as much.”

The company is focussed to increase production of its litho laminated shipper boxes at the new plant.

Up until now, Vijayshri has been investing in used machines. With the Bobst Ambition, it has begun its brand new machine acquisition journey. “For the first time we will be buying a brand new printing machine. The line will be complemented with procurement of new a die-cutter, a folder-gluer, a three-ply flute laminator, a five-ply flute laminator and a  corrugation line,” emphasises Jain.

The pandemic hasn’t changed Vijayshri’s future strategy. Jain says, our offerings and service in packaging are relevant. There are new channels to market all the time. We will continue to develop our business in line with those channels which offer us opportunity to grow,” concludes Jain.