Focus on boosting efficiency spurs Pragati’s Bobst buy

When Pragati Pack identified medium- and long-run carton jobs as one of the key growth areas it wanted to focus on, the Hyderabad-based packaging converter made a decision that it had shied away from making before – it invested in a Bobst Novacut 106-ER die-cutter with blanking capability.

20 Aug 2018 | By Rushikesh Aravkar

Hemanth Paruchuri (c) with Bobst's Puneet Agarwal (l) and N Somashekar (r)

Not that Pragati had not done business with Bobst before, it deploys two Bobst folder-gluers, which according to director Hemanth Paruchuri, have played a vital role in boosting Pragati’s throughput and productivity since the early years when it was using folder-gluers of Indian-make.

However, when it came to investing in die-cutters, Pragati has in its plant, Sanwa and SBL die-cutters. Paruchuri says, “The Sanwa and SBL investment was justified then because the equipment could achieve the quality of output that we needed and they offered a decent price-performance balance. In between, we also invested in a Yoco die-cutter, which we sold off as we were not very happy with the performance. The other machines that we bought are secondhand.”

At Pragati, the decision to invest in any capital equipment is backed by a strong thought-process, which also differentiates the company from the rest. Paruchuri explains, “We believe that the defining factor which governs the quality of a printed product is not a function of the machinery or the brand of the equipment; of course, machines will have certain effect on the quality, however, if you have good processes in place, you can achieve top-notch quality with any machine.”

Pragati Pack’s print orders is a mix of short and medium run jobs wherein value addition is the key.  A large percentage of the print jobs run in the tune of 2,000 to 3,000 sheets. Paruchuri says, these are not just print and die-cut jobs, there are at least two more processes in between.

It also produces some carton jobs that involve converting more than 20,000 sheets. “While the focus will always remain on high-end short-run print jobs with value additions, we are getting an increasing number of longer run jobs where the customer is moving to us for consistency and quality. Price gets more important in these, and therefore the efficiency of conversion is significant.”

So as to cater to such jobs it needed a productive kit that could also ease the downstream operations. “When you are converting up to 3,000 sheets per job, you can afford to be slightly inefficient. Here you need faster changeovers. But, for longer runs you need efficiency,” said Paruchuri.

“Therefore, we decided to buy a die-cutter with inline blanking capability so that the immediate next operation after die-cutting is folding-gluing. That’s when we opted for Bobst Novacut ER,” says Paruchuri. “In terms of quality of the machinery and throughput Bobst is definitely up to the mark. However, what sets it apart from the others is its service support and training, which other suppliers are not able to offer. When it comes to blanking, operators need proper handholding and it’s a key operation so it has to be immaculate.”

With the Novacut ER, which was installed in June 2018, Pragati can now die-cut, strip and blank in line and the stack of blanks go directly onto the folder-gluers; “this definitely enhances the quality quotient of die-cutting operation”.

Thanks to the Novacut, Pragati has also been able to achieve consistent process quality. Paruchuri explains, “Sometimes, maybe one part of the sheet is not die-cut completely then you get a little bit of fibre, in that case blanking operation will stop so you have to patch up. As a result, the quality of die-cutting is constantly under the scanner, which ultimately results in a consistent quality of cartons.”

While the machine speed is 7,000 sheets per hour, thanks to blanking, Pragati saves time on manual stripping. This, according to Paruchuri, in some cases can be as high as one shift savings in the overall production time of the print job.