InkWeek Day Four: Marvels made with art and ink

The fourth day of InkWeek was fun and an opportunity to witness some of the print marvels in India, produced with the best inks and paper, with an artistic approach, and user experiences of the ink consumers.

24 Mar 2022 | By Aultrin Vijay

(clock-wise) Ashwani Kumar, Mayuri Nikumbh, Sahil Rao, KG Sharma, Jayant Mardikar, Anoop Venugopal and Shail Patel

Day Four of InkWeek was a visual treat with panellists showcasing the finest products and designs and sharing their views, backed with success stories (case-studies).

Ashwani Kumar Sharma, president and CEO, aseptic liquid packaging business, UFlex, presented how aseptic packaging has been helping brands improve the shelf life of products. He also mentioned how innovation in aseptic packaging, too, can bring greater changes and benefits in business.

He highlighted one of UFlex's six-layer paper-based aseptic packaging solutions with a poly outer layer, a paper layer (liquid packaging board), another poly layer, an aluminium layer, and two more food-grade poly contact layers.

"When the product is filled and sold, the product's life is maintained, and freshness is preserved for a very long period. Consumers get the time and choice. It also adds to the flexibility for the packaging manufacturer," Sharma said.

Currently, the company is offering aseptic packaging solutions to three categories — juice, alcohol and dairy — and some other niche categories, such as ORC and sauces.

He said, "When we first studied the market, we brainstormed on how to be different. Previously, some Scandinavian countries held the market share, which China followed. We noticed that no major steps were taken to enhance the aesthetics of the pack. All products looked similar, except for the inks used and the carton shapes."

That's when UFlex conceived the project, but with a different approach, different from anyone in the market.

He displayed some foil-stamped cartons and holographic cartons, doing well in the market. The company has a unit in Sanand with most machines sourced from Germany, Italy, and the USA.

Sharma added, "In the last four years, we grew 100% YOY with a CAGR of 80%. We have also doubled our capacity from 3.5-billion to 7-billion."

Sharma asserted that UFlex is trying to expand with a vision to become the world's No 2 company in roll-fed technology in the next five years.

The session was followed by Mayuri Nikumbh, head of design at Conran Design Group. She touched upon some of the latest brand designs and strategies curated for international brands, such as, Zydus, Teva and Danone.

Nikumbh said, "We use design to inform, inspire and engage people. Brand strategy is at the core of everything we do. It is an important part of brand creation."

She added, "Stakeholder communication is important in communicating the purpose and performance of the company, which happens largely through prints, but also with a digital presence."

She believes that in creating impactful brand transformations, the transformation not only happens to the mother brand but also gets percolated to the sub-brands.

Touching upon the over-engineering aspect of packaging, Nikumbh said, "Over-engineering of packaging increases the use of raw materials; mainly seen in eCommerce and pharma packaging. Other than in packaging, over-engineering is often seen in printing effects." 

Pune-based Sahil Girish Rao, director at Akruti Print Solutions and Unbox Packaging, followed the session. He showcased some of the innovative and large projects for foreign companies.

He walked the viewers through case-studies of a saxophone packaging project and ayurvedic cigarettes. He believes that the quality of materials is paramount in undertaking such crucial projects.

"People are still spending a lot on packaging; we just need to give them the right product," Rao added.

KG Sharma, director at Miraj Multicolour, shared his Udaipur-based company's success story. "At the beginning, we catered to the ice-cream industry. Within two years, we became the leading supplier. Today we have a world-class plant in Udaipur," he added.

He suggested that timely supply is very important in the service industry, such as packaging.

The next session by Shail Patel, director at Gujarat Print Pack Publication, touched upon some of the anti-counterfeiting aspects of packaging and how the company used ink technologies to attain the desired results.

He stated how inks often took backstage for printers and highlighted the importance of innovation and standardisation of inks.

He also elaborated on how counterfeiting was a primary concern for any business. "This can be addressed by tapping into the power of printing," he suggested, citing ink technologies coin reactive inks, invisible inks, specialty pigments, thermo/photochromic inks, and scratch off inks his company has been using to help its customers.

He also showcased a case-study of a label packed with security features for a textile manufacturer. Patel said that implementing these features could make it hard for counterfeiters to imitate.

He said, "Printing plays a huge role in anti-counterfeiting features. It puts the products ahead of the curve."

Anoop Venugopal, technical director at Anaswara Offset, spoke about how inks helped his company reach success. The session was a visual treat with presentations of artistic, colourful and unique award-winning projects.

He asserted that inks played a major role in projects that needed a solution specific approach. He explained how a project for Incredible India went on to win a national award, with the company's artistic approach, and use of colours and value-added treatments.

Venugopal also showcased projects based on product-centric development (a book based on kalamezhuthu), speciality products (Kathakali playing cards for gifting segment, and award-winning textured wedding cards).

"We consider printing as an art form and try to impart it in our products and be consistent with it in all our projects through a blend of traditional and scientific approaches," Venugopal said, which was evident in the products presented and probably the reason why the company has over 200 awards to its credit.

In the final session, Jayant Mardikar, commercial head at Parksons Packaging, touched upon his company's key focus areas. These were eliminating plastics, exploring new technologies, new lines for liquid packaging, litho laminated cartons, toy packaging and alcobev segments, and new design inventions.

He spoke about the various inks used by the company, such as UV, conventional, gravure, metallic, screen UV and low migration inks. He elaborated on multiple surface finishes done by Parksons.

He emphasised how using statistical QC tools mitigates makeready and print waste. He also revealed how Parksons had adopted processes to reduce emissions and improve the overall industrial ecosystem.

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