MNM Triplewall invests big to ride eCommerce boom

Amid fluctuating kraft paper prices and the repercussions that followed demonetisation and the implementation of GST, Indian corrugated packaging companies have battled a brutal year, but experts say explosive growth lies ahead, and this growth will be driven by the eCommerce boom in the country.

12 Jan 2018 | By Rushikesh Aravkar

Taking a cue, one of India’s top corrugators MNM Triplewall Containers has invested in high-end equipment at its new plant in Tamil Nadu’s Krishnagiri district, a couple of hours’ drive from Bengaluru. This includes a Bobst 8.20 Discovery two-colour flexo folder-gluer and a BHS Steady Line. The two machines went into production at MNM in February 2017. 

According to Amit Agarwal, one of the seven directors at MNM Triplewall, his company specialises in industry segments like e-commerce, food and oil, among others, with e-commerce being significant, and the investment in the Bobst and BHS machines were necessary. “With this, we have revamped the infrastructure, which puts us on a higher pedestal when catering to industry segments we specialise in.”

The Bobst 8.20 Discovery is a two-colour flexo folder-gluer, while the fully automatic BHS Steady line allows corrugators to produce a single as well as double wall boards. The Steady Line E has a cruising speed of 180 metres per minute and is able to generate a monthly output up to seven-million sq/m.

“We did look at equipment from other manufacturers, but keeping in mind our plan of setting up a plant that’s at par with the best in the world, our search ended with Bobst and BHS, both proven technologies world over,” said Agarwal. “The installation was been smooth, and since then, we have made good use of the technology, fulfilling our customers’ requirements to their satisfaction,” said Agarwal.

MNM Triplewall Containers, in its current avatar, was conceived in 2011 when MNM and HMK Auto Packs joined forces. The new entity started production in 2012. Today, MNM operates from two plants, with the new one in Shoolagiri, Krishnagiri district in Tamilnadu spread over 8.25 acres of land. This plant has a conversion capacity of 5,000 tonnes per month and a capability to expand it to 6,000 tonnes per month. The older plant in Bengaluru has a capacity of 1,800 tonnes per month.

The numbers add up. 

The online retail in India is estimated to grow over 1,200% to $200 billion (Rs 13,30,550 crore) by 2026, up from USD 15 billion in 2016, according to a recent report by financial services firm Morgan Stanley. By then, online retail will account for 12% of India’s overall retail market, from just 2% last year. 

By 2026, Morgan Stanley expects India to have 475 million online shoppers, up from 60 million in 2016. This is a good news for the 12,000+ corrugated box manufacturers in the country because what is shopped online is shipped in a humble brown box.

MNM Triplewall is not the first company to invest in high-end automatic corrugation and flexo folder-gluer machines. According to Bobst, it has installed 10 FFG (flexo folder-gluer) lines in India and another four FFG lines are on their way in next coming months. 

The first installation of a Bobst FFG transpired in 2013 at Pyramid Packaging, Bengaluru. It was a Bobst FFG 618 Quattro. Then in early 2016, the country’s first FFG 1228 NT RS, high graphic flexo board line came at Astron Packaging in Ahmedabad. 

The year 2015-2016 was a breakthrough year for Bobst with the sale of five FFG 820 Discovery lines. Most of these machines are either two-colour or four-colour lines with Rapid Set technologies which enables very fast changeover and high productivity. Most of these installations transpired in South India with leading names like Panoply Packaging, South Indian Paper Mills, MNM Triple Wall.

In addition, there is Girnar Packaging, Vijay Anand Packaging and the big ticket installation in 2017 the six-colour FFG 924NTRS in Meghdoot Packaging’s North India facility.

Corrugators are focusing on technology upgradation to boost the quality of boxes and make operations efficient with automation, waste reduction and optimising production costs. There's plenty of headroom for corrugated packaging growth, as ecommerce is less than 4% of the USD 500-billion retail and more shoppers are coming online.