Nextgen opts for Grafica to offer value in pharma

Many print firms prefer to have an in-house screen printing rather than outsource print finishing work. A case in point is the Kolkata-based Nextgen Printers who have installed a Grafica fully automatic Cylinder Press with inline UV and complete screen making set up at their new printing unit in Howrah.

23 Nov 2016 | By PrintWeek India

Nextgen emerged out the ambition of four entrepreneurs: Mahesh Khandelwal, Rakesh Khandelwal, Bijay Agarwal, Arun Agarwal. These entrepreneurs, all with myriad professional backgrounds, joined hands to set up a packaging unit in Sikkim to cater to the pharma sector investment in this Himalayan state.

Nextgen Printers is a leading packaging provider in Eastern India. An ISO 9001:2008 certified printing firm with headquarters in Kolkata and two units – Unit I in Sikkim and Unit II in Howrah - the Sikkim unit is spread over 35000 sq/ft area and employs a team of 120 people. This unit is dedicated to pharma packaging. On the other hand, the new Howrah unit employs about 130 people and spread over 60,000 sq. ft plus another 60000 sq/ft construction is "work in progress". This will give employment to another 100 people. The unit boasts of a seven-colour press with online coating, complete pre press, post press/finishing facilities.

Rakesh Khandelwal and Bijay Agarwal, reveal their strategy.

The beginning of Nextgen?
We saw a good investment opportunity in the printing business following the Government of India’s North East Industrial Investment Policy 2007 (NEIIP’07). This project had attracted investment in the pharma sector. About 30 large and small pharma companies set up base in Sikkim.

In 2008 Avail Printers, Kolkata, (a company owned by Mahesh Khandelwal, one of the directors) was printing and supplying packaging to pharma companies in Sikkim. The logistic difficulties necessitated setting up of a packaging print unit in Sikkim. That is how we joined hands and started NextGen Printing in 2010.

Why did you invest in an advanced screen printing technology?
Although packaging is all about mass production, the packaging meant for niche market (health care and other over the counter pharma products) requires print decoration. We realised that with screen printing and UV technology we can offer a wide range of UV special effects such as glitter, texture, micro emboss, crystal UV (for high raise print), abrasive, etc. Barring a few print companies, such high class value addition facility was not available in Eastern India. Now, the companies from East India got the work done from the Western and Northern Indian markets. Instead of outsourcing, we decided to have an inhouse screen printing unit for logistic reasons. With an inhouse screen printing set up, we could serve our customers better.

What’s the trend in packaging?
Now there is a growing trend of using rigid substrates such as plastic and box with UV packaging by the cosmetics and chocolate companies. Customers demand a new look for their packaging. There is a limitation to the offset process. But high raise emboss, and other special effects treatment is possible through screen printing. When customers visit a medical shop or a malls they get attracted to the packaging of a product (be it chocolate, cosmetics, personal care products, over the counter pharma items).

What about digital technology?
We had seen the capabilities of digital press for value addition. However it is a costly as compared to screen printing. Screen printing is an economic and viable solution in India. Digital will take time before it becomes an economical solution for value addition.

What’s the growth of pharma packaging in North East?
We have registered a growth year-on-year. It is 20-25%; and pharma is a major revenue driver. Our company is an expansion mode under which a second packaging unit is being established at Howrah near Kolkata. This unit has partly commenced production and would be completed by 2017. A new rigid packaging unit is also getting ready at this premise.

Team Nextgen Printers with Grafica

The importance of Grafica?
We know Grafica for the last nine years. We used to see their screen printing technology and value addition techniques at print exhibitions. We tried to understand their machine and how to use it for value addition since we thought it was the best option for our needs. We came to the conclusion that for our kind of printing company, a fully automatic cylinder press is the best option rather than having a semi automatic screen printing machine.