Ramco upgrades folding-gluing strength with Bobst

In 2010, when Mahendran, managing director, Ramco, decided to foray into the world of packaging, the first thing he did was to buy a property in Navi Mumbai. Then the company gradually began adding machines to its portfolio. There has been no looking back since.

07 Jan 2022 | By Rahul Kumar

(l-r) Sachin Patil of Bobst and ES Murali Krishnan, production manager, Ramco

“Bobst, as a company, has been like a friend to us,” said Mahendran. “The Bobst customer service team is readily available to resolve our machine problems,” he added.

Years ago, when Ramco invested in its first Bobst machine, it was one of the first few in Mumbai to get the Ambition A1 folder-gluer.

“We wanted to buy the Bobst Ambition A2 folder-gluer at a later stage, but ultimately thought investing in now was the right thing to do. Furthermore, the Bobst team explained the machine’s features and benefits well. This convinced us and made us think of the business with a future perspective,” said Mahendran.

Also, the company was offered a competitive price for its existing folder-gluer. “The Ambition A1 has helped us in accelerating the purchase decision without any qualms,” he said.

He added that the transition from the older machine to the new one was smooth due to the credibility of Bobst as a brand, and the confidence in the machine’s performance in the market even as a secondhand machine. “The machine’s attractive buyback price that we were offered and the Bobst team’s guidance and assistance even after the purchase helped us make the final decision to upgrade,” he said.

He added, “To be able to provide good customer service is a priority for us. We are able to cater to the needs of our customers due to our robust machines. They help us deliver jobs in a timely and consistent manner. Quality and commitment are thus maintained.”

The Bobst Ambition 106 A2 folder-gluer is capable to do jobs like straight line with open blank and with width from 76 to 1,060-mm as well as crash lock bottom open blank with width 146 to 1,060-mm along with max production speed up to 300-m/min. The variable speed-independent drive enables easy adjustments on the machines in real-time during running, and thus, enables handling of typical boxes. Key features in the machine are four and six-corner lock-bottom boxes and value-added boxes.

“That is what we hope will be in demand in the next few years. We look at the future with hopes that the future will improve. Normalcy is gradually returning and in the coming years post this pandemic effect, things will get back on track and we hope to see a boom in the business,” said Mahendran.

“The service team has always been helpful and the customer care number is brilliant. They have always been readily available whenever we had a requirement and have always been prompt to give feedback as and when required, added ES Murali Krishnan, production manager, Ramco.

Talking about the pandemic and its effects, Mahendran said, “We had some troubles during the first wave, as was a completely new situation for everyone. Luckily, our plant was shut only for the initial 2-3 weeks, and upon the completion of all Covid formalities, we re-started instantly. We realised we were functioning better after we re-opened in spite of less staff due to our automated machines. After the initial slowdown of three months, we were able to adapt, and now, we are functioning in full strength. Having survived this now, we are now extremely resilient.”

About the changing consumption patterns, Mahendran said, “The consumption has not increased globally, because market off-take is comparatively low. For example, personal grooming products did not sell as much as they would have. India is a saving economy rather than a spending one. Only the bare necessities were purchased and consumed. Volumes were a bit down in the FMCG segment. However, the pharmaceutical and the food industry did quite well. Also, the movement of people between urban and rural areas due to the lockdowns and work-from-home situation increased the demand coming in from the rural areas.”

So, what were the learnings from the pandemic? “We learnt that if automation is well implemented, you can run a business with minimum manpower. Packaging, overall, is going to get more and more globalised with time. Upgradation, automation and innovation is the way forward hereon and it is important for the next few years for any business,” said Mahendran.