Fujifilm Sericol India is a 100 percent owned subsidiary of Fujifilm Ink Solutions UK, formerly Fujifilm Sericol International, which is a subsidiary of the 25 billion USD Fujifilm Holding Corporation of Japan. Fujifilm Sericol, as a group, has been manufacturing solvent and UV inks for more than six decades.
‘Consumption of UV flexo and letterpress inks in the Indian narrow web market is about 1,000 to 1,200 metric tons per annum, which amounts to around 120 crore INR [18.5m USD] of UV inks. We have a market share of around 12 percent of this market in the country,’ estimates Rajesh Gandhi, general manager sales at Fujifilm Sericol India.
Fujifilm Sericol India was incorporated in 1996 and is an ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015 and OSHAS 18001:2007 accredited company. A leading supplier of screen inks in India for many years, it has now become a major player in the narrow web ink industry.
The company saw growth in the narrow web industry when the population of UV flexo printers started growing and the demand for UV inks increased significantly. Uvivid JD UV flexo inks were initially imported from its parent company in the UK. With increasing demand, the company installed new machinery, increased capacity and expanded infrastructure to start manufacturing UV flexo inks at its Sanaswadi plant near Pune in 2016.
‘We have grown in the Indian market so we decided to manufacture UV flexo inks locally and pass on the benefit to the customer. We now cater to the market more efficiently,’ says Gandhi.
Fujifilm Sericol India manufactures UV-, solvent- and water-based screen inks; wide format inkjet inks for UV as well as solvent applications; inks for graphics and signage; direct container inks; acid resistant inks; UV narrow web inks and varnishes for narrow web flexo as well as letterpress machines; UV offset inks and varnishes for packaging; and inks for printing shrink sleeves. To test inks before dispatching, the plant houses a fully equipped R&D facility recognized by the Indian government’s Department of Scientific & Industrial Research (DSIR). Fujifilm Sericol also manufactures Phthalate- and PVC-free inks for textile companies and has a separate quality control and R&D center for these.
The company evolved as a boutique ink company that makes low volume but high value inks. ‘We are focused on offering specialized ink so our smallest SKU is one kilo based on customer requirement,’ says Gandhi. ‘Some label applications require ink to remain perfect even if the product is outdoors for a few years. We have equipment in-house to test the outdoor durability of ink. So, ink is aged and tested before we supply to customers. Likewise, we have the capability to make different kind of specialty inks.’
However, specialized inks are expensive because of pigment costs, and are supplied by few companies. ‘Brand owners don’t always want to pay extra so the demand is very small. With more anti-counterfeiting and security features requested on products, this is beginning to change,’ says Gandhi.
Fujifilm Sericol is establishing color matching centers for UV flexo and screen inks in Mumbai and Chennai. It already has color matching facilities at its office in Pune and Delhi. ‘The new centers are expected to be operational by December 2017. The factory in Pune will make base color stocks that will be sent to these centers. Here, ink will be blended and tested as per customer requirement and dispatched at shorter lead time,’ says Gandhi.
Turning to the Indian narrow web market, Gandhi says: ‘The Indian label industry is growing fast at 15 to 20 percent per annum. Our company is fully committed to invest adequately in all necessary resources to rapidly grow our market share in the UV flexo market segment.’