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Marks Emballage vies for leadership position

The Marks Emballage and Gallus teams sign a deal for two Labelmaster presses

Indian label converter Marks Emballage has invested US$6 million in new equipment, signing deals to install two Gallus Labelmaster 440 label printing presses, a Prati bi-directional finishing system and inspection slitter rewinder, a Pantec Rhino II hot foiling unit and AVT inspection, at its new plant in Baddi, which is under construction. 

The Gallus presses are 8-color and 10-color; the Pantec and Prati machines have been customized, enabling the company to bring to market unique products at high production efficiency. ‘The Gallus Labelmaster, with its short set-up times and high level of automation, offers the finest print quality at any speed, so it was a very convincing choice. Hence we added two Gallus Labelmasters and a Pantec Rhino II along with Prati finishing lines to give the best results to brand owners,’ says Aaditya Kashyap, managing director at Marks Emballage.

Apart from presses and finishing lines, the company is also investing in industry standard pre-press workflow, color matching and proofing equipment, automated ink kitchen, a fully equipped quality lab, a robust ERP system, material handling equipment, material storage racking systems and efficient waste management ancillaries.

Expected to be ready by the fourth quarter of 2018, the 30,000 sq ft plant is ISO 9001:2008 certified. The company will add more quality processes and certifications for its new plant including OHSAS 18001 for Occupational Health & Safety, G7 master printer certification color management and print quality certification. 

It also looking at ISO 14001 certification for Environmental Management, with the objective of improving control of processes and minimizing waste. Marks Emballage is working with some of the leading waste management consultants to come up with best-in-class industry practices. ‘We are excited to work with partners in the industry including brands, labelstock manufacturers and paper recycling specialists on the liner recycling program. It is the need of the hour to become more environmentally responsible and achieve zero waste to landfill,’ says Kashyap. 

Quality requirements
With these certifications and fresh equipment, the new plant is planned to exceed the upcoming stringent quality requirements in the pharma sector while also adhering to all required global print standards. ‘This investment is a natural progression from being a newcomer in the label printing industry to aiming at a leadership position. Each piece of equipment was worthy of the role it played in our exciting journey and was right for the business at its time. Today, we are confident and are expanding our facility with the best equipment, increasing our ability to service bigger brands and even look at exports,’ says Chandrakant Gadhia, vice president at Marks Emballage. 

In addition, the company is investing heavily in training and process standardization through expert consultants and industry partners. ‘We are designing a skills training program for machine operators with a strong financial commitment to training facilities in the region. It’s also going to be our continuous corporate social responsibility (CSR) program to contribute to the print and label industry by uplifting skills and thus the life of operators,’ adds Kashyap.

With these investments and initiatives, Marks Emballage will enter new segments including cosmetics, personal care, FMCG, wine and spirits, automobile, agro chemical and industrial, while strengthening its existing pharma label business. ‘Pharma happens to be our stronghold and we are focused on bringing some innovations to this segment such as smart labels for supply chain tracking. We are also working on offering a complete range of products from multi-layer labels, booklet labels, hanger labels, blood bag labels and child resistant labels. We will offer serialization, track and trace, temperature logging and other smart features in due course. We are also going to have a research and development lab in our new plant to work on these products in partnership with some of the leading equipment and technology providers,’ details Kashyap. 

In addition, the company will now be able to offer embellishments such as rotary screen, hot and cold foil, registered hologram and lens insetting, micro embossing into a single combination label, multiple layer promotional labels, shrink sleeves and in-mold labels for bottles. ‘To equally support the new hardware, we are investing in security design capabilities from leading technology companies. We are confident that we shall bring a fresh product price offering in the market which is only possible with automation and standardization,’ explains Gadhia.

It is Marks’ endeavor to focus on effective anti-counterfeiting and brand protection strategies as it believes that it is an essential part of any business plan. ‘Consumer protection is very important and authentication solutions in integration with digital technologies can play a vital role. This is one of the biggest opportunities for the label sector. As per a recent statement by Authentication Solutions Providers Association (ASPA), the market for fakes are on a constant rise in India, and has surpassed Rs 40,000 crore (US$5.8 billion) in the organized sector alone, as law enforcement remains weak and fraudsters freely make inroads into the market. There is a need for a high level of innovation which only a handful of companies are focusing on,’ Kashyap says. 

Expansion 
Marks Emballage targets a US$15 million turnover by 2020. It currently prints around a million linear meters every month on existing Chinese and Bobst presses, and aims to grow its turnover by five times at its new plant. However, Gadhia clarifies: ‘The new expansion is not an incremental upgrade of the existing plant but a completely new start for the company from a superior platform. The new facility is not only geared to print higher linear meters but also have better value where the meters are fewer. Its aim is to stand out in both capabilities and capacity, as our focus will be to achieve the correct balance between volume and value to offer a unique advantage to the brands in terms of price and embellishments. Our strategy and operations are being aligned to achieve this by product innovation, efficient production and great customer relationship management.’ 

The company is evaluating between investment in hybrid or digital equipment. ‘While we do understand digital is the future, we strongly believe success in digital is all about getting the business model right. We are still studying the options,’ reveals Kashyap. 

He says the Indian label market’s value is estimated to be around Rs 3,000-crore (US$438 million) with a growth rate of 15 percent. ‘This is a great opportunity for all printers. We are just aiming to make the best of this opportunity by investing in the right technologies and offering value addition to brands. We firmly believe that we should focus on building competence. Success shall follow,’ concludes Kashyap. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aakriti Agarwal is India and Southeast Asia editor for Labels & Labeling.

Aakriti has been India editor for a number of years, and editor of the online newsletter, Label News India.

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