BS Jolly lays down expectations from carton machinery manufacturers

During the PackMach Asia Expo 2022, held in Mumbai, BS Jolly, managing director and CEO of Edelmann Group, spoke about the expectations from a packaging machinery manufacturer during a half-day seminar organised by IFCA. Excerpts from BS Jolly’s presentation

05 Jan 2023 | By Abhay Avadhani

Jolly: Packaging machinery's focus is on the focus is on increasing output speeds

Edelmann Group, headquartered in Germany has been a family business since 1913 which designs and produces high-quality packaging solutions for the health care, beauty care and consumer brands sectors. The solutions enable customers to optimise their processes across the entire supply chain. The company has more than 14 plants across eight countries (including India), over 3,000 employees, which produces more than 4.5 billion cartons and 1.1 billion leaflets.

Since Covid, the packaging industry has been impacted by the increasing prices of boards and other raw materials leading to removal of packaging in some cases. Further, the inability to pass on the full price increase to the customers has impacted margins in a big way. 

This has forced packaging manufacturers to look at cost centres internally that are tied to efficiency and innovation. Hence, our expectations shift to machinery vendors to offer solutions based on the latest trends in efficiency. The expectations from packaging machinery manufacturers in four broad categories - Efficient production, lower learning curves, optimised cost of operations and cost of ownership. 

Efficient production
Whenever we think of packaging machinery efficiency, the focus is on increasing output speeds. There are eCommerce and DTC requirements in pharma, FMCG and beauty segments which are witnessing increase in personalised SKUs where the production runs are getting shorter. This creates the requirement for faster changeovers.

Energy efficiency should be the focus in all machinery innovations and developments, especially for UV presses. There needs to be cost-effective replacement of UV lamps and associated paraphernalia. The inline controls for automatic quality rejection in printing, die-cutting and pasting processes needs to be made affordable for the carton manufacturers.

Optimisation of control and measuring strips in board printing needs to be implemented for material efficiency. The machine manufacturers need to provide a simple and generic way of generation of performance reports for analysis, optimisation and improvement of digitalisation without the need for connection to ERP systems.

Reduce the learning curve
With the increase in automation in the packaging machinery industry, the skill gap seems to be getting wider. We have seen advanced and complex machines used only for their rudimentary functions because the hiring pool needs training to keep up with the innovations. The packaging machinery manufacturers can provide regular training workshops for the users of the machines and make their machines much-more flexible and multi-functional.

​Since 1913, Edelmann has been designing and producing high-quality packaging solutions made from cardboard and paper, always holistically well thought-out. Performed at the highest technological level – and always aspiring to be both efficient and environmentally conscious. So, on the one hand, customers can optimise their processes throughout the entire supply chain and, on the other hand, reduce CO2 footprint as much as possible.​​

Technical innovations backed by a well-thought out training system can catapult the Indian packaging industry straight into a sustainable future.

Optimise the cost of operations
Traditionally packaging machinery is designed in a very static modular way – one machine for one function. While this approach has merits of workflow and consistency, the packaging manufacturers expect more dynamic machinery. For example, a printing machine which can also be a label printer, or a packaging machine that acts as both a labeller and a multi-packer. 

Due to the economic advantage, most of the machinery buyers resort to retrofit spares, repairs and assembly after running out of the warranty periods. When the required spares are not available with the original machine supplier, they have to be sourced from some other country which leads to longer breakdown times. 

Machinery manufacturers can address this problem by working on the availability and affordability of vital spares to keep the production lines running. They also need to work beyond usual annual maintenance plans and carve innovative preventive maintenance plans with real cost savings accruing to carton producers. 

Optimise the cost of ownership
ROI is a fundamental and concrete measure of any business. Hence, the packaging machinery industry expects optimised cash flow to increase ROI. Machinery selection is based on engineering and technical specifications and the initial Capex. However, a significant machine cost is also incurred in terms of Opex. 

If you analyse the total cost of ownership (that is, the initial Capex and Opex over the life cycle of machinery), the Capex is not more than 20-25% of the total cost. But the buying decisions are made on the basis of Capex because Opex is hidden from customer perception. Machinery manufacturers can help in reducing the Opex by offering subscription-based models of Opex and OEE improvements.

Machinery manufacturers can help in reducing the Opex by offering subscription-based models of Opex and OEE. The organisations get them installed in their workplace on cost-per-page payment plans. More than two decades ago, Airtel in India changed the way of buying telecom equipment by introducing the Erlang linked payment arrangement with hardware suppliers such as Ericsson and Nokia. 

The machine manufacturers in the print and packaging industry should start offering Pay as you Print payment models for Capex financing. This will ease the cash flow requirements of printers, increase the ROI and expand the industry for machine manufacturers as well.

Edelmann in India - At a glance
Edelmann India plant is located in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh. The plant has more than 350 employees, producing over 470 million cartons and 13 million leaflets. Edelmann India is equipped with infrastructure which includes Esko workflow, six printing lines; Heidelberg Cx-102, Steinamnn and BOBST post-press machines. 

Edelmann boasts FSC, Sedex, ISO9001 certifications besides third year successive Gold Star Ecovadis sustainability rating which puts the company in top four per cent of 85,000 audited companies.

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