IPMMI is upbeat about the growth of packaging in India

Mahadevan Iyer, vice-president of IPMMI, briefs Aditya Ghosalkar about IPMMI’s motto to bring the packaging together. This is through education, training, and fraternising

25 Dec 2023 | By Aditya Ghosalkar

Iyer: Bullish about the packaging machine manufacturers' growth

Mahadevan Iyer says, “A majority of packaging machine manufacturers are based in West India. Given the demography, IPMMI is keen to spread its wings to North India to gain traction. We plan to organise events in Delhi.” This is how IPMMI collaborated with Messe Muenchen and PackMach Asia Expo and drink technology.

On the institutional front, IPMMI has Messe Muenchen as a member and is in collaboration with PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI), Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP) and Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC), BDB India as the knowledge partner.

Held an average of six times annually, the IPMMI roadshows across India were the foundation for the PackMach Asia Expo in October 2023. In addition, IPMMI hosted panel discussions and knowledge workshops. As Iyer says, "The idea is to create an innovative mindset before the expo to foster meaningful conversations and connections."

Commenting on Indian packaging machinery manufacturing, Iyer says, “India lags in terms of technological advancements in comparison to European and Western technologies. And, the ideal proposition is to evolve in terms of regulations and raise quality standards. This will enable us to reach out to a global market.”

Packaging machine manufacturers should be aware of consumer demands and adopt the latest and the best. Iyer pointed to the IMA-PG’s new case-packer CPM-5 launched at the PackMach Asia Expo show to illustrate his point. It is a semi-automatic end-of-line solution, which can be integrated with the cartoning machine A1 upon the consumer’s request given the space availability and cost factor.


IMA -PG India’s new case-packer CPM-5 launched at PackMach Asia Expo 2023

When probed about how Indian manufacturers are performing, Iyer says, “There are standards which define micron levels in primary, secondary, tertiary, and their permissible limits. The Indian manufacturers are on the back foot in this department."

Slow and steady, India is marching forward in terms of automation. Although the labour cost incurred in India is lower, automation is a need of the hour.  Iyer says, "This will increase throughput and increase the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).  "Factories need reliability quotient." 

At Envision 2023 on 29-30 July 2023, WhatPackaging? heard from IPMMI’s president, Anthony D’souza that IPMMI seeks to strengthen collaborations with global counterparts, and leverage digitalisation, automation, and artificial intelligence in packaging machinery manufacturing.

On the sustainable front, both the material manufacturers and the machine manufacturers must work together. For instance, although a product can be packed in a three-ply, it needs to be put in a five-ply to cater to exports. Also, cost plays a crucial role in this regard.

To bridge the gap and educate people, IPMMI conducts online training programs on PLCs, pneumatics, finance for non-finance executives, and digital marketing. This happens once in two to three months and is expected to transpire frequently in the coming years.

Regarding this, the entry fee is Rs 500; students can enrol at Rs 100. It serves as an investment in the development of the employees in the packaging industry and educates the freshmen in their career growth.

IPMMI is in talks for a tie-up with IIP and SIES for the graduation of packaging technologists plus operators training program. There will be six months of classroom sessions, followed by training at a facility under the mentorship of an IPMMI member.

The manufacturers who are exclusive members of IPMMI have voiced that they are facing a dearth of manpower to operate machines. And so, Iyer says, "Our objective is to train the students with basic skills such as standard settings in packaging machinery, rotating equipment, a compressor, the pump, a chilling plant."

Iyer adds, "This will aid them learn effective machine operations, thereby aid the manufacturers yield business."

Gen-Z is unwilling to join the packaging industry. About this, Iyer says, “Subjects include computer science, AI, machine learning, and data science entices the youth. Also, the industries follow a huge pay system.”

He adds, “However, robotics can serve as a bait for the students, given its application under the umbrella of packaging. There is a lack of awareness, but I feel, there will be a paradigm shift of technology.”

Iyer says, “IoT and AI are the future of the packaging industry. It has enabled us to overlook operations of a distant factory setup. I can be in my factory in India and monitor a kit which is installed in the US.”

Iyer believes digitalisation plays a crucial role in track-and-trace, as a manufacturer, from raw material to end product plus identifying which batch it has been produced, where it has been produced and where it is going.

Iyer is fascinated by Google Glass. It is a wearable, voice- and motion-controlled Android device that resembles a pair of eyeglasses and displays information directly in the user's field of vision. He says, “Utilising this, in the packaging industry, will offer streamlined process and cost-effectiveness.”

When asked about IPMMI’s plans, Iyer says, “We have inked an agreement with a market survey company BDB India. The idea is to have a panoramic view of the packaging market regarding geography, trends and more.”


Team IPMMI plans to make the Indian packaging industry a global powerhouse

He adds, “We are talking about having a common HSN code for packaging machines with the government through PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI). Our past president met the finance minister." Iyer mentions how the industry was "represented through the Export Promotion Council (EPC) of India, Ministry of Commerce.”

Iyer emphasises the need for a separate chapter on packaging machinery to recognise the size (and clout) of the machinery market. And this is where IPMMI hopes to take a huge leap.

“We will require support from the government and the various ministries. We have requested the director from IIP at IPMMI’s Envision 2023 conclave. The idea is to excel in the educational and institutional fronts,” concludes Iyer.n

Tags : IPMMI,IMA PG
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The packaging industry is confused by recycling and sustainability rules in India. What is the biggest challenge?

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