Nextgen Printers buys Roland 500 packaging press

Nextgen Printers buys Roland 500 packaging press
L-R Swapan Chakraborty chief executive officer of Nextgen Printers

Kolkata-based Nextgen Printers has ordered a brand new Manroland Sheetfed Roland 500 series 6-color plus coater with in-line foiler for its Sikkim plant. Essentially, this means that the company now has an extensive array of offset presses, finishing and converting equipment in its Kolkata and Sikkim plants to serve high valueadd and niche carton markets.

The Roland 500 to be installed at Nextgen has what is claimed to be the world’s flattest sheet travel with three different height settings for the transferter gripper bars allowing sheets from 0.04 mm to 1 mm in thickness to move through the press units easily and virtually contactfree, using air tracks. This provides flexibility in using both thin paper as well as thicker paperboard substrates. Nextgen has experience in using the manroland smart coater as a print unit on an earlier purchased Roland 700. This gives the company sufficient flexibility in utilizing the new B2 (740 x 540 mm) press for foiling when needed and without compromising the need for multiple special and brand colors in work that doesn’t require inline foiling.

Although begun in the 1970s, Nextgen’s growth vector has accelerated in the past decade and especially since drupa 2008, when it decided to build a comprehensive greenfield plant for pharmaceutical packaging in Sikkim. The Sikkim plant started up in January 2010 with a brand new Mitsubishi 4-color press, a Proteck offline coater, a Bobst Novacut diecutter and a Bobst Ambition folder-gluer.

A series of investments across its plants in Sikkim and Kolkata continued in the past decade, even as the Sikkim plant gained traction. A new 80,000 square foot plant in Kolkata was commissioned in 2015 and firmly established with the installation of a brand new highly configured KBA Rapida 105 7-color plus coater full UV press. Investments in software and specialized equipment for prototyping and finishing as well as printing and diecutting have been continuous across both of Nextgen’s plants. The company’s purchase of a pair of new Bobst diecutters with automated blanking were a first for the Indian packaging industry.

To a large extent, Nextgen’s rapid growth in the last decade has been driven by its young director Mahesh Khandelwal who understands both the need to have a comprehensive set of finishing equipment as well as the benefits of automation. Above all, Khandelwal sees the opportunity in the East and is determined that valueadded packaging requirements in the the region justify the setting up of stateof-the-art-of-the-art plants. He is keen to become the local supplier of choice to an under-served market by providing the high quality and efficiency that technology can help to provide.

The major share of Nextgen’s clients are in the pharmaceutical industry. The new Roland 500 press in Sikkim will enhance capacity as well as offering the value-added capability of in-line foiling in a single pass that can serve several niche packaging markets. Apart from the creative possibilities that in-line foiling offers, it can be used to add security features to pharma cartons. The installation of the first in-line foiler in the eastern part of India will keep Nextgen ahead of the market.

Since drupa 2008, the company has relentlessly built up both Kolkata and Sikkim plants with continuous investments in Esko prepress software and ancillary equipment for window patching and liner cartons, automated silk screening, a Zund samplemaking table and rigid-box making machines. This process of continuous improvement is not merely limited to hardware investment but extends to all processes, workflows and certifications, aimed at establishing Nextgen as a leading multi-location packaging supplier to the leading pharmaceutical and FMCG companies—firstly in the region, and then beyond.


In a relatively short time, Nextgen has become an organized monocarton supplier and one of the leading packaging companies in Eastern and Northeastern India. Khadelwal says that his plants are competitive even on high-quality short-run packaging. Clearly uninterested in producing only high volume packaging at marginal rates, he would rather supply shortrun and value-added packaging to niche markets and even look further at the possibility of carton exports. His investments and execution in building up and professionalizing two highquality cartons plants and the purchase of the new Roland 500 with in-line foiler certainly suggest an ambition for his company to lead the carton market in the East.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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