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.