Printing Companies in the Middle East Upping Folding Carton Production
Economic development in the Middle and Near East is underpinned by oil prices and politics. Both have given rise to a spirit of optimism in recent years. In addition, societal and current social conditions like a booming young population and growing urbanization have played a significant role in helping to shape the economic upswing in the region. For example, fast food restaurants and the growing number of online food delivery apps are increasingly taking their place alongside the traditional dining options. Quite a number of foodstuffs are produced locally as competitively priced base substrates.
The changes are benefiting the food and packaging industries and, of course, also the packaging printers. Folding cartons account for over 80 percent of the printed products in the Middle East, with most produced for the local markets. Competition between printing press manufacturers is stiff in these growth markets. Thanks to its solutions, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) is a leader in this flourishing market segment. Its overall offering consisting of machines –both used and new –, software, consumables, consulting, training, service, and spare parts is well received in the markets. Heidelberg is represented locally by dealers with whom it enjoys long-standing relationships. It was this alone that enabled printing presses ordered before the coronavirus pandemic to be installed at customers’ sites by the dealers’ service experts during the pandemic. The new equipment gave the printing companies the productivity boost they needed along with greater flexibility. “In the packaging printing sector we offer our customers in the Middle East machines tailored to their needs,” explains Rainer Hundsdörfer, Chief Executive Officer of Heidelberg. “By installing machines on schedule in compliance with all the safety regulations we also showed that we are a reliable partner in both good times and bad.” Numerous recent customer installations underline this.
In fall last year, Pakistan Printing Equipment Co. Pvt. Ltd (PPECL), Heidelberg’s representative in Pakistan, installed a complete production line at the packaging printing company PrintKraft (Private) Limited in Faisalabad, Pakistan. The bundle included the Speedmaster XL 75-6+L UV from the new 2020 generation and a Suprasetter A 106 CtP system . The machines are fully integrated via the Prinect workflow and equipped with the Prinect Axis Control color measurement system for stable print color management. The installation is the first of its kind in Pakistan’s Punjab province. PrintKraft moved into a new building specifically for this in a strong strategically location in a special economic zone of Faisalabad, giving it a base in one of Pakistan’s largest cities. The former print shop, which also uses Heidelberg presses for its production needs, will remain at the old location.
“We see enormous potential in packaging printing thanks to a rapidly growing manufacturing industry and a beneficial economic policy,” explains Zain Sadiq, CEO of PrintKraft. “Our goal is to become a leading player in the packaging industry with high-quality and innovative solutions. As a first step, our plan is to offer folding cartons for the textile, pharmaceutical, food, and FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) industries. We once again chose Heidelberg as a technology partner for this, and have confidence in its high quality and good service.”
The installation took place during the difficult period of the pandemic. “The PPECL service engineers brought a great deal of expertise to the task and trained our team in how to produce various materials on the new printing press so that we can have a high level of flexibility,” confirms Fuzail Arif, Manager Operations at PrintKraft. Their experience so far has been extremely positive: the ease of use and high level of automation have enabled PrintKraft to shorten its makeready times and consequently its delivery times, while the data provided by the Prinect workflow ensures high transparency. The company uses Saphira blankets, coatings and fountain solutions, that are optimally coordinated to the press. The overall effect is to enable sustainable production, helping PrintKraft to maintain its strong focus on social and ecological responsibility.
Faisalabad is the center of Pakistan’s textile industry. “Interloop Holdings Private Limited”, PrintKraft’s parent company, is a multi-industry company and operates one of the largest sock factories in the world.
Egyptian consumers have high standards when it comes to packaging. It was this that prompted Flex Print to invest in a Speedmaster CX 102-8+LYYL UV for its printing and packaging needs. Flex Print is the only printing company in Egypt and the Near East with one of these presses. Its configuration offers the company the flexibility it needs for its intended printing applications. For example, four primary colors and two spot colors can be printed in one pass if required. Special effects are achieved with dispersion and UV coatings using the double-coating technology. A further benefit is the wide range of substrates, from cardboard to different plastics to aluminum foil.
“Our intention with this new press is to develop the market in Egypt with premium folding cartons that catch the eye at the point of sale through metalized and other special effects,” explains Ashraf Maher Mounir, CEO of Flex Print. “In addition, the short makeready times mean that we can now offer our customers faster delivery.”
The printing company established in 1991 in Cairo has a broad customer base of brand owners and produces packagings for the foodstuffs market as well as for luxury goods. The Speedmaster CX 102 was installed last summer by the Youssef Allam Group, Heidelberg’s representative in Egypt. For this complex project, a service engineer was specially trained on-site in Wiesloch-Walldorf in skills like how to use the electronic level, a piece of software for exactly aligning the long perfecting presses. The topic of UV in all its facets was also addressed in an online session in order to ensure the necessary safety here. “We’re extremely happy with the advice and service we received from the Youssef Allam Group and how they installed the press, and look forward to working with them again,” says Ashraf Maher Mounir in summary. Flex Print already uses two Speedmaster CD 102 presses and one Speedmaster XL 162 .
“Even before the coronavirus pandemic we had decided on a new Speedmaster XL 106 six-color press with UV coating in order to boost our productivity in folding carton production,” explains Khalifa Al Zahid, General Manager of the printing company Shater Al-Ebtekar. Another reason for the investment was the increased demand for spot colors and spot coatings with UV. What clinched the deal was the company’s prior good experience with Heidelberg Saudi Arabia and the fast service. There are another five Speedmaster CD 102 presses with different technology in the company’s press room.
Shater Al-Ebtekar was founded in 1979 and its 180 employees in Dammam in Saudi Arabia mainly produce folding cartons for the local markets in the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and Egypt. Its biggest customers are in the food industry. It processes around 12,000 metric tons of cardboard each month.
The new Speedmaster XL 106 replaces an older Speedmaster CD 102. “The new press fully met all of our expectations – with high quality, shorter makeready times, and ease of use. The high level of automation meant we could significantly increase productivity,” confirms Khalifa Al Zahid.
The new printing press was installed by Heidelberg Saudi Arabia during the pandemic. The demand for packaging for home deliveries rose again during this time, enabling the company to expand this market and develop an effective and profitable business.
The next step is to establish an MIS system with Prinect for even greater efficiency and a high level of transparency.