FL5 + FDC 600 - carton production line





Based in Bengaluru (Bangalore), iTek Packz was founded by the second generation of Wintek Flexo Prints’ owners, the late Shahul Hameed, Gururaj Ballarwad and the late PC Anand. Gassali Shahul Hameed and Tippu Hameed,  Girish and Gopi Ballarwad, and Vinay Anand Pavuluri established iTek Packz to accommodate the folding carton business of Wintek Flexo Prints after ITW Signode acquired the flexo division. Like so many carton houses before it, iTek Packz began life with sheet fed offset presses and a bank of offline converting and finishing machines. In fact, it still has a Komori six-colour in daily operation, but according to Gopi Ballarwad, one of four brothers involved in running the company, the traditional production methods left little opportunity for innovation and he and his fellow directors felt a new approach was needed.

It all began with a visit to the Print Pack trade fair in India and a meeting with local Edale agent, Amitabh Luthra of Printer Supply Co. “After watching the video of an Edale FL5 press running high-quality folding cartons and converting them in a single-pass, we knew we were on to something good,” explained Gopi Ballarwad.

Familiar with the flexo process from the 1990s, the company could see new opportunities in its sector of the carton market where innovation and creativity are more by-words than long run volume business. After visiting Edale’s showroom and demonstration facility in the UK and a carton converter using an FL5,

iTek Packz was convinced this was the way forward and duly ordered and installed the Edale press. It’s a 10-colour line with inline cold foil and lamination capabilities and is fitted with a rotary die-cut unit for lightweight substrates down to 12-micron and has a flatbed die-cutter for up to 700-micon paperboard stocks. Rated at 100m/min, the 430mm wide press has achieved some outstanding results since it was commissioned that have brought international recognition.

“We have been fortunate to win an FTA Award for five consecutive years in the Narrow Web category, and for ‘Best in Show’,” said Ballarwad. The citation from the panel of judges could hardly have read better. It said: ‘…great screen, great trap, and great register, and the use of gold cold foil and overprint varnish textures that added measurable diversity and depth.’

Commenting for Edale, Sales Director, Darren Pickford, added, “We are delighted that our customer has won these awards and it’s a real testament to their quality of printing and their desire to continually innovate their techniques. It shows that iTek Packz and the FL5 can compete with the best of the best.” What it also highlights, according to Pickford, is that flexographic printing provides direct competition for the offset method that is traditional in carton production.

The FL5’s forte is short to medium run folding carton production, including the ability to embellish in a sustainable way in a single pass. This is confirmed by Ballarwad who says that typical work on the FL5 would be from 5,000 to 500,000 cartons, but with the ability to offer 1,000 or fewer if required, making it ideal for sampling and limited run promotions.

Quality is Key

Regarding quality, after initial scepticism from customers, who were accustomed to their jobs being printed offset, iTek Packz was able to demonstrate that flexo was a good commercial alternative, and any lingering fears were allayed. This is equally applicable to virgin and recycled boards, according to Ballarwad, who said that the company learned to use the FL5 printing paper wrappers before graduation onto tube laminates, shrink sleeves and labels before attempting cartons.

“It is such a great all-rounder that offers us almost endless possibilities with new products that will help to grow the business,” said Ballarwad. If more proof were needed, the company can also lay claim to four Asian Packaging Excellence Awards for work produced on the FL5, which as Amitabh Luthra of Printer Supply Co said, “gives international recognition that flexo offers direct competition to offset for folding cartons.”

He went on to say that a major advantage of the FL5 inline machine was that instead of a five-step sheet fed offset process for folding carton production, the cartons can be printed in a roll-to-sheet form in one-pass.

This is a big advantage, as it eliminates stock holding and working-progress material. With offset production, printing a typical lakh carton would require four to five days as it passes through printing, foil stamping, coating, die-cutting, and gluing processes.

With the Edale, the die-cut blanks can be readied and run-off on the folder-gluer the same day. Pickford added, “The Edale FDC die-cutter comes as a retrofit option on an existing web-fed press or as an unwind stand for off-line conversion of conventionally or digitally pre-printed webs. It adds even more flexible production capability within a small footprint.”

As all Edale presses have remote connection to the factory, diagnosis of most problems is quick and easy. Another real benefit is that the FL5 comes with seven servo motors on each print station and full register as a part of standard specification. This allows for storage of all jobs and results in reduced set up time and waste.

“We develop all electrical and mechanical parts and software in-house, and this has been key to putting Edale at the forefront of automation.

The addition of our AiiR system makes the FL5 the easiest press to operate in the market today, with fast changeover times that allow for more jobs to be run each day,” Pickford added. Ballarwad concluded,

“What we like most about Edale is their approach to solving a problem with a tailor-made machine. It gives us the confidence to work with them closely on future projects and build a cooperative partnership that is mutually beneficial. The FL5 is one of three Edale presses here, and we anticipate installing more in the years to come.”

Gopi Ballarwad and James Boughton with one of iTek Packz’ many print awards.

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Gopi Ballarwad and James Boughton with
one of iTek Packz’ many print awards.


Based in Bengaluru (Bangalore), iTek Packz was founded by the second generation of Wintek Flexo Prints’ owners


The flat bed die-cutting unit can work inline or offline with the FL5 flexo press.