A 50-year-long journey, based on continuous technological progress and an original and very interactive relationship with the market. This is the beautiful story of Kohli Industries, a well-known Indian manufacturer of rotogravure printing machines, laminating and coating equipments and slitter rewinders, today a leading international player. Here’s why it is getting talked about.
The story of Kohli Industries, now in its fiftieth year, is one that one likes to tell and listen to. The Indian company that has made a name for itself on a global level thanks to the advanced technology of its machines and the live demos with hundreds of Q&As from all over the world has the “humble” origins of those who start from scratch. They are those of P.S. Kohli, who in 1972 opened a workshop in the Maharashtra region, to produce flexo stack printing presses and rewinders for the paper bag industry. He managed it with foresight and tenacity, so much so that 15 years later, when his son Kaku started working with him, he had conquered large market shares and refocused his range on the advanced and rapidly developing segments of rotogravure printing, lamination and coating for flexible packaging.
Drupa and internationalization
“In 1990 I visited Drupa for the first time”, remembers Kaku Kohli, “and for me it was a crucial turning point that paved the way for Kohli’s international future. The technology on display at the fair was awe-inspiring to me and showed the disparity between European and Indian machine manufacturers. I was 22 years old and it was clear by then: my mission would be to narrow this gap and gain the international respect that I was sure an Indian manufacturer could well deserve.” How? By offering innovative machines at competitive prices, with a strong emphasis on personalized customer service.
Today Kaku Kohli is “cashing in” on its success: in 2022 Kohli Industries boasts a state-of-the-art facility, a dedicated R&D department and an installed base of more than 1500 machines in 38 countries. On the product side, too, we can identify a turning point: the putting into production of Thea-9one8: the rotogravure that in 2020 changed the game, going “viral” and definitively attesting Kohli as a hi-tech manufacturer. “It has been a challenging journey, but today we can say, ‘evidence in hand,’ that we are the first Asian manufacturer to print live at 651 mpm with toluene-free inks, and 501 mpm with water-based inks,” says a satisfied Kaku Kohli.
“With the help of an incredible team, family support and great determination 32 years after my first visit to Drupa, my dream has finally come true. I believe there is an appreciation and acceptance of Indian machines in the world today that wasn’t there before. And we can finally hold our own against our European counterparts.”
In 2022 Kohli Industries became a member of two major international gravure printing and coating associations: the European ERA and the US Aimcal/GAA.
Live demos and Cafegravure: “direct” marketing
Kohli’s success is due not only to the technological level and performance of its presses, but also to the lively and transparent interactivity that characterizes its relationship with the market and with the various players in the printing community.
This is particularly evident in the live demos organized via web, such as those last year dedicated to the new Thea-9one8 gravure press, where Kaku Kohli in a collective chat personally answered hundreds of technical questions from operators connected from all over the world. Very convincing!
The same spirit led to the birth of Cafegravure, launched in April 2020 at the beginning of the lockdown to create a “place” of reference for anyone – beginner or expert – who needs guidance and suggestions relative to printing, coating, laminating, converting flexible packaging.
“Students, engineers, machine operators, production, maintenance, quality control teams… anyone can write to email@example.com: I will personally answer to all questions. In 2022, I hope to be able to devote more time to this initiative: when I joined the company in the late 1980s, it would have helped me a lot!”
The product portfolio
Kohli offers a wide range of rotogravure printing presses for different applications: the Rhea with mechanically driven shaft and the Thea with electronic driven shaft.
Very varied the offer of laminating machines, consisting of:
- Plutus, a multi-process and multi-technology laminator for all types of applications: solvent-based, water-based, solventless, hot melt, cold seal, UV-LED-EBeam lacquers or pressure sensitive silicones;
- Gaia, simple solution for solventless lamination;
- Athena, advanced solution for solvent and water based lamination and coating.
- Lamex, line of extrusion coating and laminating machines, produced in collaboration with Rajoo Engineers;
Zeus, an innovative range of slitter rewinders for flexible packaging and pressure sensitive labels, completes the offer.
“All our machines are designed by operators for operators, and they are all designed and produced by Kohli in India,” the entrepreneur emphasizes. Who now relaunches: “the evolution of technology and our R&D never stops”. We will meet them at K in Düsseldorf.