Husky’s story in India began with the delivery of its first machine to the Sub-Continent, in 1998. Since then, it has supplied over 280 machines and approximately 600 moulds to India and other SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries, specifically: Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan. Three-quarters of the total has been destined for the growing Indian market. Husky has established a positive reputation in the country both for its machinery and for the know-how it provides. This opinion is heard repeatedly, from both start-ups and established companies who want to bring their preform manufacturing to new levels and higher outputs.
The Chennai factory
Husky Injection Molding Systems (India) Pvt. Ltd. started its sales and service operation in India in 2001. In 2010 the company opened a factory at Mahindra World City, near Chennai, to produce and refurbish moulds, and stock and supply spare parts. The 45,000 square feet (4,180 sq metres) manufacturing facility, set in 11 acres (five hectares) of land, has received capital investment of around US $ 20 million. It currently has a workforce of around 200. Fifteen technicians, located all over India, provide aftersales service for rigid packaging and medical hotrunner equipment. The Chennai operations support the manufacturing and supply of manifolds and manifold systems to SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries, South Asia more widely and intercompany orders for Husky Luxemburg and Husky Vermont (USA). Hotrunner systems are also manufactured at Chennai and supplied to SAARC countries and the South Asia region. Operations at the plant have recently been extended, to provide mould services such as refurbishment for hotrunners and PET moulds for the SAARC region.
The challenge of market segmentation
India’s market is sharply segmented, with starkly different requirements for high-output and low-output systems. The challenge this presents is exacerbated by the low-output market being further divided, between typical converters and companies who produce preforms for inhouse bottling. This segment is very price sensitive and includes many different beverages, which have their own particular requirements for bottles and closures and thus segments the market still further. The company’s base of about 80 customers in India reflects the market’s diversified character; companies range from single-unit operators to 20 machines.
Whatever the size and market of the user or producer, Husky’s approach is to offer complete packages from a single source. Depending on the segment, Husky offers two core main machine types to the local market: the H-PET injection moulding system, with 12-48 cavities, for lower output in niche markets; and the 72-144 cavity HYPET HPP5 system for high output in commodities.
Its strategy includes the development of new preforms and closures with the help of Chennai and support from the head office, in Canada. A strong focus on applications allows the company to offer tailor-made preforms and closure systems, including prototyping, if required. For example: it has been working with Amul, the leading dairy company, in developing caps for milk and juice-flavoured diary products. Husky is also able to offer Pepsi and Coke approved closures, which is an advantage for converters who want to start doing business with these important multinationals.
CSD continues to grow
Part of Husky’s strength is that its employees have their finger on the pulse of the market and are able to recognise trends early. Its vision of the Indian market’s future development is clearly defined. It forecasts sustainable growth in edible oil packaging and expects the high-output commodity market (preforms and closures for CSD and water) to grow further, as will regional brands and players. The general trend of mixing fruit content into CSD will continue, in order to qualify for lower tax rates. In response to growth in CSD, Husky supplied the tooling solution for an entirely new packaging dimension specifically for the Indian market: ASSP (Affordable Small Sparkling Package). The new 9.6 g, 250 ml bottle, which features a 22 mm neck size, addresses the challenge of reaching the most remote rural areas, while keeping the product fresh and affordable.