This year’s R. Stanton Avery Global Achievement Award has been bestowed on label industry veteran Harveer Sahni.
Sahni started his career in 1971 working in his father’s stationery company, Weldon Sales Corporation. In 1978, as part of expanding the company’s stationery product range, Sahni set up a 20-inch coater to manufacture self-adhesive BOPP tapes — one of the first to do so in India.
Making use of his BSc Chemistry background, Sahni used the Weldon laboratory to research development of new products including inks, adhesives and coatings. At this time he also ventured into industrial adhesives, plastic blow molding and injection molding.
With demand for self-adhesive stickers starting to take off in India through the 1970s, in 1978 Sahni invested in a siliconizing line, developing and producing poly-coated release liners and later a barrier coating for uncoated woodfree or brown sack kraft papers that could accept silicone release coating.
In the late 1990s a one-meter coater was installed to carry out both silicone coating and to produce release liners, and in 1997 Weldon started manufacturing self-adhesive labelstock, soon adding another coater to focus on liner manufacture.
With the dawn of the 2000s, Sahni moved the business from coating tin catalyst-based silicone chemistry to a solvented platinum catalyst system and then on to solventless silicone coating — a line which is still in use. In 2003 Sahni set up the first Nordson Hotmelt adhesive coating line in India.
The global recession of 2008 led to Sahni reducing dependence on manufacturing and setting up as India agent for leading global manufacturers of print and converting equipment, tooling and consumables.
In the late 1990s Sahni welcomed the entry of Avery Dennison to India, recognizing that this would help drive development of the entire Indian label converting industry. This also pushed Sahni into developing export markets, and Weldon was soon selling to more than 30 countries.
In 2001 Sahni became involved in helping his friend Anil Arora establish the India Label Show, which Tarsus Group purchased in 2007, when it became Labelexpo India.
Weldon became the first Indian labelstock manufacturer to exhibit at Labelexpo Europe and also in this decade Sahni became the first Indian national to be on a FINAT committee, and he was a judge for the World Label Awards multiple times.
Sahni sits on the board of directors of the Label Manufacturers Association of India (LMAI) and has curated, along with the LMAI team, many events bringing together label printers, suppliers and print buyers. Sahni was part of the LMAI delegation to meetings of the L9 group of global label associations, with LMAI hosting an L9 meeting in India in 2018.
In 2017 the LMAI conferred upon Sahni the award for Lifetime support to the Indian Label Industry.