Amar Ujala and Daily Ajit buy both Manugraph and TPH presses

Leading dailies buy automated 2 x 1 presses and add towers


At Printpack, The Printers House (TPH) showed its 45,000 copies an hour Orient Xpress web offset shaftless drive with Megtec splicers and QI auto register and cut-off controls. This type of presses with individual Siemens motors driving individual units, Megtec auto reel changers, spray dampening, remote operation and quality controls represents a strong trend amongst the language papers that are looking at the tough economics of page yield and impact. As the leading language dailies feel the pressure to produce more color pages, the four- and five-tower presses are being expanded with better automation while the new presses that are being ordered consist of six and seven towers with full automation.

Amar Ujala, which has placed a large order recently with TPH, has also purchased five Manugraph presses in 2016 and the current year. While it installed new TPH presses in Lucknow and Kanpur last year, it is now planning to install a TPH 45,000 cph press in Dehradun now and presses at other locations. The TPH press configurations consist of seven 4-Hi towers with integrated auto-splicers and 533 mm cut-off. The intention is to install all future presses with similar configurations—that is, to be able to print 28 pages in full process color at one time. Amar Ujala also installed three Manugraph presses last year—one each in Lucknow, Agra and Varanasi—and has plans to install more Manugraph presses this year in Varanasi and Agra, which also continue the trend of seven 4-Hi configurations for 28 pages of full color at one go.

Ajit in expansion mode

Daily Ajit, with its headquarters in Jalandhar and editions from several cities including Ludhiana Chandigarh, Amritsar and Bhatinda, is the leading Punjabi daily newspaper group. Its Hindi Ajit Samachar editions are published from Jalandhar, Bhatinda and Chandigarh. In recent years, to meet the demand for higher circulation with better quality color pages and increased pagination with less wastage, it too has purchased better quality web offset presses from both Manugraph and TPH. While it has stuck to the traditional 546 mm cut-off, its new presses consist of five and six 4-Hi towers with auto registration and cut-off controls, pneumatics, narrow gap blankets and brushless dampening. Two TPH Orient Super 45,000 copies an hour presses with five 4-Hi towers have been installed at Ajit’s Jalandhar plant while an Orient X-cel 36,000 copies an hour with six 4-Hi towers has been installed in Bhatinda. Another Orient X-cel with six 4-Hi towers is scheduled for installation in June and is to be commissioned in July.

Add-on tower and synchronization capability

As leading dailies expand their color pagination, it is necessary to add high-quality 4-Hi towers and TPH is uniquely adept at this not only for its own presses but also for presses of other manufacturers including Manugraph and Goss. TPH has become a leader in the synchronization of add-on towers with existing lines by building special gearboxes that take care of the hight adjustments and mechanical matching of towers with press lines of various manufacturers.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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