Fewer Indians attend China Print but FY 17-18 off to strong start


Heidelberg introduced its new B2 press, the Speedmaster CX75, at an open house at its Wiesloch factory in early April and then showed it at the largest Asian exhibition this year in Beijing as 4-color press with DryStar LED curing. The press, which fits in between the highly automated XL models and the SX 74, is also described as an XL75 Lite press. In answer to a question at interpack in Dusseldorf (an event that began just before China Print), Rainer Hundsdörfer commented that the CD 74 model will continue to be the base offering in Heidelberg’s packaging press line-up. After receiving its official launch at China Print, the CX 75 is expected to ship in November after being field-tested at existing Heidelberg user Werbedruck Petzold in Germany.

For packaging with a wide variety of finishing options
With the Speedmaster CX 75, Heidelberg is closing the gap between the Speedmaster SX 74 and the Speedmaster XL 75 and rounding out its portfolio in the 50 x 70 cm format. The new press will appeal to customers in growth markets such as India with commercial printers migrating to carton printing—printers who need high flexibility but for whom a large number of automation components do not make economic sense at current volumes. The Speedmaster CX 75 will also be of interest to those print shops in industrialized countries that operate one or two shifts and are looking for an attractive price-performance ratio.

FY 2017-18 off to strong start for Indian offset printers
Heidelberg India recently announced the sale of three SX 74, 4-colour presses, a CX 102 7-color plus coater press and an XL 106 7-color plus coater that includes the company’s fixed 7-color Multicolor technology for expanded gamut printing to Temple Packaging. RMGT’s distributor in India, Provin Technos is also on course to match or exceed last year’s numbers with eight presses scheduled for installation in the first five months of the financial year itself. Vinay Kaushal also speaks about signing for one press at China Print in Beijing.

A Komori distributor in India announced the sale of eight presses at China Print in addition to the presses that are already under installation since April. The announcements in Beijing include Award Offset’s order of a GL 40 7-color plus coater press and also the sale of the first Komori cutting machine to the Indian market.

In addition, Award Offset, a leading pharma packaging converter in Western India also recently signed an order with IndoPolygraph Machinery for a KBA Rapida 105 7-color plus coater UV press for installation this year. KBA, which tends to dominate the packaging or full UV-coater 5- 6- and 7-color press market in India, already has seven such presses scheduled for installation in this financial year with a couple already having cleared customs. At the same time it has started to break into B2 market with the installation and sales of its new Pro 75 series.

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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