Mumbai canvassers bring digital print capability in-house


Demand for short-run print jobs has been on the rise for some years now, resulting in many traditional printers boosting their digital printing infrastructure. Customers now want quick delivery and customization. This trend has also led to proliferation of digital print shops in not only bigger cities but also tier-1 and -2 cities across the country. The installation base for digital printing presses continues to grow in India’s commercial center of Mumbai. Recently, two Mumbai-based print canvassers decided to bring digital printing capabilities in-house to have better control on the services they were providing to customers.

Cotton Green based Image Compu Art has set up a new division called Thrive Prints, which will handle all print-related work. Earlier, Image Compu Art was handling the whole chain, from designing to delivery. All printing jobs, both offset and digital, were being outsourced to third-party printers but looking at the growing demand for short-run jobs, Image Compu Art decided to buy a Ricoh PRO C5100s and bring the digital printing part in-house under the new entity. While the designing part will be taken care of by Image Compu Art, all offset printing jobs will continue to be outsourced to third-party vendors.

“Although about 65% the jobs we get are still offset, the point to note is that this share was about 80% few years back. Share of digital print jobs has been steadily rising, which led us to buy a digital press,” says Hitesh Shah, who manages both Image Compu Art and Thrive Prints.

With the new digital press in-house, Shah hopes to make better returns compared to what he did when jobs were outscored since it will eliminate the share which went to the third party. He also expects to serve his customers better as he can now have a better control of the process. Image Compu Art has customers in pharma, garments and cosmetics segments for whom it prints brochures, catalogs, promotional items, etc. “We have invested in an entry-level printer since we wanted to get familiar with the digital printing process. Now our aim is to recover the cost of this press as fast as possible and then upgrade to a more advanced press,” Shah says.

The Ricoh PRO C5100s can print full-color or black-and-white documents at up to 65 prints per minute and has color image resolution up to 1200 x 4800 dpi. It can manage a wide range of media up to 13 inch x 19.2 inch.

Shah informs that in the next phase of investment, he wants to bring finishing capabilities in-house. This year Shah expects to buy lamination, punching and cutting machines.

Andheri-based Soham Enterprises installs Ricoh PRO C7100
Another Mumbai-based canvasser, Soham Enterprises, has bought a new Ricoh PRO C7100 4-color production printer. Just like Image Compu Art’s Shah, Soham’s Ratilal Gami too has witnessed rise in demand for short-run jobs in the last couple of years.

Ratilal Gami of Soham Enterprises 

“The volume of short-run print jobs has expanded significantly in recent years. So, it makes sense to have a digital print set up in-house than have those services outsourced. Not only does it make financial sense but also operational sense,” Gami argues.

Ricoh PRO C7100 has a speed of 90 color prints per minute with a resolution of up to 1200 x 4800 dpi.

“We saw demonstrations of Ricoh PRO C7100 at a couple of printers in Andheri East and found the printer to be well suited for jobs that we do such as posters, visual aids, etc.,” Gami states.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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