EAE wins key Geoman retrofit order from Times of India

EAE wins key Geoman retrofit order from Times of India

L to R: Bernhard Schmiedeberg, EAE sales manager; Snehasis Roy, BCCL technical director; Mohit Jain, BCCL executive president of supply chain; Menno Jansen, QIPC-EAE chairman; Shyam Shanker, BCCL director of business & commercial; Werner Ringel, EAE managing director; Raj Nargis, chairman, Krause India & agent, QIPC-EAE; and Heiko Küttner, EAE managing director


The Times of India, India’s largest English-language daily newspaper, has charged Engineering Automation Electronics (EAE) with the modernisation of a newspaper press at its printing center in Sahibabad, near Delhi. The new retrofit project represents EAE’s biggest direct order to date from a South Asian country so far.

Established in 1838, The Times of India belongs to the closely held Indian Bennett-Coleman group, which operates 13 of its own printing centers across the country. Its circulation currently totals more than 3 million copies a day. At the Sahibabad site in the Delhi national capital region, newspaper production takes place on manroland double width double circumference web offset presses consisting of a pair of Geoman presses and a pair of Colormans. The four presses are used to produce The Times of India in English and Navbharat Times in Hindi, both dailies, as well as various other titles for Delhi and the surrounding area.

The company had been thinking about modernising the manroland Geoman web press in Sahibabad that was installed in 1995 and was keen to find an open solution that relied on components and spares available in the local markets in India as far as possible. After evaluating its options in considerable depth, Benett-Coleman decided to work with EAE, a strong OEM supplier of control systems to newspaper press manufacturers. EAE’s retrofit experts will upgrade the web press—which has five 4-Hi towers, one double folder and eight reel stands—to a functionality that is claimed to be state of the art.

Reliable production for the next decade
EAE will exchange the entire press and drive controls, all of the most important drives and the obsolete Interbus loop system. The existing Pecom system will be replaced by a modern EAE solution plus an EAE Print production planning and preset system. Three control consoles belonging to the very newest EAE Desk 7 generation will simultaneously replace the old press control consoles. The retrofit guarantees reliable production of the newspaper web press and maximum availability for the next ten years.

“We opted for EAE, or rather QIPC-EAE India, because they’re a supplier with enormous experience in press retrofits. They were able to offer us a solution that is very much geared to standards and based on hardware that is freely available in the market. The decision to equip the press with the most advanced control, drive and preset technology possible will profit us not only with higher availability but also with a leap in productivity,” says Snehasis Roy, The Times of India’s technical director.

Key order in the Indian market
A slightly unusual procedure was chosen regarding the execution of the retrofit work. Whereas EAE in Ahrensburg (Germany) will take care of the planning, software development and project-related coordination, the operational implementation in the field will be taken care of by QIPC-EAE India. QIPC’s Indian subsidiary will source the necessary hardware from the local market, then carry out the essential preassembly and testing and finally the installation. QIPC-EAE India will additionally provide primary service and support and set up a spare parts depot.

“We’re delighted that The Times of India has put its trust in EAE’s retrofit expertise and standards based solutions by entering into a partnership with us,” comments Vijay Pandya, managing director and chief executive officer of QIPC-EAE India. “This key order will help us demonstrate our retrofit capabilities to the whole of the Indian newspaper market. It’s also further proof that QIPC and EAE’s seamless cooperation is working in a global context.” The preparations at EAE will begin in June 2017 and the plan is for the retrofit to be implemented in Sahibabad between February and July 2018.

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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