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.

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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