Konica Minolta’s stand attracts visitors at Pamex 2017

Despite blows, digital is growing

Yoshinori Koide

At Pamex 2017, Konica Minolta displayed its newly launched Accurio Press C6100 for the first time in India. It is a fully loaded feature of press suites, software and cloud-based tools for managing production efficiently. In addition, the company also displayed the MGI Jet Varnish 3DS and bizhub PRESS C71hc.

Yoshinori Koide, director of Business Strategy & Project Management, Konica Minolta Business Solutions India shared, “The Accurio Press C6100 has been given all kinds of solution both on the machinery front as well as on the software front. It comes with an optional feature of automatic color management and front-to-back registration. The product has upgrades when it comes to media. Earlier versions of the press had limited media capacity, but for this machine we have increased the media thickness from 300 gsm to 400 gsm, making it a worthier preposition for customers. Apart from this, optional upgrades include a 30-inch tray apart from the normal tray.” The Accurio Press C6100 is a result of customer demands that were studied internally with the customers and vendors.

“The C6100 has received excellent response here in terms of enquiries. We received queries from around 20-25 people. All our machines have garnered a very positive response, be it inkjet or digital,” Koide informed.

“The new wide-format machine bizhub C71hc is an upgraded version of our earlier offering. Here, we have added an option for banner tray for supporting media with size up to 13×47 inches. The press also has advanced color reproduction capabilities using the manufacturer’s proprietary high-chroma toner for enhanced printing output,” added Koide.

Recognizing the significance of monochrome, another solution from the company on the display at the event is the black and white bizhub Pro 1100. Talking about the features of the machine, Koide said, “This press delivers value to any print production environment, especially for black & white regular jobs, with high-speed 100 ppm black & white output, high paper and toner capacity, standard built-in print controller and compact footprint to save space on the production floor. We have also improved its registration and consistency.” Koide further informed that even for remote penetration, they have been promoting the bizhub Pro 1100 and others under B&W category. Many printers based out of remote areas come to cities for getting their job work done. It is for this segment that Konica Minolta came up with a cost-effective product which gives competitive print output with consistent registration under the B&W category, making monochrome more vivid.

Another interesting product on display was the MGI Jet Varnish 3DS, which offers special finishing capabilities like spot UV and 3D tactile varnishing capabilities. The machine boasts features like spot UV, 3D embossing and varnish of up to 100 microns, adding vibrancy and texture. Koide shared, “We now have solutions for all the domains—prepress, press and postpress. We are constantly connected with our vendors and customers, who help us improvise and develop solutions for the industry.”

Despite blows, digital is growing

Sharing his views on the digital printing segment, Koide said, “Despite demonetization and the implementation of the new tax regime, the digital market is going strong. No doubt, it has left a great impact on the industry as a whole and even on the sales but it has recovered quickly and will continue to grow. Compared to the global scenario, the Indian digital printing market is growing faster. Our Bizhub Press C71cf, a roll-to-roll label printer, launched during LabelExpo India, is also very popular in the market. Overall, we see a good digital growth.”

Going ahead, Konica Minolta plans to soon bring in a new machine to India. The Accurio Jet KM-1 is a 29-inch sheet-fed UV inkjet press that is all set to make an Indian entry once the due procedures are complete. As per Koide, “We are currently looking at promoting the all-new Accurio C6100 and C6085 in India. Others include bizhub C71hc and bizhub C71cf roll-to-roll label printers. We are aiming to achieve double-digit figures in the current fiscal.”

Manish Gupta, deputy general manager – PP & IP Marketing, Konica Minolta shared, “Apart from our excellent product portfolio, we also focus on training and services that we provide to our existing customers. We offer training regularly from 6 out of our 13 offices. These training sessions are held even at the customer location regularly. We believe that with good training, the customer can harness the optimum potential of the machine backed by the right maintenance of the machines.”

Referring to the challenges and market demand, Gupta stated, “India being a diverse country, the only challenge is to build solutions consistently. The other challenge is that of language issues. Apart from eastern India, where the demand is slightly less, Konica Minolta’s products are always in demand from the other regions of the country.”

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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