Lustra installs new RMGT 5-color plus coater UV press

Lustra installs new RMGT 5-color plus coater UV press
Aditya Bhat with the new RMGT offset printing press at the Lustra Print facility in Bahadurgarh

Over the last 32 years from a specialist screen printing business, Lustra Print has emerged as the leading, and perhaps the fastest growing, offset commercial printing companies in the Delhi National Capital Region. Starting out in Naraina, the company grew consistently till it relocated to its new purpose built 55,000 square foot plant in Bahadurgarh in 2011.

Lustra diversified to offset printing in the year 2000 with a second-hand, single-color Heidelberg offset press followed by a used 4-color Heidelberg press the following year. The company’s chairman at the time, UK Raj (who unfortunately passed away recently), spotted a Ryobi press in Switzerland which aroused his curiosity about a Japanese machine in a country known for quality and adjacent to the European manufacturers. The used machine was on sale in the Switzerland market and after careful evaluation, he decided to buy it. The second-hand Ryobi reached Lustra in 2004 and its performance hugely impressed the Lustra team. In 2005, the company purchased a brand new Ryobi in the first of a string of repeat investments that continues to this day.

Soon after they relocated to Bahadurgarh, Lustra’s owners sought help from officials at Ryobi regarding the floor setup and various other workflow and safety factors. By 2011, Lustra was successfully running three Ryobis at the new plant.

After the Mitsubishi and Ryobi sheetfed press merger, known as RMGT, there has been a slight renaming of the press series but Lustra continues to acquire the presses from the combined entity. The company has a 725 series 5-color plus coater, which is a 5-color press with online aqueous coater, a 680 series 4-color press with coater, a 925 series 5-color with coater and a 920 series 4-color with UV curing. It most recently installed a 5-color RMGT 9 series press with interdeck UV and an aqueous coater.

Screen printing keeps growing
Lustra still undertakes screen printing jobs, which is now on the first floor of the new premises. It runs a pair of Keywell screen printing machines together with several machines from the well-known Svecia, which no longer manufactures these machines. “Although screen printing has been our cup of tea right from the beginning, I must say that we haven’t invested much on screen printing unit in our new plant. The new machines are cheaper, with almost no maintenance required and they perform efficiently throughout the year – the reason why we continue to gain a lot from our screen printing unit,” said Aditya Bhat, executive director of Lustra Print. “Screen printing demand has surprisingly increased over the years. Somewhere around 2000, when digital printing reigned supreme, we thought that it would eventually kill screen printing, but to our surprise we started getting more and more demand for screen printing jobs and this growth has continued ever since.”

Diversification only option
Lustra’s partners say that the book printing industry in India is witnessing its worst phase in the last decade as many smaller book publishers are finding it very tough to survive. This has even led to various closures in the sector. “GST and demonetization have left the printing industry paralysed to an extent that it is becoming difficult for small scale printers to survive in the market. They are now looking to diversify to packaging, which is a growing segment. The current scenario in the printing industry leaves small scale commercial printers with no other option but to diversify to different segments,” Bhat added.

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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– Naresh Khanna

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