Nine Rapidas sold in Q1 include successes in commercial print

K&B’s record sheetfed offset sales in India

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QualiTronic ColorControl is installed after the last printing unit. Operation and measurement display are integrated into the press console. Parksons Packaging and Canpac have ordered K&B’s in line QCC systems on their new Rapida 106 7-color plus coater presses. Photo K&B

K&B (KBA) generally dominates the Indian market for highly configured packaging presses. While the strong sales and installations of Rapida 105 and 106 format 7-color plus coater full UV presses continued in the past year, there has also been a breakthrough of sorts in the 75 format. Launched at drupa 2016, packaging printers such as Vikas and York Printers have installed Rapida 75 Pro 6-color plus coater presses, while the recently signed for RS Print Solutions’ Rapida 75 Pro 6-color plus coater UV press will be installed in April 2018. In addition, a Rapid 75 4-color press has been ordered by a commercial printer in South India, whose name we cannot reveal at this time.

The Rapida 75 Pro is the redesigned and updated version of earlier 75 series presses with
components such as K&B’s own UV curing systems and automation features and a user interface similar to the highly automated Rapida 76, 105 and 106 presses. The ErgoTronic
console with the TouchTronic graphic user interface is standard on the 75 Pro.

K&B, together with its distributor Indo-Polygraph has hit a torrid patch in the last three months with signings for as many as nine multicolor sheetfed offset presses. Apart from
the Rapida 75 Pro and Rapida 75 press sales cited above, a Rapida 106 7-color plus coater UV press has been sold to Vikas Printers in Nasik. This is the same printer that installed
the first K&B Rapida 75 Pro in the country in the beginning of 2017.

Another order is for three K&B Rapida 7-color plus coater presses to Parksons Packaging, which might just be one of the fastest growing monocarton printers in the world right now. Two of the three presses, destined for Parksons’ Daman and Chakan plants, contain SPC and QCC automation controls. The SPC is the highest level of automation for simultaneous plate change that will change all seven units in 54 seconds apart from allowing other simultaneous operations key to changovers and make-readies. The QCC inspection system continuously scans and compares every printed sheet for defects. Parksons’ third Rapida 106 7-color plus coater on order is for the plant in Guwahati and while it is a full UV press, it does not contain the SPC and QCC highest level automation option. One can expect all three presses at Parksons Packaging to be installed by the end of July 2018.

A major K&B order in the past couple of months is for Ajanta Printers in Mumbai—a Rapida 105 7-color plus coater UV press. This press will likely be installed in April 2018. The next order is from TCPL Packaging for its Goa plant—a Rapida 106 7-color plus coater UV press with logistics and other automation features.

The ninth K&B press on order in the past three months is from Canpac for its main plant in Ahmedabad. Canpac has just installed a Rapida 106 7-color plus coater in September
2017, at its Tripura plant. Now, within five months of its first K&B press installation, it has placed a repeat order for a Rapida 106 7-color plus coater UV press with QCC and FAPC
automation for its Ahmedabad plant.

The confirmed sales of nine presses in the past three monthsare an unprecedented order
intake for any sheefted offset press manufacturer in India. While two of these are in the half format—a Rapida 75 4-color, and a Rapida Pro 6-color plus coater UV press—the other seven presses are all 7-color plus coater UV presses. Among these seven presses, three are with in-line QCC automation, two with SPC and one with FAPC which represent the highest and second highest level of automation for plate changing. The implication is that the leading Indian packaging printers are optimistic that GDP growth will again exceed
7% and are ready to invest in the highest levels of automation and productivity.

In 2024, we are looking at full recovery and growth-led investment in Indian printing

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. It created the category of privately owned B2B print magazines in the country. And by its diversification in packaging, (Packaging South Asia), food processing and packaging (IndiFoodBev) and health and medical supply chain and packaging (HealthTekPak), and its community activities in training, research, and conferences (Ipp Services, Training and Research) the organization continues to create platforms that demonstrate the need for quality information, data, technology insights and events.

India is a large and tough terrain and while its book publishing and commercial printing industry have recovered and are increasingly embracing digital print, the Indian newspaper industry continues to recover its credibility and circulation. The signage industry is also recovering and new technologies and audiences such as digital 3D additive printing, digital textiles, and industrial printing are coming onto our pages. Diversification is a fact of life for our readers and like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

India is one of the fastest growing economies in nominal and real terms – in a region poised for the highest change in year to year expenditure in printing equipment and consumables. Our 2024 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock – to emphasize your visibility and relevance to your customers and turn potential markets into conversations.

– Naresh Khanna

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