Sheth Printograph – from machine exports to turnkey projects

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Sheth Printograph
Neeraj Sheth and Sonal Sheth

Established in the year 1963, Sheth Printograph initially traded in letterpress printing equipment. Subsequently, the company manufactured and exported print finishing, packaging and paper converting machines. Today, its customers span over 40 countries in South East Asia, Middle East, Latin America, Africa, Australia and the Indian subcontinent. The company remained largely unaffected by the new GST regime and has already signed up to participate in PrintPack at Greater Noida in February 2019.

A specialist in postpress machines such as laminators, diecutters, folder gluers, board-to-board pasting and embossing machines, Sheth began by producing hand feed machines, graduating to semi-automatic and then fully automatic machines. Sonal Sheth, director of Sheth Printograph, says hers is the only company in India that manufactures hot-knife cutters and automatic lamination machines. The company has invested in R&D and after careful examination of several parameters including cost to the end user, launches its products.

The first country to which Sheth’s machines were exported was Bangladesh – initially at a rate of a machine each week. Slowly, exports grew to Sri Lanka, China and South East Asia. China was not an open economy at that time and Sheth Printograph got a chance to explore the Chinese market. When the economic growth bubble of the South East Asian economies burst, the company shifted its focus to the Middle East, covering Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Iran and Bahrain. Soon after, on observing upcoming projects in Africa and adjoining countries, Sheth Printograph decided to explore the African market as well. In Africa, the company executes turnkey projects for its clients, right from sourcing raw materials to supplying machinery, manpower, installation and training.

“Over the years, Chinese have managed to penetrate the market worldwide. Initially, we were offering machines at affordable prices to a range of customers throughout the world. We had an upper hand because the only countries offering good quality machines back in those days were of European origin and their machines were costly. We got an opportunity to target a set of clients and offer machines according to their requirements at comparatively affordable rates,” says Sheth.

In India, the company has educated players in the new photo digital printing segment. Almost all the Indigo, Konica Minolta and Xerox customers in the country use its machines. “In India, the market is evolving. A commercial printer is getting into packaging, someone operating in the packaging segment is diversifying into digital printing as well for commercial purposes or small runs. For instance, there is a customer who is in book printing and who has been a hardcore commercial offset printer but now, since the volume of books has reduced, he has ventured into digital. Just like that, metpet lamination came into the picture so there was a demand for a hot knife cutting system and we offered it. All in all, I think it is important to keep evolving with the market,” Sheth adds.

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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