Two book printers buy new 74 cm 4-colors

Debi Prasad Sharma with the new Heidelberg press at Sharma Publications facility in Cuttack

Heidelberg has strengthened its footprint of new multicolor offset presses in the eastern part of the country with book publishers and book printers who continue to modernize their plants to achieve  high quality and efficiency in color production. Jyotishman Das, owner of Balaji Books from Guwahati, installed a Heidelberg SM 74 4-color offset press last year. Das says, “We are quite satisfied with the performance of the newly installed press. We looked at other options before finalizing the Heidelberg and even at the 36-inch Lithrone, but since we also take up government and local publishers’ textbook work, I felt that size is not the best suited for us. That is the reason why we decided to go with a Heidelberg SM74.”

Installed at Balaji’s plant in March 2017, the experience in the past year is that the SM74, which prints at 15,000 sheets an hour, is helping the company take up more and more orders. The pressroom also contains an Akiyama Bestech 32-inch 4-color and an HMT 32-inch double-color press. In prepress there is a Kodak thermal CtP while the postpress contains a a Welbound 6-clamp perfect binder amongst the usual complement of finishing equipment.

Das admits that he was influenced by the strength of the Heidelberg brand and strong service support. “The brand reputation, faster changeover time and the life of the machine are some of the most important factors that influenced this purchase. Also, in comparison to the Lithrone, this machine fulfilled our purpose better and is more cost-effective,” adds Das.

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Jyotishman Das with the new Heidelberg Press in Guwahati

He says that the industry has picked up in Guwahati with packaging companies such as TCPL and Huhtamaki starting their operations in the city. If all goes well, he says that his company will also look at entering the packaging segment in coming days as there is considerable scope in that segment just as there is the commercial printing segment.

Cuttack-based Sharma Publications installs two Heidelbergs
Cuttack publisher Sharma Publications also installed a Heidelberg press as recently as the beginning of March 2018. “Actually, we bought two Heidelbergs recently. One is an offset printing machine and the other is a CtP machine. We got the CtP machine mainly for setting up an in-house prepress unit,” says Debi Prasad Sharma, owner of Sharma Publications.

Sharma Publications was formerly known as The Book World (TBW). TBW, a well-known name in the state of Odisha, was primarily a publisher of government text and children’s books. The company changed its name to Sharma Publications in the year 2001 and began publishing its own books. It now has over 110 titles in its list of children’s books, text books and reference books.

When the company became a publisher, it purchased a brand new TPH Orient 4-color web offset press. As the company and demand grew, it bought two second-hand sheetfed presses, a Mitsubishi 5-color offset press and a Planeta double-color.

The company sold the Planeta to buy a new Heidelberg SX 4-color offset press. The machine was installed just a month ago and after initial trial runs, the press is now in full-fledged production. The pressroom contains two 4-color TPH Orient presses, while the postpress department runs two Welbound 6-clamp perfect binding machines and a Trident 3-knife trimmer.

“We opted for Heidelberg mainly because of its brand value and the ease of operation it offers with quick changeovers. We did look at other options as well. To be honest, only the Lithrone is an option, but the Heidelberg press is really cost-effective and hence we decided to go with it,” Sharma adds.

Sharma Publications also has a branch office in Jaipur, Rajasthan for book sales. Apart from book publishing, Sharma Publications entered the agricultural sector three years ago.

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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