Mumbai-based Technicon is helping newspapers automate

L-R: Mohammad Shazedul Islam, CFO, Barotopa Printers, Rajiv Gandotra of Technicon India and Abdullah Al Baki, chairman, Barotopa Printers
L-R: Mohammad Shazedul Islam, CFO, Barotopa Printers, Rajiv Gandotra of Technicon India and Abdullah Al Baki, chairman, Barotopa Printers

The newspaper industry has had a tough time in 2017 mainly because of the twin shocks of demonetization and then the introduction of the new tax regime of goods and services tax (GST). By early 2018, the economy had begun to settle down after the impact of demonetization and GST were mostly absorbed. However, at the same time the newspaper industry was faced with another major headwind in the form of rising cost of newsprint. Amid all this, Mumbai-based Technicon India has been working to help the newspaper industry cut cost by providing automation solutions such as inserters, overhead newspaper conveyors, counter stackers, under wrappers, plastic bundle wrappers, online sheet under layers, van loading telescopic loaders, flow turns and log stackers.

In the recent months, the company is working on an innovative and exciting product. It will further help newspapers automate their mailroom operations. This machine will help automate the process of sticking sample shampoo and similar type of pouches on newspapers. The process at present is being done manually and is a highly labor-intensive and time-consuming process.

Rising need for innovative advertising to generate revenue

“This will be a first-of-its-kind machine in the world; we have applied for a patent for the same. This machine will for the first time ever automate the process of sticking sample pouches and similar products,” says Rajiv Gandotra, founder of Technicon India.

With the newspapers facing severe cost pressures, it becomes imperative to look for avenues to generate revenue from newer sources. Technicon’s new machine that will be launched in September is one tool to generate revenue by adopting automation.

If newspapers have to boost their revenues and carry more advertisements, they will have to increase pages; according to Gandotra, it is not an easy job given the high cost of newsprint. Newspapers will now have to execute innovative advertising ideas such as inserting pouches, stick-ons, special inserts, etc.

Not only pouches but the same machine can also stick add-on advertising material such as die-cut pictures, cards, booklets and flat merchandise, among others. These products can be printed by third-party printers for better quality prints. “The quality of newspaper printing is still not at par with what brand owners desire. Now with this machine available, the advertisers can get their advertisements printed using high-quality printers and get them pasted in the newspapers. These advertisements can be given a 3-mm cardboard backing to achieve a 3D effect and real life feel. I believe this product will completely change and enhance the feel and experience of the reader,” Gandotra argues.

Technicon is currently in talks with leading dailies like The Times of India as well as multiple advertising agencies. The machine is expected to be in the market by the first half of September.

Big success in Bangladesh

Not only is Technicon India working on producing innovative solutions for the mailroom, the company has been notching up successes with its established products as well. Recently, the company bagged an order from Bangladesh to supply 13 stackers and 13 conveyers to Bangladesh-based book printer Barotopa. This is Technicon’s first entry into the Bangladesh market.

“Barotopa is our first customer in Bangladesh and we are very focused on executing this project successfully. We got this order thanks to Saurabh Gupta of Prakash Web. We will finish the project in another couple of months,” shares Gandotra.

Asked if Technicon is looking to further expand in the Bangladesh market, Gandotra says that the market is definitely growing. However, the company will only think of approaching other potential customers after it has completed the Barotopa project. “We would like this project to be the showcase project that we can pitch to other potential customers in Bangladesh,” he says.

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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