Xerox’s Iridesse makes key inroads in India

A 4-color plus 2 special station digital press from Xerox

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Xerox India
Shankaracharya Laskar, marketing director, Xerox India

Xerox’s recently launched Iridesse digital press has gained traction and has seen positive feedback from the Indian digital print industry since it was unveiled at the PrintExpo 2018 in Chennai in June, according to Shankaracharya Laskar, marketing director, Xerox India.

he Indian launch of the Iridesse production press came very close to its global launch in May in Poland.

“We launched Iridesse in June in India. And, every customer we have met said that it has opened up new possibilities for them. So, the reaction from the industry has been very positive; this gives us confidence in the way we are bringing technology to the market,” says Laskar.

Iridesse is a high-speed, 6-station color press that combines 4-color printing with up to two specialty dry inks in one printing pass. According to Xerox, the Iridesse production press is the only digital press that can print metallic gold or silver dry ink, CMYK and clear dry ink in a single pass. The press can print at speeds up to 120 A4 pages a minute and handle media up to 400 gsm. It can print at resolution of 2,400 dpi and uses Xerox’s High Definition Emulsion Aggregate toner.

Xerox launched the press in India soon after its global launch and alongside other emerging markets. Laskar says this happened because Xerox’s initial assessment showed that Iridesse was considered a very strong product. “We are now witnessing strong traction in the Indian market,” Laskar states. Xerox India has been able to make inroads into India’s key cities. “We now have Iridesse installations in all major Indian metros; that has given us hope and confidence that this will take us forward to even bigger numbers in the future,” Laskar adds without sharing details about the actual number of installations of the Iridesse production press. We are in fact aware of Iridesse installation at Siva Prints in Chennai.

In terms of the profile of Iridesse customers, Xerox says they are a mix of new and existing Xerox customers. Some existing customers have moved to the Iridesse platform as they saw better value. There are also some first-time customers who the company says have replaced older presses of other brands with the Iridesse. According to Laskar, Xerox India is looking at a variety of potential customers, “We are targeting printers who are looking to add value as well as printers expecting volumes.”

Xerox India’s growth rate is very robust

Xerox says the dampening effects of demonetization and GST are over. It can be seen from the GDP growth rate of 8.2% for the first quarter of financial year 2018-2019. According to Laskar, most of the printing segments are showing robust growth rates as well saying that the rate at which Xerox India is growing is very strong too.

“Most of the market segments are growing. This year will be a much better one for the printing industry as compared with last year. This applies to the production printing market as well. As for Xerox India, we are growing at a rate which is faster than the overall market. It will be safe to say that our growth rate is in high double digits,” Laskar claims.

Rupee depreciation is a cause of concern

Due to global factors such as the US-China trade war, rising US interest rates and turmoil in the Turkish economy, emerging market currencies have seen a sharp decline vis-à-vis the US dollar. The Indian rupee has also been impacted and has depreciated by more than 10% since the beginning of this year. Since a lot of printing machinery including digital presses are imported, a weakening rupee increases the cost of the purchase.

“Yes, rupee depreciation is a matter of concern as it impacts the industry. But we at Xerox India are trying to minimize that impact for our customers so that they can maintain their business momentum,” Laskar concludes.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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