Offset printers of Rajkot opt for Komori presses

Commercial printing in Rajkot

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Sudhir Patel of Sanket Offset
Sudhir Patel of Sanket Offset

Bhaktinagar Station Plot and Lohanagar on Gondal Road are the nerve centers of Rajkot’s printing industry. In the last couple of years, a number of brand-new Komori multicolor sheetfed offset presses have been installed in these areas. Rajkot’s printers are now buying brand new presses, which was not the case five to seven years ago when printers purchased mainly used presses.

One such offset printing house is Impression Print Pack located in Lohanagar. Last year Impression bought a brand new 4-color Komori Enthrone 29 to add to the pre-owned 5-color plus coater Heidelberg press it was already using. “There was a need for us to expand our printing capacity. We opted for Komori because it was priced very attractively, and it offered great quality as well. So, it was a complete value for money deal,” says Bharat Patel, one of the owners of Impression Print Pack. Impression at present prints catalogs, stickers and posters for customers in the Saurashtra and Kutch regions of Gujarat.

Bharat Patel and Rohit Patel of Impression Print Pack
Bharat Patel and Rohit Patel of Impression Print Pack

New investments in postpress and packaging unit

At present Impression has very basic equipment in its finishing department and outsources most of its binding and finishing work. According to Patel, the company plans to invest in a full-fledged postpress machinery were disrupted and delayed due to demonetization and the onset of the GST tax regime in the past two years.

“Demonetization and onset of GST had a severe impact on Rajkot’s printing industry. As per our original plan we were supposed to strengthen our postpress section this year, but it seems that will not be the case. We now hope to add binding and lamination machines in next six to eight months. We are also looking to get a pre-owned 6-color plus coater press. However, before buying it, we will sell our existing Heidelberg press,” Bharat Patel says.

Asked if Impression will look to diversify into packaging, Bharat Patel says that there are plans to do that but nothing concrete has happened yet.

Sanket Offset in Lohanagar

A 15- to 20-minute walk from Impression takes us to the adjacent area of Lohanagar and Sanket Offset. The 20-year-old print house also bought a Komori last year. The brand new 4-color plus coater Komori Lithrone S29 now sits along with a 4-color Heidelberg SM74, which was installed in 2011.

Sanket Offset is a specialist in printing catalogs for the tile manufacturers who are based in the town of Morbi. “More than 95% of the work we get is that of printing tile catalogs showing their color and textures accurately. We are very good at that,” says Sudhir Patel, one of the partners of Sanket Offset.

Along with a top-notch pressroom, Sanket offset has a robust postpress section as well. It has PUR binding and perfect binding machines from Welbound, a Stahl folding machine and a Polar cutting machine, among other finishing equipment. Asked if Sanket Offset will look to venture into packaging printing, Sudhir Patel says, “No, we have no plans to enter into packaging. We want to focus on what we are doing right now.”

Rajkot’s commercial print market still struggling

Although it is close to two years since demonetization happened and more than a year since GST came into effect, both Bharat Patel and Sudhir Patel say that Rajkot’s print market has not returned to pre-demonetization levels. “We have not seen the kind of pick-up in commercial printing activity in Rajkot that was expected. In addition to demonetization and GST, it is the severe competition that is adding to the pressure,” says Bharat Patel. A similar sentiment is echoed by Sudhir Patel of Sanket Offset as well.

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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