Rahul Print O Pack’s new Heidelberg press and CtP

Uptick for organized commercial print

The 4-color sheetfed offset printing press, Heidelberg Speedmaster CS92 was recently installed at Rahul Print O Pack in the Okhla Industrial Area of Delhi
The 4-color sheetfed offset printing press, Heidelberg Speedmaster CS92 was recently installed at Rahul Print O Pack in the Okhla Industrial Area of Delhi

Delhi-based Rahul Print O Pack was founded by Ajay Kumar Soni in 1998. Prior to this, Soni was a freelancer providing printing and packaging services to brand owners and consulting services to a number of convertors. Over the past two years, his company grew quickly and now owns a 24,000 square feet plant in Okhla Industrial Area in South Delhi. The company provides print and packaging to a host of clients across the publishing, commercial business and FMCG sectors.

Earlier, the company farmed out all its prepress and pressroom work to other printers. Rahul had its own dedicated postpress setup at Okhla but didn’t have the equipment to finish printed work itself. As its operations grew, the company started facing trouble in maintaining quality standards among its print suppliers.

“The operational costs were increasing owing to the increased wastage and cost involved in moving printed sheets from the vendor’s facility to our own. Hence, in order to attain efficiency and better quality in our operations we took the decision to invest in a brand new 4-color sheetfed offset Heidelberg CS 92 press and a Heidelberg Suprasetter A106 CtP,” says Rahul Print O Pack’s proprietor Soni. For prepress proofing, the company uses an Epson inkjet printer.

“The answer to why Heidelberg would be its build quality, productivity and the quick and responsive service provided by the company. Moreover, Heidelberg’s cost of ownership over the course of the machine’s lifetime is much lower as compared to the offerings from its rivals owing to greater peak productivity that leads to better unit economies (per sheet cost),” Soni says.

Overall, the company uses the Heidelberg CtP and the Epson proofer for prepress, the CS 92 press for printing, three Stahl folders, two nipping machines, one gloss lamination machine, two manual die-punching machines and one folder gluer and a Wellbound perfect book binder for finishing, converting and binding.

“The commercial printing industry has hit a rough patch lately and has been subject to subdued growth. This sector has witnessed a lot of consolidation resulting in obsolete, unorganized printing units being forced to shut down. However, printing units that have spent money on buying new machines remain abreast with the latest technologies and have been able to sustain and register a decent growth and this practice is likely to help printers in the future as well,” Soni adds. “As far as the demand, it is witnessing an uptick and this has been a modest year with some growth.”

Rahul Print O Pack engages in commercial printing work such as the printing of books, brochures, pamphlets, catalogs, danglers, and magazines. Apart from commercial printing, the company produces monocartons and corrugated cartons. “Packaging had always been in our radar. We were keen on investing in a dedicated packaging unit. Packaging, as one may see it, is reaping huge dividends and is growing like never before. We had predicted this growth years ago and had invested in a folder gluer and a couple of manual die-punching machines. Over the years, we have gained a decent customer base and the business is turning out to be profitable,” Soni shares.

The next focus for Rahul Print O Pack will be to invest in brand new packaging converting equipment. At the same time, Soni doesn’t deny the possibility (or even temptation) of investing in another brand new 4-color Heidelberg in the near future. He says, “We have been able to run the new press at optimum productivity thus far and are meeting our customers’ demands successfully. However, this doesn’t rule out the possibility of investing in yet another press. We may add another machine in a year or so and when we do, we’re more than likely to replicate this investment.”

“It is always better to have more than one press from the same manufacturer. With an increase in demand, it will be easier to service our customers with two presses. It would help us achieve better turnaround times and the cost of consumables could also come down. Redundancy would also help us ensure on-time deliveries as a job could always be shifted to the other machine in the case of a breakdown,” Soni concludes. u

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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