Offset plate manufacturer Metrostar sees robust growth

Metrostar sets up second offset plate line

Metrostar Team at company's Taloja Plant

Mumbai-based Metrostar Print Solutions, manufacturer of CtCP plates and CtP thermal offset printing plates, has witnessed strong growth in its market share since it first started manufacturing in early-2017. Metrostar is at present among the very few Indian companies manufacturing printing plates in the country. Incorporated in 2011, the company initially distributed imported plates before moving on to building the requisite infrastructure in subsequent years at its MIDC Taloja plant in Navi Mumbai to start its own manufacturing.

The 68,000 square foot state-of-the-art Taloja plant has been built using German design and Chinese engineering and is fully automatic with minimal human intervention required. It has been erected by Chinese engineers with prior expertise in similar projects in China. Currently the plant is capable of producing various pre-sensitized CtCP plates and CtP thermal plates, in a variety of sizes for the Indian newspaper, packaging and commercial printing segments.

“The idea behind starting our own plate manufacturing plant was to provide a stable supply of quality printing plates to Indian customers. This aligns closely with the Make in India initiative of the government,” says Mukund Bhuta, the key promoter and director of Metrostar.

Focus on sustainable manufacturing

Metrostar has not only opted for high-quality plate making equipment, it has also paid a lot of attention to the fact that its manufacturing process is least damaging to the environment. Despite having the option to unload partially treated effluents in the network of effluent discharge canals provided by the Taloja MIDC for centralized CETP, the company has opted for a highly efficient effluent treatment system. It includes a modern well-designed effluent treatment plant for treating chemicals and acid containing water and an air scrubber for removing chemical particles from air and releasing fresh air by neutralizing the harmful effects of effluents. It has a water treatment plant which recovers all the water that is used, recycled and then reused in the manufacturing process. The plant itself is sound proof so that the noise from inside the plant does not escape outside to create noise pollution.

“We are among the few plate makers globally who have taken these kind of sustainable manufacturing measures. Environment is very important to us. For instance, the plant uses 300,000-350,000 liters of water every day. And almost 95% of this is recovered, recycled and reused,” Bhuta says.

Rapid expansion in the offing

Encouraged by the strong response from the industry to its products, Metrostar is rapidly moving ahead by significantly expanding its manufacturing capacity and product line. With one operational line, the Taloja plant at present has a capacity to produce 400,000 square meters of plates every month. It is operating at 60-70% capacity with 80% being CtCP plates and the rest being CtP plates.

“The process of setting up a second line is already underway, and it will be commissioned by 2019. This line will be dedicated to manufacturing high-end products, CtP thermal and violet (process-less and double layer) plates and will have a capacity of 10,00,000 square meters per month,” Bhuta says.

Once the second line is in operation, the total plate making capacity of Metrostar will grow from 400,000 square meters to 14,00,000 (or 1.4 million) square meters per month.

Eyeing exports

As of today, Metrostar supplies to the Indian market but is now looking beyond India. To start with, the company will look to venture into emerging markets such as Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

“Given the way the Indian market has accepted our products, we are optimistic about the other emerging markets as well. Once we have expanded our capacity, we will focus on exports too,” Bhuta continues.


After stabilizing the plate production, Metrostar is closely looking at other printing consumables, notably pressroom chemicals and printing blankets. In fact, Bhuta has a tie-up with ABC Allied Chemicals, USA for pressroom and other chemicals and has already successfully test marketed products in India. “In the coming years these products shall greatly enhance revenues and profits for the company,” Bhuta 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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