Fujifilm’s print and photography offering at CEIF 2019

Jet Press 720s for commercial and packaging printing

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SM Ramprasad, of Fujifilm India is confident that the new Fujifilm Acuity is a 'near perfect' printer for the Indian market Photo IPP
SM Ramprasad, of Fujifilm India is confident that the new Fujifilm Acuity is a 'near perfect' printer for the Indian market Photo IPP

Fujifilm, a major brand in the digital imaging market, participated at the recently concluded CEIF 2019 in Greater Noida. The company’s stand at the exhibition was seen bustling with various programs and interactive sessions with the visitors. “Whenever there is an event in Delhi, there is always a bit of skepticism because this venue is far from the main city. But I think this venue has evolved to an extent where the customers don’t mind traveling all the way,” says SM Ramprasad, assistant vice president of Fujifilm India.

Apart from selling products or launching new products, it is more of a festive atmosphere at the photo exhibition. Fujifilm has over the years come across a lot of customers in India, and with the kind of bonding the company shares with these customers, the event provided a great opportunity to get in touch with prospective customers and also proved to be an exceptional networking platform.

Fujifilm Jet Press 720s aimed at commercial print

Apart from its imaging and inkjet technologies on show, we asked Ramprasad to talk about the B2 format Fujifilm Jet Press 720s, which is a sheetfed inkjet press of interest to commercial and packaging printers as well as to the photo-book market in India. Ramprasad said, “The kind of product the 720s is, it requires certain ROIs for the customer to be completely sure of the product. Currently, we don’t want to sell the 720s press as a product just for the photo applications, or the wedding album segment because that is a market wherein A3 is working exceptionally well. And hence, we want to address this product more to the commercial offset industry.

“In commercial offset, there is a challenge of running cost. Currently, the customer benchmarking is the cost incurred on offset as compared to short-run jobs. There is a point, as of now; if the printers are able to come to a level of say 200 to 500 sheets in the B2 format, the 720s will become economical actually. This short run of 200 to 500 sheets merged with the number of jobs a printer has in a month will be the determining factor. The moment this threshold crosses 1,000 B2 sheets, it becomes easier for customers. Right now, we do have some prospects where we’re working on. But by and large, the running cost is a factor in India as compared to Europe and Japan, which determines the viability of a product here.”

Since there is an element of risk in buying the new Fujifilm Jet Press 720s and achieving the ROI, many of the printers who seem to be interested are actually keen for someone to be the first mover and to prove its viability in the Indian market. Fujifilm India is also keen not to oversell the Jet Press 720s and it appreciates that its customers need to themselves understand both the capabilities of the technology and the opportunities that it represents in the realistic light of the market conditions that they face. Nevertheless, Ramprasad is optimistic considering the number of customers who are seriously interested in buying a B2 format sheetfed inkjet press.

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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