Koenig & Bauer strengthens position in the global market

Sascha Fischer interview

Sascha Fischer of Koenig & Bauer. Photo IPP
Sascha Fischer of Koenig & Bauer. Photo IPP

Despite multiple economic headwinds facing the global economy, German printing solutions provider Koenig & Bauer was able to strengthen its position globally in 2018, company’s head – product management, Sascha Fischer told Packaging South Asia in Mumbai.

“Worldwide, the year 2018 faced many challenges such as US-China trade war, economic slowdown in China and depreciation of emerging market currencies. So, there were some issues, but we strengthened our position in the global market,” Fischer said.
“Koenig & Bauer has always been known to be strong in the packaging printing segment but in commercial printing also we have gained ground,” he added.

Partnership with Indo-polygraph Machinery going strong

In India, Indo-polygraph Machinery has been representing Koenig & Bauer for many years now and, according to Fischer, the partnership has been going from strength to strength. Koenig & Bauer boasts of some of India’s top packaging printers in the folding carton segment, such as Parksons Packaging and TCPL, as its customers. In addition, the company has managed to sign many fast-growing mid-sized companies as well.
“We have some outstanding customers in India like Parksons Packaging and TCPL but there are many smaller companies who are equally important to us. These firms are very innovative and demanding. They are also highly innovative and are increasingly going for special effects,” he said.

Talking about some of the important trends that he sees in the Indian market, Fischer said that top tier printers are now completely focusing on buying new presses instead of pre-owned ones as this gives them efficiency gains. “They are eager to adopt new technology such as double coating and cold foil,” he said.

Exciting times ahead

In recent months, Koenig & Bauer has been expanding its portfolio. In December 2018, it agreed with Duran Machinery to take over 80% of its folder-gluer business and integrate it into the Group under the name Koenig & Bauer Duran. In the same month, Koenig & Bauer and Durst Phototechnik agreed to a 50:50 joint venture in digital printing.
According to Fischer, corrugation is another segment that holds a lot of promise for the company. As run lengths get shorter, more and more flexo printers are likely to opt for offset technology.

“In the near-term, we are all looking forward to drupa which is going to take place next year. People can hope to see some exciting innovations from Koenig & Bauer at the show,” he 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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