Two Gujarat printers install Komori Lithrone GL 437

Adding capacity

Birju Talati of Metro Plus.

Komori India has recently supplied brand new presses to two different print houses in Gujarat – Surat-based Metro Plus and Ahmedabad-based Gujarat Offset. While Metro Plus has invested in a Komori Lithrone GL 437 with online coater, Gujarat Offset has bought a Komori Lithrone GL 437 without the coater.

The Lithrone G37 is a 37-inch sheetfed press equipped with an evolved version of the KHS-AI integrated control system for quick print start-up. The machine addresses the critical needs of short turnarounds, many different printed products, short runs and low cost.

A compact press that can produce A1-size products, the Lithrone G37 offers a 640 x 940 mm maximum sheet size. Capable of printing sheets up to 37 inches in width, this press has the power to address the full span of requirements in the publishing and commercial printing segments. Since color management can be implemented by including a CMS color bar on sheets with 8-up A4 or American letter size impositions, this machine is ideal for producing high page-count products with high print quality.

Last year, Komori India established a direct presence in India by acquiring majority stake in Insight Communications and Print Solutions India. Since 2007, Insight had been a distributor of Komori products in India. With direct role to play in the Indian market and being close to the customers, Komori is looking to make further inroads into the market.

Metro Plus

Metro Plus commissioned the Komori Lithrone GL 437 at the end of February after placing the order for the press at PrintPack 2019, which was held in Greater Noida in early February. The print house mostly deals in short quantity jobs, such as booklets and brochures, for customers in the textile and garment industry, for which Surat is a hub.

Metro Plus has been a long-time user of Komori technology but this is the first time it has bought a brand new press. It had multiple Komori presses before this but those have been pre-owned.

“With the brand new press we have been able to print faster, and the quality has been top class. The changeover time is fast and support from Komori team has been excellent,” says Birju Talati of Metro Plus.

Metro Plus also has two digital presses from Konica Minolta and Kodak as well as a Kodak Trendsetter in its prepress department. Its postpress section too is fully equipped with a range of finishing equipment. The print house operates from two units, one which is spread over 12,000 square foot and the other that has an area of 8,000 square foot.

With more than a decade of quality experience with Komori technology, Talati says the next press too will be from Komori.

“We have had a very good experience with Komori machines over the years. After using pre-owned presses for many years, this year we bought a brand new one. Next year we plan to add another brand new press and that will also be from Komori,” he says.

Gujarat Offset

Ahmedabad-based Gujarat Offset is a more than four-decade-old offset print house and one of the dominant players in the market. After using Heidelberg presses for many years, it recently bought a brand new Komori Lithrone GL 437 press.

“Besides offering top performance, the Komori press fit our budget,” says Dheer Parikh of Gujarat Offset.

Gujarat Offset offers print solutions to banks, public sector companies, advertising agencies, FMCG companies, education institutes, pharmaceutical industry, telecom and publishing houses. The company prints posters, brochures, banners, leaflets, books, calendars and banners among others.

Beside a modern press department, Gujarat Offset has a full-fledged prepress and postpress departments as well.

In addition to commercial printing work, the company provides packaging printing services as well. It has a folder-gluer from Bobst along with other converting equipment.

“Cartons are not a very big part of our operations. We cater to only a few packaging customers,” Parikh shares.

Asked if Gujarat Offset will look to further expand in the packaging printing space, Parikh says at the moment there is no such plan.

“Our focus area is commercial printing and for the moment we will stick to that. Yes, carton printing will continue but there is no plan at this point to make any further investment in this vertical,” he says.

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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