Koenig & Bauer’s strong show at Print China

K&B press sales to China, South and Southeast Asia at Print China

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Print demonstration on the largest sheetfed offset press on the Koenig & Bauer stand, an eight-colour Rapida 106 with coater and extended delivery
Print demonstration on the largest sheetfed offset press on the Koenig & Bauer stand, an eight-colour Rapida 106 with coater and extended delivery

A large stand measuring more than 1,000 square meters enabled Koenig & Bauer to present future-oriented print technology in all its facets at the Print China trade fair held in Guangdong from 9 to 13 April. Live print demonstrations took place on an 8-colour Rapida 106 perfector with inline coating, as well as a Rapida 75 PRO 5-color. Comprehensive information on further innovative solutions from the fields of digital and flexo printing, metal decorating, postpress and other special applications were provided by the K&B fair team.

Visitors were impressed by the smart print technologies addressing current print trends. The digitization concept under the banner of Koenig & Bauer 4.0 captivated the gathered print professionals similar to the comprehensive portfolio of classic and new data-driven services.

Contracts worth several tens of millions of Euros

By the end of the fair, contracts worth several tens of millions of Euros were signed with printing companies throughout China and from several other countries in South and Southeast Asia. Rapida sheetfed presses in all classes, from half to large format, were in high demand especially from repeat customers.

That was the case with Fuzhou Xingkai Color Printing, which has owned a Rapida 105 in a 4-color configuration since 2011. At Print China 19, a follow-up order was placed for a 7-color Rapida 105 with coater and UV curing. Xiamen Lutengda Printing and Zhejiang Chuangsijie Printing each signed up for a new Rapida 164 (maximum sheet size 1,205 x 1,640 mm). Xiamen Lutengda, too, is a longstanding user of large-format presses from Koenig & Bauer that is planning to enhance efficiency and reduce energy with the new purchase. For Zhejiang Chuangsijie Printing, the new Rapida 164 is seen as the key to new ventures in packaging production.

Ningxia Jihong Environmental Packaging Technology positions itself as a smart, highly automated and especially ecological print factory. At Print China, the company ordered a 5-color Rapida 145 with coater, FAPC fully automatic plate changers and a whole raft of further automation features. This will be one of the most highly automated presses in China, and will enable Ningxia Jihong to continue implementation of its ambitious energy-saving and environmental strategies, while at the same time boosting efficiency and reducing labour costs.

Brisk post-fair business expected

In addition to the contracts already signed, Koenig & Bauer is looking at brisk post-fair business. Many print industry decision-makers expressed interest in both equipment and services and are planning to invest. Dietmar Heyduck, sales director for Koenig & Bauer Sheetfed, says, “China is one of the most important world markets for Koenig & Bauer. The visitor numbers and contracts concluded at Print China exceeded our expectations.”
Walter Zehner, managing director of Koenig & Bauer Greater China, adds, “With digital products such as the CorruJET, we are in a good position on the international market. There was also enormous interest in the VariJET for digital folding carton production among our Chinese customers. We are delighted to be able to demonstrate the successful transformation of our company from a traditional press manufacturer into a leading supplier of digital solutions.”

The fair visitors were similarly keen to obtain information on further products and services from the extensive Koenig & Bauer portfolio, for example rotary and flatbed die-cutters, folder-gluers, the RotaJET, flexo solutions, coding technologies and especially the whole field of corrugated printing, which was showcased for the first time at a trade fair in China.

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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