Oruma Printers and Publishers, Thrissur

Newspaper and magazine contract printer adds Komori sheetfed

Oruma Printers’ CK Shaukathali with the Komori Lithrone G-29 4-color press

Chiyyaram, Thrissur based Oruma Printers and Publishers is a pioneer in newspaper and magazine printing. The company is majorly into the manufacturing (paper and paper products, publishing, printing and reproduction of recorded media) business and undertakes all types of commercial print jobs. The venture started in 2009 with web printing and had only one newspaper, Madhyamam, as its client. As word spread about its quality printing services, the company got associated with other major newspapers like The Indian Express, Suprabhatham, Kerala Vartha, Malarvadi, Mirror and others for their printing requirements. Currently, the company prints 12 dailies from its corporate office in Thrissur. CK Shaukathali, general manager of Oruma Printers and Publishers, tells us about his company and their recent investment in a Komori Lithrone sheetfed offset press.

“We started with an Orient Super 546 mm cutoff web offset press from TPH, for printing 16-pages (10 pages B&W and 6 pages color). In 2015, our second phase of development began with the inauguration of another brand new Orient Super 546 mm web offset press with higher pagination capability (10 pages color and 10 pages B&W) for faster printing of newspapers. The newer machine can print 30,000 copies in an hour,” shares Shaukathali CK.

With a staff of around 50 workers and all the necessary resources to cater to the diverse printing and designing requirements of its customers, Oruma believes in constant upgradation to accommodate the latest technology in the printing industry.
In 2017, the company decided to open a new branch specifically dedicated to sheetfed offset printing. A branch office was opened in Vadanapally, a coastal area in the Trichur district, and equipped with all modern printing equipment. “We started with a single-color Komori Sprint in Vadanapally but demand was high and we soon felt the need to buy a 4-color press. So, in October 2018, we went for a Komori Lithrone GL-29 4-color press. We spoke to various companies like Heidelberg and others but decided to opt for Komori for its customization options. Moreover, Komori is a user-friendly press and their service support is also excellent. Talks were held with Insight Communications, distributors of Komori in India, and the deal was finalized. I must say that the printing results have been excellent ever since we installed this press and our customers are also highly satisfied with the end quality. Our customers, including Indian Express, Madhyamam, Malarvadi, Suprabhatham, Telegraph and Mangalam are extremely happy with our print results and quality services,” says Shaukathali.

Talking about the association with Oruma, Sangam Khanna, deputy managing director, Komori India says, “We are delighted to sell a Lithrone G series press in the region. Oruma Printers & Publishers is highly satisfied with the service we are providing since the installation. We welcome Oruma to our Komori family and are happy to extend the Kando Principle to ensure the growth of our customer.”

In addition to printing news dailies, Oruma also takes jobs to print magazines, brochures, school textbooks and guides. Although a licensed publisher, Oruma does not plan to start its own publishing unit yet.

Another web offset press to augment capacity

In terms of adding capacity, Shaukathali says the company plans to add another press of 578 cutoff size to cater to the growing demand for job work from various publishers. Talks are on with a few companies like TPH and Naph Graphics and Shaukathali says within the next 6 months, they will close the deal. “We have been associated with TPH for a long time now so when it came to looking for a new press, TPH was primarily on our mind. However, we have taken quotes from a few other companies and whatever our company board feels is best suited to our budget and for quality results, we will go for that,” Shaukathali asserts.

In addition to the Orient web offset machines and Komori sheetfed presses Oruma has a complete postpress setup with wet and thermal laminators, diecutting machines and saddle stitchers.

Finally, talking about the current scenario in Kerala’s printing industry, Shaukathali says that things have changed for good since the last election and a lot of printing work is happening in the state now. “Earlier, most of the printing work would go to Sivakasi but now things have changed. Printers here have the latest technology and machinery to cater to all kinds of printing requirements and we as a state believe in the best quality results in whatever job we do. I am an active member of the Kerala Master Printers’ Association and even the association feels strongly about Kerala printers having every capacity to meet all kinds of major printing requirements here. Although there is a lot of competition, the market remains good for the printing industry in Kerala.”

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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