Komori plans push in monocartons

Commercial print decline, hope for cartons and digital


Hirofumi Hoshino, the president of Komori India is optimistic about the commercial printing scenario in India though the sales recorded in the last couple of years reflect a downfall. Ever since Komori came to India, it has been focussing on strengthening its presence in the Indian market further. In order to do so, Komori has taken a big leap forward by introducing packaging and digital presses in the market.

According to various research, India remains one of the fastest growing commercial printing markets with a growth rate exceeding 6%. In Europe, there is a clear decline in the sale of commercial printing equipment because of the increase in short runs. Over the past two years, digital has grown rapidly everywhere and most tellingly in the US and the European markets.
The dynamic appeal of digital signage has almost suppressed or replaced the market for conventionally printed signage. Nevertheless, Hirofumi Hoshino, president of Komori India, feels that the value-added printing will make the commercial market more attractive and with innovation in print methods it can help in its revival. He says, a Komori customer Disney in the US who printed many trials with special effects coatings on various print substrates has seen his business grow.

Commercial printing recovering from GST and Demonetization

Thus far, both demonetization and GST which came into effect from 1 July 2017 have proven to be setbacks for the printing industry in the country, according to various data and reports. Fortunately, according to Hoshino, commercial printing in India is still growing. He feels that the huge Indian population has helped commercial printing. Nevertheless, he also feels that the market for commercial print is on a moderate growth path. “There was a decline and we’ve tried to access the reasons and positive results have started to come. I think GST and demonetization were the root cause of the decline and the industry seemed to be facing the heat of the sharp decline in business that it encountered during those days but market is recovering sharply as per Q1 growth,” Hoshino says.

Komori installations look up Q1 FY 19-20

This April, Komori installed two presses in India and it hopes to install nearly 5 presses at various locations across the country till june. The company has leading printers as its customers in the northern part of India. “If we compare the current fiscal year to the previous one, I’d say that this one seems pretty bright to us. The order intakes are also much better as compared to last year. We’ve been able to establish contact with many prospects; we have tried to understand their needs and have offered our solutions to them accordingly. From 1 April 2019 to 30 June 2019, we will be able to install 7 presses at various locations across India,” says Hoshino.

“Since value-add in commercial printing is the norm in the market these days, we’re urging our customers to go for a press with an additional unit for coating if required. We feel that it is extremely important to offer value-added services these days as the demand in the market has matured a lot,” Hoshino adds.

Komori has stationed one of its Japanese engineers in India for providing factory level support to its customers. In a market that has a strong presence of competitors such as Heidelberg, RMGT and KBA, pricing remains an extremely crucial factor that Komori has been trying to keep a check on over the years. Hoshino feels that the service support of Komori is where it gains an advantage over the other press manufacturers as they do not have factory level service support in India.

Moving from commercial to packaging

The packaging segment in India is currently dominated by K&B and Heidelberg. With various commercial printers observing the moderate growth in commercial offset print demand, moving to packaging, Komori has already entered the packaging segment. According to its forecast, the packaging market in the country is about to witness a boom.
Recently, the company announced a country-wide schedule from 25 May to 8 June packaging seminars to propagate its solutions for producing different types of cartons and the printing packaging processes that are required to optimize growth. Currently, it sells packaging presses in Models – the Lithrone G 29, Lithrone G37, Lithrone G40.
“Frankly, packaging has now graduated to become a survival area. It is helping many commercial printers remain profitable. Of course, packaging and commercial are completely different. We want to share with them how to shift from commercial to packaging through these seminars,” Hoshino shares.

Though he feels that commercial printing has a huge scope to grow but there will be a point of time where commercial offset may stagnate and, eventually, packaging will remain the only viable solution. For one, he feels that the huge food packaging market is unlikely to decline.

Komori introduces B2 digital press to the Indian market

Komori is also bringing digital presses to India. Its basic version of B2 Impremia IS29, built in collaboration with Konica Minolta, as digital demand is growing with printers are looking to move into automation to save the cost and increase the revenue. While Komori hasn’t yet installed the Impremia IS29 press in India, it is nevertheless putting in all its efforts to ensure that it installs the first B2 digital press soon. Experts from Japan are visiting India to interact and educate prospective customers about the Komori digital presses. It hopes to install at least one press by the end of 2019 in the country.

Komori’s B1 digital press, the Impremia NS40 built in collaboration with Landa Digital, is expecting its first beta installation, later this year. One might expect this press to come to the Indian market after drupa 2020.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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