SN Press, Aluva, Kochi comes back strong from the floods

New Heidelberg and Komori presses build Kerala print business

SN Press
Sajeevan of SN Press with the brand new Komori Enthrone 429 sheetfed offset press. Photo IPP

Established in 1984, Aluva Kochi-based SN Press offers complete print solutions. Flourishes on a diet of book printing, brochures, magazines, tags and labels, SN Press started with a letterpress moving gradually to mini offset before investing in an HMT single-color machine. With growing print volumes, and feeling the need to add capacity, it added a second-hand 4-color Komori offset press in 1999. While the Komori served the purpose at the time, the company’s director, Sajeevan, wanted to add a new machine for producing exceptional quality print at a faster pace. Thus in 2013, he invested in a brand new Heidelberg Speedmaster SM 52 4-color press.

“With the addition of the Heidelberg, we became a one-stop print shop. Our investment was primarily aimed at delivering the numerous short-run print jobs that we get everyday, and the new Heidelberg press was and is best suited for such jobs. With this investment, we had everything in-house and the customer did not have to go anywhere for job work. Right from prepress, postpress, finishing, digital printing, wide format jumbo printing and binding – whatever was requested, we had the capacity to deliver,” shares Sajeevan. Almost 90% of Sajeevan’s commercial printing business comes from more than 100 small-scale printers from all over Kerala and around 80% of these orders are online.

The most recent investment for SN Press includes a brand new Komori Enthrone 429 sheetfed offset press, which Sajeevan added in 2018. However, soon after installation of the machine, floods hit Kerala, causing severe destruction of lives and infrastructure in the state. Sajeevan recalls, “We had just installed the machine when the floods hit us. The press was half submerged in water and we had to shut it down for months. However, we received very good support from Komori.”

Amitabh Jha, national service head for Komori adds, “In this special case, we assured SN Press of our full support. We gave very reasonable and low priced support for spare parts to the extent that the service given more than met the expectations of the customer, which is our goal – Kando, Beyond Expectation. Now the press is up and running. We ensured that whatever support we offered, the customer had to bear the minimum possible expenditure for it.”

The Enthrone 429 has a top speed of 13,000 sheets per hour with reduced change-over time. The machine can print on sheets ranging in thickness from 0.04 mm to .6 mm. According to Sajeevan, Komori machines are easy to run and manage. “The machine is completely trouble-free. Parts are also easily available. But mostly, it was our long association with Komori that made us choose them over any other brand,” he shares.
Talking about future plans, Sajeevan says, “Packaging is a good vertical now and some of the packaging companies are doing profitable business in Kochi. However, packaging requires investment in a lot of infrastructure and also demands a spacious unit. So, for now we are not thinking of venturing into that segment. Maybe in the next 2-3 years, we might consider it. Before anything else, we need to invest in land big enough for a packaging unit.”

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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