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

New Heidelberg and Komori presses build Kerala print business

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

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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