Colorjet displays three wide format printers at Sign India Expo

Colorjet alive to changing inkjet signage trends

Smarth Bansal, senior product manager at Colorjet India alongside a printer displayed at the stand. Photo IPP
Smarth Bansal, senior product manager at Colorjet India alongside a printer displayed at the stand. Photo IPP

At Sign India Expo 2019 held in Pragati Maidan from 5 to 7 July 2019, Colorjet displayed a wide range of products for the wide format and signage industry. Three wide format inkjet printers were shown including a flatbed UV Colorjet Verve 2513 with 7-color plus varnish with a bed size of 2.5 m x 1.3 m. The printer is basically used for flat and rigid substrates such as almirah doors, wooden doors, glass panels and ceramic tiles. It uses printheads from Ricoh and this machine has more than 100 installations in India.

Colorjet also displayed a printer from its Polo HQ range, an eco-solvent 3.2-meter wide industrial printer. “We observed that solvent machines are really harmful for the environment since the presence of carcinogenic particles in solvents makes them extremely harmful for the workers. However, we launched this Polo HQ printer machine, especially with our Greentech mechanism. With Greentech we make sure that the inks are in compliance with the restriction of hazardous substrates standards (RoHS). The machine is built using Konica Minolta printheads and can print on fabric as well,” says Smarth Bansal, senior product manager at Colorjet India. Since there is a pronounced trend for soft signage using fabrics instead of vinyl substrates, Colorjet was demonstrating the printer on a recyclable fabric at the show. The inks were part of the Greentech mechanism.

Colorjet also displayed its Irisjet Pro wide format printer with environment-friendly inks. Based on Konica Minolta inkjet printheads printing at high speed, it is rated at 1,200 square feet an hour. The machine can be used for flex, outdoor hoardings and banners. Talking about the local signage market, Bansal says, “It is moving more towards fabric and flex is being banned in some states. Inks are becoming more eco-friendly. Customers are graduating towards more eco-friendly solutions. To improve margins, companies want to offer something different and hence the eco-friendly solutions available in the market today come at a slightly higher price. Earlier the demand was for 400 square feet an hour but now it has graduated to 1200 square feet an hour.”

Bansal adds that digital signage is a very different market and would not be able to take over the conventional or static signage market. “A static communication always has a higher value. For example, newspapers, no matter what the circulation is, we are seeing more and more newspaper coming and growing in India. Similarly, static signage will also grow. Digital signage will come but in India there many problems such as lack of reliable electricity and the logistics of more delicate or rigid materials, so it is not that easy to eliminate static signage. The cost associated with digital signage is also high,” says Bansal.

He says that the response to the small exhibition was okay in spite of the fewer exhibitors and visitors. The company is currently focussing on participating in more events overseas such as the recent ITMA textile event in Spain, where it took part in a big way as Platinum sponsors of the ITMA conference in Barcelona.

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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