Regal Prints to increase production capacity

Digital printers look at enhancement options

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Manoj Kothari, director of Regal Prints alongside the Konica Minolta AccurioPress c2060
Manoj Kothari, director of Regal Prints alongside the Konica Minolta AccurioPress c2060

Regal Prints is a subsidiary of Regal Industries, which started in 1934 and did some publishing in its early days. It started printing with a treadle letterpress machine for producing and supplying wedding cards. Value addition to print was performed using silk screen machines and embossing dies. Just two years ago Regal migrated to digital.

“We have always been doing fancy printing. There is a market for value-added printing in Indore. Trends are changing with customers preferring foiling more these days instead of UV ink and coating effects. The trend right now is for dull foiling and down embossing,” says Manoj Kothari, director of Regal Prints.

Two years ago, when the company started digital printing, it purchased a brand new Konica Minolta AccurioPress c2060. Apart from this, the company has a Duplo cutting machine, a magic cutting machine and a thermal lamination machine in its battery of finishing equipment. Regal is also planning to invest in a machine for spot UV. “We’re planning to grow our digital setup. We plan to purchase new high performance machines for increasing our productive output. We might again go for a machine from Konica Minolta as we’ve had good experience with the KM team. Value-added printing also includes pearlized effects printed with touches of silver and gold. All these are coming to digital. We’re interested in these machines as it will help us in the segment that we’re currently supplying to,” says Kothari.

Regal uses a converted Heidelberg letterpress machine for foiling and embossing. These are old platen presses attached to a thermostat and timer to use it for hot foiling, a common practice in India. “This is a second-hand rebuilt machine that we purchased from a trader. It is pretty common in India to convert these machines and use them for foiling,” explains Kothari. In the coming days, the company may purchase a new foiling machine and is looking at several suppliers of digital enhancement machines that come with foiling options. Kothari shares that he may want to wait until drupa next year to have a look around for newer and better technologies.

Regal prints 1,000 to 1,500 impressions in a day right now but is looking to increase the production volume on its existing KM press and then purchase a new digital press. “There are a lot of options available in the market. We will evaluate on various parameters including the ROI of the press. Since we supply wedding cards and it is a seasonal business, we have to be very careful with our investments. We are able to supply printed work worth Rs 2.5 to 3 lakhs each month. We want to increase our production capacity to help us grow profitably in coming days,” Kothari shares.

In 2018, the company registered good growth. In 2019, the company is planning to triple its production capacity. “Indore is a huge market and has a lot of potential. We have to tap on all the areas of this city and for that, we have to increase our setup. This year we’ll be planning and investing in new machines to grow our business further,” Kothari concludes.

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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