AT Inks at Media Expo 2019, New Delhi

Inks for the signage, textile, ceramic, and graphic arts industry

Neerav Goswamy, director, AT Inks. Photo IPP
Neerav Goswamy, director, AT Inks. Photo IPP

AT Inks, a registered trademark and brand name of ink products sold by Rex-tone Industries, is one of the largest inkjet ink manufacturing companies in India. Headquartered in Mumbai with production and R&D facilities located in Vadodara and Gujarat, AT Inks manufactures several grades of solvent inks, eco-solvent inks, ceramic inks, UV curable inks, LED curable inks and water-based inks.

Incepted in 1994, the company celebrated its 25th year in the month of May in 2019. “We were the first ones to offer inkjet inks in the market when we started selling them in 2002. Prior to that, we used to manufacture dyes. We have a full range of inks from high-density substrates to stretchable substrates,” said Neerav Goswamy, director, AT Inks.

The company displayed its range of solvent-based inkjet inks for outdoor signage, eco-solvent inks for outdoor and indoor signage, dye sublimation water-based inks for the signage and textile industry, and UV lamp and LED curing inks during the recently held Media Expo in New Delhi.

The company also provides inks for hard and flexible substrate, which can be used in flatbed printing, hybrid, and roll-to-roll machines. “Since Media Expo is an important event for the signage industry, we are displaying a range of inks from our signage portfolio. We are among the largest players in the market for solvent-based inks and our primary focus is on UV, lamp and LED, and dye-sublimation inks. However, we see visitors showing a lot of interest in our UV inks since most of the machines displayed this year are UV printing machines. The trend seems to be favoring the UV curing segment and we see the potential for growth in it,” Goswamy explained.

The AT Inks stand received heavy footfall during the show. Talking about this, Goswamy said, “The footfall has been the best this year, and we have been participating at the show since 8 years. Since we are an ink manufacturing company, an exhibition like Media Expo is a brand-building exercise for us. The customers first buy the machines and then they buy the inks. This is a platform where we get to meet our existing as well as prospective customers. It enables us to receive feedback on our products. Some of our customers are using our inks since decades and when they come to our stand to vouch for the quality of our products, it instills a sense of pride and confidence in our team to provide for and help the industry better,” Goswamy said.

Speaking about the upcoming trends in the industry, he said, “One clear trend that we observed is that industry is moving towards UV machines. We saw solvent and eco-solvent machines in the last exhibition. But this year, most of the exhibitors showcased UV machines. The Indian market is starting to mature and the manufacturers are embracing the fact that they need to innovate in order to be competitive in the market,” Goswamy explained.

AT Inks saw a growth of 14% in FY18 -19. “The last year was not good for the industry, and we observed a dip in the market. But it looks like the industry will do better in the coming months; especially the months from September to February is the season for printing,” Goswamy shared.

The company plans to launch a new range of high-density UV inks, highly stretchable UV inks, thermoforming inks, and inks for Epson printheads in the next three months. For the textile industry, the company is working on a range of reactive inks that will be ready to be launched by the end of 2019. AT Inks will also participate in the upcoming Media Expo 2020 in Mumbai.

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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