Technicon notches up successful deals in recent months

Confirms deal for new mailroom sticking machine with Times of India

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L-R: Upendra Nayak (ToI), Rajiv Gandotra (Technicon), KN Dsouza (ToI), Snehasis Roy (ToI technical head), and Vasudevan with pouch and die-cut memo advertisement sticking machine at ToI's Kandivali plant. Photo IPP
L-R: Upendra Nayak (ToI), Rajiv Gandotra (Technicon), KN Dsouza (ToI), Snehasis Roy (ToI technical head), and Vasudevan with pouch and die-cut memo advertisement sticking machine at ToI's Kandivali plant. Photo IPP

Mumbai’s Technicon India has in the past few months achieved great success with some of its solutions. The company has been able to confirm and close an order with The Times of India for its recently launched machine for sticking shampoos and similar types of pouches and die-cut memo advertisements on newspapers. This machine has been placed at The Times of India’s Kandivali plant. Technicon has also signed a deal to supply counter stackers to Physics Center Press, a Thailand-based book printer.

“I can confirm that we have closed a deal with The Times of India to supply our pouch and die-cut memo advertisement sticking machine to them. The machine, called Harrier, will for the first time automate the process of sticking pouches and memo advertisements on newspapers. The machine was on trial at the newspaper’s Kandivali press for three months, from mid-February to mid-May,” says Rajiv Gandotra, founder of Technicon India, which makes automation solutions for the newspaper industry such as inserters, overhead newspaper conveyors, counter stackers, under-wrappers, plastic bundle wrappers, online sheet under-layers, van loading telescopic loaders, flow turns and log stackers.

Commercial operations of the machine are expected to begin around the festival season later this year. Gandotra says that during the three months, trials were conducted for sticking pouches and advertisements of various types such as die-cut pictures of products, cards, booklets and flat merchandise of any material, among others. The machine was displayed for the first time during Printpack 2019, which was held in Greater Noida in February this year.

The Times of India will be using the machines to stick pouches and other forms of promotional items as well. Brands can get their advertisements printed on quality paper on a sheetfed or label press to get the best quality and value additions like spot UV, hot foiling and embossing and then our machines can paste that on the newspaper. This type of advertisement will stand out as newsprints cannot achieve such quality,” he says.

This type of work is presently done manually and therefore is highly labor-intensive and time-consuming. According to Gandotra, this form of innovative advertisement can be a huge revenue generator for newspapers on an everyday basis.

“My aim is to offer solutions that can not only save costs, like our regular stackers and conveyers, but also generate revenue, like the Harrier. Technicon’s endeavor is to help newspapers generate more advertising revenue without increasing pagination. The Harrier can be a great tool for that. I see a lot of potential in this solution and we are looking at expanding the way it can be used for more applications,” Gandotra shares.

L-R: Rajiv Gandotra (Technicon) with Narin Naovaprateep, Niti Naovaprateep and Wipa Ruangpanyaphot, (Physics Center Press) Photo IPP
L-R: Rajiv Gandotra (Technicon) with Narin Naovaprateep, Niti Naovaprateep and Wipa Ruangpanyaphot, (Physics Center Press) Photo IPP

Deal with Thailand’s Physics Center Press

Another highlight for Technicon this year has been a deal to supply its regular counter stackers to Thailand-based book printer Physics Centre Press. The Thai company has also ordered one press from Manugraph, also with the counter stacker.

“Physics Centre Press is a leading book printer in Thailand and it has ordered one Manugraph press, their fourth, and counter stackers from Technicon. The order came directly to us but Manugraph put in a good word about us,” says Gandotra.

The installation of the first counter stacker will take place by September.

Duty hike on newsprints a sentiment dampener

Indian newspapers have already been under severe stress for the last couple of years due to rising paper prices. However, in recent months prices have cooled down but imposition of 10% duty on imports of newsprint, Gandotra believes, has come like a sentiment dampener.

As per the announcement in the latest budget, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a 10% customs duty on newsprint. According to this provision, uncoated paper used for newspapers and lightweight coated paper for magazines will attract 10% customs duty with effect from 6 July 2019.

According to Gandotra, the duty hike by the government is to promote the domestic paper industry but the government should realize that it would be better if the local industry is incentivized to enhance capacity.

“My view is that instead of imposing duty to encourage domestic paper mills, the government should work towards incentivizing the domestic industry so that they can enhance capacity. A couple of years ago, when global paper prices were high, the local ones were not able to cope up with the demand due to capacity constraints. The duty hike will definitely hurt the sentiment of the newspaper industry as the environment is still challenging,” he 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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