Express Printers’ new RMGT 790ST-XL 4-color offset press with UV LED

Hi-Tech Rao of Vijayawada on hi-growth path

N Nageswara Rao of Express Printers with the new RMGT 790ST-XL 4-color offset press

In 1987, inspired by a relative’s screen printing business, N Nageswara Rao entered the screen printing business with a paltry sum of Rs 2,000. He started operations out of a 500 square foot office (then named Hi-Tech Screen Printers) with a keen interest in technology and a desire to make advancements on the digital front. He started upgrading his printing business with computers and continued with screen printing work until 1995. A year later, Rao invested in a used 2-color Hashimoto offset press and ventured into commercial printing in partnership with a friend.

In the next two years, Rao invested in Apple computers for design, an upgrade most people would not have thought of back in 1998. He supplied print to customers from 23 districts of the then United Andhra Pradesh. A sought-after name for high-quality jobs, Rao was known for providing 4-color printing on 2-color presses. His love for constantly upgrading to new technology and staying abreast with the changes in the printing domain has earned him the name ‘Hi-Tech Rao.’

From used presses to new & offset to digital

In 2007, Rao came out of the partnership and established Express Printers. He bought a space in Vijayawada’s Gandhi Nagar area to open his new printing business. He invested in a used Mitsubishi 1F 4-color press and started taking up commercial printing and small packaging jobs. He bought a second Mitsubishi 1F 4-color press in 2009 and a used Shinohora 4-color press in 2011. In the next few years, he installed brand new equipment to strengthen his digital printing setup, which included a Cron CtCP, a Xerox 1000i, Xerox 110 and a Xerox C70.

“I have always relied on good technology and I believe the only way to keep your customers satisfied, happy and make them keep coming back to you is to invest in good machinery that will result in quality jobs. In Vijayawada, there is strong competition as Gandhi Nagar is the hub of commercial printing. To stay ahead, one must work around quicker production time and high-quality end product,” says Rao.

In February this year, Rao visited the PrintPack show in Delhi where he met the Provin Technos team, who are the sole distributors of RMGT Ryobi presses in India. Impressed by the machine performance and cost ratio and the services offered by Provin, Rao decided to buy a brand new RMGT 790ST-XL 4-color press with UV LED.

I was highly impressed by the Provin Technos team. They explained the features of the press in detail and the press met with all the requirements that I had in mind back then. I definitely wanted to opt for a press that would not only help speed up my production but also deliver high-quality jobs. The RMGT looked like a promising deal. Ever since it was installed in May this year, it has performed exceptionally well and I am extremely happy with it,” Rao shares.

Talking about his future plans, Rao says that he wishes to open a packaging unit in the later half of next year considering the growing demand for packaging in Vijayawada. “There is a robust demand for packaging in Andhra but very few players to address this demand. So, our next move will be to invest in machinery catering to the packaging segment,” Rao 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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