Manugraph to manufacture new press with Seiken technology at Kohlapur

Manugraph and Seiken Graphics announce new 4 x1 at Wan-Ifra

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Sanjay Shah, vice chairman and managing director of Manugraph and Shota Namita, president of Seiken Graphics, at their press meeting during the WAN-IFRA India Conference in Gurgaon. Photo IPP
Sanjay Shah, vice chairman and managing director of Manugraph and Shota Namita, president of Seiken Graphics, at their press meeting during the WAN-IFRA India Conference in Gurgaon. Photo IPP

In a joint press meeting on 18 September 2019 at the Manugraph stand at the Wan-Ifra India conference in Gurgaon, the company announced a tie-up with Seiken Graphics to manufacture a high advanced double-width, single-circumference web offset press at the Manugraph manufacturing plant in Kohlapur in Maharashtra. The announcement was made by Sanjay Shah, vice-chairman and managing director of Manugraph and Shota Namita, president of Seiken Graphics both of whom answered questions from the trade press.

The new double-width press double circumference 4 x 1 press (4 broadsheet pages wide and one broadsheet page in circumference or length) will be manufactured under a technical collaboration between the two companies. The engineering advancement in this press will be its single circumference plate and blanket cylinders and what are described as several other improved and advanced technology features from both companies.

The new 4 x1 will run at 75,000 copies an hour speed and the one to one ratio of plate and blanket together with joint development and manufacture at Manugraph’s advanced design and manufacturing assets and resources in Kohlapur will bring down its production cost. In addition, it will bring down the cost of spares and consumables for Indian newspaper printers and obviate the need for importing and stocking these in advance. Freight, import duties, installation, and service costs can be saved apart from the security of prompt factory trained engineering and maintenance services.

Seiken Graphics is one of the major Japanese web-offset press and mailroom equipment manufacturers. Its presses and mailroom equipment are installed in Japan, India and around the world. Its presses and mailroom are installed in South India at Dina Thanthi and its mailroom equipment is installed at several Kasturi & Sons’ plants.

Manugraph which is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange is the leading web offset press manufacturer in India of 2 x1 web offset newspaper and book presses and most probably, in the world. It is also a manufacturer of shaftless 4 x1 presses that it has supplied to two major newspapers in South India. However, the Manugraph Smartline 4 x1 shaftless press runs at 70,000 copies and hour and has a double-circumference blanket cylinder.

Nine months to deliver the first new technology 4 x 1 press

As Shota Namita of Seiken and Sanjay Shah of Manugraph said at Wan-Ifra Indis, “The collaboration between Manugraph and Seiken Graphics to build a newly designed 75,000 copies an hour single-circumference plate and single-circumference blanket cylinder web offset press means that a press with the latest technology will be built in India at a more economical cost. It will be especially targeted at the Indian newspaper market which is one of the few in the world that is still growing.” Notably, major Indian dailies with circulations above 2,00,000 in a single print center are increasingly looking at 4 x1 presses to improve color quality and efficiencies and to reduce process wastage and manpower.

In answer to press questions, Shah answered, “We haven’t decided on the name for the new press yet. However, we are ready to start building the new design press with its combined technology and new features and looking for the first customer. Keep in mind that from the date of order, it will take us 9 months to deliver the first new jointly developed 4 x1 press.”

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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