Apsom launches Coltex and Top Banner digital textile printers in India

High-speed digital textile printing

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Vir Vikram Bhatia (left), managing director, Apsom Technologies
Vir Vikram Bhatia (left), managing director, Apsom Technologies

Apsom Technologies, a manufacturer of digital printing solutions, has been operational in the printing industry since 1994. Initially, the company provided to the signage industry and was a distributor of signage machines, including DGI from Korea, Roland and Mimaki from Japan, and Flora from China.

The company has offices in Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, and Kolkata with headquarters in Mumbai. Vir Vikram Bhatia, managing director, Apsom Technologies, said, “Till 2011 we were into signage, and after that, we diversified into textile printing industry because the printing process in signage and textile is more or less the same and changes with the substrate. We are also into graphics; 40% of our business is still graphics, and 60% is textile printing.”

The company entered the digital textile printing market with Mimaki machines in 2006, but it was in 2011 when it diversified its business in textiles with full force. “In the beginning stages, we distributed Mimaki machines that ran at the speed of 10 meters per hour; from 2011, we started dealing with Konica Minolta machines with a printing speed of 30-40 meters per hour. Now we have machines printing at a speed of 60 meters per minute. We now deal with high-speed textile printers. Recently, we sold a high-speed single-pass textile printer Konica Minolta Nassenger SP1, to Shree Jee, based in Mumbai, during ITMA Barcelona. The machine will be installed by December 2019,” Bhatia explained.

The company launched two digital textile printing machines during Gartex 2019 for the first time in India – Coltex CD – 1800 direct to fabric printer from China with Konica Minolta printheads and Top Banner TB 2380S direct dye-sublimation printer with Seiko printheads. The 72-inch Coltex printer can print 1000 meters per day and is an entry-level printer for printing on natural fabrics, and the 86 inch Top Banner printer can print directly on polyester. Bhatia explained that there are two methods of printing on polyester – transfer through paper or sublimation and direct printing. The sublimation technique is suited for sharp print results, while direct printing renders deep ink penetration in fabric. However, the polyester needs coating before printing irrespective of the printing technique.

Speaking about the Indian textile printing market, Bhatia said, “The North Indian market favors low-cost machines. Noida Gurgaon, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Banaras are the main pockets for textile printing. However, in terms of printing technology, India is a mixed market. There are processing houses that are investing in digital printing machines providing good opportunities for digital high-speed machine providers such as Konica Minolta, Reggiani, MS, and Epson. At the same time, customers want inks, and 60-70% of them don’t bother about the print quality till the price of inks is low. But I think the demand for digital textile printing will grow; as of now, it is at 3%.”

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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