Rajesh Printing Press’ new Konica Minolta C6100

Packaging most profitable for diversified printer

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Varun Madhok, one of the onwers of Rajesh Press alongside the newly installed Konica Minolta C6100 digital press. Photo IPP
Varun Madhok, one of the onwers of Rajesh Press alongside the newly installed Konica Minolta C6100 digital press. Photo IPP

Started in 1952, Rajesh Printing Press is currently run by its third generation, the Madhok brothers – Vishal, Vivek, and Varun. The company’s offset printing plant started with a single-color Heidelberg 25 x 36-inch press. Over time, three single-color sheetfed offset presses from Heidelberg and Dominant were added. Years later, at its second plant in Gurugram, which ultimately has become its main site, the company installed a second-hand 4-color Heidelberg sheetfed offset and started corrugation first, and eventually monocartons.

A couple of years ago, Rajesh Printing bought a new Heidelberg 6-color plus coater offset press for monocarton production at Gurugram. The company makes brochures and does FIITJEE’s complete printing work. It supplies monocartons for Kent RO water purifiers.

Around 15 years ago, Rajesh Press started its digital printing plant in Paharganj with a Konica Minolta C6500 digital production press. Within two years, the company bought another KM C6500. Next, the Madhok brothers installed a Canon 7010 digital production press. Over the years, the company kept adding digital production engines and also replaced some with newer digital presses.

Nearly three months ago, in June 2019 Rajesh Press purchased a new KM C6100 press without the color caliberation unit, IQ501, to replace their old Canon production press. “I didn’t have any hiccups with the Canon press, but it was getting older, and there was an urgent need to replace it with a new one. I thought KM was a better option for us, and we hence bought the C6100 press,” says Varun Madhok. He believes the production speed and quality sets this Konica Minolta apart from the others. Moreover, he says that there is a massive demand for KM prints in the market, which encouraged him to invest in the C6100.

Varun says, “From the post-sales and production point of view, Konica Minolta is unmatched. From the service point of view, the Konica Minolta team has been very supportive. Every time I encounter a problem, I have an engineer from Konica Minolta attend the press within an hour. I heard enough negative rumors in the market about KM’s post-sale services, but my personal experience has been quite the opposite of what people said.”

On the reason for not retrofitting the IQ501 color calibration unit in the new C6100 production press, Varun explains, “I had space constraints. Otherwise, spending Rs. 3–4 lakhs more on a retrofit is not a big deal. Especially when it can be of great use, I would have been glad to install it but couldn’t. In the future, if I move to a bigger plant, I will go for the retrofit.”

Every month, Rajesh Press prints more than 1.5 lakh impressions on the digital presses. The new KM has helped the company increase its production volume by 25–30%. “We don’t care much about how the market behaves. We focus more on our business and stick to our ethics. That is why we are successfully running our offset printing business despite a huge decline in the market demand. We try not to do job work. We are associated with some big companies and supply to them only. In the government sector, we supply all the printed material to Northern Railways and Air India. Of digital, offset, and packaging, the largest revenue-generating stream for us is now packaging. As we know, packaging is a booming market. We’re getting huge demand in packaging and can grow our business well overall,” Varun 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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