Bengaluru-based Futura Infinite started 30 years ago with a Xerox Versant 180 digital press. Now the company has four digital printing plants in the city. While three of the company’s plants produce digital prints using Xerox and Konica Minolta presses, the fourth plant in Banashankari does more varied work. It has a combination of offset and digital presses together with a flatbed UV printer for producing POPs.
Recently, Futura added a new MGI JetVarnish 3DS with iFoil digital embellishment press to the Banashankari plant. “The first time we saw the machine in Mumbai at Pamex, we were pretty sure about buying it. But, we didn’t decide in haste and waited for a long time. We studied the various possibilities of the machine before finalizing our decision,” says Deepak Boggaram, managing director of Futura Infinite.
“MGI’s biggest advantage is that while the spot UV gives an embossed effect on the front side of the sheet, there is no de-bossing effect on the back. Usually, embossing on the front is accompanied by de-bossing on the back. That is one of the reasons why we decided to buy this press. We are the first to buy this machine in the state of Karnataka,” Boggaram shares.
MGI’s capability exceeds Bengaluru demand
However, so far, the MGI’s capacity is not yet fully utilized by Futura as it still hunts for orders. Initially, Boggaram was unsure about the capability of the machine, but after the installation realized that the demand in the market is not sufficient to utilize the machine’s full capacity and unique capabilities.
“This machine can foil (create metallic effects) on both digital and offset prints. Generally, offset print quantities are in thousands or lakhs, and I was really anxious to learn if the machine is capable of taking that load. But as days went by, we realized that the production rate of the machine is pretty high,” Boggaram highlights.
Unlike some other companies, who took time to learn the capabilities of the MGI by conducting various experiments, Futura finished its trials and learned quickly. It is currently ready to offer a large number of unique print embellishment options on their new MGI.
Viability of the MGI
In the Bengaluru market, Boggaram reckons the demand for foiling is more than that for spot UV enhancement. “I could have also taken an offline foiling unit, but I went for a machine with inline foiling because the accuracy of inline foiling is much higher. Most of the customers demand accuracy in registration, especially for embellishment and value-added printed work. Plus, some customers want to get their own design printed, which is not always possible with an offline unit. For such a choosy and quality-conscious customer base, a smart machine such as the MGI is the only solution,” Boggaram points out. Though Boggaram is optimistic about his investment, he says that his company will take at least four years to achieve its ROI on this device. It seems the demand in Bengaluru is not as robust for spot UV and inline foiling enhancements as it should be.
Boggaram does see a future in packaging. “With offset, digital and flex markets on the verge of being wiped out from the market, packaging is the last ray of hope for us. I will be looking at the label segment in the future and plan to enter the packaging segment in the coming years. Frankly, I’m waiting for drupa 2020. I want to see what’s new. Though I have plans to invest in a digital label press in the future, I’m pretty sure that the upcoming drupa will surprise me. It is bound to have an impact on my future course of action,” Boggaram shares.
Futura’s new AR platform
Boggaram’s Futura Infinity has nevertheless introduced augmented reality (AR) to wedding invitations and various other commercial segments. “AR can help anything that is printed on paper to be viewed in 3D or as video on a digital screen. AR is the need of the hour. Through the AR platform developed by us, anything that is printed can also be viewed digitally. If one scans the invitation using a camera, a video starts playing. This level of communication comes handy in today’s fast-paced world, where no one has the time to read line-by-line and word-by-word. Some of the magazines that we’re associated with are also showing some interest in this technology,” Boggaram adds.
Boggaram believes that this technology can help magazines and newspapers boost their commercial print revenues. “Advertisers generally are not able to say everything through a print ad. That is where AR comes into the picture. With AR, advertisers can promote their products even better and maybe achieve better results,” Boggaram concludes.