Futura Infinite’s new MGI JetVarnish 3DS plus iFoil

Boggaram: ‘Waiting for drupa to see what’s new’

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The new AR platform developed by Futura Infinite for wedding cards, newspapers, and magazines. Photo IPP
The new AR platform developed by Futura Infinite for wedding cards, newspapers, and magazines. Photo IPP

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.

Deepak Boggaram, managing director of Future Infinite alongside the newly installed MGI JetVarnish 3DS with iFoil. Photo IPP
Deepak Boggaram, managing director of Future Infinite alongside the newly installed MGI JetVarnish 3DS with iFoil. Photo IPP

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.

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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