Konica Minolta showcased industrial printing application samples at pacprocess

KM at pacprocess, 12-14 December, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi

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Konica Minolta team at its stand at pacprocess 2019
Konica Minolta team at its stand at pacprocess 2019

At pacprocess 2019, scheduled from 12-14 December 2019 at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi, Konica Minolta showcased industrial printing application samples and connected its MGI JV customers with print buyers. The company has taken similar measures in the recent past, where it participated in a couple of other exhibitions. “The idea was to connect more end-users with our customers and to demonstrate innovative and exciting applications to various industries, such as pharma, agrochemicals and food. The investment in IP solutions is extremely high. We don’t want to be the kind of company that sells the press and forgets about its customers. Our main motive has always been to grow together with our customers. Though the 3DW machine hasn’t yet been installed in India, we showcased its products at the event. The idea is to create a buzz before it enters the market,” said Vijay Kamat, national product manager – Industrial Print, Konica Minolta.

He further added that some customers are even keen to export printed work. Hence, KM targeted export opportunities for its customers at the event. KM met as many brands as possible during the show. It also targeted representatives of various brands from the packaging development department. “They influence internal marketing decisions and have the deciding authority. They typically are the focal points of the packaging companies,” Kamat stated.

IP Applications Demo Day

Konica Minolta India organized an Industrial Printing Applications Demo Day on 9 December 2019, where it invited print buyers to demonstrate its portfolio of digital printing presses and embellishment machines. Companies such as Nestle, Dabur, Samsung and Bacardi were invited to the Konica Minolta Demo Innovation Center in Gurugram, Haryana. Along with these companies, KM also invited some graphic designers from design agencies who influence the decisions of significant print buyers across the country.

KM demonstrated samples printed on its webfed AccurioLabel 230 digital label press, the MGI JetVarnish digital embellishment machine and the AccurioJet KM1 – the B2 sized sheetfed inkjet press from Konica Minolta. Apart from the printed, enhanced and diecut samples, it also showcased its presses – the KM AccurioLabel 230, and two variants of the MGI JetVarnish machine, a 14-inch variant and a 29-inch larger format variant meant for packaging embellishment.

Talking about the 29-inch model of the MGI JetVarnish, Kamat said, “We have not yet been able to install a 29-inch variant in India which is for the packaging market. Most of the packaging companies tell us that they usually do not have short-run printing work, but have long runs. However, our interaction with end-users gave us a different story; they say that they also want to create packaging for one person. Customized packaging attracts value in the market, especially for special occasions, and consumers don’t hesitate to spend extra on such occasions. Our digital presses are ideal for such customer demands, and we want to encourage brands to team up with our customers for personalized packaging.”

drupa 2020 to open up new possibilities in market

MGI JetVarnish digital embellishment press comes in three variants – 14 inch, 20 inch, and 29 inch. The company has quite a few installations for its 14-inch entry-level option while it has installed the 20-inch mid-sized variant in Ahmedabad. There are a couple of customers that Konica Minolta is in talks with for the 29-inch digital embellishment press. Yet, the KM team in India thinks that customers seem to prefer to wait till drupa for further technological advancements in the machine before finalizing. On the other hand, Kamat said that the requirement for the 14-inch model has shot up suddenly in the market.

“drupa 2020 is going to be the deciding factor for many investments in India. For larger investments, higher Capex is required where drupa will play a key role in explaining the possibilities and applications of high-end machines in the market – in turn, driving the investment plans of customers. However, we do tell all our customers that our products are drupa-compliant in the sense that any change in the technology introduced at drupa can be installed on machines purchased from now to drupa,” Kamat explained.

Labelexpo 2019 at Brussels

Konica Minolta demonstrated the MGI 3DW its roll-to-roll digital embellishment label press along with its latest digital label press, AccurioLabel 230, at Labelexpo Europe in Brussels. The MGI machine has eight installations worldwide thus far. However, it is yet to be launched in India. Konica Minolta India may launch the MGI 3DW early next year.

“Out of 60 visitors who were interested in the press, 15 were from India. I think MGI 3DW will attract numerous label printers in India. Again, this press will require a huge investment. Even though we didn’t discuss the commercials at the stand during the event, I’m sure that quite a few of the 15 interested printers will go ahead once it is launched in the country,” said Kamat. Konica Minolta India has so far installed one KM C71 CF, one AL 230 and three AL 190 digital label presses. With the MGI 3DW press, printers can create an embossed foil effect on the labels, unlike the usual de-bossed effect post foil through the traditional method.

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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