Mumbai’s General Photo Stores upgrades to Foliant Vega 400A laminating machine

The machine improves productivity

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Hasnain Madraswala of General Photo Stores with the Foliant Vega 400A

Established in 1931, General Photo Stores in a prominent name in Mumbai’s photo lab business. Located on the busy Mohammad Ali Road in south Mumbai, General Photo Stores caters to the walk-in customers as well as corporates, who are mainly from the garments industry. Earlier this year, General Photo Stores bought a fully automatic laminating machine the Foliant Vega 400A. The laminating machine was supplied by Mumbai-based HiTech Systems.

Earlier, our lamenting process was done manually and therefore to remove the bottleneck in the post-printing department, we opted for the Foliant Vega 400A. Although the initial investment is on the higher side, there is significant saving in the running costs. We have been able to save on power, time and space. In addition, we have significantly improved our productivity,” says Hasnain Madraswala of General Photo Stores.

General Photo Stores derives a major chunk of its business from the garments industry to whom it offers a host of services. It has an in-house photo studio, an editing department and a printing and finishing department. With the addition of the Foliant Vega 400A, General Photo Stores has also been able to improve the quality of the prints, according to Madraswala.

HiTech Systems launched the Foliant Vega 400A during PrintPack 2019 in Greater Noida. The machine does high-speed thermal lamination with auto feeding and cutting. Due to its pneumatic high-pressure system (with integrated compressor inside the machine frame), the format and performance of the machine is suitable for all jobs – all kinds of digital printed sheets lamination and high volumes of offset printed sheets size B3+ lamination too. The machine’s maximum speed is up to 18 meters per minute, while its performance is over 2000 sheets per hour of B3 portrait (white paper 200 gsm).

General Photo Stores prints the photographs on a Konica Minolta C71hc, which it bought almost four years ago. It also has a Noritsu QSS 3201 printer for printing on photo papers.

Although the Foliant Vega 400A has helped us in saving our running cost and complements the Konica Minolta printers in terms of speed, the biggest benefit that we have derived is the improvement in print quality. All in all, we are very satisfied with the machine,” says Madraswala.

A new Konica Minolta in the offing

Having strengthened its finishing department earlier this year, General Photo Stores has now gone in for enhancing the capabilities of its printing department. By the end of December, it will replace its Konica Minolta C71hc with a C83hc.

The C71hc has served us for four years and now we are moving to C83hc mainly because of the photo printing quality of that press. We have already booked the order and the press should be installed by the end of the year,” Madraswala says.

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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