Patna’s Balajee Offset plans to strengthen its binding section

Brand new Komori Lithrone A37 installed two years ago

Amar Verma, proprietor of Balajee Offset with Komori Lithrone A37. Photo IPP
Amar Verma, proprietor of Balajee Offset with Komori Lithrone A37. Photo IPP

Patna-based educational book printer Balajee Offset, which started operations in October 2017, is planning to upgrade its binding department by bringing in more automatic machines in order to enhance the efficiency of its finishing division. Balajee Offset currently prints only educational books using a Komori Lithrone A37 offset press, which the company bought brand new when it started operations two years ago.

“With the Komori Lithrone A37, our printing section has become extremely capable but we are facing a bottleneck in our binding sector, which is not able to cope up with the printing volumes. To overcome this issue, we will be bringing in more automatic machines. We will start installing these machines starting next financial year, which is March 2020,” says Amar Verma, proprietor of Balajee Offset.

At present, Balajee Offset’s binding department has basic Indian-made equipment, such as gluing machines, stitching machines, folding machines, and cutting machines. The company employs ten people in its printing and binding sections. Balajee Offset operates the press in one 12-hour shift every day for the full year.

Talking about his experience with Komori, Verma says that the two years have been very good not only because the quality of the Komori technology is exceptional but also because the after-sales service is up to the mark. “The best part about dealing with Komori is that whenever we have faced an issue and have requested assistance, the engineer is at our site within 12 hours,” he shares.

Although strengthening the binding sector is the topmost agenda in the near term, Verma shares that he may opt for another offset press one year down the line, instead of running the Komori Lithrone A37 for a 24-hour shift.

“Yes, as volumes grow, we will need to add capacity but our philosophy is that one press should be operated by one operator only. Therefore, if and when we need to increase our printing capacity, we will go for a new press rather than utilize the Lithrone A37 beyond its 12-hour shift. Anyway, we do not plan to buy another press for at least one more year,” Verma says.

Patna printers need to invest in technology

With the growth in the economy of Bihar in the last decade or so, print demand has also expanded, especially in Patna. However, Verma believes, printers in the city have not invested in technology and therefore are not able to offer quality work.

“Patna’s economy has grown multiple times in the last ten years and so it has the potential to become a printing hub. There is scope for growth in both educational book printing as well as commercial printing segments here. However, printers have not invested in technology and therefore the print quality that they offer is not up to the mark. There are just a handful of printers in such a big city who can offer quality. For example, there are just a few Komori offset presses here,” he says.

Verma argues that unless printers invest in quality, customers will keep on demanding basic work. Customers who want to get special work done opt to get it printed from printers in Delhi.

“Printers here have the impression that there is not enough work in Patna. However, there is room for many more quality printers. They will need to develop the market by offering quality. Customers will come,” Verma concludes.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

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As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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