Heidelberg India hosts Print Industry 4.0 webinar for Anna University printing technology students

The webinar focussed on Smart Printshop and autonomous printing

Print Industry 4.0 webinar conducted by Heidelberg India

Heidelberg India conducted Print Industry 4.0, a technical webinar for the nascent printing technology engineers of Anna University on 30 April 2020, between 2 PM and 5.30 PM. The session was greeted with overwhelming response by university students and faculty, as it radiated tremendous positivity and optimism, amid the Covid-19 lockdown.

Anna University’s printing faculty J P Nirmala, co-ordinated with Heidelberg’s Narendra Kulkarni to organize this event, which kicked off with the welcome note of B Kumar, head of the Printing Technology Department, performing brief introductions of speakers.

About 70 students, who participated in the three-and-a-half-hour session from their homes, absorbed attentively the information and insights shared by Heidelberg India’s knowledge experts. The lectures went through without a snag, with students, faculty members, and domain experts from Heidelberg India, all coming under one umbrella for an interactive technical exposition on trending print topics. The theme of the lectures was well planned and designed to correspond to the BE printing technology curriculum to help students relate better.

The webinar focused on Smart Printshop and autonomous printing while touching upon lean production, prepress workflow, and MIS concepts. Samir Patkar, president – Heidelberg India, significantly boosted the morale of students, by stating that the print industry awaits fresh and innovative minds like theirs. He also emphasized on the importance of being future-ready with continuous skills-upgrade, to remain relevant in an evolving industry and capitalize on opportunities.

Ashokan Krishnamoorthy, general manager – Prinect & CtP, expounded expertly on how to print establishments can get a maximum run for their money with a smart press on the shop floor vs traditional OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) of just 25-35%. His catchphrase being, how Industry 4.0 is poised to accelerate efficiency at all levels.

On the other hand, Lalitkumar Lamba, product manager – Sheetfed solutions, shared his prowess on Heidelberg’s push to Stop technology and the actual engineering behind it. He also spoke about the evolution and modernization of sheetfed presses in detail. Prabaharan, deputy general manager – Post-press Solutions, delivered an impressive in-depth presentation on polar cutting and Stahl folding equipment. He covered the principles, drive mechanisms, automation, and safety provisions deployed in cutting and folding machines to enhance productivity.

Narendra Kulkarni, regional product manager – Gallus Asia, explained excellently the diverse technologies in the flexo process and how inline printing presses deploying major printing processes can also convert in a single line. He called it progress that is bound to propel the print industry to the next levels of performance.

Upendra Rajadnya, territory manager – Lifecycle Operations, brilliantly highlighted the role of Industry 4.0 in remote equipment servicing and predictive monitoring to enhance equipment effectiveness, while Shankar Srinivasan, head – Human Resources, provided pointers on confidence-building and interview-handling. The students said they benefitted immensely and look forward to more such interactions in the future. A Final year Printing Tech. student sums it up for others in her class, “It was a complete package for any final year student. Very informative! discussions on the present and upcoming technologies, academics-related topics, and life-skills helped tremendously. We look forward to more such sessions.”

A second-year, Printing Technology student says, “This is the best thing that happened during the lockdown. Thank you, Heidelberg! Printing Industry 4.0 is exciting. Industry insights and technology updates were mind-blowing. Wow is the one word I can think of.” As a feedback measure, Heidelberg initiated a rating method on a scale of 1 (lowest rating) to 10 (highest), to assess webinar quality, and students gave a 9-point rating. Encouraged by the feedback, Heidelberg India plans on extending such knowledge-sharing sessions to other educational institutions as well, so more students can benefit.

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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