Stability in print demand expected from July

Color Waves installs Canon imagePRESS C10000VP

Kamal Garg, managing director of Color Waves alongside Canon imagePRESS c10000VP

New Delhi-based Color Waves recently installed a Canon imagePRESS C10000VP digital press. Started as a designing and prepress unit in 1994, Color Waves began its digital print business in 2010. “The main reason we bought the Canon imagePRESS C10000VP is because of Canon’s service support. The company’s solid service team addresses the problems in digital presses pretty soon. Timely service support is one of the mainstays of the Canon brand,” says Kamal Garg, managing director of Color Waves.

The iPR C10000VP is the company’s first 100 ppm digital press. Canon claims that the iPR C10000VP is designed to address the evolving demands of professional printing. “This press is potent to handle a variety of print substrates and has exceptional color consistency. All the printer must do is to maintain the press well and follow the procedures given by the Canon team.

“I’ve been following the maintenance steps since the press was installed in January. We have not had a single complaint with the performance of this press. It has helped us increase our production by a huge margin and has also helped us gain customers and profit,” adds Garg. Color Waves has printed up to 2000 copies in a single run on the new press in the past, and Garg was fully satisfied with the results. The iPR C10000VP has a 2400 x 2400 dpi resolution with a choice of the EFI Fiery front-end platform. It handles substrates ranging from 60gsm to 350gsm.

Covid-19 lockdown affects business

“We pulled our shutters down on the day PM announced Janata Curfew on 22 March 2020. We have remained shut ever since, just like most other printers in the city. It is difficult to assess the loss that we must have incurred due to this lockdown. Once the lockdown is lifted, we have to sit and evaluate everything. We are waiting for the government’s order to open the lockdown. I don’t see a point in continuing it anymore. I believe it’s time we open and resume our business. The main problem right now is that nothing is clear. There is no clear instruction or news if the printers can start functioning, and the government has to decide on this matter soon,” he says.

Garg expects some support from the government. He also hails the decision taken by the government recently to help the MSMEs gain momentum and bounce back in the market post this lockdown. “Everything now depends upon how the market reacts after the lockdown opens. I don’t expect the market to fall back on track almost instantly. I believe the print market will take at least a month to stabilize and start functioning normally. I think that things will start gradually improving from July if the lockdown opens soon. It could take longer if the government doesn’t allow the businesses to open up by the end of this month,” explains Garg.

Color Waves achieved decent growth in FY 2019-20. The company also plans to install a digital embellishment machine but Garg believes that this is not the right time to decide on any new investments. Garg said that he would focus on growing his business as the situation in the market improves and the demand starts coming back.

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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