Commercial print volume falls in Bareilly due to Covid-19

Vardhan Printing Press installs Komori Enthrone 429

Manoj Arora, owner of Vardhan Printing Press and the Komori team with the newly installed Komori Enthrone 429 sheetfed offset press

Vardhan Printing Press, based in Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, recently invested in a Komori Enthrone 4-color sheetfed offset press capable of printing 13,000 sheets an hour. Manoj Arora, the owner of the 37-year-old company, ordered the press much before the Covid-19 outbreak. However, the installation was delayed because of the sudden announcement of the country-wide total lockdown on 25 March 2020. During unlock 1.0, which began on 8 June, the Komori India team quickly installed the press.

“We wanted to upgrade our technology to help us sustain the business. Hence, we opted for Komori. We are known for quality in the market and wanted to maintain our reputation. Even though the business situation is a little shaky right now, we are hopeful that once the market situation stabilizes, we will start getting good demand from the market. The new press can print on sheets with thickness varying from 0.4mm to 0.6mm. It shortens the changeover time between light and heavy stocks significantly because no transfer-cylinder gripper-pad adjustment is necessary. In short, the press enables working efficiencies that result in higher margins and business growth,” says Arora.

In the past, the company has used 4-color, and a 5-color used Dominant offset presses for printing. The Komori is Vardhan’s first brand-new press. “We have not taken any loan to buy this press and bought it from the company’s savings. For a long time, we have wanted to purchase a brand new press. Since our print business comprises job work for customers in the market, the print runs are shorter. We also looked at other brands, but in our view, they weren’t as good a fit for shorter run-lengths and are hoping the new press helps us boost our business,” adds Arora.

The Covid-19 situation has crippled the printing market of Bareilly. “The demand has fallen by more than 75% ever since the lockdown was announced. I believe that this pattern will continue until the end of this year. Even though there is a slight improvement in demand, it doesn’t look very encouraging to me. We used to print and supply nearly 10 lakh (1 million) sheets a month, which has fallen drastically due to Covid-19. We hope that the situation improves soon,” Arora 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

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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