Gulbarga’s Somu Digital installs Konica Minolta C1100

Digital printer recovers to 60% level since 1 June

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Manjunath Kalgi, proprietor of Somu Digital and Somu Photo Lab with the new bizhub Press C1100
Manjunath Kalgi, proprietor of Somu Digital and Somu Photo Lab with the new bizhub Press C1100

Gulbarga-based Somu Digital has recently installed a brand-new Konica Minolta bizhub Press C1100 color production printer to add to its array of Konica Minolta presses. The press was installed during the Covid-19 lockdown and has been operational since June 2020.

“From the time we started our services, we have been using Konica Minolta digital presses. We have been pretty happy with our association with the company. That is why we bought our newest digital press, a C1100 from Konica Minolta,” says Manjunath Kalgi, proprietor of Somu Digital.

The Konica Minolta bizhub Press C1100 prints at 100 pages a minute and features its enhanced Simitri HD toner, with its inbuilt SEAD IV screen processing, to continuously maintain image stability over long press runs. The substrate movement from the feeder to the delivery is improved with vacuum-based feeding for better registration and reliable paper handling, including hybrid de-curling for consistently flat output in the delivery stacker.

In addition to the newly installed C1100, Somu’s earlier digital presses comprise a Konica Minolta bizhub Press C6000, a bizhub Press C1085, and the Konica Minolta 71hc. “The reason we went for the bizhub Press C1100 was because of the rising volumes. The C1100 is faster than the C1085 and will help us handle and take on bigger volumes,” says Kalgi.

In addition to Somu Digital, Kalgi is also the proprietor of the Somu Photo Lab. The Somu Photo Lab offers wedding photography services, video shooting services, video editing services, and wedding photo album printing. Somu Digital, on the other hand, offers commercial printing services with a variety of print products such as visiting cards, leaflets, ID cards, scratch cards, invitation cards, and several others. Both companies were established in 2011.

Sharp recovery to 60% of pre-lockdown levels since 1 June 

Mostly shut during April and May due to the central government’s lockdown, Somu has been fully operational since 1 June 2020 and has seen a sharp recovery in business in the past three months. “During April and May, Somu was mostly closed, and the only jobs we were doing were those offered by the local government authorities. We were printing items like posters and leaflets for the local government bodies. Since June, things have opened up, and we have witnessed a big recovery in demand. We are at almost 60% of pre-lockdown levels,” Kalgi says.

Kalgi expects full recovery by mid-October as the economy further unlocks. “We expect a lot of businesses to recover from September as the central government has ordered further relaxations. It has asked the state governments not to impose any further localized lockdowns. This should help in economic recovery and increasing demand for print,” he concludes.

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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