Miraj installs Heidelberg CX102 7-color + coater as cartons grow

Optimism in the time of Covid-19 – Udaipur’s Miraj expands

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Miraj
R to L - Madan Paliwal, Prakash Purohit, KG Sharma; Extreme left- Mantra Raj Paliwal with Heidelberg team 

Udaipur-based Miraj Multicolour, a part of the Miraj Group, commissioned a brand-new 7-color Heidelberg Speedmaster CX 102 UV plus coater combi printing press last month. The coater uses the IST UV system. Miraj prints and converts carton packaging for the food, pharmaceuticals, fast-moving consumer goods, ice cream, and electrical segments. The new CX102 is the fourth Heidelberg press at Miraj Multicolour. The press was ordered in December last year and installed during the lockdown.

“The press landed at our plant a couple of months ago, and the installation process happened during the lockdown. The installation and commissioning went very smoothly as the Miraj Multicolour team worked closely with the Heidelberg team. The press was formally inaugurated on 22 July,” says KG Sharma, director, Miraj Multicolour.

Sending a message

Sharma adds that Miraj Multicolour has been a delighted Heidelberg customer, and by bringing in another Heidelberg press, the company wanted to convey a message that its association with the German press manufacturer remains very strong.

“We have been a very happy Heidelberg customer. We bought this press to enhance our capacity, given the rise in volumes we have seen in the recent past. With the new CX 102, our capacity has increased by 25-30%,” Sharma says. The CX 102 combi press can process lightweight paper, labels to rigid board at a maximum speed of 16,500-sheets per hour.

Sharma credits Miraj Group chairman Madan Paliwal and vice-chairman Mantra Raj Paliwal for quick decisions on the press. “Mantra Raj Paliwal is the second generation in the family business and has a grand vision for the company with a great focus on the state of the art technology,” Sharma adds. 

Miraj Multicolour has seen robust business since the start of 2020. This has further increased during the lockdown, and the company has been operating 24X7. As per Sharma, the business in recent months has been better than last year.

“As you are aware, the businesses that we cater to were functioning normally during the lockdown. Except for the first few weeks of the lockdown, our customers have mostly been fully operational. Therefore, we too, have been very busy, especially during May, June, and July. Our business in these three months has surpassed last year’s level,” Sharma states.

Madan Paliwal founded Miraj Multicolour as a book printing and stationery item manufacturing company in 2001. It ventured into packaging business in 2011 and since then has expanded aggressively in this space. The packaging business is now its primary focus area and is growing at a very fast rate. The company’s state of the art plant is not only the first packaging printing plant in the region but also one of Rajasthan’s first. It processes 2,000 tons of paper every month. At present, the company supplies cartons to customers across India.

The Miraj Multicolor team celebrates the commissioning of the new Heidelberg CX102 7-color plus coater press
The Miraj Multicolor team celebrates the commissioning of the new Heidelberg CX102 7-color plus coater press at the inauguration ceremony

Strengthening the converting department 

Along with the four Heidelberg presses, the company has a fully loaded finishing department with equipment from leading brands. It has a total of four die-cutters from Bobst and Eterna and three Visionfold folder gluers from Bobst. Miraj Multicolour is adding more machines to its finishing department and has ordered a Bobst Novacut 106E version 3.0 die-cutter and a Bobst Ambition 106 A2 folder-gluer. 

The new folder gluer will also have a collection table. The company has also ordered a collection table that will be attached to one of its older Bobst Visionfold folder gluers. “With the collection tables, our operations will become extremely efficient and fast and ease the bottlenecks that may crop up during the converting process,” says Sharma. 

Recently, Miraj also brought in a lamination machine from Zhongke India. In the pipeline are B and N flute machines with flute laminators. These will be delivered by September this year. At present, it has an E-flute line with laminators.

Miraj Multicolour recently got a stripping machine from Suba and has ordered two more, this time from Zhongke India. The company also has the digitally-driven Esko Kongsberg sample-making table, which it bought some years ago.

Further expansion in the packaging segment

With the Indian packaging industry witnessing steady growth, Miraj Multicolour wants to expand and diversify into new areas. It is now looking to print and process liquor and metpet cartons. “The volumes in the liquor segment are very large, and with the printing and converting infrastructure we have, it makes sense for us to venture into this space,” says Sharma.

Talking about the near-term outlook of the packaging industry amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Sharma says that there should not be any reason for concern. “Yes, there has been some slowdown in segments such as cosmetics, but segments such as food, pharmaceuticals, FMCG are seeing robust growth. I am optimistic about the packaging industry,” Sharma 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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