Replika installs Canon VarioPrint i300 inkjet press

First installation in India for Canon’s sheetfed inkjet digital press

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L to R Sanandan Seth, director Replika Bhuvnesh Seth, managing director, Replika Press, Puneet Datta, senior director, Canon India and Vikaran Seth, director, Replika Press Photo Canon India
L to R Sanandan Seth, director Replika, Bhuvnesh Seth, managing director, Replika Press, Puneet Datta, senior director, Canon India and Vikaran Seth, director, Replika Press Photo Canon India

On 22 September 2020 Canon India and Replika Press announced the B3 VarioPrint i300 installation at Replika’s Kundli plant just north of Delhi. Replika, a well-known book printer, and book printing exporter becomes the first to run the Canon sheetfed inkjet color digital press in the country.

Specialized in book printing and high-end commercial print production, digital printing, and a separate plant for packaging, Replika has generally been an early adopter of technology. Apart from its automated offset and binding equipment, it has run several digital presses. Many of the leading global book publishers with a strong presence in the country have been encouraging book printers and exporters to invest in the latest digital printing technologies.

Speaking about the installation, Kazutada Kobayashi, president and CEO of Canon India, said, “Innovation and customer delight remains integral to every offering we bring forth at Canon. Staying true to this commitment, we have been addressing diverse market expectations of the professional printing industry through our product portfolio. With the first installation of our latest marvel VarioPrint i300 in the country, we aim to strengthen our foothold in the print industry further and achieve new milestones. We are proud to be instrumental in empowering publishers with innovations that will help their productivity goals and be future-ready in these unprecedented times as well.”

The future of book printing is digital inkjet

Bhuvnesh Seth, managing director of Replika, said, “We have always invested in future-ready technologies and solutions, and for our customers and us, the future is digital inkjet. The VarioPrint i300 brings us the ability to enhance our book publishing offerings and also enables us to explore new markets outside of that industry. The solution is well-equipped to meet the advancing prerequisites of publishers, empowering higher and faster production volumes on the majority of offset stocks and uncoated media without compromising quality. We have always trusted Canon as our technology partner to bring such cutting edge solutions for our customers and our decade old association with the company is a testimony to our faith.”

The book publishing segment has witnessed several challenges in changing market demands. Combining new inkjet innovation and high-speed sheetfed color, Canon has introduced the VarioPrint i300 to help meet the publishing industry’s evolving needs. The Canon VarioPrint was also featured as a book production press at the Hunkeler Innovation Days in February 2019 in Lucerne.

Expressing his views, Puneet Datta, senior director, Canon India, said, “Replika Press has been one of our trusted partners in the country, having multiple digital printing solutions installed. We are proud to state that Replika depends 100% on Canon for all their digital printing requirements. We are pleased to continue our association with them and play a critical role in their vision for supporting the publishing industry. As pioneers of inkjet technology, we have fostered the publishing industry’s growth by offering innovative solutions across the globe. Bolstering our footprint in India, our first installation of VarioPrint i300 is a testament of our commitment to delighting our customers and is extremely strategic to us for our growth in the publishing segment.”

He further adds, “The VarioPrint i300 series has by now become the benchmark within this category for the whole industry with more than 250 installs globally, and users are so impressed with the technology that more than 20% of the customer base has invested in an additional device. Customers can get a good return on investment by shifting more of their offset volumes to sheetfed inkjet printing solutions, benefiting from reduced wastage and shorter time to produce and ship.”

The Canon VarioPrint i300 is a highly productive inkjet engine capable of printing full-color B3 Size sheets with superior near offset quality on uncoated and offset coated papers. With the VarioPrint i300 series, one can increase productivity by printing more than 4 to 6 million A4 pages a month using aqueous-based inks with sharp and vivid color quality.

Canon says the VarioPrint i300 features optimized print quality at a perceived 1200 x 1200 dpi via inkjet drop size control. The print head nozzle monitoring and automatic failure compensation on the press are built to maintain color quality consistently on a wide range of media, including woodfree, inkjet treated, offset uncoated and offset coated stocks. Standard sheets, tabs, and NCR media are supported as well.

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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