Pune’s Inkfish Creations gets into digital commercial printing

New Canon imagePress C710 installed in early October

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Inkfish Creations
Pune's Inkfish has installed its first digital production printer for commercial print, A Canon imagePress C710

Pune-based Inkfish Creations has diversified into digital commercial printing with a brand-new Canon imagePRESS C710 digital production printer. The company was till now specializing in wide-format signage printing, which started in 2013. The Canon press was installed in early October and is expected to be fully commissioned within the week.

“This is our first digital production press. Before finalizing the deal, we saw a couple of brands and found the quality of the Canon press the best. The color consistency is excellent and the resolution is 2,400 dpi x 2,400 dpi,” says Usama Yaqub of Inkfish Creations. “Also, the training provided by the Canon India team during installation was excellent.”

The imagePRESS C710 can print at a speed of 70 pages per minute at what is claimed to be a resolution of 2,400 dpi x 2,400 dpi (and which we assume means 600 dpi in each color). It can handle a variety of paper stocks such as plain, heavy, coated and specialty, from A4 to 13X51-inch size. In addition to the EFI Fiery G250 kit, the printer also comes with the option of having an IPR kit for printers who want a more economical option. Inkfish has opted for the Fiery kit and a paper deck.

From outsourcing to in-house commercial print

Talking about the reason for expanding into the digital commercial print business, Yaqub said this was primarily to reduce the total reliance on the wide-format printing. “We started the wide format printing business in 2013 and earlier this year we thought it was time to branch out into another segment. We were already outsourcing digital commercial print jobs to third part printers. So, we decided why not bring the printing in-house,” he says.

Yaqub is optimistic that he will be able to print about 15,000 impressions every month once the press gets into full operation. Inkfish plans to print items such as visiting cards, invitation cards, brochures, and leaflets.

Business still sluggish

Like most printers across the country, Inkfish Creations was also shut during April and May. It was however doing some sporadic work related to the pharmaceutical and medical sectors. The business has picked up since June but is still sharply lower than what it was pre-lockdown.

“Wide-format printing market saw a steep decline during the lockdown. It has picked up in recent months but recovery is slow as customers are avoiding expenditure on promotion and advertising. Wide-format printing is expected to get back to normal only in the first quarter of the 2021 calendar year. However, with the new Canon imagePRESS C710 in operation I expect digital commercial printing business to augment business,” Yaqub 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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