Parksons Cartamundi installs K&B 5-color coater UV press

K&B’s QualiTronic PrintCheck for exports of cards and games

K&B Rapida 105 5-color plus coater press.

Parksons Cartamundi, the fifty-fifty joint venture in Western India, has recently installed an advanced K&B Rapida 105 5-color plus coater press. The new combination UV press has K&B’s QualiTronic PrintCheck for complete inline inspection of every printed sheet. The first press in India to have this feature in which a camera captures the entire sheet at the delivery, it also has a tagging system that inserts a tag on defective sheets for easy removal from the delivery stack.

Belgium-based Cartamundi, the world’s leading games printer, joined hands with Parksons, an established printer of playing cards, in 2010. Together they built a new factory commissioned in 2013 in Pardi in Gujarat – just 20 kilometers north of the earlier Parksons Cartamundi factory in Daman.

Parksons Cartamundi director Kapil Kejriwal says, “We are a supplier to publishers of games and toys which include playing cards, cards for collections and board games. Apart from the branded playing cards printed on special substrates, we produce many kinds of board games, and sometimes this includes the plastic pieces they require. The purchase of the new and highly advanced press has everything to do with quality. Ever since we became partners with Cartamundi, we have been learning about process-oriented workflows and methods for quality.”

As Parksons-Cartamundi has grown over the past decade, it has also become a supplier and exporter to global games and toys publishers. Kejriwal explains that the new K&B Rapida 5-color press with the QualiTronic system became a compelling technology. The company is working on exports to some of the top board games and toy manufacturers in the US and globally that are extremely particular about quality.

Kejriwals explains, “We will start producing board games for the top publishers by February or March. The rigid box machines and case maker are also on the way to our plant to support this new category.”

On top of the QualiTronic color control system, the QualiTronic PrintCheck measuring camera scans and inspects all printed sheets entirely and compares them with an operator approved reference sheet. Automatic sheet inspection commences as soon as production monitoring is activated. Although each sheet is monitored, corrective action is taken after every ten sheets if a defect persists. The closed-loop control system issues a rectification command to the press control system. The flawed sheets are also automatically tagged by a tape inserter at the delivery. The level of quality automation makes the Rapida 105 at Parksons Cartamundi one of the most advanced RA 105 Presses installed in India.

Kejriwal adds, “In the end, quality is a mindset and now with increasing exports we felt were ready to handle the highest level of technology, and for this reason, we went in for the Qaulitronic PrintCheck system that can compare each and every printed sheet with the approved sheet. In addition, the automated tagging sheet tells us exactly where the bad sheets are for removal and for the operator or the automated system to take action.”

K&B Rapida 105 5-color plus coater press.

Board games take off in India and have their own trade fairs

An article in the Economic Times in June 2019 put the global board games market at US$ 4.2 billion while it estimates that the Indian board games market is at US$ 330 million and growing. Board games are becoming a craze in India as well and not just at home or for Millenials. Young millennials do have games clubs and regular get-togethers to play various board games in preference to computer games.

There is even a trade fair in Mumbai each December called MeepleCon with sponsors such as US-based toys and games company Hasbro. The fair in Mumbai attracted more than 3,000 visitors in 2019. In the same year, Spiel, the world’s biggest board game fair held in Essen, Germany, saw more than 190,000 visitors and 1,150 exhibitors.

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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