Abarna Colours installs Tamil Nadu’s first Heidelberg Speedmaster CX 75 5-color plus coater

Special packaging on recycled cotton-based paperboard

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Abarna Colours installs Tamil Nadu’s first Heidelberg Speedmaster CX 75 5-color plus coater
(From Left) Sumith, (Head – Production), Mohanraj (Partner), and A.P. Murugan (Managing Director)

The company hopes that the Heidelberg CX 75 will enable it to print special packaging jobs, move to the next level of quality assurance and help to expedite deliveries on time as per the commitment to the clients.

Tirupur-based packaging printing specialist Abarna Colours has installed Tamil Nadu’s first Heidelberg Speedmaster CX 75 5 color plus coater press. The company owns a handmade paper and board manufacturing unit that uses recycled cotton as raw material. The primary reason for Abarna investing in the new Speedmaster CX 75 is to fulfill the company’s in-house requirement for printing, with its own paperboards with enhanced quality.

“The Heidelberg CX 75 is the latest addition to our kitty, and the press will enable us to move to the next level of quality assurance and help us to expedite deliveries on time as per our commitment to the clients. Our average production ranges from 2 to 3 lakhs impressions daily,” A.P. Murugan, managing director at Abarna Colours, said.

The company began its printing operations with a Heidelberg single-color SORM press in 2017 and later added a Heidelberg SM 72 5-color offset press as its production volumes increased. “The questions about the improvement of quality and how to bring in machine intelligence pushed us to go for a brand-new press. Also, the guarantee given by the Heidelberg team of a lower environmental impact led us to go for the Speedmaster CX 75. We are growing as an organization and are still on the learning curve and have many more areas to explore and adapt to,” Murugan said. 

The Heidelberg Speedmaster CX 75 5-color press was installed at Abarna’s 30,000 sq ft plant in August 2021. The packaging firm also installed screen-printing equipment for labels and tags and die-cutting equipment for its specialized postpress operations. Currently, the company produces garment packaging cartons, paper covers, hang tags, packaging boxes, folding tags, hangers, and band rolls for garment manufacturers – all using its own manufactured specialty paperboards.

Specialty packaging with a green angle

The company has begun operating the new press at its full potential and is looking to print special packaging jobs quickly after installation. “We have started production with the Heidelberg Speedmaster CX 75 now. One of the key reasons for investing in the Heidelberg Speedmaster CX 75 is to explore special packaging jobs for our clients and create wonders for them. The production quality is exceptional, and the job setting time has come down considerably. The service and installation were done on time by the Heidelberg service team, and we are happy,” said Sumith P Nair, head – production at Abarna Colours.  

The Speedmaster CX 75 is the combination of XL 75 technology with Heidelberg’s SX platform, offering both automation and peak performance. The double-diameter impression cylinders facilitate gentle sheet transport while accommodating diverse substrates, from paper to cardboard up to 0.8 mm in thickness. Even at the top printing speed of 15,000 sheets per hour, the CX 75 is completely noise-free.

The inking and dampening units of the CX 75 offer color stability, and its remote-controlled functions ensure short path inking with minimal ink consumption for precise inking and fast ink control response supported by digitally controlled ink zone motors. Maintenance-free, fully foil-lined ink fountains allow quick and easy ink changes. 

On the installation of the Speedmaster CX 75 at Abarna Colours, Venkataraman, DGM sales of Heidelberg India, said, “When we met Abarna, they had a unique requirement of printing on special paperboard made from garment surplus – the paper grammage starts from 300 gsm, and they do mostly packaging jobs with special colors and customized cartons. We analyzed their jobs thoroughly and offered them the CX 75 5-color press with coating configuration.”

A press designed by Heidelberg in the B2 format, one of the highlights of the Speedmaster CX 75 is that it can take a maximum sheet size of 605 mm × 750 mm. For better finishing standards for diverse applications, the coating unit of the CX 75 is fitted with a chamber doctor blade system and a wide range of coating supply and a wide range of anilox rollers. Coating plate changes are automatic, quick, and easy on the Speedmaster CX 75.

Abarna Colours has already secured the FSC certification and is currently working towards securing ISO and other printing certifications to cater to wider clients. Commenting on the company’s plans, Murugan adds, “Our vision is based on a step-by-step growth strategy with a focus on having less impact on nature. We aim to have 50% growth every year and try environment-friendly ways of printing techniques and with more focus on sustainability and growth,” said Murugan. 

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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