Arrow Digital at the Media Expo 2021in Greater Noida

The versatile EFI Pro 16H hybrid inkjet printer is demonstrated

Arrow Digital
Prakash Chopra, senior vice-president at Arrow Digital standing at company's stall at Media Expo 2021. Photo IPP

Founded several decades ago, Arrow Digital has maintained its clear objective of bringing the most innovative inkjet printing to a variety of new segments as they evolve to digital printing. One result of its persistence in trying to remain at the leading edge is that the company has emerged as the leading distributor for some of the global brands encompassing a range of technologies, substrates and application segments from signage, to textile and 3D printing.

Arrow Digital represents EFI Vutek, Kornit Digital, Kongsberg, Gerber, Fotoba, Fletcher, Massivit3D, Kerajet, and many more. The company has a state-of-the-art demo centre in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, which accepts all branded printers and is mainly used for one-on-one client demos and hands-on lab activities.

At the recently concluded Media Expo 2021Indian Printer and Publisher met with Prakash Chopra, senior vice-president of Sales at Arrow Digital. Sharing his experience at the show, after the long gap of the pandemic, he said, “It is a bit of a mixed experience. We were a bit apprehensive and thought visitors, our customers and potential customers would not come, but we observed the rise in footfalls as the exhibition progressed. It is taking place in the era of Covid-19, where all are still fearful but we are happy to see the visitors coming in large numbers.”

Arrow Digital’s show galore

Arrow unveiled the EFI PRO 16H at the show, a-5-foot wide-format hybrid inkjet printer with the capacity to print at a speed of 1,000 square feet an hour. The printer is claimed to maximize the market opportunity for UV curable printing on roll-to-roll and rigid substrates. Chopra explained the large variety of outputs from the printer including long term outdoor graphics, retail and trade show graphics, backlit displays and photographic reproduction.

The product’s versatility means it can print on substrate rolls up to 64-inches wide and print on board up to two inches thick and of sizes as large as five feet by ten feet. The six-channel printers have CMYK plus two white channel print heads that are able to print at speeds up to 311 square feet an hour.

“The printing industry is booming, and the printing fraternity is coming back on track. Our company is getting orders from customers, with two orders already booked at the show and we are hoping for more customers to place their orders at the show, Chopra optimistically concluded.

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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