Felix Schoeller India shows S-race sublimation paper at Gartex

Indian textile printing segment has immense potential

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Felix
Pranav Vaswani, director, Felix Schoeller India. Photo IPP

Felix Schoeller India came into being in 2018 as a joint venture between New (India) Imaging Industries and the 125-year-old German Felix Schoeller Group. The Mumbai-based joint venture converts and distributes German-made premium specialty papers and media. It supplies paper to Indian paper manufacturers and textile printers with a range of durable and sustainable solutions.

With a state-of-the-art converting facility at Khairane in Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra, the firm diversified to customized paper products in 2019. Its facility can convert paper to a range of widths from 8 inches to 72 inches. It has the technical know-how to make wider widths up to 126 inches and is one of the few manufacturers in the world capable of providing this customization.

Felix Schoeller India recently exhibited its range of sublimation papers from Germany under the S-race brand name at the recently concluded Gartex Texprocess from 3 – 5 December 2021 at Pragati Maidan in Delhi NCR. These papers are used for sublimation printing and transfer onto textiles. Digital dye-sublimation printing works not only for fashion garments and sportswear but also for home décor and soft signage applications. The S-race range is claimed by the company to provide the brilliant pin-sharp image quality required in personalized applications and merchandise. S-race’s papers range from 38 gsm to 120 gsm for textile and hard substrate applications.

Indian Printer & Publisher interacted with the company director Pranav Vaswani at Gartex, where he shared the firm’s experience during the Covid-19 crisis, “It was a difficult time for all of us and especially the initial lockdown was very difficult but we managed to cope well with that. One of our products is used for medical purposes, so that was a good opportunity for us. We started supplying that product to hospitals. It was a difficult time but we managed it well and we have come out of it stronger.

“That is a fast coated photo imaging paper that is used for testing procedures like X-rays. During the Covid time, many people had to get their lung X-rays done, so we had to supply the paper to various hospitals around India.”

With a sales office and a stock point in Noida in Northern India, Felix Schoeller India entered the sublimation market specifically for textiles two years ago. However, it has been selling sublimation paper for about four years, mainly for hard substrate applications. 

Vaswani adds that the market for sublimation papers is growing very quickly with significant potential and scope soon. The firm primarily came to the event to find out more about the market and to try to get more customers, dealers, and distributors on board and was able to generate substantial leads.

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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