Ahmedabad offset printer Aexon adds AccurioPrint C4065

Aexon Graphics India brings digital in-house

Hardik Koshti, one of the directors in Axeon Graphics, with the Konica Minolta AccurioPrint C4065
Hardik Koshti, one of the directors in Axeon Graphics, with the Konica Minolta AccurioPrint C4065

Ahmedabad-based offset print service provider Aexon Graphics India has added digital printing capabilities to its pressroom. The company commissioned a brand-new Konica Minolta AccurioPrint C4065 production printer in the fourth quarter of 2021. Its Komori offset press precedes the addition of the Konica Minolta digital press.

Hardik Koshti, a director in the firm, says the driving force behind the move was to have the capability to cater to both offset and digital work in-house. “A lot of our offset customers also wanted us to process short-run jobs. Earlier, we had to outsource this digital work to other printers. This process used to cost us money and we had no control over the delivery time. Now with the Konica Minolta press in-house, we not only have control on delivery time but also the quality. Plus, we save the logistics cost that we used to incur while dealing with third party printers,” argues Koshti.

Aexon Graphics operates from a 2,800 square yard ground plus two premises in the Mahadev Industrial Estate on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. The unit was commissioned in 2020 during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. It mostly prints stickers, leaflets, brochures and boxes. The company prints on special substrates such as metpet (metalized laminated to paperboard). It has a full-fledged finishing department.

Axeon Graphic India in Ahmedabad Photo Axeon
Axeon Graphic India’s production unit in Ahmedabad Photo Axeon

Speaking about his experience of working with the AccurioPrint C4065, Koshti says the quality of the print is high. “This is our first digital press and the experience of working with Konica Minolta has been really good. We have got all the required support from the team. And on top of that the quality of the output is amazing,” says Koshti.

The AccurioPrint C4065 production press is for lower volume requirements and offers speeds upto 66 pages a minute for A4, full-color output, and 81 pages a minute for A4, black and white output. The press can process paper and stock with up to 360 GSM basis weight in simplex and duplex modes.

Rising raw material costs challenge the recovery

Like many printers across the country, Aexon Graphics too was severely impacted during the first wave of the pandemic. However, business has been recovering in the 2021-2022 financial year although it is yet to reach pre-pandemic levels. Koshti says the rising raw material cost started to impact the business right around the time the pandemic was receding.

“We are witnessing a sharp rise in raw material costs and the rise has been substantial. We have seen prices rise from anywhere between 20% to 40% in the recent past. This is really started to impact the business. It is really unfortunate because the raw material cost inflation is coming at time when the economy was finally exiting the pandemic induced restrictions and the print business had finally started looking up. It is going to be tough few months,” he argues.

Asked if he plans to make further investment in the near future, Koshti says that the aim at the moment is to focus on consolidating the digital print business. “Right now, we do not have any plans to go for more investments. We commissioned the new unit in 2020 and then bought the Konica Minolta digital press in last 2021. We would like to grow our digital print business. We will think about new investment later,” he 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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