Although only a few sheetfed offset presses have been installed by commercial and book printers in the financial year that ends on 31 March 2022, the exceptions in India are the significant book printing exporters. They installed multicolor presses and have ordered several that are to be installed in the first quarter of the financial year beginning 1 April 2022.
Indian book printing exporters have installed new 8-color and double-color perfectors in the past year. And in spite of the chip and the raw material shortages that also affected press manufacturers, several other presses are on their way. Other book exporters who wanted to order multicolor offset presses were dissuaded by experts who advised caution – and they have bought digital color presses instead.
Nutech’s 50th anniversary and gen-next
Nutech’s second RMGT 920ST 4-color press is expected to arrive by the end of the month and to be installed in April or May at the Faridabad book export plant in the Delhi NCR. The automation features on the new 36-inch press include closed-loop color controls, CIP3, semiautomatic plate loading and various presets for paper loading. In the pandemic, Nutech took the opportunity to dispose of an older press even though it meant decreasing capacity which is now needed with the opening up of schools.
In the past two years, the third generation has also joined Nutech’s commercial and book printing business, a business that is one third of a family owned print and packaging group founded by the late KL Shroff and which is now celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. Nutech’s managing director Ravi Shroff while speaking of his son, explains that the past two years may have been a good time for a young business person to absorb some of the intricacies of the business that are not always quite as simple as what they teach you in business school.
The prolonged pandemic has compelled the solid commercial printers who have built up the complete infrastructure needed for book printing exports to control their costs and still keep their plants running. The keyword is resilience since these printers knew that the industry and the demand for their printing and binding services would return. They used the periods of slow demand and lockdowns to get rid of their old machines and order new presses with automation – anticipating that productivity will be the key to future growth.
In addition, some of them have been wise enough to build up their paper inventories and this has been useful at a time of shortages, high inflation, and more difficult and expensive logistics. Although rising prices may be a given, many of the Indian mills are supplying good-quality paper for book printing.