Post-print lamination at Dharavi’s One to One Creations

Thermal lamination brightens photos for kidswear garments

Arun Sunki with the Hi-Tech thermal lamination machine

One to One Creations, based in the bustling economic hub of Dharavi, offers print solutions to garment manufacturers with manufacturing units in the area. It prints photos for kidswear makers who use those photos as identifiers or promotional tools on their packages. The company recently installed an HRL 14 thermal lamination machine from Hi-Tech Systems. The thermal lamination machine is used to enhance the prints it produces on a Konica Minolta digital press.

“The photos that we print on the Konica Minolta digital press go to the thermal lamination machine that has been provided by Hi-Tech. The prints get the required gloss and their attractiveness at the point of sale is enhanced. This is essential because our customers demand high gloss images as they use these photos on their packaging for supply to their customers,” says Pradeep Sunku who manages the operations along with his brother Arun Sunki.

Sample of prints done by One to One Creations

Since One to One Creations services only kids wear manufacturers, the photos that it prints are of kids in the variety of garments produced by the manufacturers in the surrounding areas. While Pradeep Sunku looks after the printing and designing, Arun Sunki looks after the photography department. One to One Creations offers photography or portfolio creation, designing, and printing services under one roof. The three-year-old company employs 12 people. 

Sunku says the company went in for the new lamination machine as the older one was manual and required intensive manpower. “Because the HRL 14 lamination machine has an automatic feeder and cutter, the productivity is much higher than the laminator we had before. This saves not only manpower but also electricity cost. There has been a big reduction in wastage as we are already laminating about 1,400 copies daily, although the maximum capacity of the machine is 2,000 copies per day. We will ramp up gradually,” Sunku says.

In addition to the Konica Minolta digital press, One to One Creations also operates one from Noritsu. On the Konica Minolta press, the company prints about 1400 impressions of 12X18-inches stock every day while on the Noritsu, it prints about 2,000 impressions of 8X10-inch sheets. 

Business back to normal

Business at One to One Creations was disrupted only during the first phase of the lockdown in 2020. In the second wave of the pandemic, things were mostly normal and the Omicron wave did not have any impact on the company’s business.

“Since we service a very specific set of customers, that is kids wear manufacturers, we were not impacted much in the second and the third wave. Yes, the first lockdown was national so we were closed for three months. Currently, our business has returned to normal. We expect things to be good going forward as shopping for kids wear ahead of the Eid festival has been very good,” Sunku 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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