HP Latex printers have their eyes on traffic signage

Guaranteed 10-year outdoor durability with 3M signage materials

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Rajat Mitra, director Caldron Graphics and official dealer for HP Latex series with the HP Latex 700W at the HP stand at Sign India 2022 show in New Delhi. Photo IPP

Traffic signage is employed by government agencies to communicate the fundamental rules and regulations of travel through roads through the use of simple graphics that ensure instant recollection. Road signage in India includes three basic types of signs – mandatory signs to ensure smooth traffic movement, cautionary signs to warn drivers of potential safety hazards, and informatory signs to convey relevant information regarding fuel stations, distances, public conveniences and to indicate the presence of schools and hospitals in the vicinity.

With the mass purchasing of automobiles, road signage has gradually evolved from effortless indications such as carved wood and stone signs and later hand-painted terrain markers to detailed banners and billboards and LED digital signage. Fluorescent and reflective signboards are also very popular as are solar illuminated panels in remote areas.

 

The increase in personal vehicles and automobiles as well as public transportation facilities has led to a high accident rate and increased traffic congestion, which makes road signage all the more important. This graphical communication with drivers aids in road management and safety and saves many lives through the easy implementation of traffic rules.

 

Today, there is massive interest and research in the field of traffic management across the world. While too few road signs can cause problems such as driver confusion, bad traffic management, and unnecessary speeding, going overboard with traffic signage comes with its own share of complications such as cluttering and mental overload in drivers. Inappropriate signs distract drivers by detracting them from the environment.

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Colonial rule in India left a lasting impression on traffic signage, with road displays strikingly similar to their British counterparts. The National Road Safety Council under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is the apex body that is responsible for signage and carriageway markings in the subcontinent. In a multicultural country like India, pictorial or graphical signage is even more important as it helps to overcome geographical and linguistic barriers. Easily differentiable combinations of red, green, blue, black, yellow, and white are used to design signboards that come in circular, triangular, rectangular, and octagonal shapes.

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Traffic signs on display at the HP stand at Sign India 2022. Photo IPP

According to the latest data, in the last two pandemic-ridden years there has been a 27% reduction in road accidents due to the decrease in road traffic together with a substantial drop in tourism due to the pandemic-induced lockdowns and travel constraints. The latest statistics by DataIntelo suggest that the global road traffic signs market is expected to grow at a CAGR 2.4% for the ten-year period from 2021 to 2030.

The Asia-Pacific region including India is set to witness fast growth in the present decade owing to the growth of the automotive industry and the adoption of technological advancement in the nationwide traffic regulation system. The population spike, betterment of living standards, and the rural to urban shift coupled with growing awareness about road safety and traffic signage are expected to further fuel this demand.

HP Latex Printers add an edge to traffic signage

Caldron Graphics, which is the official reseller for the signage brand of HP Latex machines for North India exhibited the HP Latex Series of printers at the recently concluded Sign India 2022 at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. The firm showcased two models from HP’s Latex range – the HP Latex 700W, a new launch that also featured a white color, and the best-selling model HP Latex 335.

Outdoor durability of 10 years

The HP stand showcased the applicability of the Latex range of machines for road signage, indoor and outdoor safety signs, caution signs, danger signs, fire exit signs and industrial signage segments. “3M is the material manufacturer, and if you print on the HP Latex 365 and 700 Series of printers with the 3M software and 3M road signage material, they are guaranteeing an oudoor life of ten years for the print, along with a replacement warranty of ten years. Another benefit of the HP machine is that it is in the range of 10-15 lakh while the other approved machines by 3M are in the range of 2-4 crore. Starters can begin with a smaller investment from HP,” Rajat Mitra, director Caldron Graphics shared with Indian Printer & Publisher.

Caldron Graphics, which has been participating in Sign India every year for the last 10-15 years, showcased its digital printers and machines related to the signage industry. The Caldron area showcased Caldron CJ 4008 with the Seiko 508 GS-12 PL printhead. Other Caldron printers shown were the QI-1605 with Epson DX5,DX7/XP600/13200 printheads; the Caldron CS1325A CNC router engraver; the Caldron CS9060/CS 1390 acrylic/wood laser engraver; and the Caldron FY-1600 DA auto hydraulic roll-to-roll laminator. Caldron also exhibited its range of signage inks – solvent ink CG 06 plus, solvent ink CG 06, and solvent ink CG 25. The firm received orders for close to 25-30 machines at Sign India 2022.

The signage industry is fast evolving as new technologies are arriving at a very high speed right now. Signage promises to be a fast changing and interesting industry with the rapid development of roads and road transport in the near future.

“During the pandemic our sales were slow. Earlier, we used to sell approximately 80-90 machines from HP in a year but during the Covid-19 pandemic this number fell down to just 10-12 machines. Everybody has been waiting for Covid to get over, and I think there will be a big rush in the printing industry, many more machines, and considerable work in this market segment.”

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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