Meerut’s SK Offset adds Gallus label press

Another commercial printer gets deeper into packaging

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SK Offset
Pradeep Agarwal, director of SK Offset in Meerut. Photo IPP

Started in 1975, Meerut’s SK Offset is an established book and commercial printer producing a variety of print products. The company also diversified to packaging print and converting.

The K to 6 school owners in the area depends mostly on the Montessori model and books that are geared for this type of primary education. Ayush Agarwal, director, SK Offset says, “We mainly produce books for Montessori primary schools books. However, we are a vendor to NCERT for the past 20 years and also print their books.”

The nearly 50-year-old company has a complete set of special machines that go along with book printing, finishing, and binding. It has a Heidelberg SM102 8-color, and a HP Indigo 7-color digital press and a Kodak Trendsetter CtP in its prepress department. It has the complement of folding and binding equipment including a Well Bound 6-clamp perfect binder and a saddle stitcher, a wire-o-binder, and a three-knife trimmer.

“We have all the in-house manufacturing processes for printing, title printing, title lamination, book binding for perfect binding, center stitching, and packaging. We also provide special effects like UV coating,” said Agarwal.

For the monocarton section developed in the past two years, SK Offset has a laminator, an autoplaten Bobst SP 102E diecutter, Vesta folder gluer, Yawa TYML hot foiling and various ancillary equipment. The company also has a corrugator and a Tunkers Vorwearts 1450 automatic flute laminator for producing micro-flute litho-laminated and corrugated. For its packaging vertical, the company has now begun a new subsidiary called Pixel Print and Pack.

The company manufactures all types of paper-related packaging, including labels, stickers, mono-cartons, litho laminated, and corrugated cartons. It supplies packaging and labels to the local sports equipment as well as to pharma, food, and FMCG brands.

Heidelberg-Gallus EM340S 9-color label press arrives

Pixel Print and Pack has now undertaken further diversification to label production. Its pre-owned Heidelberg Gallus EM340-13S narrow web flexo 9-color press has already arrived in Meerut and should be installed by the end of July 2022. Together with it, a Comco Cadet 170 5-color label press and slitter-rewinder are also being installed in the new label section.

The company diversified its business because of the Covid-19 crisis. “During the covid pandemic, many commercial printers and publishers shut their businesses because the schools were closed. We diversified our business in packaging as a backup plan. The Covid restrictions are diminishing and the economy is opening up, and the printing industry is booming again. We are now flooded with book printing orders and doing both book printing and binding as well as packaging print and converting.” said Agarwal.

SK Offset took part in the recently concluded India’s PrintPack India 2022 exhibition in Greater Noida which is an approximately a 90-minute drive from Meerut. At this extremely well-attended exhibition with the exhibitors showing highly automated and sophisticated equipment, the company looked for the special folding machines required by the pharma industry.

(On 21 June 2022 at 11:23 am, this article has been corrected for a factual error in the earlier version, which mistakenly described the to be installed Gallus label press as new. Subsequently there has been a second factual error corrected on 23 June 2022. – Editor.)

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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