Print Vision installs RMGT 920 and Excel Maxima diecutter

Increasing automation in bookbinding and carton converting

The RMGT 920 6-color plus coater UV press with closed loop color control was installed just two month ago
The RMGT 920 6-color plus coater UV press with closed loop color control

“You have to have top-notch infrastructure, extremely talented and well-educated team members, and attention to detail. If you have these three elements, it is relatively easy to produce premium-quality print and maintain it. Quality then becomes a part of the print process, not a one-off process,” asserts Falit Pandya, director of Print Vision in Ahmedabad. 

“The quality requirements purely depend on the customer. We have worked with customers who purely work on volume, and their product does not require the quality we are capable of. Then other customers have nothing to do with quantity – they need 2,000 to 5,000 brochures, catalogs, boxes, books, or cartons but the product has to be top-notch. Quality or quantity – it all depends on the customer, her end-product, and her customers,” he adds.

Print Vision was launched 27 years ago in 1995 by Pandya’s father Yagneshbhai Pandya in the old town near Ahmedabad’s Kankaria Lake. Today, it has two units – a commercial printing unit in Ambawadi and a packaging facility in Piplaj. Initially a packaging converter, the company branched into commercial printing a few years later and into fully-fledged packaging operations after Covid.

Capturing the pharma packaging segment

A successful commercial printer, Print Vision has been printing the Gujarati edition of the Femina magazine since 2007 in addition to diaries, calendars, POP materials, tabletop desk accessories, wall and door hangings, and magnets. In its packaging division, it works primarily for pharma, nutraceuticals, and cosmetics companies; Torrent Pharmaceuticals, Zydus, Concord Biotech, Corona Remedies, pharma companies in the Ahmedabad area; FMCG majors such as Wagh Bakri; cosmetic brands like Beardo; and textile manufacturers, including Arvind. Real-estate companies approach Pandya’s enterprise for high-end cartons, rigid boxes, brochures, and catalogs.

Innovation was a key strategy during the Covid-19 crisis. “We were trying to innovate and get into different things to keep things moving. We executed a lot of orders related to Covid safety primarily related to screens and creating POP sanitizer stands. It worked to a great extent. For instance, we were able to execute an order for 30,000 sanitizer stands for a South India-based pharma company,” says Pandya.

About his long trail of pharma clients, Pandya says, “Consistency is a must, along with strict adherence to their requirements, SOPs, and the paperwork. Pharma companies are not bothered with the type of equipment that you have but are more focused on the consistent quality that you can provide. We have to be extremely careful about collecting the data, and accurately pinpointing batch details of each lot that has been delivered – things that are typically outside the purview of a printer are required.”

The company has won several AIFMP awards from 2007 in recognition of its efforts in specific projects. Pandya says, “After the installation of the Mitsubishi Diamond 3000 and a rigorous training program for our employees, we won 11 awards in a single year. These awards may not mean much to the customers but they mean a lot to us because it sets a barometer as to what we want to achieve and it is good to be recognized once you have it.”

Recent acquisitions

Print Vision acquired its Diamond 3000 4-color press in 2007. Now, the fully-integrated facility with comprehensive in-house binding and converting solutions has recently acquired another RMGT 920 6-color plus coater UV press and a 25 x 36-inch size Excel Maxima autoplaten diecutter for cartons.

Pandya says about his recent investment RMGT 6 color plus coater with UV, “We always wanted synergy. We already had a Mitsubishi and we are happy and comfortable with it. So, we were very sure that we would opt for a second Mitsubishi.” (The RMGT is manufactured by the joint venture of Mitsubishi and Ryobi.)

“As far as Excel diecutter goes, we were relatively new in terms of packaging, so we wanted somebody who can support us in terms of manpower, training and so on. And Excel has a multitude of installations in and around Ahmedabad. The biggest credit to them (which we observed) was that they had a large number of repeat orders from the same customers, which is very important. Usually, when you are buying a second machine from the same company it is because of the comfort achieved with the first one. It was very vital to my decision-making process. And it is a local company, so support is always there. If it would not have been for their support, we would have been in deep trouble during Covid.”

Book printing exports and automation

Print Vision primarily produces hard-cover coffee table books for export to the US, the UK, and Australia. The majority of its orders come from the US and these include very high-quality cookbooks, and DIY and model-based books for hobbyists. “In the US, there is a whole industry for hobbyists who make models of World War II tanks and airplanes for instance. These customers have spare income that they can utilize in these projects and spare time for pursuing these hobbies. Both these things are lacking here in India. Our nation does not yet have the volume to cater to these kinds of industries. 

Print Vision
A coffee table book printed at Print Vision. Photo IPP

Military literature is a huge segment abroad but in India, this kind of writing is at an initial stage, Pandya says. “The Indian book printing industry has evolved and become tech-savvy as knowledge levels of customers have gone up, and readers are sure about what they want.”

Print Vision sources 90% of its paper from Indian mills, including Ballarpur, ITC, JK, and Century. Pandya says, “Ballarpur was one of the first Indian mills to provide consistent quality for the longest period – you could always rely on them.”

The company has recently automated its bookbinding operations. “We have switched to 5-clamp perfect binding from a single-clamp perfect binding machine, we have switched to a Stahl folder from a local folder, and we have switched to a semi-automatic sewing machine from a manual sewing machine. Automation is percolating in but we have not yet gone for full-scale automation because we don’t have that kind of volume. Our average run length, including exports, is 1000,” 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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