Uchitha Graphic Printers consolidates operations in Navi Mumbai

New machines boost capacity and efficiency at Pawane units

Uchitha Graphic

Uchitha Graphic Printers, a Mumbai-headquartered commercial printing firm conceptualized and founded by the duo Shamsundar Pai and Manohar Prabhu, recently consolidated its operations by moving from Lower Parel’s Ideal Industrial Estate to Pawane in Navi Mumbai. The company was operating from seven galas or units in Lower Parel and now functions from two large facilities in Pawane’s TTC Industrial area. Uchitha transported all the older machinery to Turbhe and invested in new equipment including offset presses, a plate processor and plate setter, and a digital press.

Uchitha Graphic
The Komori Lithrone 4-color S29

“We recently moved to our new premises. The idea behind this consolidation was to streamline our operations. With the bigger area, we have been able to add more machinery to boost our capacity,” says Shamsundar Pai, director at Uchitha Graphic.

The company prints annual reports, bank stationery, barcodes and stickers, educational and religious books, diaries, forms, magazines, brochures, leaflets and catalogs, pop material, stationery, table and wall calendars, visual aids, and warranty cards.

Uchitha has commissioned a Thermostar T9 plate setter and HY-PST-900IV plate processor from Technova, a Komori Lithrone 4-color S29 with automatic plate changer, a Mitsubishi Daiya offset press and a Canon ImagePress C910 color digital production press after shifting to Navi Mumbai.

The company already operated four Komori presses, two Heidelbergs, and two Mitsubishi presses. Uchitha also has a plethora of finishing equipment across its two Navi Mumbai units, which are managed by Abdul Rahiman, who has been associated with the company for the last six months.

Digital technology boosts commercial printing

Uchitha Graphic

Uchitha has been using digital printing technology for nearly a decade now. It has seen its short-run volumes gradually increase over the years, making digital printing an important part of its operations.

“Digital printing technology has been growing as short-run print volumes have expanded over the years, especially after Covid. The running cost of digital presses has been declining, which makes the technology attractive. There is a huge scope to customize with digital. Today, printers have to have both conventional and digital technologies at their disposal,” Prabhu said.

Prabhu said print markets are driven by the latest technology developments. “As a part of the mixed-channel campaign, print offerings are increasingly personalized for high-spend customers, which will boost digital print. There will be local production for print and packaging, and less reliance on a single source, as just-in-time supply with backup and agility allow quick response to changing market conditions,” argues Prabhu.

Talking about the new Canon C910 press, he says the true light to mid-volume production color digital press incorporates advanced technologies to help small commercial printers. It offers a robust production speed of up to 90 pages per minute.

Prabhu says the press’ EFI Fiery platform RIP offers fast processing and superb image quality and automated workflows for sheetfed-digital production. “Another important reason to opt for the Canon 910 is the compatibility with and support for color management in our offset and digital workflow,” he says.

For Uchitha, quality and customer satisfaction within the deadlines is its motto. With the Canon press, the company produces almost all its short-run and tight time-frame print on a wide range of media up to 350 gsm stock. Business cards, invitations POD, variable data, brochures, pocket folders, banners, calendars, and marketing collateral are all produced on the Canon press.

Bounce-back in commercial print

Uchitha Graphic
Thermostar T9 plate setter

India is one of the largest commercial and book printing markets in the Asia-Pacific region. Severely impacted due to the pandemic and the lockdowns, the print market is, however, bouncing back.

“There has been an impressive bounce-back in some segments of the commercial printing industry. For instance, educational book printing is back to its full strength. The photo album printing business is coming back strongly as big events such as weddings are being organized again without any restrictions. Magazines are yet to bounce back though,” Prabhu says.

He suggests that the market is primarily driven by innovative printing technologies. It is also propelled by the higher quality and cost-effectiveness of better commercial printers. “Commercial printing is crucial for the eCommerce industry, especially for the production of brochures, pamphlets, and leaflets. The transition to digital technology has also provided a positive boost to the market,” he says.

According to the latest data released by International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker, the print market registered a shipment of 0.84 million units in 2Q22 (Apr-Jun), growing by 20.5% year-over-year (YoY). “As you can see, the data is very positive, and post-Covid, the industry is surging back to the earlier levels, which indicates the continuation of the trend in the upward direction,” 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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