Jaipur Printers – enhancing reliability and digital capacity

New HP Indigo 15k 7-color digital press for premium commercial and packaging printing

Jaipur Printers
The Jaipur Printers team with the HP Indigo 15k 7-color digital press at their plant. Photo Jaipur Printers

Reliance is what comes to mind when one talks about Jaipur Printers, one of the oldest operating printers in the Pink City. Established in 1948 by the Late Sohan Lal, the legacy commercial printer has carved a reputation for itself in Rajasthan for customer value, service, respect, integrity, and excellence.

Jaipur Printers’ journey started with a small printing press post-Independence. The printing firm’s present director Alok Jain joined in 1983 when it grew into an offset printing unit. In 1988, an Apple desktop publishing system was added, which was enhanced with a Scitex color retouching system. Over the years, a Mitsubishi Diamond 1000LS 5-color with coater press and Kodak Nexpress SX 3300 digital press were added to strengthen the setup. The printer also has a Muller-Martini full bindery setup along with die-cutting machines, sample makers, and laser cutters. A one-stop solution provider – Jaipur Printers has in-house facilities for quality control and timely deliveries.

The printer recently acquired an HP Indigo 15k 7-color digital press with OneShot to cater to the digital and packaging segment – coming as a much-needed booster after a decade of no investments in the business. Speaking on the investment, Alok Jain said, “Instead of expanding on the offset side, we decided to expand into digital to tap into the upcoming trends of personalized and variable data printing.

In the B2 market, HP leads because very few options are available and there are certain challenges even with those in terms of media versatility, size and frequency of media changes. With the bigger size of the sheet, we are at an advantage. The OVG (orange, violet, green) option on the HP 15k helps us to undertake specialized jobs in packaging where we need pantone colors as it can print 95-96% of pantones. The one-shot feature helps us to print on synthetic media while the white ink helps in enhancing jobs on colored and textured media.”

Aditya Jain, his son, who is the third generation to join the printing business, adds, “We are not oriented towards volumes per se – we are more focused on premiumness and profit orientation. We offer our customers a service and we charge a premium for it; so it becomes a value-added service. Digital customers are ready to pay a premium for exquisite prints.”

Quality is a primary aspect that made us get this press. It offers media versatility, so we are not limited to one segment but can deliver some very specialized jobs on commercial printing, photo printing and packaging. We are not limited to running art paper on our press – we can explore different media. We can print on plastics for packaging, non-tearable media and canvas for photo, and colored paper and textured paper for brochures.”

The senior Jain said they already had a capacity on the offset side for longer runs, but now we have short-run capacities. as well including die-cutting. “We can now service both kinds of clients and requirements.”

Sustainability agenda

Jaipur Printers has installed a 30-kilowatt solar power plant, which takes care of 20% of its total power usage. The firm minimizes the wastage of cotton rags and paper waste as part of its sustainability initiatives.

Kulraj Singh, regional sales manager at HP shares, “In traditional presses, printers need aluminum plates and chemicals. We have entirely eliminated these things with the HP Indigo 15k. The press is 100% CO2 neutral, which eliminates wastage from an environmental point of view.”

Challenges in commercial printing

From the rise in the prices of raw materials to instability in terms of orders, the commercial printing market has faced a lot of challenges in the last few years. Alok Jain says commercial printing is a delightful business. “If you enjoy the work, you can always overcome the printing and finishing challenges. These days, the timelines are tight, the print runs are getting shorter, and the price points are shrinking.”

Jaipur Printers
Personalized notebooks printed by Jaipur Printers on the HP Indigo 15k digital press. Photo IPP

The biggest challenge, he says, is understanding what the customer wants, understanding his requirements and deciding how best we can serve him at his price point and still make a profit out of it. “With digital, quality expectations are always higher than bulk volume jobs. In spite of all these challenges, commercial printing is here to stay. You will have to find suitable technologies to be able to offer better quality and get a better profit margin. We need to bring innovation into commercial printing to keep it alive. We need to work on how we can integrate print into digital so that both things grow,” he adds.

Capturing the photo printing market

Jaipur Printers is located in a 3,000-square-meter plot in Sitapur, one of city’s flagship industrial areas near Chokhi Dhani on Tonk Road. The company had a digital setup in the city as well with a Kodak Nexpress, but later realized the need to have the production capacity in one place. With recent construction in an adjoining plant, it now has a working floor area of 20,000 square feet with a workforce of 50. “This setup provides us the ease to manage jobs from a single location,” says the junior Jain.

The firm recently joined hands with Peppy Prints, a direct-to-customer digital printing service provider in Jaipur to add a separate revenue pipeline. Peppy Prints allows users the quick ordering of photo products from the ease of their home and convert them into photo albums and decorative wall items to preserve their memories.

Jaipur Printers also has tied up with Orchid Photo Albums to cater to the wedding photography market. The printing major has worked with renowned photographer Umesh Gogna for printing coffee table books specific to certain cities of Rajasthan such as Jalore and Jhalawar.

We have grown to around 60-70 albums per day with a few commercial jobs, which we want to expand to at least 125,” says the senior Jain. “With commercial print runs for coffee table books going below 1,000, we can produce 500 or less digitally. The viability comes at a low price point.”

The junior Jain adds, “We are seamlessly integrating the old backbone of the establishment to new ways of doing business, which is eCommerce. We have received a very good response from online startups and eCommerce sites. We are already working with Jaipur-based startups that are mainly into merchandising such as Kalankit and Indibni gifts.”

We are providing short-run premium-quality packaging jobs, which large packaging houses skip. We aim to provide a solution to start-ups where they don’t have to invest a lot in their inventory and they can still get the quality that the larger brands are getting.”

Both Jains agree on one point – the designer community does not find it lucrative to work on digital printing jobs. They find it more lucrative to work on brand management and packaging design as the volumes are higher. To provide a solution, Jaipur Printers has a panel of designers on their panel. If a customer comes to them with specific design requirements, they refer him to the panel.

If you want to survive in the cut-throat world of commercial printing, you need to have your feet in multiple boats,” concludes the junior Jain. 

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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