Naph Graphics focuses on providing cost-effective machinery

Web offset stagnant in India, but better in neighboring countries

Mohit Bansal, the assistant director-marketing of the Noida-based company. Photo PSA

Naph Graphics, a web offset manufacturer that still makes these presses for newspaper and book printing, however, received a good response for the turret slitter-rewinder it launched at the recent PlastIndia in Delhi. Its earlier slitter-rewinder that was very high-end has been made cost-effective claims Mohit Bansal, the assistant director-marketing of the Noida company. 

Bansal said, “The sales inquiries have been frequent since January and till February we closed around 7 deals, but March was relatively slower. Our participation in PlastIndia was quite last minute so our machine was held off from display, but our launch was still successful. One turret slitter-rewinder is already in transit to a customer, another is being set up to be dispatched. March had holidays such as Holi and it was also the month for year-end financial closings so slower business is the result. Our web offset market has been stagnant for a while within India but is doing better in neighboring markets such as Bangladesh, Nepal, and Burma.”

Exhibitions and launches

According to Bansal, although the company’s last-minute participation in the plastics exhibition was good it could have been better. “We did bag several orders in February, but at the exhibition, we were located at such an obscure location that the desired footfalls couldn’t be achieved. Although many visitors found our booth in Pragati Maidan, including those we invited and the response was good, we had higher expectations, and we remain optimistic of more business in the upcoming months.” 

With its diversification to flexible packaging, Naph Graphics is targeting rotogravure customers with its stack flexo press. Bansal notes, “When it comes to rotogravure the quality is what should matter, and we feel that with the currently available technology in the Indian market users don’t get the desired results. At the last PrintPack exhibition, we launched a 4-color stack flexo press and we can say that the technology, if not the best, is many times better than what many customers are currently using. Our machine runs at a production speed of 120 meters per minute.”

Pandemic made possible

Bansal says that before the pandemic, printing and packaging were not something talked about by the general population, “After the pandemic consumers started realizing the significance of the right choice of products, and the focus was shifted from cheap and readily available to quality and cost-effectiveness. The industry also became more customer-centric and focussed more on retaining customers than targeting new customers.” 

“I cannot comment if the industry is truly booming but there is progress, and it is more tangible than before. We are in the process of learning, and one thing we learned is that the ups and downs are what keep the industry running. No one is the boss of everything and that is the best part – sustainability, and innovation are the leading drivers of change in today’s economy, and the better solution a company provides in turn motivates another to work on something more interesting”, he adds.

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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