The Konica Minolta Print Xpress digital yatra

An inspiring and transformational voyage of discovery

100 Tier 2,3 and 4 cities were the objective of Konica Minolta Print Xpress

The Konica-Minolta Print Xpress digital yatra of four buses containing a complete digital press with its workflow and attendant finishing operations was flagged off at the end of March from Greater Noida, Delhi-NCR. In the latter part of May, the four Print Xpress buses had already reached more than 80 destinations for their one-day demonstration. Titled ‘Print Xpress – Innovations in print’, the roadshow showcases Konica Minolta’s AccurioPrint C4065 High Chroma Engine production printer, its AccurioPress C73hc, and a print finishing application zone.

Printers and potential customers are invited for demonstrations and down-to-earth explanations of the technology where they can examine the equipment and the finished products. They can ask questions about digital print business opportunities.

Demonstrations on the the latest techniques and technology in print

The four Print Xpress roadshow buses are expected to reach their target of one hundred towns, including those furthest away from the starting point, by the end of May. Despite various logistics challenges, including the paperwork required for the transport of capital equipment across state lines, there has been considerable enthusiasm for the mobile roadshow in each tier 3 and 4 town where the Print Xpress arrives in the morning, gives demonstrations throughout most of the day, and then trundles on to the next town or small city. In the Print Xpress bus traveling in South India, almost 100 local participants have come to see the demonstrations on a single day in many of the towns.

At Konica-Minolta India’s launch of the Print Xpress in end-March, which coincided with the company’s 150th-anniversary celebration, the company’s managing director for India Katsuhisa Asari said the roadshow – a digital press and finishing plant on wheels – aims to connect with new customers and showcase new business opportunities. “India is huge and so is its print market. This roadshow will touch base with our customers, potential customers, or curious visitors. We aim to educate Tier 3 and 4 cities about the possible capabilities with digital print and how incredible their businesses can be with the right application,” Asari said.

Commenting on what he calls the Print Xpress digital yatra, Indian Printer and Publishers editor, Naresh Khanna said at the time of its launch, “Listening to printers across the country and interacting with them by demonstrating the latest technology can be a transformational and inspiring voyage of discovery.

For any citizen or company that dares to explore the vast potential of creativity and uses of print that a nation hungry for communication and education possesses, there is bound to be a great reward of learning. These lively interactions will enhance the power of print and democratize the business – creating livelihoods. The Print Xpress digital yatra will engender access to ideas, education, and technology. Print helped to bring freedom to the nation and it is essential to use it more widely to continue to build prosperity and a scientific temper.”

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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