Signage industry needs a single umbrella for advocacy — Monotech

Extensive R&D needed to upscale Indian signage printing

Manoj Kumar Garg, head of wide format graphics at Monotech. Photo IPP

Monotech’s PixelJet team said to Indian Printer and Publisher that within 2023, more than 100 of the company’s machines for signage printing have been sold into the Indian market. Of these, 60% are UV-inkjet devices, with solvent and eco-solvent-based printers comprising the remaining 40%. Manoj Kumar Garg, vice president and business head of wide format graphics at Monotech, said many local and regional players using Chinese technology dominate the market.

“UV-inkjet is taking over the market and this technology has huge potential,” he said. “But there are  several constraints that are delaying this paradigm shift. First, the production speed is not on a par with solvent and eco-solvent-based inkjet printing – so research and development in that area is most crucial. Second, regional players have a major chunk of the business, which prevents the Indian signage industry from coming under a common umbrella. Lastly, the most crucial hindrance to growth is the lack of a single representative body to take forward our pleas and problems to the government.”

The Indian signage device providers are only capable of entry-level machines, claims Garg. “The regional players have made good use of Chinese machines and equipment, and the Indian providers are not yet on the same level. The complete technological advancement in UV and the diminishing of solvent-based technology will take at least four years from now – and within that timeframe, substantial R&D will have to take place.

“Another problem that needs significant attention is the high cost of the UV inks, which gives reason for the solvent-based technology to persist in the market. While LED curing is also gaining significant penetration, it will remain an exclusive signage segment limited to the big cities, as its maintenance is quite high-cost. In a nutshell, considerable action is required to upscale the Indian signage industry for the better,” Garg said.

In 2024, we are looking at full recovery and growth-led investment in Indian printing

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. It created the category of privately owned B2B print magazines in the country. And by its diversification in packaging, (Packaging South Asia), food processing and packaging (IndiFoodBev) and health and medical supply chain and packaging (HealthTekPak), and its community activities in training, research, and conferences (Ipp Services, Training and Research) the organization continues to create platforms that demonstrate the need for quality information, data, technology insights and events.

India is a large and tough terrain and while its book publishing and commercial printing industry have recovered and are increasingly embracing digital print, the Indian newspaper industry continues to recover its credibility and circulation. The signage industry is also recovering and new technologies and audiences such as digital 3D additive printing, digital textiles, and industrial printing are coming onto our pages. Diversification is a fact of life for our readers and like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

India is one of the fastest growing economies in nominal and real terms – in a region poised for the highest change in year to year expenditure in printing equipment and consumables. Our 2024 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock – to emphasize your visibility and relevance to your customers and turn potential markets into conversations.

– Naresh Khanna

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