"There is an untapped pool of 50,000 print firms in India"

In 2015, 85 offset presses were installed in India. Vinay Kaushal of Provin says we will have 75 new machines in 2016. And in 2017, we will see 100+ offset presses.

13 Dec 2016 | By Rushikesh Aravkar

Rushikesh Aravkar (RA): Kudos on the first installation of RMGT 760E at Amar Offset in Amaravati.
Vinay Kaushal (VK): Thank you.

RA: Amar Offset was looking for a specific 24x30-inch size press, which is manufactured only by RMGT and Sakurai. Why is this size not available with other manufacturers?
VK: That’s a mystery to me. When the paper and board sizes are 20x30-inch and 30x40-inch, why can’t we have machines of 30-inch.


Rajesh Morani of Amar Offset with India’s first RMGT 760E

RA: This is an extremely compact press, an ideal one for commercial printers and for those who face space crunch.
VK: It’s true that the installation space of the RMGT 760 E is reduced by 26% as compared to the other machines of similar size which possess a standalone IPC unit. However, it costs slightly higher than its competition. Plus the printers tend to ignore the advantages when something is offered at a lower cost. This machine is loaded with automation, innovative features for excellent quality with productivity.

RA: Why did this press not come to India earlier?
VK: At the RMGT factory we had a manufacturing constraint. As you know we have had success with the RMGT 36 inch press in India market. That is one of reason, we have encountered shipment-time issue for the smaller size.

RA: How does the offset printing sector look like in 2016?
VK: In 2015, 85 offset presses were installed in India. My expectation is, we will have 75 new machines in 2016. In 2017, we will see 100+ offset presses.

RA: How has 2016 behaved for Provin? Of these 85, how many RMGT presses?
VK: This has been a challenging year so far. The next year looks good. We have installed 11 machines till date and seven more are expected by the end of this year. Interestingly, of these 11 machines, only three clients are into the B-category packaging. This means they do commercial as well as packaging work. The remaining eight installations have been installed at commercial printing firms. One must note that commercial printers are not adding capacities but replacing their old machines to produce productivity.

RA: You say 100+ machines in 2017. How so?
VK: Of the total 2.5 lakh printing companies in India, the top 100 companies comprise big book printers and packaging converters. These firms have to invest in a new press every two to three years, that’s a necessity. Now, in the next category, which is the Rs 80-crore to Rs 100-crore turnover range there are 5,000 printers. These companies have been adding machines in the last three years. The category below the Rs 80-100 crore consists of printers in the turnover range of Rs 40-crore to Rs 80-crore. There are 50,000 print firms in this segment. These companies have started to look at adding machines. This opens up a big market.

RA: In what way?
VK: Earlier we targeted the 100 top print firms. Tomorrow, when the third-category printers make investments, there will be a pool of 50,000 firms. Let’s consider there’s a consolidation in the market and 10,000 perish, it is still a huge market. We have 10,000 print firms who shall grow. That will be a huge market. There’s nothing to worry for the next five years, at least.

RA: What’s been the effect of demonetisation on the Indian printing industry?
VK: The secondhand machinery market will take a hit due to demonetisation.

RA: Why?
VK: Many Indian print firms prefer used machinery. This is primarily because the secondhand machines in India were under-valued. Hence there used to be a cut in the import duty. This meant, there was a cash component involved. Now with demonetisation and regularising of formal transactions, people will prefer buying brand-new machines rather than dealing in cash for a pre-owned machine.

RA: What about the macroeconomics?
VK: Demonetisation will increase the flow of money into banks from the unorganised and the small scale industrial sector. This shall compel these sectors to deposit their savings in banks. This will result in excess liquidity with Indian banks who will look to sanction more loans going forward, plus fuel investments in brand new machines.

RA: What’s your approach to selling machines?
VK: If you look at Provin’s installations in the last two years, you will observe that in every major city, we selected a print firm who was capable of influencing the decision of other printers in the city. For example, Shridhar Printers in Ahmedabad, Pravin Printing in Vadodara, Progressive, and Bijal Art in Surat, Selection De Scan, SAP and Hira Prints in Mumbai, Galaxy, Archies in Delhi.

Mumbai-based Selection De Scan invested in a 924 D four-colour with coater in 2014

RA: Interesting. How did this benefit you?
VK: As I mentioned earlier, we have manufacturing constraints. This means we can sell a limited number of machines. So, we needed installations at customers who can do justice to the printing machine. That’s the philosophy behind our sales. There have been instances where we have told a customer that he doesn’t need a new machine. When we do the sales process, we screen the customers and understand his technical requirements before making a pitch. When we do this exercise, we know the customer’s capabilities and see the results. The biggest example is Impact Promotions with LED. Two years ago, the customer had a two-colour machine. Now with proper guidance, he installed India’s first LED UV. Today he is producing excellent print jobs.

The Asgarwala father-son duo of Surat's Progressive Printing Press with Ryobi 920

RA: So, when a printer wants to purchase a new machine, what is he seeking?
VK: Most of the printers don’t know what they need. They are in the market just because they are forced to be. And those print firms who add machines just because they are forced to do so will never succeed. A print firm CEO has to have a clear mindset about what you need the machine for and what is going to achieved with the investment. I feel, it is our responsibility to guide them.

RA: How do you help the print firms?
VK: Unlike others, N Pradeep and I, come from a print service background. I started my career as a service person in machine tools industry and Pradeep has been a part of the printing machine services for two decades. We know the needs of the customer and understand the areas where a problem can occur. We are a service company. We will be service company always. Service first, at any cost, is our motto. We want to work at a level where we can satisfy our customer. We combine sales and service.

Team Provin at Drupa - Kaushal (l) and N Pradeep

RA: Have the print needs evolved over time?
VK: The market scenario is changing. Prior to 2008, we had a different print market in India. Then after 2008 it’s a different market. Earlier, the printer’s mindset was to possess one 40-inch press which will produce all kinds of jobs. The wastages in printing didn’t matter because margins were high. Post-2008, the margins got cut down, competition increased. This has resulted in customers who seek ways to remain competitive. The other big trend is, in recent years, people are realising the benefits of automation.

RA: In what way ...
VK: One of the big changes we have seen in last three years is the increase in the use of blanket wash. That’s a big change in mindset. I have seen people who have purchased a secondhand machines with a blanket wash. They used to remove the unit and keep it aside. Two years ago, we went for a sales pitch at a customer’s place. The printer said he doesn’t need a blanket wash. Pradeep told him to evaluate the time his operator spent in washing the blanket and then make the decision. When we met again, he said he wanted the blanket wash at any cost. That’s because when he studied he realised he was spending up to seven of the 24 hours in cleaning the blanket. This is one change. Ultimately, you need to educate the customer.

RA: What’s the popular machine size in India?
VK: The 25x36-inch size has become very popular among the commercial segment and B-category packaging printers. We this market is growing. As packaging run-length is becoming shorter, this size is an ideal one for the Indian packaging industry. To-date we have four installations in the last one year with this machine size – Dinesh Printers and Sudhendra in Bengaluru, Pravin Printing in Vadodara and Neemlakshmi in Surat.

N Pradeep: What’s new at Provin

We are spending a lot of money to bring about complete automation in service. We are in the process of building the infrastructure for this. As you know, software integration takes time but we hope to be operational by 1 January 2017. I won’t reveal much as we want to give this as a New Year gift to our customers.

We launched the DGM Foildex inline cold foil and UV cast and cure systems this year. The first kit will be installed on an offset press in this month. It’s a two-unit system. At the first unit, the cold foil adhesive can be applied as a spot or flood effect onto the entire sheet as the foil is only release onto the substrate where the ink-based adhesive has been applied. The second print unit is the actual cold foil application unit where the foil is applied onto the substrate and rewound. The USP is that it has an indexing system which is essential for cold foiling process. The Foildex technology replaces older cold foil systems which use the equivalent of the circumference of the blanket cylinder, about 37-inch, for each sheet that passes through the press, irrespective of the amount of foil needed for that particular job. The indexing foil system delivers up to 82% of foil savings. Mind you, this system can be retrofitted on any printing press. This is the future.

The other thing is a LED UV system with multi-wavelength capability. This system can be used to cure conventional UV inks. You have advantages of LED UV without having to use expensive LED inks. This will be launched in January 2017.