Anupama’s strength in pre-press continues to support its value proposition
Sachit Katyal of Noida-based Anupama Printing Solutions explains how the company’s ability to respond to market demands and provide quality service has helped it grow in the market.
24 Nov 2022 | By Rahul Kumar
PrintWeek (PW): Describe the journey of Anupama Printing Solutions.
Sachit Katyal (SK): Our business was trading consumables for the offset printing industry. In 2008, we visited Drupa with a plan to grow business, and invested in a Basys CTCP imaging device. We later added more imaging equipment, including a Kodak imager in 2012.
After growing the offset trade shop business and building up a steady base of clients, we were planning to diversify around 2014 when we discussed with the then Kodak team about the possibilities in flexo, who played a consultative role in helping us understand the capabilities of Flexcel NX technology.
Our initial interest in Flexcel NX technology was brought up by a need to cater to customers that required DITR film for certain print applications. When we installed the Flexcel NX mid system in 2015, we got really good response and support from these DITR customers as well as flexo converters that we supplied Flexcel NX plates to. As our newly diversified business grew, we added more capacity with an investment in the Flexcel NX 4260 system. Both these systems are at our Delhi-NCR unit.
Our third Flexcel NX, a mid-size configuration, is now running at our Baddi unit to provide quick support to our local customers in that region. All the three Flexcel NX systems are hybrid in nature, capable of imaging for flexo as well as offset. We have 60 employees across our two sites.
PW: What prompted the expansion of your service to wide-web flexible packaging players?
SK: Our primary customer base was narrow and mid-web customers. However, as the business expanded, we developed expertise to serve wide-web flexo converters. This allowed for better optimisation of resources and to grow our market.
PW: What would you say are the keys to the growth of your business?
SK: Our ability to respond to market demands and provide quality service. Our investments in wider imaging device sizes and opening up a new location at Baddi are examples of how our business has responded to market demands and customer needs.
PW: How important is it to build contingencies in business?
SK: During a dynamic period at the beginning of the pandemic, we were able to navigate through multiple challenges. Having backup equipment to keep production on track, having a determined and involved internal team that went above and beyond to deliver on customer promises, and having supportive customers who collaborated closely to manoeuvre through issues. Even now, we run multiple shifts to deliver on customer promises, to ensure that we always meet or beat expectations. The turnaround time is one of the most critical pieces in this line of business. Having multiple hybrid imaging devices also allows us to further enhance our capabilities to take on probable contingencies that may arise.
PW: What services and products do you offer?
SK: In the offset space, we are a plate bureau that can supply thermal CTP as well as CTCP plates. In flexo, we can supply digital flexo technology like Kodak Flexcel NX plates from Miraclon, analogue flexo, LAMS as well as letterpress plates and film.
PW: What investments in software have you made over time?
SK: With a growing business, we invested in the Esko automation engine plus Artpro+ in 2020, which helped us improve our efficiencies in pre-press significantly. The combined automation option also helps us reduce manual errors to a large extent.
PW: Which businesses would form your customer base?
SK: We cater to label converters, corrugation, lamitubes, offset printing, line jobs, paper cups, wide web flexibles. There is significant growth in labels and lamitubes, especially in the pharma and cosmetics space. This is due to an organic growth run, increased consumption and the opening up of new markets, and the influx of new brands into these segments.
PW: How is your business reacting to changing industry trends?
SK: Our focus is on consistent improvement of pre-press to stay ahead of the curve. There is higher collaboration between us and our customers to identify the best approach towards achieving excellent shelf impact, which means we need to work closely during the pre-press stage and chalk out innovative methods to push the bar. This allows both us and our customers to differentiate themselves and also bring about value addition to the packaging.
It’s equally important to understand printing equipment capabilities, which helps us in optimising pre-press for the job, which may otherwise lead to complications if not taken care of.
Another element of consultative relationship-building we bring to the equation is checking in with our customers on the performance of our plates from time to time, which brings in more confidence in our support capabilities. We have received samples of offset jobs which we are expected to match to flexo. While these instances are rare, we have had to develop our team to even cater to such tricky jobs.
PW: How do Miraclon’s Flexcel NX solutions contribute to your success?
SK: Reliability and efficiency are given with Flexcel NX plates. Its finest dots enable excellent ink transfer. Quality and dot reproduction is the biggest differentiator in the narrow-web segment. Difficult to prove efficiencies around ink savings or run length owing to extremely short print runs in narrow web. The expanded tonal range that can be reproduced with Flexcel NX plates has aided in transitioning offset jobs to flexo. On a single NX plate, we can use standard as well as Digicap NX. That helps in improved utilisation and customisation, so we can gang up jobs that suit different converter sites. From a pre-press point of view, it’s the simplest setup to work with. Because we can get the best results on press with the least amount of effort in pre-press.
PW: You recently expanded into Baddi. Your thoughts on Baddi as a labels and packaging hub?
SK: A lot of pharma companies are expanding operations, while new ones are setting up shop, owing to conducive government policy. This has a direct bearing on the growth of label and packaging print for the pharma segment. You have labels and narrow-web, corrugation, lamitubes, as well as other specialised print service providers in the Baddi belt, to support the pharma industry, as well as other consumer and industrial goods that are produced in the region.
PW: What is the one thing you think the local flexo industry needs?
SK: All converters would place blame of any print defect on the flexo plate before analysing whether press setup or any other consumable is at fault. So, we have to be immediately involved even in resolution, and play a guiding role. We have been able to do so with expertise gained over time, the credit of which partly goes to the Miraclon team for its support.
There is a need for a demo facility where trade shops as well as converters can get a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of platemaking and printing. This will help the industry progress. You can have the best and latest technology, but unless the people know how to implement it right and get the most out of it, it’s not helping much. A lot of second-hand information is floating around, which is dangerous and causes frequent issues. Remote support is an option, but the effectiveness of remote support relies on a technically sound operator on the other side.
PW: What are your thoughts on Miraclon as a supplier?
SK: The technical applications team at Miraclon has always been extremely engaged and supportive, whether it was resolution of pre-press or on-press queries, or in upskilling our team on flexo pre-press and application knowledge.
PW: What are your future plans?
SK: Our focus is on technical support and marketing of our expertise, to provide even better service to the flexo industry. Our strength in pre-press continues to support our value proposition.