Equipment not critical for quality print

Mumbai-based Screen Art Enterprises produces award-winning print jobs, backed by a pre-owned offset press and a semi-automatic press from Grafica.

19 Jan 2015 | By Rahul Kumar

Suresh Lodh was on cloud nine when his company, Screen Art Enterprises, won its first award. Lodh says he was not aware of the benefits of recognition and appreciation of work. “Since then, we have participated in multiple award competition and have received recognition. This has made us aware of our strengths,” says Lodh. The latest in the list has been the PrintWeek India Social Stationery Printer of the Year 2014.
Screen Art has two locations in Mumbai, one in Kala Chowkie and the other in Shah & Nahar Industrial Estate, Lower Parel. The company is equipped with a manual kit as well as Grafica’s screen printing presses, and caters to packaging, agency stationery and wedding cards.

Round-the-clock work with a Dominant
Lodh started his printing business with manual screen printing process, which continues until today. They have a semi-automatic machine from Grafica. “If you know the work and are willing to learn, then the role of equipment becomes less,” he says. “It doesn’t matter whether the machine is pre-owned or new. Our entire offset line is pre-owned and they run round-the-clock.”
In 2012, the company commissioned a four-colour offset printing press with a size of 19x26 inch from Dominant. “It’s an old machine, but we know how to tackle it. We also have skilled operators for it,” says Lodh.
Every growing company wants to invest in brand new machines. But there are two major hurdles – availability of funds and trained manpower. “For a small printer like us, it is not easy to arrange huge funds. Then again, how can you hand over an expensive and sophisticated machine, equipped with advanced technology, to a traditional operator?” he says.
Color Scan and First Impressions are the two sister companies of Screen Art Enterprises and they are managed by Lodh and his two brothers, Mahesh and Ramesh. Lodh is responsible for client servicing and marketing and the other two brothers oversee production. In a time of crisis, however, all three are capable of handling any process of print production.
Starting young
Printing, especially screen technology, is in their genes, as the Lodh brothers learned the ropes of screen printing through hands-on training since their childhood.
Established in 1988, the commercial printing company prefers value-addition jobs. “At times, we spurn simple jobs as we do not want to stick to simple jobs. Value-addition jobs always give you more margins and provides an opportunity to do print R&D and implement it,” says Lodh.
Lodh says in the 1990s when the company started its work, they had no idea where and how they will move forward. Things started to fall in place, and soon, they got an offer to work in Dubai as well. “Since we started young, we could learn well and develop gradually,” says Lodh.
In 1993, the company started working for advertisement agencies and art institutions like JJ School of Art among other marquee clients. In 1994, when Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai received international recognition, Screen Art Enterprises also created work for them.
There has been a strong speculation in the market that the arrival of digital printing effectively killed screen printing. Lodh is quick to clarify that it is not so. “Digital printing has disturbed the screen printing in production speed. Otherwise, there is no comparison between the two,” he adds.
Values of a printer
Lodh shows his concerns for a printer’s status in the market. People are showing less and less respect for printers and Lodh blames the printing community for it, especially when the printer is the only person who can bring to life someone else’s imagination of a print job. “A printer does not refer to a single person. It’s always teamwork,” he says. “We are very open in terms of work. We do not hesitate to refuse work which is beyond our capacity. We also do not mind referring work to someone else who has skills to do it.”
 Lodh says their association with the ad world has benefited the company in many ways, especially creatively. “Most of the time, they come with new concepts and we implement it. Advertisement is a strong medium of communication and information and since we were associated with it, we have benefited, immensely,” he says.
Now, Screen Art Enterprises has offset and screen printing facilities in-house, and Lodh says, both technologies complement each other. “In most cases, the offset guys seek a hybrid screen component as an add on. We changed this theory, upside down and went the other way around. You have to change according to the market. Right now, our work proportion is 25% digital, 35% offset and 40% screen,” he adds.
All in all, the three companies employ 32 people. While its offset facility runs round-the-clock, its screen printing facility has a single shift of more than 10 hours.

Screen Art Enterprises clinched the PrintWeek India Award  for a book, which created the shape of an ‘Om’.  

This is possible by manually folding the pages.

They produced total 2,100 copies of the books.