How Komori conquered Hyderabad

As the PrintWeek India team spends a couple of days in Hyderabad, what surprises us the most is how the city swears by Komori presses. A report by Anand Srinivasan and Dibyajyoti Sarma.

15 Dec 2014 | By Anand Srinivasan & Dibyajyoti Sarma

The City of Pearls is in a flux. There is anticipation in the air for good things to come, as the old city of Hyderabad begins the process to become the capital of a brand-new state, Telangana. It was difficult in the last couple of years, but the worse is over, and now, it’s time to grow.

 “It’s not boom time yet, but we are hoping to get busy soon,” says a city printer, who believes that with a new state and a new government, there will be more print jobs in near future.

Traditionally, in undivided Andhra Pradesh, Vijayawada has been the hub of commercial printing while Hyderabad is famous for pharma packaging. “It’s not that Hyderabad does not have commercial printing facilities, but it is cheaper in Vijayawada to print books and stuff,” the printer adds.

Now, Vijayawada is set to be the capital of Andhra Pradesh state, and with this, the equation is likely to change. “It will all depend upon state relations,” says the printer. “If they begin to charge octroi and stuff during inter-state transport, it would no longer be cheaper for Telangana customers to print is Vijayawada.”

Fixated on Komori
An interesting trend we observe in Hyderabad is how a large number of printers in the city swear by Japanese offset printing press company Komori. Every big and medium printer in the city boasts a Komori, if not a brand-new one, at least a used one. But why? There is no ready explanation. According to a printer, there have always been Komori machines in Hyderabad market. A new printer would, of course, start his business with a second-hand machine. Later, when he is ready to invest in a new one, he would invariably go for another Komori because he is used to using the machine and its configurations.

Is this as simple as it sounds?
Speaking for himself, MV Krishna Rao of Creative Offset Printers says, Komori machines have less defects. Before opting for a new Komori press recently, he was using a second-hand Komori machine and it worked just fine. “I think Hyderabadi printers have always seen Komori presses at work. So, there is an inherent trust,” Rao says. “Why go looking for something else, if you already know the machine that works for you.”

Another reason why the local printers prefer Komori is its size. These machines are comparatively compact compared to its competitors and takes less floor space. For a printer housed inside the city, space is always an issue, and a Komori machine helps solve the problem.

Also, Rao exhorts, Komori has longer shelf life and great resale value. The machines are also reliable and eco-friendly, says Rao.

According to sources, there are 10 new Komori presses installed in Hyderabad and last year itself six machines came in. Pre-owned would account to more than 60 machines.   
Now, how the Komori customers are doing in Hyderabad? We bring you some case studies.
Creative Offset Printers
Established in 1994, the printer of commercial jobs, brochures, pamphlets and book, Creative Offset Printers already had a second-hand Komori machine for the past four years before they decided to invest in a new Komori Lithrone 2426, a four colour press.
The reason for the new investment is to offer quality work to its customers. “Customers today are more quality conscious,” says M V Krishna Rao, owner of Creative Offset. “And they want their jobs done within time. Now, with the new machine, we are prepared to fulfill the customer demands.”  

No, Creative Offset is not trying to complete with the city’s print giants like Pragati Offset and Kala Jyothi. “Hyderabad is a huge market, and there are jobs for everyone,” says Rao.

A bulk of Creative Offset’s job comes from government agencies. “The market was lull for the past few years. Now, things will change (after the Telangana state came into being.),” he adds.
Another important segment for Creative Offset was education related job, from admission forms to question papers. Even this market is shrinking, with most of education processes moving online, thus reducing the need for printed matter.

In 1994, the company procured two single-colour machines, which helped them to cater to single-colour book works and other government jobs for universities. At the time, it used to outsource its multi-colour works. Four years back, the company got its first multi-colour press in the shape of a second-hand Komori four-colour press.

While Rao claims that Komori machines are defect-free, he is also quick to add that Hyderabad has a ready supply of engineers to fix the problems, if any. This is perhaps another reason why the City of Nizams prefers Komori presses.

Also, Rao says, the output is faster. Comparing the Lithrone 2426 to the old machine, he says, “We used to have a make-ready time of 30 minutes put into the old machine, which would churn out 5,000 copies. But, in the 2426, we need only 5 minutes of make-ready and in turn, this would give a production of 10,000 sheets in an hour.”

With a fairly new Kodak Trendsetter at its pre-press floor, the company produces nearly 70-80 plate sets a day. “The market is currently idle, so in a span of two months, we would be producing 25 sets more.”

 The company, which has a turnover of Rs 3.5 crore and a paper requirement 10 tonnes, also boasts of folding machines from Shoei, Welbound perfect binder and Polar cutting machine.
Sravya Graphics
Sravya Graphics came into existence 30 years back as a letterpress, and then slowly ventured into pre-press with designing. “Perhaps we are the first in Hyderabad to initiate digital designing for printing industry in 1995,” says Ravinder Reddy. “With this, we were able to establish an in-house design studio, through which we used to service all the printing units across the city. But, we used to outsource our printing works.”

What made Sravya Graphics to start a design studio? “Earlier, it was difficult to match colours with the final print. The colour matching used to be on butter paper. To offer the printers a better solution, we came up with a designing studio concept,” says Reddy.

The company’s first investments in this front were Macintosh systems for colour proofing, tabletop scanners, image-setter for film making and drum scanner. “This was our primary business for 10 years since the inception,” he adds.

The pre-press setup includes Kodak Trendsetter Q400 while the post-press includes folding machines from Shoei, Horizon perfect binding machines, thermal lamination machine and a cutting machine.

It was only recently the company invested in a Komori Enthrone LS29. “We preferred this press over Heidelberg SM74, which was also on our list,” says Reddy.

What sealed the deal for Komori? “Its quick make-ready time and faster turnaround for short runs,” he adds.

The reason the company went for a new press was that it used to face constraints on quality and paper wastage. “It would be around 10%. However, after having the in-house press, we have curbed paper wastage to 2%. This 8% saving has become my profits since my Komori investment,” he says.

 The Hyderabad market is a market of quick turnaround, and at the same time, it is a competitive market. “Speaking for myself, Komori is able to offer us both. In 21 hours, we have printed about 54 jobs of 1,500 impressions. This is quite an impressive turnout for a start-up like ours,” he adds.

Reddy thinks the company will be able to reach its target within a couple of months. “Our major jobs would consist of newsletters for schools and colleges, magazines, military jobs, brochures, leaflets,” he says, adding that within a time span of two months, since the machine was installed, Sravya has managed to convert 1,200 sets of plates. “Compared to the time when we used to outsource jobs, we are now feeling pretty confident in job commitments and quality assurance,” he concludes.
Pragati Offset
Even a giant like Pragati Offset could not resist the charm of Komori. Last year, the company got two new Komori printing presses, both of which are 20x30 inch and 28x40 inch with seven-colour, non-UV configuration and are equipped with anilox coaters.

“We replaced our earlier 28 inch and 40 inch Komori presses with the new presses,” Narendra Paruchuri, managing director, Pragati Offset, says. “It was an obvious choice to choose the same company as the performance of both the machines was impeccable. Also, we wanted both the printing presses from the same company.”

These two new seven-colour plus coater Komori presses are used by Pragati for the implementation of expanded colour gamut (ECG) solution, Equinox, from Esko. The system uses this fixed ink set selectively for jobs with spot colours, which can be simulated by the colour gamut of seven colours, says Harsha Paruchuri of Pragati.

 An additional unit provides flexibility as the company already prints six-colour jobs and an additional colour would improve the quality and consistency. “We have found that about 80% of Pantone colours can be matched within a delta-E of four,” Paruchuri adds.