Litho bounces back with Ryobi

Ryobi MHI Graphic Technology has made all the right noises since the formalisation of the Ryobi and Mitsubishi JV. Vinay Kaushal of Provin Technos highlights the Ryobi order book in India which is eyeing a print market (USD 29.3 billion in 2017).

23 Jun 2015 | By Ramu Ramanathan

Results have been fantastic, says Vinay Kaushal, director of Provin Technos, as we settle in his office in Okhla. And why not?
29 Ryobi MHI orders notched up during the year, 19 of which since PrintPack 2015 in February.
I spent a considerable time at the Provin stall during PrintPack 2015 to grasp the success of Ryobi MHI in India. One reason for the success as a print CEO from Bengaluru said is, “Print prices are depressed.  A key route for printers to increase margins is by increasing productivity, achieving more sheets on the floor in less time with less waste and less downtime.” A Provin team member tells me about a print firm in Surat notching up two lakh impressions and twenty-plus makereadies in a day.
I ask the director of Provin, how should a print room be set up in order to maximise the likelihood of success, what measures should a printer be using, and what type of market are these presses entering?
Vinay Kaushal in between calls to Japan, informs me, “Press manufacturers like Ryobi MHI have come up with a dazzling array of features over the past years that have transformed the output capacity of their printing kit.”
He adds, “Workflow plays a central role in productivity, and encompasses everything from the location of the press in the factory to its digital connection. The staff is crucial, as are measurement, planning, control and monitoring. Consumables also play an important role, having press-approved products is essential.”
The interesting trivia is the domination of metro cities among the 52 Ryobi installations. The shift has been from a meagre 10% base to 30% of installations in tier-two and tier-three cities. Kaushal expects this number to ramp up since the new cities are an essential part of the Indian government’s urban vision. This is part of the paradigm that believes 400- million Indians will have migrated to the top 20 cities in the foreseeable future, and these additional 400- million Indian will boost print purchase.
Restructuring and realignment
924D, Bijal Arts, Surat
925LED, Impact Promotions, New Delhi

925D, Dinesh Printers, Bengaluru

924A, Samrat Offset Printers, New Delhi
, KCL Digital, Surat
925D, Galaxy Offset, New Delhi
924A, SAP Prints, Mumbai
924 D, Pearl Offset, New Delhi
684D, Hira Prints, Mumbai

924D, Selection D’Scan, Mumbai
Kaushal favourite phrase is, “restructuring, realignment and technology advancement”. This was evident at the Ryobi MHI stall during PrintPack. The stall had two highlights. One: a huge LED television telecasting the much-hyped India-Pakistan game. The other, also LED driven. But loaded onto the Ryobi 920 series of the five-colour printing press. The results on 25x36-inches substrate (including polypropylene) from 40 to 450gsm is quite impressive.
At that time, Akira Urakami, chairman, Ryobi MHI Graphic Technology, who was visiting India for the first time, said, “India is one of our focus markets. We are ready to serve it. The kind of demand for new printing presses that we are getting has been a boost for us.”
Since the PrintPack days, the Ryobi 920 with LED has been installed at New Delhi-based Impact Promotions.
The LED-UV curing, implemented at the end of the press and the press delivery is capable of curing sensitive substrates.
Kaushal is very upbeat about the LED UV market in India,
and expects approximately 10-12 LED UV installations (of all makes) in India by the end of 2015.
Kaushal says, what stands out with Ryobi MHI presses, other than having the shadowless grippers and lower power consumption, is the density control systems like the Ryobi
PDS-E, the PDS-E Spectro, and PDS-E SpectroDrive, which allow for colour control thanks to the measurement of the colour bar on the printed sheet.
All this is necessary, as Kaushal feels, “the job mix has also changed, with an increased quotient of commercial printing added to the core package printing, and POS and POP work done on a fully loaded sheetfed press.
Eyeing the $29.3 billion market
Kaushal and Provin are eyeing India’s print market, which will be USD 29.3- billion in 2017; up from USD 24.3 billion in 2014.
And even though the print market growth in India has slowed down since the global financial crisis, the market will continue to grow over the period through 2017. Kaushal like his contemporaries is confident that the total print product revenues in India will grow at 6.8% annually through 2017.
But, be it a Mitsubishi, a Heidelberg or a Roland; what are the circumstances under which a print firm CEO is purchasing a press?
The Ahmedabad-based commercial print firm, Shreedhar Printers provides a good indication. Minesh Patel of Shreedhar invested in a brand new Ryobi 924 four-colour plus coater press in order to replace the secondhand Heidelberg SM74 machine which was a 20x29-inch size secondhand press without coating unit. With the Ryobi, Shreedhar had an inline coating facility which is the need of the commercial print market in Gujarat.
In addition, the Ryobi ensured a machine with 25x36-inch size, which Patel felt was a suitable size in the commercial printing segment, 60% of the jobs can be handled by the 18x25-inch sheet size.
According to Patel, the Ryobi 924 is a compact machine, which will fit in the same room as that of the SM 74. “So we do not need to make any changes on our shopfloor workflow to accommodate this bigger width four-colour machine with coater,” mentions Patel.
Where Provin scores over counterparts is, before making the purchase decision, Patel visited few Ryobi MHI installations to evaluate the machine operations. The key buzz words were: user-friendly; equipped with automation including CIP4, a closed-type coater from Harris & Bruno, and a semi-automatic plate changer.
The other thing which Kaushal highlights is, “Ryobi MHI provided two years full-service warranty to Shreedhar Printers. And even the post-warranty service charges are affordable.”
One size does not fit all
Provin has attempted to simple machine checks as part of its maintenance approach. Kaushal believes that a manufacturer’s directive or a safety missive does not work in India. People don’t read instructions. So the next best thing is a continual improvement cycle. He says, “Basically, printers should look after the press and it will look after you.”
This could be troublesome chillers which cause stress levels to rise with the temperature or extra set of brand-new rollers that end up being locked in the cupboard and when it is unpacked after a year, “the wear and tear ensures, it cannot be used.” 
Lubrication is overlooked, he says. “Without proper lubrication and cleaning you increase wear and tear and the chance of breakdowns. It’s become an issue as skilled operators have left the industry and companies run very lean,” he adds.
One thing Provin does differently is, it has sharpened its service offerings, including introducing multiple levels of support and pricing rather than a one-size-fits-all offering. 
“We provide tailor-made packages, from a basic inspection with a written report on suggested action through to full support packages,” says Kaushal.
That inspection report can help to nip problems in the bud, preventing more expensive and disruptive breakdowns further down the line. For this, Provin has remote diagnostics systems which provides real-time tech support for different bits of kit.
It’s been Provin’s biggest service take-ups and an invaluable way of offering 24/7 support. Says Kaushal, “We can identify the problem and ensure that our engineer arrives with the right parts. It can identify new situations, so we can offer preventative maintenance before it impacts production.”
There is another way to reduce breakdowns that is much cheaper and closer to home, which is to stick to the recommended self-maintenance schedules and beyond that do as much as you can internally to keep the press in tip-top condition.
Kaushal (like his print guru, K Bala of Proteck) is a huge supporter of “Basic housekeeping”. He says, “Prevention is a better cure, and housekeeping can prevent problems from developing.
Today’s service says the key to reduce the fear-factor among customers and show-and-tell the customer on how to do things for themselves.
Kaushal’s advise for print CEOs: “The best thing to do is be pro-active to reduce unscheduled downtime. You can schedule and plan your own maintenance and any vendor servicing on a quieter day that suits you.” 
The Proteck legacy
Vinay Kaushal who has been tutored and nurtured by K Bala of Chennai-based Proteck who drove the Mitsubishi fan base in India at the turn of the millennium.
Fifteen years ago, Bala said, “When evaluating press options, printers emphasise ROI. It’s debatable, however, exactly how many printers actually perform a formal calculation when researching new equipment. Some buyers may despair of collecting all the necessary information, which can include the cost of capital, number of shifts, product type, margins by product line, usage of contribution margins, operational margins and pre-tax income. Buyers also should compare the new press to its replacement. Considerations include speed, changeover time, how long it takes to get up to colour, power consumption, the cost of consumables and press-manning requirements.”
The situation hasn’t altered by that much. The only thing is, Proteck’s Mitsubishi inheritance has been willed to Provin. And then Ryobi and Mitsubishi sealed a deal, which was inked on 1 January, 2014. The new company Ryobi MHI Graphic Technology is represented by Provin in India.
Kaushal says, “Before the joint venture, Ryobi was known for smaller size and format, while Mitsubishi used to deal in large-format machines. Post the joint venture, Ryobi MHI is supplying the products from both the companies, 20 different models in total.”
Kaushal says inline coating is a big favourite. He says, “The efficiencies of inline coating during the print run is increased. Rapid drying on the five-colour jobs means they are immediately ready for a second pass. On multiple makereadies each day, that adds up to important time and cost savings in the long term.”
Kaushal tilts to offset and says it prints the highest quality. With infallible logic, he says, “Today, offset can compete with digital down to runs as low as 200 sheets, however it offers a lot more, such as A2 size, high speeds for longer runs, and the ability to print on different substrates.”
Even as the two hour interview winds down with coffees, customer database, tasklists and exchange of visiting cards, one thing is clear, 2015 is about the litho world striking back.
How you got into the printing industry: Accidentally. I worked in HMT for 16 years. In a sense, machine tools, was my forte. Later, printing machines was added as one of the products, which I handled in the early part of my career. Later, I joined Proteck and printing became my mainstream focus.
If you were not in the printing industry: I would have been a cricketer.
Best print equipment: The Rotatek Brava 450 for being one of the most advanced in technology. It is a versatile press, which offers numerous inline finishing process.
Favourite print job: Pragati’s calendars.
One thing you want to change about our industry: In-house machine maintenance capabilities.
The next biggest technological change to affect the printing industry: At present, it is a fusion device between digital and offset.
If you were on a 20-hour flight with one person from the printing industry: It will be my friend Kamal Vyas. He is a person to be with on a long flight. He is fun loving, entertaining and informative.
After a great day at work: Would like to unwind with family or listen to Kenny G.
How do you start your day: Morning walk, newspapers.
What would you purchase if you won a lottery: I would like to create an infrastructure for training school for skill development in our industry. Obviously, we will start with printing and would like to cover other industries.
Your biggest fantasy: Even today, I want to play for the Indian cricket team.
For you print is all about: Creativity.
The many avatars of Vinal Kaushal