What makes printing firms in Kundli tick?

Rahul Kumar spends time at Replika Press, Sanat Printers, Rajkamal Electric Press, Galaxy Print Process and Paras Offset and get’s an insider’s view about their upgradations and expansion plans.

13 Sep 2013 | By Rahul Kumar

Mere five kilometres from the national capital and within 30 minutes from north and west Delhi is the Export Promotion Industrial Park (EPIP) in Kundli. This hub in Haryana has become a lucrative option for printers. The Export Promotion Industrial Park (EPIP) generated around Rs 4,500-crore worth of annual business in 2012. A sizeable portion of this is accrued from exports. Around 150 companies are located in the area, which boasts of 10 printing factories. 
When we visited Replika Press, Sanat Printers, Rajkamal Electric Press, Galaxy Print Process and Paras Offset, we tried to understand the trends, as well as upgradation and technological advancements. This seems the norm in Kundli. 
CTCP gains ground
One of the top trends that we could spot was the rising acceptance of CTCP technology. At present, it is a dominant force in the market, with leading names of the region like Replika, Sanat and Rajkamal opting for a Basysprint UV-Setter 860X. 
Today, Kundli is equipped with three CTPs and CTCPs. The  conventional set-up of exposing consumes around 2,500 sq/m plates per day. While, Replika and Paras have opted for an online CTCP from Screen and Kodak, respectively; others have selected an offline solution.
Bhuvnesh Seth, managing director, Replika Press, says, “We are already equipped with an in-house CTP from Screen and also a conventional process of plate exposing. Because of increasing number of titles and price competition, we realised that CTCP is a good option for a book manufacturer since the plates are economical in comparison to other solutions.”
Nikhil Seth, chief executive, Sanat Printers, echoes the view and adds, “Being a book manufacturer, we found CTCP more economical since we also have a Viostar CTP in-house.” Saurabh Seth, one of the owners of Rajkamal Electric Press, is confident of CTCP technology and feels that it is capable of exposing the plates required to feed its mono print production facilities in the region.
Digital makes inroads
Digital printing facility is another feather in the cap for the region. Replika Press and Sanat Printers have established separate digital printing facilities to meet the demand of short-run books. Although, a digital production presses have managed to penetrate the market only two months ago, Canon seems to have taken the lead. Replika utilises its Canon Imagepress C7010 for colour and Oce Varioprint 6160 for monocrome book printing.
Sanandan Seth, director, Replika Press, says, “We have good orders for short-run books, and have been planning to establish a digital print production facility since the last two Drupas. The last edition of Drupa encouraged us to establish a digital print production facility. The digital printing facility does not only mean installing few digital presses; it requires a separate and dedicated set-up for post-press equipment also. Having a fully dedicated post-press set-up for digital print production is not viable since it is an exorbitant investment. Click charges, which are charged by digital print equipment manufacturers, is a pain-point.”
Nikhil Seth, chief executive, Sanat Printers, who has invested in a Canon Imagepress C6010 for its colour production and Oce Varioprint 6160 for mono production echoes this view, when he says, “The digital print production set-up has opened up new vertical of business for us that we had been ignoring because of lower volumes. Now we can take an order for 200 or lesser books.”

Nikhil Seth with his Oce 6160
Greenfield and brownfield expansions
More than affordability, the opportunity for expansions by adding new facilities or land in the Kundli area seems to be the major attraction for leading printing companies who are setting up their base here. Galaxy Print Process, Rajkamal Electric Press and Replika Press have acquired 40,000 sq/ft, 1,800 sq/m and five acres of land, respectively in the region. Paras Offset has shifted its entire production facility from Naraina Industrial Area to Kundli’s 80,000 sq/ft plant. 
Dharam Vir Jain, director, Paras Offset, says, “We have plans to enter labels and paper, and paperboard packaging business. This is because the annual growth of packaging is quite healthy as compared to commercial and book printing. According to us, packaging is growing at 20-25%, while commercial and books are growing at 10% CAGR.”

Jain brothers of Paras with Heidelberg UV press
Naraina-based commercial and packaging printer Galaxy Print Process is another company that is mulling to shift its entire production to its new facility at Kundli. Harsh Puri, director, Galaxy Print Process, says, “We found Kundli as the best territory to shift our production facility since it is very difficult to get space for production in Delhi at an affordable price bracket. In addition, Kundli being an export-oriented industrial area, we will get some benefits. Plus there is the proximity to Delhi, which counts.”

Harsh Puri of Galaxy Print Process
Saurabh Seth of Rajkamal Electirc Press, seconds Puri, “We had to increase our production capacity to meet our customers’ demand. Having one of the biggest set-up for mono-print production, we needed more space to install additional machines. Long-run and bulk orders are going down but the numbers of titles printed are increasing; so there is an overall growth in production.”

Saurabh Seth of Rajkamal Electric Press
“The competition in the market is very tough, and you have to expand to survive. Land is the basic need whenever you plan to expand your production. We are studying and watching the market for further expansions. After getting yield out of this study, we will decide to either expand our existing portfolio of books manufacturing or diversify to new segments,” adds Seth of Replika.
Pre-owned presses still rule 
The entire Indian graphic art industry is supported by pre-owned kit, and Kundli is no exception to this. Paras Offset, Replika Press and Galaxy have opted for pre-owned kits.
On the rising number of pre-owned equipment, Jain says, “We have added eight pre-owned printing units in the last one year, including a Heidelberg six-colour plus coater with UV for value-added jobs. We will achieve our target of Rs 50-crore turnover in the next two to three years with our expansion. Customers are very demanding nowadays. They insist on fast delivery and good production. And we find expansion is the only way to beat the competition. In addition to our current set-up, we are planning to invest in an eight-colour perfector.”
Bhuvnesh of Replika, says, “We have recently commissioned, an eight-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster for faster production because today’s client is very demanding and want everything fast, even if it is a single book.” Harsh of Galaxy feels that the investment would help the company in acquiring better growth figures. “After addition of the pre-owned Manroland kit to our plant, we would like to expand our packaging portfolio and have set sight on 20% growth this year,” he says.
What the future portends
Although, Kundli is known for books and commercial printing, there is tremendous scope to diversify into other print segments. Most of the printers we visited are planning to increase their portfolio by entering into packaging printing. Although, Replika and Rajkamal did not reveal their cards but the tide of the moment is in favour of diversification.
While Kundli has its sets of pros, the drawbacks can’t be ignored. The biggest drawback is the power outage for hours, and this means heavy reliance on diesel generated power.  Although, it is closer to Delhi NCR, the region has a lack of skilled and educated manpower. Add to it, the issue of local transport to reach the work destinations. Several companies are forced to provide transport at company costs. And finally, the rampant corruption in government bodies and presence of touts has hurt the business appetite.
With enhanced connectivity and improved infrastructure, Kundli is aspiring to be the next Gurgaon. The state government has announced a slew of development projects. This includes a prestigious project to make Kundli an educational hub. Only time shall tell, if this sleepy industrial town in Haryana will become a printer’s favourite destination.