How three Mumbai firms aggrandise advertising

Three advertising balloon printers, who hail from the Konkan belt, tell their tale.

01 Apr 2016 | By Shripad Bhat


Vandan Enterprises

From movie poster painting to jumbo PVC inflatable advertising balloon printing, Rajendra Mahadik, founder of Vandan Enterprises, has done it all.

Vandan Enterprises makes a wide range of PVC inflatable advertising balloons, advertising display boards, screen printed on sunpack, sunboard, acrylic, MDF board,HDPE, etc. Non-woven bags and school bags printing, gift items such as tea coasters, are other products are also offered by the company. They cater to the pharma, telecommunication and media, F&B and FMCG segments.

“These PVC advertising balloons were meant for product promotions of leading brands, thus demanding high quality and accurate colour reproduction” says Mahadik.

Established in 2000, Vandan Enterprises has been successfully using two Nano-print Plus to advertising collaterals like PVC inflatable balloons, danglers and display boards. Recipients of three awards for screen printing from printing contractor, Jai Maharashtra Association, Mahadik was also associated with a toy manufacturing company for 15 years.

“There was a time when, as a paint brush artist, I used to make movie posters which used to be then printed on an offset press. I went the screen printing way when one of my industry colleague introduced me to this manual printing process.”

“I started operating the business from home. In those days, I used to print 1-2 sq/inch PVC stickers, wedding cards and other commercial jobs. I then got associated with a kids’ toy manufacturing company. We used to make all types of small and big size, multicolour toys, inflatable PVC swimming tubular rings, jackets, inflatable bathing tubs for kids – all manual printed even upto sizes of 10ft. As the Chinese multi-colour PVC balloons and toys started flooding the market at lower costs, producing such toys became unviable. But with this 20-year experience, I could then quickly switch over to advertising PVC balloon/dangler printing business. I used to print dimensional PVC balloons of 15-18 ft in size, the first one being the Shoppers’ Stop logo.”

Sai Toys

Gurunath Patil, the owner of Sai Toys drives to his Alibaug factory in a Honda City. The factory has as many as six semi-automatic screen printing machines in operation. Sai Toys’ balloon manufacturing factory is surrounded by 100 mango and 60 coconut trees on a 60+ acre farm. 

Patil worked for three years in a toy manufacturing unit in the heart of Dharavi, dubbed as Asia's largest slum. Later, he started his own tiny balloon producing unit there with one PVC welding machine and one manual screen printing table. He used to sell his products to small shops in Mumbai on his bicycle.

Today, he is all set to blow up his success further in the segment, especially balls and balloons for tiny tots. And to achieve this goal, he has set 14 tables 'on fire' (which required 30 people) and deployed five Nano Print machines, and one Nano-Print plus from Grafica after attending DMI's three-day workshop.

In 1984, he migrated after a rift with his father. 

As his business increased, he started deploying more PVC welding machines, one after another. He also augmented his screen printing unit with more tables. “For the last 20 years I have been supplying my products only to three big toy traders. They are now quite happy to see the transformation in the quality of my balloons because of automation,” says Patil.

During his site visit in 2011, Mike Young, an international screen printing expert from USA, observed in his article published in Grafica News: “I had read previously an inspiring article about this company but it is only when I entered the factory that I could appreciate the impact of what modern-day semi automatic printing machines can do for a business like Sai Toys! What was spectacular about this company was the vast amount of people they had to employ to screen print each piece yet having to remain extremely competitive price-wise and meet demanding deliveries. A solution was found last year by investing in five small semi automatics, each operated by a team of four people. Two would feed and register one balloon segment each on the print table, the third would remove them once printed and the fourth stacking them in several piles allowing them to dry without forced air. Noting all machines were operating at a staggering pace (maximum squeegee speed and no dwell  between print cycles) without anyone breaking into a sweat. Essentially, in one stroke the company's transformation to automation significantly reduced labour while more than doubling productivity.”

R S Inflatables

The IPL cricket extravaganza has brought in moolah for the Mumbai-based R S Inflatables, who supply seven to eight lakh cheer sticks during every IPL.

Founded in 1992 by Ramdas Shirkar (who hails from Ratnagiri), RS Toys is a manufacturer of various types of advertising balloons and toys.

His son, Nilesh set up RS Plastics to focus on inflatable advertising balloons. R S Toys, RS Plastics and their sister concern RS Inflatable, offer a wide range of toys and inflatable advertising/promotional balloons. Their product portfolio includes: inflatable toys, PVC balloons, PVC inflatable danglers, advertising balloons, cheer sticks for IPL cricket series and other promotional articles. The company's clientele is the mobile, food, FMCG, cement, fertilizer, book stores, white goods, soft drinks, pharma sectors in India and abroad. “This marketing and promotional trick is applied by companies/MNCs to promote their products and for brand positioning,” says Nilesh who is also assisted by his younger brother Nitesh.

“Inflatable Point of Purchase (POP) Promotional balloons are used by marketing and advertising agencies, manufacturers, and any company that wants to promote their product, brand, trademark, logo or mascot character. Inflatable POP Promotions are used to improve sales and visibility of new products and are also used at openings, sports and special events, trade shows, window displays and indoor/outdoor events, etc. They can also be used as gifts and giveaways,” says Nilesh.

The company makes mini inflatable balloons with a size range of 50 to 100 cm which are meant for product display on shelves in department stores, for the purpose of sales promotions with different size and shape heart balloon, square box etc. “The eye-catching design possibilities of these mini inflatable represent products and their attributes in true sense and the likeness makes them extremely effective medium at relatively low cost. These include: Bag, boots, packages, figures, counterparts, conserves/jams, bottles, packets, small, miniature, parts, adhesive, etc.

“We also make 1-5 feet size balloons. These balloons are highly durable and made from laminated rubberized Poly Vinyl material, requiring one-time-inflation. One has to inflate them only once and use them for months,” says Nilesh by concluding, “We make promotional balloons for various industries such as cosmetics, spectacles, sunglasses, computers, whisky, watches, and many other products for leading brands.”