Why post-press kit is beginning to matter

Spending in this segment has increased in recent times. One reason is: to dispense with bottlenecks plus automate the process – and stay ahead of the competiton. A report by Priya Raju

19 Mar 2013 | By Priya Raju

PrintPack 2013 saw a lot of traction in post-press and there were tons of options for those eyeing to expand their post-press arsenal. Post-press equipment manufacturers and dealers were present in good numbers. Today, post-press is the “in-thing” and as a result, printers have to ensure they stay ahead of the game. In a low-cost production country like India, it is important to understand the efficiency of such systems and if it makes business sense.

Commercial printing is seeing a slowdown; at the same time, there is no dearth of print jobs. We have seen leading commercial printers across India boost their capacity. Many of the printer-visitors we spoke to talked about the growing awareness of print buyers. There is equal stress on the finishing as there is on print quality. Be it saddle-stitching, perfect binding, lamination and case-making were on display. Players like Megabound, Fortec, Suba Solutions, Malhotra Graphics, Pratham Technologies, Welbound (on the Pressline stand), etc made their presence felt at the show.
A snapshot of what caught our eye.
Lamination machines
Bhogle Engineering Works, Sheth Printograph and Mark Engineering demonstrated lamination machines at the show.
Bhogle Engineering Works showcased live demonstration of the 32-inch Thermolam 800 AC along with 24-inch Thermolam 600 AC. The Thermolam 800 AC uses hot oil spray for heating the roller. It is equipped with an automatic cutting device to deliver the output in sheet form. Yogesh Bhogle of Bhogle Engineering Works, says, “These machines are targeted at digital as well as offset print firms, which require in-house lamination. The trend is shifting from conventional wet glue lamination to thermal lamination.” The company has installed more than 400 machines since 2002, of which 35 installations were in 2012.
Sheth Printograph under the brand name Daya launched proto-type of finishing machines which includes Daya automatic thermal laminator. The laminator has a size of 15 x 20- inch and is equipped with inline sheet separator. The machine accepts stock ranging from 150gsm to 450gsm and has a speed of 50 meters/minute, depending on the substrate. Sonal Sheth, director at Sheth Printograph, says, “It is difficult for the small to medium print firms to invest in expensive European finishing machines nor do they have big shop-floor where the machines can be installed. Our machine suits Indian requirements.” Sheth Printograph has already applied for registration of the patent for the machine.

Sonal Sheth: our machine suits Indian requirements
Mark Engineering’s, Mark AL1 is an automatic lamination machine. Mark AL1 has been jointly developed by Ahmedabad-based Mark Engineering and Bengaluru-based Hy-Tec Print Mac. The machine has two configurations: Mark AL1 10271 with a maximum sheet size of 1,020x710mm and Mark AL1 9161 with that of 910x610mm. The USP of the press is automation; the manual process of feeding the individual sheets to laminator is completely eliminated using stream feeder. The speed of Mark AL1 for aqueous lamination is at 65m/min while that for thermal lamination is 25m/mins.
Other players like Hi-Tech Systems displayed high-speed laminator 6R 370, which has a speed of five meters/min suitable for mid and entry-level printers.
Binders and folders
Indian manufacturers were present in full strength and there were number of options to choose from.   
Welbound displayed its WB 2000, a six-clamp perfect binding machine at Pressline’s stall. WB 2000 has a capacity to bind 2,000 books/hour and can bind book with size ranging from 150×100 mm up to 440x250 mm. The machine has six book clamps traveling in an oval shaped path, where the spine is inline with the crucial binding station. The book clamps is calibrated with thickness indicators; single knob adjustments and can handle job change-over efficiently. 
Kerala-based Redlands Machinery unveiled Petratto Metro 78, the folder-gluer which is capable of 100 different types of folds, including in the small pharmaceutical cartons. Fortec Binding System showcased the Fortec Eco, a case-making machines and automatic Fortec 2 Fold board fixing machine. Fortec Eco can be customised and has a digital control and A/C drive system. The 2 Fold board fixing machine has an automatic registration system and a pneumatic control system that helps fix the board with perfect registration.The production speed of the machine is 400 cases/hr.

Megabound launched four new post-press machines, namely automatic case maker Pearl, MAC-650, X-Press Bookline and PB-680. Automatic case maker Pearl is an automatic case maker wherein all the process is automated except for the manual gluing system. It has a production speed of 500 cases/ hour and can accept paper and board thickness ranging from 80gsm up to 5mm. The MAC-650 is a fully automatic case maker and has production speed of 800 cases/ hour.

Megabound team launched four post-press equipment

The X-Press book line is an online casing-in and joint forming and can handle book size up to 340x400mm. The machine has a production speed of 600 books/hour. Megabound PB 680 model is a perfect binder and is designed for medium-length production runs and is capable to handle quick change-over.
Pune-based Pratham Technologies, demonstrated PGV 1618, an automatic paper-folding machine, which is an upgraded version of their existing machine PGV 1215. PGV 1618 is capable of creating 16 Z-folds with a maximum paper size of 450x750mm. The typical applications of this machine include pharmaceutical outsets, leaflets etc and is targeted at customers who cater to export jobs.
Amritsar-based Five Star Printing Machinery launched exercise booking binding and folding machine, which can be customised according to customer’s requirement. The machine can be scaled up to 12 stitching heads and has a speed of 2500-5000 copies/hour.
Meanwhile, Joy D-Zign Engineers, manufacturers of post-press equipment displayed 19 products at the exhibition which includes three-knife trimmer, exercise notebook pinning, folding and squaring machine.
Packaging machines
The $24.6bn worth Indian packaging industry is expected to grow at 12.3% CAGR during next 4-5 years and to meet the growing needs of the industry all major players like Bobst, NBG and Suba Solutions showcased converting machinery for the packaging industry.
Bobst focussed on die-cutting machine NovaCut 106-E as well as ExpertFold 111 A-2 machine.  According to Venugopal Menon, vice president for BU sheetfed-Indian Sub-continent at Bobst, the key trend one is seeing today is a definite shift towards automating finishing processes to reduce dependency on labour and zero-fault packaging.  Since Drupa 2012, Bobst has installed 23 die-cutters and folder gluers across India. 
Manugraph unveiled MK 1060 M/MF which is an automatic die-cutting machine by Masterwork Machinery.

Manugraph unveils Masterwork’s finishing kit
Suba Solutions had its focus on post-press machinery for the packaging segment and has installed more than 100 automatic flute laminators across India. Besides automatic flute laminators, Suba has also completed several installations of automatic die-cutters and folder-gluers for duplex board and corrugation. The automatic flute laminator is used for pasting of duplex board to corrugated flute boards/liners. The machine is suitable for production of retail corrugated boxes and are available in different sizes. 
To-date Suba has completed “23 deals” for Shanghai Eterna die-cutter.
NBG showcased Dinshung’s Midas Speedy, an auto litho laminator press for the converting segment especially for the corrugated industry. NBG has tied up with Dingshung, a Taiwan-based company, which manufactures litho laminators.

NBG showcased Dinshung’s Midas Speedy
Ahmedabad-based Excel Machinery showcased its automatic die-cutting machine Maxima Exb-35. The 25x35.5inch automatic die-cutting machine is targeted at the mid- and large-sized packaging firms. The machine can be equipped with an optional feature – zero-gripper system, which is useful for producing large size cartons, especially textile packaging.
Indian manufacturers like Vijaya Grafiks, showcased folder-gluer for straight line and crash-lock bottom cartons and Vijaya automatic carton window patching machine. According to Prashant Kumar, partner at Vijaya Grafiks, “The economical pricing of the machine makes it suitable for the Indian market.” Also, Bengaluru-based Boxtech who are manufacturer of semi-automatic and automatic carton folding and gluing machines showcased Boxtech BT. The machine which was displayed at the show is a high speed automatic carton folder and gluer is suitable for folding and gluing small sizes mono-cartons with folding and gluing technology.
Digital finishing
India is witnessing growth in the digital printing business. Also, with run lengths becoming shorter and jobs being personalised or printed with no “overs”, it is essential to have an accurate, easy to use reliable finishing system for digital prints. The print buyer is conscious about the quantity and quality. The digital finishing segment is now a priority and the print firms are concentrating on the same. Malhotra Graphics and Monotech Systems displayed machines for digital finishing.

Morgana and Malhotra target digital finishing
Malhotra Graphics focussed on CardXtra Plus from Morgana Systems, which is a cutting, creasing and slitting machine for a wide range of digital and litho stock. The CardXtra Plus has been manufactured to meet the needs of the growing number of digital printers who require a highly accurate, low-cost, easy-to-use multifunctional device that can slit, cut and crease. It can accept stock of up to 0.4mm (400 gsm) and has a speed of seven sheets/min.
Chennai-based, Monotech Systems displayed Scodix, digital print enhancement machine. Scodix machine has been put up for a public display at an exhibition in India for the first time since its debut in Drupa, this year. The Scodix S74 uses advanced jetting blocks and multiple independently controlled inkjet nozzles to deliver Scodix’s proprietary Polysense clear polymer in small drops.  The Scodix patent-pending Optical Print Alignment (OPA) camera system executes enhancements with pinpoint accuracy (image-to-image registration), scanning each and every sheet to ensure delivery of the clear polymer to its exact location.

“To meet the increasing demand of innovative and value added print production, we added Scodix, digital print enhancement machine in our product range.” says TP Jain, managing director, Monotech Systems. At the show, Monotech signed a deal with Vishakhapatnam-based wedding photo-album specialist, Zoom Digital Press for installation of Scodix S74, which will be India’s third digital print enhance machine.
By Priya Raju, senior correspondent at PrintWeek India, and a graduate of SIES Graduate School of Technology (Print-Packaging)