Print in Coimbatore will increase business by 20%: Antony of HiTech

HiTech Universal Printers and Publishers was established in 2008 at Coimbatore, South India by Dr P C Thomas, an eminent educationist and the founder of Good Shepherd educational institutions located at Ooty. His passion for print motivated Dr Thomas to open a 66,000 sq/ft print shop to cater to the print needs. In the past six years, the firm has become a major player in Coimbatore in the commercial and packaging printing.

10 Jun 2014 | By Ramu Ramanathan

Ramu Ramanathan speaks to J Antony, general manager (production), HiTech Universal.

Print in Tamil Nadu? What happened in 2013?

In 2013, because of economic slow-down commercial volumes had reduced. This led to fewer orders in thepackaging segments. Tirupur (the hosiery hub close to Coimbatore) has been the most affected zone because of this. In other parts, the power issues and environment and water pollution has worsened the situation.  

Tell us a bit about the print business in Coimbatore, who are your clients and what do you offer them?

Most of the work for commercial printing and packaging comes from Coimbatore, Karur, Erode and Tirupur. These include jobs for schools, colleges, building developers, motor/pump manufacturers whereas in packaging.

What would you say were the biggest challenge in setting up your printing plant in Coimbatore?

Government laws and skilled manpower for printing and post-press.

Describe your workflow?

We have a Prinect workflow with a thermal CTP system from Heidelberg (S74 Suprasetter and A105 Suprasetter along with a Glunz and Jensen Raptor HD 85 Interplater Processor). This is which is CIP3 enabled. In addition we have an Epson Stylus Pro 9880 proofer and a Xerox Docucolor 242 Digital Printers. All of these are supplemented by PitStop Pre-flight Software; and a Heidelberg Packaging Pro.

You have an impressive array of Heideberg press and post-press system.

Our presses include: a CD 102 6C + L; SM 74 4C + L; SM 102 ZP; SM 74 1 C. This is backed by a GraficaNano Print Machine for screen printing. In addition we have Polar guillotines and two Stahl folders (KH56 and TH82) plus three knife trimmers and a perfect binding kit.

What will you do differently in 2014?

Post-press effects. That is the main reason we have added a Yoco automatic die punching kit and a Partkek folder gluer and automatic flute lamination machine; plus high speed wet lamination machines.

How do you manage the company? Was there a Phase I? Phase II process? How did you make sure that your strategies’ impact will be a positive one?

Phase 1 was getting into commercial print which happened in 2008 when you first visited this plant. Now inphase 2 we have ventured into packaging in 2011. 

You run a tight ship. What is your focus when you talk to suppliers?

Yes, for quality and timely supply of raw materials. 

What’s been your biggest frustration about working with large print buyers?

Frustration stems out from the last minute print jobs that the clients expect us to produce and maintainquality. 

What was the most important thing that you learned in 2013?

Even if you do not get the price for quality, don’t compromise on quality. 

How do you cut cost on the printing side?

Go for combined jobs. 

What do you think will represent the single biggest opportunity for printers in Coimbatore?

FDI investment in retail, if it happens. Also 2014 seems to be a brighter year. We are keeping our fingers crossed to see some improvement in the business especially the garment domestic/export sector which packaging printers in Coimbatore are dependent upon.

What do you think will represent the single biggest threat for printers in 2014 and why?

Large-format digital presses. 

What’s the one thing that the industry should do more of, or do better, in 2014?

Have stronger unity and do not compromise…..  

What are your hopes for 2014?

Increase business by 20%. For this the print industry has to be able to offer value-added services. A new year, a new technology landscape, potentially, for printers to get their heads around. So what should printers be keeping their eyes on?