The Screen Print Man

The trend of wide-format digital print solution providers investing in newer technology, continues.

09 Jan 2015 | By Shripad Bhat

Prantik Kumar, a 24 year-young entrepreneur, who holds a B Eng in automobile engineering from Coventry University, UK, took a bold decision to invest in large-format screen printing technology with an investment of over Rs one crore.

A couple of months ago, Kumar Print Pack has commenced print production at its new 9000 sq/ft unit, which houses Grafica’s ¾ large format screen printing machine (also called as Four-Post Pillar) that can print upto 4x8 ft size, with inline UV curing machine combined with Jet Air dryer. Their wide format printing unit is backed by Grafica’s complete screen making set up that includes large-format fabric stretching equipment, automatic coating machine, screen dryer, screen exposing machine) washing booth and squeegee sharpener.

Prantik is the managing director of Jamshedpur-based Kumar Print Pack, a sister concern of Kumar adMedia , a wide-format digital print solution provider.

“All put together, both the companies have invested around Rupees 6 crores (Rs 60 million) in the last one-and-half year,” reveals Prantik Kumar, adding, “With this big ticket investment, we are one of those few select graphic screen print companies which houses both digital and screen printing set up for producing wide-format jobs. This is coupled with in-house fabrication facilities and onsite installation team.”

Over to one-to-one:

Being a digital print solution provider at first place, why did you invest in a large format screen printing technology?

Digital is the best substitute for wide format and short run prints, and screen printing is the best option to print volume jobs on wide range of rigid substrates, cost effectively. So, for digital printers like us, having screen printing technology is an added advantage. Let me elaborate as under:

Screen printing process:

a)    Screen printing is truly a cost effective print technology when it comes to volume, that too printing on rigid substrates – be it tin, sunpac, sunboard, acrylic, etc. However, screen has the limitation of size.

b)   Durability and strong: Can withstand wind, rain

c)    Very high quality print result

d)   Thanks to UV technology, even if one area is not viable, then with same machine we can also diversify into other areas of screen printing such as value addition, automobile decals (in case of wide format).

e)    No Fear factor: The advantage of screen printing is that there is no fear factor … one can always use the same machine for so many other applications if the intended project fails.

Screen printing – dis-advantages:

a)    Advanced screen printing, not that easy: Screen printing is easier said than done at least in large format. It requires knowledge of machines, materials and screen printing technology which has varied parameters especially in screen making. Screen printing does not have set parameters… one has to learn and get experience from each job, each customer.

Digital – advantages:

a)    Small run print possible. Even print just one print can be offered.

b)   Bigger size print than screen.

c)    Advantage of Direct computer to machine vs long screen making process.

d)   Flexible production/quick production.

e)    Custom size and variable printing possible.

Digital – disadvantages:

a)    Competition: As the print market is aware that, digital segment is marred by competition between companies with ‘the branded machine’ vs. ‘cheap quality Chinese machines’. The latter, with cheap investment, can offer prints at far cheaper than one offered by printer using high end digital press. Margins are squeezed to rock bottom, sometimes mindlessly or unjustifiable. Eg Rs 7 per sq/ft of 340 gsm flex in which ink cost itself is Rs 1.50 and flex cost is about Rs 4.50.

b)   Fear factor: Tomorrow if for any reason, demand for flex printing stops (though it may not happen), we will have to dump the machine. So there is always a fear factor when you invest in wide format digital. And the business is getting mushroomed as it does not require great technical knowledge like screen printing process.

What’s your USP:

a)    We are centrally located in Eastern Part of India, that is, Jamshedpur in Jharkhand. Hence our wide format printing service becomes logistically economical and time saving for various clients having interest in this market.

b)   Large format digital and screen printing set up: We are one of those rare companies having such wide format Screen Digital printing.

c)    Wide range of rigid substrates offered: Earlier, some of our customers in Eastern Region used to get sunboard/sunpac prints from Bangalore. Now everything is available under one umbrella, any rigid substrates.

d)   Focus on customer service: We give equal priority to quality, quantity, delivery and customer service. We have a corporate communication department to handle external communication (a rare in printing sector) so that customers have a one touch contact point.

e)    Use of UV inks: We do not solvent inks. I came to know that many graphics printers use solvent inks which may take longer time than us!

Your views about UV technology:

We use only UV inks sourced from leading manufacturer. Because using solvent inks in screen printing is very tedious, hazardous. Since we have volume jobs that too in wide format, racking would be extremely difficult. With UV, there is faster job turnaround. Moreover it’s cleaner, and there is no screen choke up.

Being a new company how is your progress so far?

We are on the fast track. Our first customer – PepsiCo India, was our stepping stone for success from whom we got bulk orders to start the ball rolling. We cater to their Bihar and Jharkhand markets, besides supplying directly to Delhi. Moreover, we are an exclusive vendor for Pepsi’s IPL promotional activities, whenever matches are held in Ranchi in Jharkhand.

With this initial big customer reference we could acquire many telecom. Besides we also cater to DTH dish TV companies. Moreover, we have also gained the confidence of many cement companies, and consumer electronics companies, such as LG, Samsung, etc.

Secret of your success:

Our success is due to our core values and corporate culture. We want to be / and we are a trusted turnkey print solution provider in our segment of printing. We have a well coordinated team carrying out various tasks. Otherwise, imagine a new company headed by a new entrepreneur, investing Rs.5 to 6 crore in wide-format digital and screen printing business?

Yes, there would have been lot of stress, but for the big order from PepsiCo India, we could take off with a big bang. Later order started flowing and clientele added one by one from telecom, consumer electronics, cement and other sectors. In very first 3 months we got business of Rs 80-90 lakhs.

What’s your corporate culture?

From beginning itself we wanted to be well organized print solution provider. We made teams, recruited experienced personnel in all departments who know their job and printing industry. We have a HR policy in place with professional approach by following labour laws and provide all benefits such as PF, Gratuity, Bonus, leaves, medical benefits, etc, thus making our company attractive place to work, although we are a new company. We also reward our staff. For eg after successful execution of IPL project for PepsiCo India campaign in Ranchi, we got free passes for our staff, most of them never watched cricket from the stadium.

Future Plans:

We have projected to register a turnover of Rs 10 crore (Rsm100 million) in FY 2015-16, from our digital and screen printing business, under two separate companies. We are also in the process of building 3rd unit. Currently we have about 75 people on our payroll and it will go upto to 125 in next financial year.

By the way, what tilted your decision in favour of Grafica?

Being an engineer I know that anyone can make a machine but domain knowledge is important. Grafica is a knowledge based company which was evident from their DMI institute. Moreover, I also heard lot about their director, Bhargav Mistry, an expert in screen printing education. Grafica team assured me not only quality machines but also excellent technical support.

Also, since I was new to screen printing that too with no family background in printing business, I realized that I should choose a technology supplier who offers technical support on an ongoing basis besides prompt after sales service.  So, many factors tilted our investment decision in favour of Grafica although I had the options of choosing costly imported machines or other less-priced Indian brands. Due to price issue (Grafica being on higher side as compared to other Indian brands), I was about to make my investment decision in favour of another Indian company, because for a start company like ours, besides of quality and performance of machines, ‘price’ was also mattered.

About Kumar adMedia Pvt Ltd:

Established in 2013, Kumar adMedia engaged in digital, flex, vinyl printing, fabrication and installation on site. The company has invested in two wide format digital presses (one of the best global brands). Besides own installation team, they have a well networked external teams to carry out site erection of outdoor/indoor advertising display boards, hoardings in Eastern India, Jharkand, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa ...

Which has a unit spread over 3000 sq/ft x 2 (ground and first floor) = 6000 sq/ft office, housing wide format digital printing, fabrication, design team, and office.

With two digital machines they roll out 1620 sq/ft prints per hour (wide format) and 300 sq/ft prints per hour.

Kumar Print Pack Pvt Ltd:

On the other hand, set up in 2014, Kumar Print Pack undertakes wide format graphics screen printing upto 6 x 8 ft. Their print facility has 5000 sqft covered area and 4000 sq/ft open area. They supply advertising display boards, signage, instore/outstore boards, screen printed on tin boards, sunpac, suboard, acrylic, ABS, HDPE, vinyl, and other substrates.

The Group is a wide format turkey print solution provider with inhouse fabrication facilities and onsite installation team to meet indoor/outdoor advertising needs of telecom, FMCG, consumer electronics, cement and other corporate. Digital outputs are available on different media like Vinyl, Flex, SAV, Backlit, Reflective media, Mesh, One way vision film and Canvas.

Product and service portfolio: Flex For Hoarding & Signage, Non Lit Flex-Board, Non Lit Flex- Banner, Non Lit Dealer Board, Glow Sign Board, Back Lit Flex, Back Lit Flex Change, Sav Vinyl/Digital Vinyl, One Way Vinyl, Clear Vinyl, Static Window Vinyl, Translite Vinyl, Shop Arch Gate, Sunboard Vinyl Standy, Non Lit Flex Standy, Sounbard Flange, Flex Flange, Banner Hanging, Wall Painting, Hoarding / Mounting, Acrylic Sheet, Sunpack Sheet, Sunpack Box, Popline Cloth Banner, Cloth Bunting, Foam Banner, Foam Bunting, Demotent [Canopy], Garden Umbrella, Stand For Umbrella, Stand For Standy, Stand For Canopy, Back To Back,Back Lit Flex, Wall Graphics, Floor Graphics, Lift Graphics, Vehicle Wraps … many more.

Prantik Kumar - Personal note:

Prantik Kumar (24) is talented in multi sports. He used to play billiards/snooker, table tennis, and cricket. “I was a champion in Jamshedpur Club level matches. I love Music, movie. I am fond of going to parties, related to industry and friends circle. As a global networking (social media) professional, I have friends all over the world acquired during studies in UK. It helps in building your business. Personally speaking, as a matter of building customer relationship management, I also make courtesy visit to our customers on regular intervals.