Ten things I would like to tweet about... - The Noel D'cunha Sunday Column

I do not have a twitter handle. But if I did, these were the ten things I would like to tweet about this weekend.

04 Apr 2014 | By Noel D'Cunha

Tweet One
As election fever is on the ante, money is being splurged. Election officials in Mumbai recovered Rs 14.5 lakh from two vehicles in the first seizure of dubious cash in Mumbai. Colleagues mention trucks with cash being transported all over India. One does not know the truth in these stories but the amounts of money is mind boggling.

According to a study, "unaccounted money" may account for over one-third of total Rs 30,000 crore estimated to be spent on the nine-phase Lok Sabha polls which will take place between April 7 to May 12. The estimated Rs 30,000 crore total spending (these are: official estimates for elections as well as unaccounted money spent by parties and their candidates) is the highest ever amount to be invested in Indian election.

This made a printer quip that it is a good time to print "black money".

Tweet Two
Newspapers in India are bullish because of the election-led spending on advertisements, plus good growth from the consumer products segment and support from local ads in smaller cities.

Met a senior honcho on a flight. He was worried if the gains will be sustainable in the fiscal year 2014-15? Consider the DB Corp group, the publisher of the Hindi daily, Dainik Bhaskar. According to media reports, "the earnings growth will slow to 13% year-on-year in 2014-15 from around 39% in the year to March. In the first half of 2013-14, around 2-2.5% of advertising growth came from advertisement spending by political parties and individual candidates."

Tweet Three
My colleague Sachin Shardul and I stumbled upon a rally near Pune where we hosted the Pune roundtable. A speaker from a prominent party was speaking about a typical India problem, that is, having a quarter of the population malnourished. Interestingly enough, food production has doubled in the last 20 years. One of the reasons is, an open-air storage facility for rice is a good example reason of food does not reach the needy, and rots.

What's the answer? Simple machines for filling and sealing and weight filling systems for placing products into pouches, glass, cups and cans.

Tweet Four
Some of the biggest trends in food packaging will be on view at Interpack in Dusseldorf in May. For starts, the packaging megashow will host a two-day Food Congress to explore the aspects and solutions to reduce global food loss and food wastage. Components for processing and packaging staged for the first time in 2014, the event will act as a supplementary exhibition for the companies engaged in drive, control and sensor technology, industrial software etc.

Other highlights at the event include InnovationParc, a platform to present practical approaches from areas such as packaging design, packaging materials etc. and Metal Packaging Plaza, a meeting point for international metal packaging community and its supplier industry.  For information regarding Interpack, contact the Messe Dusseldorf offices in New Delhi and Mumbai. eMail id: dlimak@md-india.com

Tweet Five
The 20th edition of Interpack will be held at Dusseldorf, Germany from 8-15 May 2014. The highlight of the show for the Indian packaging industry will be the Indian pavilion which will be at stall 7A 36 B25 and will feature major Indian exhibitors which include Specialty Polyfilms, Nichrome (India), Pakona Engineers and Indian Institute of Packaging. 70 Indian exhibitors are expected to be present at Interpack. The packaging megashow will be bigger than ever before in its 20th edition with 2,700 exhibitors from 60 countries. To contact the Indian Institute of Packaging, please send an eMail to: iipend@iip-in.com

Tweet Six
Speaking of trade shows. There is also Ashok Neelkanth's show in Chennai from 18 to 20 April, 2014. The show boasts of 175+ exhibitors, who will display their wares across 70,000 sq/ft space at the Chennai Trade Centre, Hall 1 and Hall 2. Printexpo 2014 is co-located with Photo & Imaging Expo 2014 in Hall 2 together with Sign & GraphicsExpo 2014. And according to Neelkanth, it is the first time that all the three events are being co-organised at the same venue.

Tweet Seven
Interestingly enough Ashok Neelkanth is partnering with the Kerala Master Printers Association for Print Miracle Expo 2014. This particular edition was launched last evening, 5 April 2014 at Hotel Renai, Palarivattom, Cochin. We wish the show in God's Own Country "a grand success".

Three years ago, when PrintWeek India visited Kochi, the offset print industry had already emerged. Since 2006, there was a flurry of new and pre-owned multi-colour press installation. Heidelberg presses have found Kerala, Kochi in particular, a happy hunting ground. I was in Kochi last September and according to insiders in Kochi is estimated to be worth Rs 5-crore a month, with the growth rate dropping in recent times from the 25% year-on-year growth witnessed as late as three years ago.

I spoke to a few printers. KJ Thomas of Varna Offset in Kochi, who has installed three new Heidelberg presses since its establishment seven years ago, had this to say. "The reason for the decline in growth is the influx of new machines coming in. This has increased competition. However, though the volume of print has reduced the number of jobs has increased.” 

Digital print has made good progress in Kerala after 2007. HP Indigo opened up the market in 2007. Kochi’s Colortone installed the first HP Indigo 5500 and made a push for improved colour reproduction in its digital printing division. With 15 HP Indigo machines in Kerala, it’s the only state, perhaps with the maximum number of Indigos installed. Xerox is another key player with over 100 installations in Kerala. Konika Minolta is not far behind with 75+ Bizhub presses in Kerala. Ricoh made its foray into Kerala’s digital print arena with first installations of its Ricoh Pro C751 and Pro 901EX at Koral Graphics in Alappuzha district. Since then it has installed few more. There are also two Kodak Nexpress installations.

In the post-press segment, Welbound has been sharing knowledge through its live demos for book printers at the two Open Houses it has hosted last year with Henkel as partner. The objective of these open houses is to review the dynamics of bookbinding and publishing industry. One gets a glimpse of the Welbound factory fully-loaded with CNC part forming machines and assembly lines. The other highlights are a project that Welbound has undertaken with the ISRO for metallurgical development of rockets, visit to a book printing firm, and a dialogue with Henkel.

Tweet Eight.
Meanwhile the Garamond study by 14-year-old Suvir Mirchandani is grabbing eyeballs. The schoolboy in Pittsburgh reckons the US administration could save up to 24% of its printing costs – by deploying a different font for its printed material. Can it be that simple? I did a simple trial. Which is narrwower? Garamond or Times New Roman?

The result: I took a 57-page document in Garamond and changed it to Times New Roman, and it jumped to 61 pages. Having said that one thing master Mirchandani has cracked is: ink costs make up for 60% of the cost of a printed page. Some say, "ounce for ounce, twice as expensive as Chanel No 5".

Tweet Nine
The Planning Commission is also planning paper saving by controlling wastage. Today, 1,500 copies of the commission’s annual report are printed in English and 800 copies in Hindi, with just about 1,000 getting used. The rest go into storage. The 2012-13 report was 200+ pages.

According to a report in a business daily, "The idea is to better utilise the huge space currently occupied by the publishing store at Yojana Bhawan, which houses thousands of copies of 300 titles that no one reads or haven’t been distributed to the concerned departments. These include printed copies of nearly all Plan documents, from the first (1951-56) to the latest (2012-17), mid-term appraisals and various studies over the years."

The commission recently issued a circular asking institutions and libraries if they wanted any of the documents for research purposes. The Planning Commission has received requests from the Don Bosco Institute in Bangalore and the Jaypee Institute of Management for titles.

Tweet Ten
Closing the 72-pager PrintWeek India April issue, with additional 32-page Labels and Packaging Supplement. The issue is dated for 10 April 2014. Click here to book your copy.