Safire: The Sultans of Sivakasi
Since 25 years, Sivakasi-based Safire has been anchoring film poster printing in India. What very few know is how Safire has had an ongoing investment programme in book printing and now packaging.
Ramu Ramanathan goes behind the scene to find out how Safire is constantly upgrading for the future. A photo essay
10 Sep 2014 | By Samir Lukka
Sivakasi's Safire is a 600-staffed firm, which produces posters for 90% of Tamil films; 30% of Telegu / Kannada / Malayalam films.
A Dhanesekaran of Safire sits at the helm of Safire Offset Printers in the heartland of Sivakasi. His press has been a pivot to the Indian film industry since the 1985, and has produced thousands of film posters in a year.
The company has invested in seven Basysprint UV CTP setters.
Dhanasekaran says, “One of the basic considerations to invest in UV CTP is the running cost and therefore ROI. Plus some of these posters don’t need more than 200lpi.”
Safire also consumes more than 2,500 thermal plates for commercial and packaging work.
Dhanasekaran adds: “When we did a survey of the market, we realised, the difference is 30% to 40% lower running cost against thermal. This can accrue significant savings for the small and medium-run film poster jobs."
Safire has a battery of seven new sheetfed presses and eight pre-owned sheetfed presses.
This includes five Mitsubishi Diamond Series four-colour presses and six Heidelbergs.
The tech specs for the Mitsubishi V3000 LS4
Earlier, the cinema poster business was 100% of Safire’s turnover. Now it has declined to 50%. One reason is, the risky nature of the cinema business and the economics therein.
Safire is targeting commercial and packaging printing. Other than FMCG products, Safire prints collaterals for the jewellery industry.
To cater to the jewellery industry, Safire has invested in a brand-new CD 102 Heidelberg and a pre-owned seven-colour Mitsubishi with interdeck during the recession in UK.
The post-press arsenal include brands like Muller Martini and Horizon
It has installed Horizon's BQ 470 four-clamp perfect binder
Muller Martini's Prima saddle stitcher.
Safire has an array of automated binding equipment.
Photograph of a raft of paper folding machines during a change of shift..
Proteck's offline UV kit.
Macrobond's thermal lamination kit ensures spot lamination for invitation cards, catalogues and brochures.
The paper sheeting machine from CHM.
The company has a facility for making ball grained plates. These re-grained plates form the backbone for the low cost work.
Safire's in-house ink kitchen enables a quick colour match.
The inhouse ink-blending unit ensures costs are maintained and quality guaranteed.
Making the process colour: Cyan. A behind-the-scene look.
Making the process colour: Magenta. With the markets expanding, the in-house unit is able to develop new products and services.
The Safire school bus service which serves the poor students in the neighbourhood.
The 600-staffed firm has a mess for workers. This scribe had lunch and dinner in this mess; and the food was delicious and nutritional.
Movies and jewels: with the two Indian obsessions under its belt, Safire’s scope is growing.
Safire: Undoubtedly the best in Sivakasi; as a map of the print and fireworks city shows.