How Oruma added value to books with Bindwel

Oruma has carved a niche in printing excellence. Today, the Thrissur-based firm offers web offset printing, multicolour offset printing, digital printing and graphic designing. But with prudent investment in post-press backed by a support team, they have created a new category in bookbinding. Charmiane Alexander writes about the book journey at Oruma with Impel-Bindwel.

19 Jan 2023 | By Charmiane Alexander

CK Shouckathali - Perfect or adhesive bound books are lightweight, easy to hold and read and durable

Oruma has a capacity to produce 25,000 books in a 12 hour shift. One reason the Thrissur-based Oruma Printers & Publishers could do this was because it had installed a WB@2500 T perfect binder with Trimmer connectivity plus a 12 station offline gatherer. That’s how the pioneer in newspaper and magazine printing has made a big statement with books.

CK Shouckathali, the general manager at Oruma Printers says, “We have one of the best book printing capacities in Kerala, thanks to a fleet of web offset machines. We wanted our bindery to be efficient in terms of turnaround times and speed; we also do not want even one book to be wasted.” 

The Oruma team had evaluated all types of perfect binders available in India, including imported kit plus made in India. They visited trade shows, as well as demonstrations at customer’s places, factory visits. No stone was left unturned. It was at PrintPack 2022 that the Oruma team zeroed in on the supplier and products. Shouckathali  says, “Impel-Bindwel group had demonstrated an inline binder called Bindline that fit a relatively small space and was producing books with high quality. They demonstrated machines that produce 500 books per hour to 5,000 books per hour, and with runs starting from as small as one book.? Shouckathali adds, “The promoters and key employees are from Kerala and they spoke our language of books.” The team visited the Impel-Bindwel factory in Bengaluru and finalised a WB@2500 T model binder and Signa Gatherer with 12 stations. 

When PrintWeek asked in what way has WB@2500 T enhanced the book quality at Oruma, Shouckathali says, “This model, first of its kind, a medium-size binder that could run offline or be connected to an in-line trimmer.” He adds, “We know that books will finally be produced inline. It was a great benefit that there is this affordable solution that can be expanded in the future.” 

When asked about the binders in the market with different attributes, we asked CK Shouckathali to compare the efficiency of WB@2500 T with the other kits? Shouckathali says, “The WB@2500 T makes medium speed adhesive binding very easy and efficient.. He points out, “It eliminates the need for an operator to sit near the chute type delivery station and catch a book. Having seen automation in the newspaper industry, I wondered why this is not addressed. Operators, having experienced other binders will find the WB@2500T much easier to operate, will not have any fatigue and find the machine very safe.” 

Oruma is the only book printer in Kerala with automatic bookbinding machines like Signa Gatherer and WB@2500 T

How to achieve excellence in bookbinding
Oruma’s experience with the 12-station gatherer Signa 4 K, from Bindwel is equally positive. Shouckathali says, “Based on our book philosophy, as a progressive business group we want lowest fatigue at work.” In this sense, Shouckathali adds, “The Signa 4K is efficient, giving us 4000 gathered books per hour . Also it is very easy to set plus change-over.”

Today, Oruma is the only book printer in Kerala with automatic bookbinding machines like Signa gatherer and WB@2500 T. Shouckathali says, “We can turn around faster. Also we can bind them better than of the other leading players in this field.”

We requested Shouckathali says to compare his day to day running costs with a 12-station gatherer Signa 4 K, from Bindwel versus a traditional system. He says, “In the long run, the gatherer gives a very good return on investment. And compared to manual gathering, this is error-free and has no operational fatigue for people. So it helps our employees and customers.” 

Shouckathali says, “We are new into bookbinding and used to outsource our requirements. After getting these machines, they were given an implant training by the Bindwel team not only on the machines but on the process of bookbinding too. Today, the bookbinding unit has a capacity to produce 25,000 books in a 12-hour shift. This is of utmost importance since bookbinding is seasonal and peaks around the openings of schools. As Shouckathali says, “If the machines run 12 hours for five months, then you reach your break-even, pretty quickly.” 

Not always a book specialist
Interestingly enough, in 2007, on the eve of a new year, Oruma Printers & Publishers was registered as a limited company with KK Mammunni as its managing director. Over the years with a full serviced printing press, Oruma established themselves as a pioneer in newspaper and magazine printing. The venture began with just one daily, Madhyamam, as its client. But with quality printing, the good word spread around and the company got associated with a raft of newspapers.

Oruma, which means "Unity" in Malayalam, with a staff strength of 70 dedicated workers has the power to cater to diverse printing and designing requirements. Oruma believes in constant upgradation, accommodating the latest in printing technology to meet the growing challenges in customer satisfaction. The Oruma team invested in an Orient Super 546mm cut-off web offset press from TPH which could print 16 pages (six in colour and 10 in B&W). Later, in 2015, Oruma added another brand new Orient Super 546mm web offset machine with higher pagination capacity (10 in colour and 10 in B&W) as part of phase II of development.

In 2017, a new sheetfed offset printing unit was opened at Vadanappally, a coastal suburb of Thrissur. Multiple kits were added. Today, other than newspapers, Oruma produces books, magazines, brochures, school text books and guides. The company is a recipient of three awards (gold and silver each in the newspaper category and silver in the menu card category) at the 14th National Award for Excellence in Printing (NAEP) which was hosted in Mumbai in 2020.

Oruma has the capacity to produce 25,000 books in a 12-hour shift

Today books are the cynosure of all eyes. As CK Shouckathali says, It is the finishing that embellishes print. A set of printed and folded signatures do not make a book, unless gathered accurately, bound well and trimmed to size. What I like about bookbinding is the way a printed and folded sheet coming out of a web offset joins its counterparts to turn into a beautiful book. A book that will impart knowledge to the reader. I never used to like it, when all the ops were done manually." The Impel-Bindwel has altered that. 

Impel-Bindwel in Kerala

Kerala has the largest per capita consumption of books among all Indian states. It also has the rare distinction of boasting of more CBSE board schools in comparison to state board schools. This has helped educational publishing - both local and national.

The state has produced iconic authors known for their work in Malayalam and English. Publishers like DC Books, NBS, Mathrubhumi rule the roost in the trade books category; while educational publishing has contributions from many local players in addition to publishers from outside the state. For some publishers in North India, typically for their high education books, Kerala is a booming market.

"We have had many installations of perfect binders in the state, in recent times. These include commercial print establishments like St Joseph's Press in Trivandrum, Deepan Trade Solutions in Trivandrum and Bharatiya Vidya Mandir in Kochi", says Ananthu Krishna, the regional sales manager (South) at Bindwel.

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