Roy Alex RIP

Roy Alex of Newstech passed away on 26 January, 2022 after a short illness. Among the industry circles, he was known as a large hearted man who lived kingsize and revelled in the small pleasures of life. His company provided technologies and services to cover 70% of production tools for newspapers. His mantra for newspaper factories was: "But a lot more should be done."

28 Jan 2022 | By Charmiane Alexander

Roy Alex of Newstech

Kiran Prayagi, technologist and print guru said, "Roy Alex was one of the most enterprising students from the Government Institute of Printing Technology (GIPT), Mumbai. He was eleven years my junior but had an uncanny business nose for all things print." After passing out from GIPT, Roy Alex worked for TechNova (till the mid-eighties) and then set up his own business as a supplier to the printing industry, especially the newspaper segment. His flagship company was Newstech (India). Later Roy Alex established two more companies engaged in the similar business and its manufacturing activities.

Prayagi added, "Roy always seemed to have the right products at the right time as the industry was evolving since the 1980s. That was the period, the Indian newspaper industry was switching over to litho-offset from letterpress and also opening satellite units for local distributions. Roy made an entry with Chemco facsimile transmission systems that was economical and the need of the hour to print newspapers from multiple locations."

Newstech, the Mumbai-based provider of newspaper technology solutions, launched the NTPJ 100 supplement/insert jogger and the NTCS-205 cross strapper for newspaper bundles in 2014. When PrintWeek met Alex at the Wan-Ifra show (he was a permanent fixture at the show), he had said, "the growth is steady but slow. We have sold some equipment but it definitely could do better."

In 2003, his company entered into a joint venture with IdabWamac, Sweden, for the manufacture of entry-level mailroom systems in India. After the JV agreement ended in 2011, Newstech continued to manufacture and market entry-level mailroom systems under the brand name Newstech in the Wada factory. In 2004, it entered into a JV with IST Metz Technologies, Germany, for the manufacture of automated ink pumping systems in India at its Sapne facility. This JV ended in 2012. Later Newstech manufactured its own ink pumping system.

Nitin Ahuja, proprietor of And Systems said, "Roy Alex is no more, but he will always be remembered as a strong personality which was reflected in his style of business." Ahuja added, "We can say, Roy Alex was the force behind revolutionising the Indian newspaper mailroom section."

The PrintWeek team was present during the installation of a gripper conveyor and inserters Schur and stack/pack-line from Newstech at Malayala Manorama. Malayala Manorama: Be it, Kottayam (Mangalam and Manorama) or Jaipur (DB Corp), or Nagpur (TOI) or Madurai (Dinamalar); or Pune (Lokmat) or Guwahati (Assam Tribune); or Dimapur (Nagaland Post); or Ranchi (Prabhat Khabar) or Jabalpur (Bhaskar Prakashan); his "larger than life presence will be missed."

Last encounter with Roy Alex

PrintWeek: Roy Alex, you have installed more than 100 systems from the Turbhe unit since 2003 to companies like Anandabazar Patrika, Times of India, Malayala Manorama, Deccan Herald, Mathrubhumi, Assam Tribune, Nagaland Post, etc. Some of these sites have a capacity utilisation rate from 90 percent to as low as 25%. How can we standardise our plant and machinery utilisation rate, better?

Roy Alex: There is still a long way to go for a bulk of the Indian newspapers in terms of automation of the ‘process’, though this is surely happening. Standardisation is required, but this is how the stakeholders put a ‘value’ to this concept. The leading newspapers have already done this, with many of them having ISO certifications and the latest and best processes! But a lot more should be done.

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