From small regional newspapers to bigger ones, this mailroom inserter can adapt itself to maximise efficiency, finds PrintWeek India
A young entrepreneur, Rajiv Gandotra founded the company in 1998 and started manufacturing programmable press mailroom kit. And since then, he claims, Technicon has never been afraid to push the envelope, as far as technology is concerned.
For the past seventeen years, the Indian manufacturer based in Goregaon, Mumbai, has concentrated exclusively on developing and manufacturing automated mailroom equipment – programmable counter stackers, wrappers, strappers, van loading conveyor systems etc.
Technicon has over 400 installations in Indian and abroad to its credit whereby it has executed turnkey projects for Divya Bhaskar and DNA involving automation from folder to truck.
The latest offering from Technicon’s stable came in February 2015 at the PrintPack exhibition in Greater Noida when Gandotra proudly launched the TechInsert 360 mailroom inserter, perhaps the only such machine manufactured by an Indian company.
With TechInsert, Technicon has produced an inserter aimed at newspaper segment – from smaller regional newspaper mailrooms to bigger players, everyone who rely on manual labour for insertion of supplements into the main newspaper can be a beneficiary of this product.
Gandotra observes that supplement inserts are on the rise with almost all Indian newspapers.
“In the last few years newspapers have realised that printing supplements is a very profitable business not only in terms of using them for extra advertisements but also providing localised news for different zones in the same city,” says Gandotra.
“However,” he says, “this job of inserting the supplements into a main copy turns out to be the most painful and labour intensive operation requiring anywhere between 30-120 additional persons. Even with so many people on the job, the delays in dispatches, paper damage and incorrect insertions are rampart with readers complaining about wrong or no supplement too.”
TechInsert addresses these issues. “The simplest explanation is that it will be difficult and expensive to get labour for unskilled jobs at odd hours. As the number of inserts go up the requirement for labour and space will be more. So it is only logical to automate their operations with inserting machine.”
The TechInsert is a 36,000 copies per hour (cph) inserter that can be operated as a standalone machine, as well as a component within a more complicated mailroom operation, according to Gandotra.
We took two years to build it from the ground upwards and launched it in February 2015 to a very optimistic and back thumping response from the industry, recalls Gandotra.
Launched in February, the machine hasn’t yet seen its first installation. This is because the company is still busy with production trials. The unique features, according to Gandotra, are that it can handle up to 15 inserts.
“Technicon India from inception has believed in and worked very hard to offer machines, which once sold, require very little maintenance and repairs,” says Gandotra. “We also have realised very well that the newspaper is a zero tolerance industry. Newspaper printing is like an aircraft that cannot be stopped mid air for repairs. Hence, we use the best of the best. Most mechanical parts are made on precision CNC machines using the best metallurgy. The pneumatics, electrical and electronics are sourced from the best multinational companies. All of these are put together by our highly trained workforce.”
The TechInsert system comprises several components around its central module. The main product or ‘jacket’, which holds the insert, is fed into the system via a main product hopper or the main jacket feeder. Inserts are fed into the supplement feeder. The inserting wheel does the insertion while the outfeed gripper conveyor manages the flow of the inserts. “This ensures robust and reliable operation,” says Gandotra.
The biggest size of product and insert that can be handled is 400x300mm, with the smallest insert down to 125x125mm. Maximum total pagination is 64-page broadsheet and 128-page tabloid. This can be or four- to 64-page broadsheet or eight- to 128-page tabloid for main jacket, plus minimum single-sheet to 64- page broadsheet or 128-page tabloid for inserts. The system can also handle single sheets from 60gsm to 100gsm.
When asked about the ease of use of the machine, Gandotra says, “It is a plug and play machine and requires only unskilled operators. The inserter requires two or three operators for a three supplement production.”
It is equipped with a touch screen, which has a centralised control for the machine’s functioning. This PLC-controlled equipment ensures double copy detection and extraction in jacket feeder, plus missed copy compensation program takes care of the empty feeder when available. In addition, the machine comes with missed or extra copy extraction and complete production history.
Gandotra says, “The inserter is not only a cost saver but can even be a revenue generator, giving the printers the option of printing and inserting different supplements for different zonal advertisements, which they could not do otherwise.”
By this Gandotra highlights the huge parallel industry that the newspapers have not been able to tap till now. This is inserting outsourced pamphlets and fliers into the newspapers. “This, till now, has been the domain of the local vendor with no revenue coming to the newspapers although it is the one which carries the pamphlets,” adds Gandotra.
Due to the nature of the Indian newspaper market, Gandotra expects most Indian sales to come from regional dailies, and has so far identified several sites that he believes would benefit from the TechInsert.
Alternatives to TechInsert are available from Ferag, Schur and Muller Martini, however, according to Gandotra, “Our machine is less than half the price of western manufacturers and we provide after-sales services and parts at very affordable rates.”
According to Gandotra, a product like the automatic inserter has a huge demand potential as majority of newspaper printing presses in India still rely on manual labour for insertion of supplements.
“In India a large number of presses deploy manual labour for supplement insertion. I feel one of the reasons is that there were no cost-effective alternatives available as the only option for newspaper presses was to go for expensive imported mailroom inserters. With the launch of our machine, newspapers now have a cost-effective option available in the Indian market,” concludes Gandotra.
Width: 320-400 mm
Length: 125-300 mm
Width: 125-400 mm