Manroland sheetfed creates independent identity in the Indian market

From printing on paper to board and then to plastics…manroland sheetfed machines have grown tremendously. The company has literally emerged again from the shackles and is now treading cautiously but firmly. More recently, the company has initiated with new company – mr sheetfed India Pvt Ltd in New Delhi. Here, P&P editors SK Khurana and Varsha Verma met the top brass at the company to know more about their plans for the Indian market. Excerpts. Offset technology is still one of the cheapest modes of printing for mass industrial products. With a growing population in India and more spending power, the use of offset in packaging and commercial print is growing, shared Rafael Penuela Torres, CEO, manroland sheetfed GmbH, who was recently in India to meet their customers, soon after manroland sheetfed opened up independent office in India. Talking about the separate web and sheetfed companies, Rafael told, “The manroland web systems GmbH is our agent in many countries while in few countries manroland sheetfed GmbH is representing them. We also offer manufacturing parts to web systems, mainly foundry.”

On asking about the recently opened manroland sheetfed company in India, he shared, “We want to be directly involved in the country. We wish to be known as the manufacturing guy that adds value to the customers.” Their business was earlier handled by manroland web systems in India.

Global scenario…then and now…

“Until 2007-08, two-thirds of our machines were sold to European countries and US, Japan and Australia while one-third of the machines were sold to emerging markets in countries like China, South East Asian countries and India. Today, two-thirds is dedicated to the emerging countries while onethird to industrialised countries. But, there is a challenge to cater to this market as small and medium enterprises in countries like India prefer less automation though they do not want to compromise on quality,” told Rafael. But, even this is changing…countries like China now want similar automated presses as are sold in Europe as the market is global and they wish to be competitive. “Besides, large packaging printers in India, China, France or any other country, need to print the same quality, which can be achieved only through dedicated hi-tech presses,” he added. “Even smaller printers in China now opt for 4-5 colour machines, with coater facility. Very few customers now opt for 2-colour machines.”

Particularly talking about the Indian market, Rafael said, “India is in a good shape. With a favourable and stable Indian government in place and technology growing fast, there is a good atmosphere everywhere.”

On the other hand, Europe is still suffering from recession. The printing industry in Europe is not on an upward curve and people are not willing to invest in newer technology. This is because printers already have overcapacity though packaging is stable in Europe.

Manroland…then and now…

An interesting fact which Rafael shared was that in 2007, the manufacturing capacity at manroland was 3,000 units per year. “We could achieve a target of 2,500 in the year 2007 but the next two years saw a manufacturing of 1,100 units only. So, in 2011, we concentrated on our manufacturing and produced 1,500 units, which was further reduced to 500 in last two years. But, our efforts and sustainability have paid off and we are on a profitable curve,” shared Rafael.

Installation base in India…

According to Neeraj Dargan, newly appointed managing director, mr sheetfed India Pvt Ltd, there are 500 installed units of new generation presses like Roland 200/300/500/700 and 900 series. “Here, we are not taking coater units into account,” he added.

On asking the ratio of machines being used for packaging and commercial/other printing, Neeraj opined that Roland 700 is mostly used for packaging while smaller machines like Roland 200/300 are used for commercial/ other printing and the ratio would be 70:30.” Rafael Penuela Torres and Neeraj Dargan.

Largest press…

Rafael particularly mentioned the ROLAND 900 XXL, which has the ability to print 64 A4 pages in one pass and with four formats (7, 7B, 7B Plus, 8). “This is best suited for packaging and publishing and we have sold three machines so far,” he added. With the optional ROLAND InlineColorPilot, the ROLAND 900 XXL is the only sheetfed press with a fully automatic system to ensure consistent colour.

Productivity can be further enhanced by integrating the optional ROLAND InlineSlitter, ROLAND InlineCoater, or double coating modules. In addition, optional automated plate change (APL) technology reduces the operators’ workload, speeds up job change over and increases productivity when compared to a standard large format perfecting press.

New machine on the anvil…

Soon, a set of new machines are likely to be launched which will be of interesting configurations and at competitive pricing. for a printing machine

Perhaps the most expensive part of the machine is downtime, opined Rafael, who said that they are trying to educate customers on how to avoid downtime. “We wish them to take preventive measures. We will educate them on the parts that would need to be replaced to avoid downtime,” he explained. “We have a team of 10 technicians in India. In next six/eight months, we wish to increase the number to 12-15, who will be stationed in Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi. Also, we are aware that operators change at the printers, so, we have appointed two print technologists, who train operators regularly. We also recommend standards of consumables to be used on machines for optimum results,” told Neeraj as a matter of fact.

Spares and supplies

On asking about the spares availability, Neeraj replied that they have a regular stock of critical parts which are commonly required. “Else, it takes three/four days for the part to reach from Germany to India. And, it is heartening to note that unplanned downtime is getting lesser,” he added.

What next?

“We have our feet firmly on ground and we have no unrealistic targets for the coming year. We do not expect any global growth and we are focusing on efficiency and productivity. The year 2012-13 was a profitable year for us and we expect another profitable year,” told Rafael optimistically.

As a message to Indian print fraternity, Rafael shared, “We are here and have not disappeared against all odds. Our interest is to be here as a manufacturer in this market and focus on our customers.”

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