‘First National Book Printers Conference’

Masters of book printers gather
at Thiruvananthapuram (South India)

-Idea of ‘Book City’ mooted
Amongst over 300+ delegates hailing from book printing and publishing segment pertaining to all parts of India, the first National Book Printers Conference was successfully held during November 17-18, 2011, involving many experts sharing their knowledge and experiences. It was a pleasure to see a mammoth rally of serious professionals engaged in book production marching forward to achieve single target - ‘To become the largest book print exporting country by 2017.’ A report. Initiated and organised by Welbound Worldwide, with active co-operation of a monthly trade magazine and other sponsors, National Book Printers Conference (NBPC) was successful in terms of top-of-the-line participation by the people who matter in book production. A few publishers also participated in the event to know not just about the ‘quality’ binding, but also to have one-to-one interaction with their existing and prospective printers. Speakers to the conference came from reputed companies relating to adhesive, hardware producers, and post press equipment manufacturers apart from panel discussions involving successful and well placed book printers. The event was strictly designed in a way that the participation was restricted and limited to the specific invitees only.

Though there were number of topics discussed during this two days conference, the focus was also on ‘How to compete China?’ It is obviously the ‘topic of the day’ for any industry and book printing industry is no exception. In this regard, many speakers, panelists, delegates had lot of discussion and the common findings included: lack of print and binding capacities; limited availability of printing papers with unreliable pricing structure and poor infrastructure to tackle exports consignment/shipments.

The keynote address was delivered by Werner Rebsamen, professor, Emeritus RIT, who gave an interesting presentation on ‘Conventional & Digital Print Book Manufacturing,’ highlighting conventional book manufacturing, trends in digital print, ebooks, textbooks, international competition and opportunities for India.

While, Anil Krishna of Henkel India, a well-known name in adhesive technologies, talked on how to reduce your costs of book production - elimination of rejections, savings in operational costs, etc. Expectation of European print buyers was the topic of discussion by Dr Michael Euler, Wohlenberg, a popular brand of guillotines and cutting systems.

Another interesting topic of discussion was Paper Handling systems by Sven Schubert of Baumann, Wohlenberg group, who gave tips on how to increase efficiency, reduce costs and have happy employees. While, Peter Gyger, Robatech AG discussed PUR - the preferred technology in Europe and Ajay Bhatia of Kodak India focused on Digital book production and solutions.

Other general issues discussed were: international competition, ebook threat, warehousing needs, increasing input costs while the technical issues pertaining to binding included newer version of PUR binding, folding perfection, grain direction and IT initiatives within book printing segment.

A white paper was also released, which focused on creating awareness of the potential and the obstacles for making India the number one book print exporter, and trigger an industry-wide initiative to formulate and execute an effective mission-critical roadmap validating it with relevant ground-level data: trend analysis; key success factors based on marketing and sales elements and drivers; competitive benchmarking; cost-elements; infrastructure elements; etc.

Wohlenberg lends an helping hand
to Indian book printers via Welbound

Every Indian book printer has a reason to celebrate as one of the reputed European manufacturers dealing in book binding equipments is venturing into Indian market. Though Wohlenberg’s equipments, including perfect binders and cutting systems, have already been available in Indian market under distribution pattern, the new initiative involving Welbound - a leading supplier of book binding equipments from India, shall be a welcome move and may go a long way in changing the face of book printers community in India. During the recently concluded first National Book Printers Conference (NBPC) in Thiruvananthapuram, Print & Publishing interacted with team Wohlenberg, whose top officials were present to interact with participating delegates, understand their requirements and ultimately appraise them the appropriate solutions available with them. A brief note. Many of our readers would know already that a brand ‘Perfecta’ – high end cutting systems from Europe, is also part of Wohlenberg but being marketed through different channels. Wohlenberg has a long history, while in the year 1872 started as a machine tool company and entering into producing high-end cutters and three-knife trimmers during 1955. Cutting, a specialised operation has always been a demanding operation and manufacturers all over the world have been attempting to offer the latest through ongoing research and development. Same has been the case with Wohlenberg and from time to time new models with additional features targeting specific markets, applications etc have been introduced.

And after having understood the requirement of mid-segment Indian book printers, Wohlenberg designed an affordable perfect binder. This new equipment was planned to be displayed during the conference in Thiruvananthapuram, but unfortunately could not reach during NBPC due to unavoidable limitations. As per Dr Michael Euler of Wohlenberg, that was the only setback for them, otherwise they were able to have real good discussions with delegates at NBPC. They had a feeling that people are interested to upgrade their book binding facilities and meet the international standards. “Wohlenberg, on other hand, also would consider to offer training facilities to the ‘operators’ community and share knowledge with them. The possibility of opening an institute may also be worked out,” informed Dr Michael Euler.

As everybody is looking towards India, Wohlenberg too, was interested to enhance their presence in Indian market and there was no other better way to partner with ‘Welbound’ – which has a big name in India. So what precise the arrangement have been worked out with them? Will there be a joint manufacturing venture; or another distribution platform? “Well everything is open as of now since we have understood Welbound, not the country as such, shall make a beginning and look for the opportunities coming their way from time to time. We have met Welbound people just a year ago, understood the Indian market from them in respect of price limitations, features of the equipments anticipated like speed etc and genuinely felt interested,” conveyed Christian Baumann from Heinrich Baumann.

Technology co-operation and the distributing partner in India on ‘non-exclusive basis,’ imparting training to Welbound’s sales and service staff, shall be the thrust areas to start with added Sven Schubert. Will Wohlenberg help Welbound to market their products internationally as well? “Yes we will, but with tremendous improvements to be carried out in their equipments to meet the exact requirements of international community,” concluded Volkmar Assmann from Baumann Maschinenbau Solms.

Robatech: increasing interests in India

-educating printers and publishers towards gluing technologies

In today’s scenario, perfect binding’s success depends not only on the quality and type of glue, but majorly on retaining the glue’s salient features while it is melted on specific temperature and then controlling its right quantity suiting to particular substrate and the end use of the product. For these variants, and to tackle down these, Switzerland-based organisation Robatech offers the right solutions as a co-operative partner with Welbound. During the National Book Printers Conference in Thiruvananthapuram, Peter Gyger, director-market-strategy and structure along with Kishor Butani, CEO & MD, Robatech India briefly interacted with Print & Publishing over various issues lying underneath.

Established in the year 1975, Robatech is relatively not that old company entering to gluing technology. Interestingly none of their products are supplied to end users rather they work as ‘OEMs’ to manufacturers dealing in one or the other way with gluing applications. For example Muller Martini too uses their technology wherever needed. Though, the presence of Robatech in India goes back in the year 2006, their offerings to print and graphic arts industry initiated just early this year while they were seen alongwith Welbound pavilion in Printpack India 2011 in New Delhi. Italy based FIDEA – producers of specialized equipments also use Robatech gluing technology for tipping purposes. Some of such systems supplied by them are installed with Manipal and Thomson Press, etc.

To understand their precise area of operations will include the handling of glue applications in five steps viz: automatic feeding of glue; melting; pumping and dosing; controlling application and inspection/verification. Driven/integrated by software and hardware, Robatech has all skill and expertise to achieve the desired level of accuracy in achieving the results in the manner so required.

Having already acquired hundreds of patents by Robatech, the newer one includes ‘Melt on Demand’ concept which meets the challenge of unplanned stopping of machines. In this patented technology heating and chilling operations shall be controlled in one go. And now with the preferred alternative choice of PUR, Robatech has also come out with competent solution by developing the right hardware supported by appropriate software. Though the cost implications become almost 100 percent extra, but the durability factor in the finished product brings excellent upgradation. Robatech, introducing ‘SLOT DIE’ technology, eliminating everyday roller cleaning, brings saving of atleast 500 gm of glue which otherwise is wasted out. Additional feature which ‘SLOT DIE’ offers is controlling the quantum of glue as per actual requirements. It is important to mention that the cost of PUR adhesive is significantly high as compared to hot melt.

And then what to see next from Robatech coming as new is the ‘Speed Star’ in upcoming drupa 2012, the ‘GLUE DOT’ hot applications, producing 800 such dots per second with newly designed ‘heads’ offering life time working warranty.

Peter, while concluding his version, conveys that, he came to Thiruvananthapuram to meet top printers engaged in book production and was able to educate them towards PUR technology satisfactorily. He appreciated the curiosity level of the participating printers and publishers towards this.

KC Sanjeev: contributing quietly

It is said ‘behind every successful man there is always a woman or vice versa (now-a-days). And here behind the success of Welbound Worldwide (marketing team), there is KC Sanjeev, with ever smiling face, who can also be seen quietly present in almost all print shows, participated by Welbound in India or abroad. P&P interacted briefly with him on the sidelines of their plant (during National Book Printers Conference) visit in Thiruvananthapuram. The success of Welbound over the years is well known in post press segment by one and all. Quality standards, state-of-the-art equipments, efficient after sales service with a smile, friendly advice are the few USPs of Welbound and their channel partners spread all over. “With team strength of over 600 individuals, Welbound commands much younger faces with the average age of 35 years,” conveys Sanjeev. Ready to celebrate their 25th anniversary next year, Sanjeev says that in their facility from the very beginning full liberty is given to staff to execute all operations independently. Plant manager, having total delegation enjoys freedom to run the day-to-day operations, but need to meet the targets so set in terms of producing machines. Towards this all necessary systems have been evolved and everyone is expected to adhere to those. As per Sanjeev, the promotion of deserving workers/staff is also a regular feature for those who are showing extraordinary results, better team work etc. All staff members work very cohesively in a sort of family atmosphere.

Talking further Sanjeev adds, “We do not produce machines based on the pattern of incoming ‘orders.’ Rather based on their sales team’s predictions for one year, the plant management takes up those numbers and production is planned quarter-wise irrespective of day-to-day orders pouring in. This methodology has worked very well and we could maintain the quality more efficiently as ‘batch-wise production/assembly’ has become feasible providing us many advantages including delivery flexibility. The current state of monthly production comprises of 20-25 machines of single clamp; 10-12 six-clamps; 3-4 three-knife trimmers; 5-6 folding machines and 1-2 gatherers. However, all the despatches etc, based on priorities, are managed by our marketing office in Mumbai.”

Speaking about the new product development, Sanjeev did inform that a move towards ‘on-line’ binding has been there for quite sometimes and their new saddle stitcher with trimmer will go for production soon. Then seven-clamp PUR fully automatic perfect binding machine is under the covers which will also take-care all European compliances so as to target international market. Last but not the least single clamp ‘ULTRA BLUE’ perfect binding machine with automatic cover feeder is also ready which was on display in fully working mode suiting today’s digital print market providing short run jobs alongwith host of all other offerings.

Concluding his interaction, Sanjeev says that steps like quality in design and manufacturing; assembly precisions; strict inspection and rigid tests/trials of all equipments before despatch is a regular feature at their facilities with no COMPROMISE.

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