“Canon believes in offering top-of-the-line products to face newer challenges”

says Dr Alok Bharadwaj, senior vice president, Canon India on the sidelines of drupa, in conversation with P&P editor SK Khurana.

To address the need for bigger size format machines, Canon recently introduced digital printing machine (prototype) from Océ stable (InfiniStream technology) and another A0 model ‘Velocity’ is also ready to capture the new diversified markets. The company is still trying to get feedback for the Velocity machine from the customers and as such, is yet to announce its price structure, etc.

The move of Canon has been strategic; “We wish to take more share of the Digital pie – out of the market of offset. The new models introduced by us thus can handle wider media and offer post press capabilities, besides giving the obvious advantages of speed and quality,” said Dr Alok Bharadwaj. The Océ InfiniStream technology utilizes liquid toner process that has highly mobile and uniform colorants. This enables the laying down of a very thin ink layer far low ink consumption and cost effectiveness. “The goal is to achieve the same ink layer thickness as offset. Besides, the Océ InfiniStream technology utilizes roll-fed media and is capable of producing up to 14,000 B2 sheets or 7,200 B1 sheets per hour. It supports flexible formats of up to 70 x 100 cm (B1) with variable image lengths at 28 inch web width. The maximum thickness of the media that is supported is 600 microns,” he elaborated.

While, the main benefit of the newly introduced Océ JetStream 4300 is its speed and productivity which makes it commercially very attractive to move short and medium run length books and newspapers production from offset to digital printing. “The first Océ JetStream 1400 web (Inkjet continuous feed) press has been installed at Friends Color Images at Manesar, near Gurgaon (NCR),” told Dr Alok. “Moreover, we are working towards making cost per copy further economical by working with paper manufacturers to develop chearper media options for digital web presses. Infact, offset printers are now moving towards digital, which is fully capable to add value to normal print. It is imperative that we work closely with customers to get valuable feedback and improve our products further. We focus on connecting with them so as to serve better,” he informed.

On asking about the possibility of Canon launching a digital machine in the entry-level segment, Dr Alok replied that they are still thinking but whenever they come up with such machine, it would still be the most precise product for that particular segment.

Talking about the trends going ahead in India with the installations of high-end digital presses, Dr Alok mentioned that they have multiple installations with individual top-end customers and inspite of attractive offers by competitive players, they still wish to stick to Canon brand. Adding onto it, Puneet Datta, assistant director, Production Printing Division, Canon India commended, “Delhi-based Avantika Printers Pvt Ltd which has always ordered the first machine in Colour and Mono range from Canon coupled with major exhibitions has also utilized this drupa and placed order for their fourth printer Canon ImagePress 7010 VP meant for their new unit in Jasola, a fast growing commercial area in South Delhi.”

Dr Alok also mentioned about the Océ ColorStream 3700 and 3900, recently added to the ColorStream 3000 series. Both systems offer a unique combination of quality and productivity, able to produce 1200 dpi perceived image quality at 100 mpm (1350 A4 / 1432 letter). On top of this unique combination the Océ ColorStream 3900 adds the speed level of 127 meters per minute with excellent quality based on 600x480 dpi with multilevel dot modulation for peak monthly productivity. The Océ ColorStream 3900 closes the productivity gap to competition in the ColorStream family and offers a competitive edge through its efficiency, flexibility and reliability.

Discussing about the current challenges, Dr Alok shared, “There are primarily two challenges – new developments in this field and people going tech-savvy, specifically towards electronic content. But digital is still the buzzword, adding new applications to the same,” he added further, “However bigger issue is the price – with the dollar going up, due to which the price of machines, consumables and spare parts getting affected. The overall slowdown and lower demand, thereby volumes coming down aggravating the situation further.”

On asking about the possibility of integrating electronic content into digital fold, Dr Alok replied that cross-media is the need of the day with personalization and CRM (customer relations management) being the key to successful business. “In India, the personalization applications could be much higher as there is a possibility of big demand for individual packaging for luxury brands and their marketing,” he shared. As far as CRM is concerned, Canon regularly organizes PPP (Professional Print Partners) meet every two years, the more recent one was a two-day affair in Goa. It becomes a win-win situation for both and the topics of discussion include like ‘How SME printers can become big brands’ rather than talking on just machines, etc.

Despite the ongoing challenges, Canon India’s Production Printing Division has been expecting a growth of 50 percent over the last financial year 2011, wherein they recorded a turnover of INR 48 crore. Even the recently introduced Landa Nanographic Printing Technology may not deter their spirits; “We are very positive about the upcoming Océ based Canon inkjet presses, which would be another trend-setting product from Canon, apart from our positive strength being offered in the form of consulting and other services. Although, yet to come to the market, these machines promise to be serious contenders in the high quality digital market in terms of speed, quality and the variety of substrates these will be able to handle,” concluded Dr Alok.

Group Publications