Till date 2500 KM units have installed countrywide
What has been observed by Konica Minolta in the current commercial printing market of India is the increasing print volume. Also, commercial printers are now looking at value additions to print jobs. Kuldeep Malhotra, vice president, sales division, Konica Minolta Business Solutions India Pvt Ltd, talks about the company’s new move in an exclusive chat with Sonal Khurana, managing editor, Print & Publishing.
So far, Konica Minolta has delivered around 2500 units across the country, either through direct channels or indirectly. “Of the approximate total of 2500 machines, 2000 have been delivered directly,” says Kuldeep Malhotra, vice president, sales division, Konica Minolta Business Solutions India Pvt Ltd.
On commercial printing…
Now that the disposition of commercial printing community in India has been changing from being merely jobbers to ones fully conscious about value additions to print finishes, things are moving on a right track of development. In this backdrop, Kuldeep says that the industry people are now looking beyond printing; they are mindful of post-press activities, such as jet varnishing solutions, cutting, binding and others.
“Commercial printers in Tier II & III cities across the country are now rather giving deeper focus on print finishing, such as jet varnish, particularly those engaged in photoalbum production are plunging into innovative finish prints,” says Kuldeep, adding that one of their customers in south India recently invested in the company’s MGI jet varnishing technology. He further mentions that their customer has been doing good job in print enhancement, producing photo albums, invitation cards, among others.
Despite all new developments, there is certain deterrence in the Indian commercial market about the adoption of new technologies. In this respect, Kuldeep shares that the full swing in mass adoption of in-line finishing applications may take another decade or so in the country. The reason, according to him, could be readily available labour forces at affordable rates.
Inculcating their customers into e-commerce activities, Konica Minolta is now gearing up to introduce a web-to-print site, to be driven by the company’s customers. “Introduction of such online platform will help us to bring an easier business network, which is transparent and easy to interact with our customers in connection to product info, purchase, postsale consultation and service,” explains Kuldeeep, adding that this online initiative would be ideally advantageous for customers based in far off geographies.
In publishing domain
Konica Minolta has its stronghold position in the publishing arena too—particularly books. “Over the last few months, let’s say in the last one quarter, we have been growing in the book publishing sector with gradual increase in selling of our monochrome systems to a number of leading book publishers,” mentions Kuldeep, adding that the installation base of the number of the company’s monochrome printers has been growing at 30-40 percent over the last four months.
“It was really tough for us to sell monochrome machines last year; but the market has now opened up for us with demands for our newly introduced bizhub PRO 1100 digital press increasing and some leading publishing houses have already adopted the system,” narrates Kuldeep. This black & white production press is designed with high-speed print/copy output of 100 ppm in 1200 x 1200 dpi, produced with LED technology for smoother halftones.
Arrival of KM-1
Talk of the town is certainly the company’s KM-1, a 29.5-inch sheet-fed UV inkjet press that was Konica Minolta’s show stopper during drupa 2016. “There is a lot happening in the inkjet parameter; we are now fully geared up for the installation of our muchawaited KM-1 press in India. For this, we keep talking to a number of customers who have shown interest in the press,” says Kuldeep, adding that the point is to find the right user of the machine who can run it to the utmost productivity level. He says that they don’t want to present KM-1 as just another volume generating press. KM-1 can handle paper of different thicknesses, ranging from thin to packaging papers, churning without pre-coating, which conventional machines often fail to do. “KM-1 is a B2 plus size press, which requires no pre-coated media—these are two major advantages of this press,” points out Kuldeep.
On a concluding note…
“Giving Shape to Ideas, Konica Minolta always remains committed to helping their customers enhance value in prints, in response to the ever-diversifying commercial print market,” concludes Kuldeep.