Variable Data & Digital printing

Konica Minolta pays attention to value additions and web-to-print service

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…

Kuldeep MalhotraNow 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.

Web-to-print service

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.

New fleet of advanced Xerox systems echo fresh innovations

Today in the post-drupa 2016, Xerox opens up new ways, which they had paved during the world’s largest print expo with the showcase of latest innovations, guiding the print community into fresh business directions. In this respect, Balaji Rajagopalan, executive director-technology, channels & international business, Xerox India Limited, talks about what they subsequently bring new for the Indian market in an exclusive chat with D Ramalingam from Print & Publishing.

Be it in imaging, business process, analytics, automation and more, Xerox is known for engineering the ‘flow of work’ to provide the printing world greater productivity, efficiency and personalisation. “All across the globe, we at Xerox have become a common entity; and we aim at creating evocative innovations that can bring real difference to our partners (clients) and their customers,” says Balaji Rajagopalan. He further mentions that the overall idea is to develop best of services they can provide their partners through mutual relationship. “We act on every aspect from the grass-root level, whether it could be our supply chain or customer care through engineering services,” asserts Balaji, adding that everything at Xerox has dramatically been improving over the years. Xerox India has expanded its channel partners throughout the country.

“We have more than 150 channel partners all over India. As everybody knows our product line is stretched from the smallest MFPs to the mammoth production presses; one can find the prices of our machines ranging from INR 10k to 20 cr; so we say ‘Start with Xerox, Grow with Xerox’—this is the beauty of Xerox!” he says. Offering the choices of its machines, Xerox is now gearing up to expand customer base in the Tier II and III towns across India.

Fresh revelations

Balaji explains at length about how Xerox India has brought a new fleet of technologies, catering new business possibilities and prospects to the country’s commercial printing community. He refers the showcase they had in a recent trade expo held in Chennai, where the company unpacked a spectrum of high-power digital presses designed to offer a new landscape of printing.

The line-up was: Xerox Versant 2100 with an offset-like matte finish; Xerox Color C70 with OHCF and Embedded Fiery; Xerox Versant 80 with Embedded Fiery; Xerox ColorPress 1000i with metallic gold and silver options; and Xerox Wide-Format 6705.

Versant 2100 features new compact belt fuser drives (100 ppm speeds), supporting 52-350 gsm, auto-perfecting all weights. This system also automates colour control, creates image-to-media alignment profiles and delivers brand-managed colour in less time with less waste with an inline, integrated full width array. On other side, according to Balaji, Xerox Color C70 is best of its class print/copy/scan system capable to run at 60/70ppm/A4 colour and 65/75ppm/A4 black & white. And yet another print/copy/ scan system in the line-up, Versant 80 runs at 80 ppm/A4 in ultra HD resolution of 1200 x 1200 x 10-bit RIP rendering and 2400 x 2400 imaging resolution.

Color Press 1000i is engineered to print at 100ppm at rated speeds on all stocks from 55–350 gsm. Capable of front to back registration of +/- 0.5 mm from all trays, multi-pass technology of the machine with clear ink adds an extra dimensional feel to prints. In addition, using ECO Dry Ink technologies, inline cooling and decurler quality of the press produce outstanding stack quality. “Wide Format 6705 is a versatile system, which we present for the first time in the (south Indian) market; this machine is capable to handle long original prints of up to 25m, supporting continuous copy/print of up to 99 sheets,” explains Balaji.

Wider prospects

On the current Indian market, Balaji narrates that a significant growth has been witnessing in the segments like photo printing, book publishing and others. “This further encouraged us to constantly innovate and introduce new technologies,” he remarks, pointing at the growth seen in different regional markets, such as southern region. As on today, south Indian market contributes more than 33 percent to Xerox India’s business.

When asked about inkjet, Balaji mentions that the technology is one of the company’s growing domains in which cut-sheet is yet a focused area. “Our powerful inkjet systems are designed to make the technology more accessible and affordable to printing professionals,” he mentions. In the inkjet lineup, cut-sheet Xerox Brenva HD Production Inkjet Press and continuous feed Xerox Trivor 2400 Inkjet Press deserve special mention. Combining cost effectiveness of inkjet with flexibilities of a cut-sheet platform, Brenva HD opens up new inkjet possibilities into transactional, light direct mail and (book) publishing sectors, while Trivor 2400 is designed for broader application areas such as catalogues, magazines and colour books. Both the inkjet systems pulled crowd at drupa 2016. In the post-event, according to Balaji, Xerox has so far installed around 1000 machines of all models and configurations across the globe.

Print sustainability

About the revolution of digital presses, Balaji is quite positive about it as he says there is nothing such about digital replacing offset in the trend but complementing each other. “Even people these days talk about the shrinking of prints; of course, e-mail and smart-phones might have almost killed the tradition of printed letters. But there is still a positive side in this, involving digital presses. Today, digital presses easily print documents being transferred via online from one region to another, saving huge postal charges,” he explains.

Moreover, digital presses even help newspaper houses in big cities produce multiple short-run morning editions of their dailies simultaneously in cut-off regional locations, saving time, transport charge and cost of production. Perceiving this fact, Balaji articulates that print is no way coming to an end as ‘digital presses’ give print a new vivacity, opening a new horizon of print sustainability ever witnessed in the industry. And Xerox is at the vanguard of this innovation!

Ricoh Pro C7100X & ProC7110X offers versatility and productivity

Want to start on-demand print business, bring printing in-house or offer your customers a wider proposition? RICOH Pro C7100X and Pro C7110X series open up more print opportunities to grow your market share. The RICOH Pro C7100X series serves to be the ideal solutions; offering a wide variety of applications, and further extending offerings with 5th colour opportunities. The new series complement offset printers in terms of image quality and offer high productivity, with the added feature of allowing one to print in clear or white. Value is added, without compromising performances and profits.

The latest VCSEL technology combined with new toner and advanced image control technology ensure offset like quality for professional results, with a best-in-class resolution of 1,200 x 4800 dpi. With versatile paper handling capability, this digital press can support paper weight up to 360gsm and banner sheet printing up to 700mm simplex. Advanced toner transfer enables it to print on textured media and so capture more jobs.

While, the 5th colour station - clear gloss and white toner - provide more value added applications such as spot gloss, flood, and watermarks along with printing on coloured and clear media. Ideal for high-end work and greater impact on a wide range of jobs including annual reports, catalogues, postcards, direct mail, business and invitation cards, posters, packaging and window clings etc.

RICOH Pro C7100X series run at up to 80 pages per minute and Pro C7110X series at up to 90ppm in colour and B/W on thick stock up to 360gsm. An easy-to-access Super VGA operation panel with 10.4-inch colour LCD touch panel allows programme short cuts to be set for frequently used job operations. What’s more? It has a secured tray for valuable papers such as banks and security companies handling checks and securities.

It also has a standard finisher & booklet finisher. You can increase your direct mail output using ring binder, Plockmatic booklet maker and GBC StreamPunch Ultra. An optional Paper Decurl Unit uses two paths to deal with concavity and convexity curls. It prevents the common problem of curling paper in colour especially when printing with high toner coverage, thin paper and paper with long grain.

Brand owners get a peek at HP latest innovations

At Mumbai, HP Inc. India showcased their latest digital printing innovations, highlighting the limitless possibilities for brand owners and marketers across verticals including FMCG, pharma, retail, food and beverage, health and beauty. The event witnessed participation of over 150 brand professionals who experienced solutions from segments such as general commercial printing, design, signages and displays, labels & packaging, publishing amongst others.

HP also showcased various applications including labels and packaging, general commercial printing, backlist, textile prints, point of purchase, corrugated prints, signages etc.

Puneet Chadha, director, Market Development, Graphics Solutions Business, Asia Pacific and Japan, HP Inc. shared insights on the importance of innovation in reaching out to the customers today and how advanced and differentiated printing applications can help brands develop a stronger brand recall with end customers and establish a competitive edge in the market. Discussions on the successful real life digital printing campaigns and implementations by some of the leading brands helped the present audience build awareness and perspective around the path breaking possibilities with digital printing.

“With brand managers trying to break the clutter for increased mindshare for their brands, the market place is getting increasing competitive. Digital printing can open entirely new and unexplored opportunities for brands with respect to customer outreach, contributing significantly to the brand recall,” said Puneet. He also spoke about Dscoop, a community of HP Inc.’s print service providers, helping them take part in education, networking and revenue growth opportunities. Highlighting HP Inc.’s commitment towards its print service providers’ community he said, “We will continue to enable our print service providers with newer innovations in digital printing technology and more meaningful conversations with brands at such forums, hence helping them explore newer markets and generate fresh revenue streams.”

While, A Appadurai, country manager, Indigo and Inkjet Web Press, Graphics Solutions Business, HP Inc. India delivered an interesting presentation around engaging customers through innovations in labels and packaging and how it can significantly contribute towards increasing sales and revenues for the brand.

“Labels and packaging play an instrumental role in a product sale and a good packaging with a thought through campaign can work wonders for any brand. HP Inc. is leading the innovation in packaging and labels and enabling leading brands across the globe to create path breaking success stories. We welcome Indian brands to harness the power of digital printing for reaching out to their customers and ensuring a great overall customer experience.” said Appadurai. The presentations were followed by guided tours to application areas showcased by partnering print service providers. The brand managers engaged in rich and meaningful conversations with some of HP’s leading print service providers to explore digital printing avenues for their brands.

manroland India redefines roles of digital print in book publishing

Organised recently by manroland India in New Delhi, ‘Book Printers and Publishers Conclave 2016’was an eye opener for book publishing companies to harness new business prospects through digital printing. Print & Publishing gets a glimpse of the conclave where a host of book publishers and printers as well as those associated with the industry thronged for fresh discoveries in digital book printing.

Sudeep BhattacharjeeOpening of the conclave was marked with an introductory speech by Sudeep Bhattacharjee, MD, manroland India. “This conclave is our small endeavor to provide book publishers the prospect of manroland finishing systems, such as FormerLine, a flexible digital print finishing solution for book production, and fully-automated FoldLine multivariable pin-type folder,” he remarked. He cited that the new finishing solutions would redefine the landscape of the Indian book production market.

In the subsequent followed-up session, started with a discourse on the benefits of the industrial scale digital finishing solutions, Alwin Stadler, Vice president–Digital Solutions, manroland web systems, explained that the FormerLine for book production is designed for outstanding productivity with best-of-class variable cut sheet separation within belt sections. “FromerLine is featured with tool for dynamic change of pagination and book structure without standstill ‘on the fly’,” he narrated, adding that the dynamic change of cut-off length is for all folding options.

Stressing on FormerLine’s flexibility in applications, Alwin mentioned that the advantages in auxiliary glued book-blocks, flyer, mailing and longitudinal glued booklets. “Folding options in the system are available in zigzag-fold, wrap-fold, gate-fold and parallel-fold, capable to accept media of 45-150 gsm in minimum page formats of 90x145 mm and maximum of 250x420 mm,” he elucidated, adding that the system could also able to accept book block thickness of 3-80 mm.

FormerLine runs at the speed of 300 m/min in the web widths of 20 inch, 30 inch and 42 inch; and the digital presses and splicer/unwinder can be integrated with this industrial scale digital finishing solution. “The system has been upgraded to integrate with newest splicer technology; and some added advantages include waste reduction and personalization. FormerLine is perfectly designed for ondemand jobs, which include production of just 20 school textbooks for a particular class,” explained Alwin.

Coming to application flexibility of FoldLine, which is suitably engineered for newspaper production as well as books, Alwin explained that the system could accept all common broadsheets and tabloid formats. The system is designed for semi-commercial production with cylinder-stitched booklets or inserts. It can accept media of 45 – 80 gsm, in which options for 45 – 135 gsm (with cross perforation is available) and capable to accept from minimum page format of 152x210 mm up to maximum format of 580x400 mm.

Summing up the advantages of the manroland digital finishing solutions, Alwin explained that FoldLine is a little endeavor that could be done in a big way in book production and on the other side, he explicated that FoldLine is the way to unwind the shrinking in circulation of newspapers, particularly in the offshore markets. “As circulation of printed newspapers is still vigorous in India, our FormerLine is such a system that has been a futuristic model for production of ondemand newspaper copies, with smaller circulation, remote production, localised contents, automated workflow, targeted advertisement and personalised copies.

Delegates at the conclaveReferring to Walliser Bote, a Swiss newspaper, which has been printing digitally on inkjet platform, Alwin said the Berliner format daily uses HP T400 webfed inkjet press for print run of 22,000 copies every single day. In the production process, the newspaper had adopted FoldLine for cut-off folding as well as the software for finishing and overall workflow integration. A specific reason why Walliser Bote has changed its production technology is the slowdown in circulation and increase in personalisation copies of the newspaper.

In the last session of the conclave, a panel discussion on the print-on-demand job in book production was conducted with the participation of key speakers from two leading publishing houses viz. Hachette India and Penguin Random House. “Book publishing is now moving in the country; we have a fast growing education market as this sector occupies 70 percent of the total publishing market share,” asserted Thomas Abraham, managing director, Hachette Book Publishing India Pvt Ltd. He further observed that the country’s increasing literacy rate and growth of working class population would boost the demand for books.

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