CtP Forum for the pioneers and leaders of the Indian Printing Industry sponsored by TechNova

CtP Forum for the pioneers and leaders of the Indian Printing Industry sponsored by TechNova

On May 25, all roads led to Mumbai where at Hotel Regency, 120 industry leaders and print professionals were invited to interact with five leading manufacturer vendors of CtP Systems in the world namely Agfa-Gevaert N.V., basysPrint, Creo, Esko-Graphics and Heidelberg. Unlike the usual sales talk by the vendors in such forums, TechNova had provided the vendors with a set of 16 pertinent questions, well in advance, segregating them into technology and business issues more relevant to the Indian industry.

Mr P Narendra of Pragati Offset Pvt Ltd, Hyderabad, who is one of the first successful users of CtP technology in the country, kicked off the CtP Forum meeting. He commented on What Was Hot and What Was Not in CtP at IPEX 2002, Birmingham. He observed that the CtP technology along with digital printing was indeed a dominantly featured technology at IPEX.

P Narendra, P Sen, B S S Reddy & R B Kashyap Pranav Parikh presenting Andrew Tribute's presentation
(from left) P Narendra, P Sen, B S S Reddy & R B Kashyap. Pranav Parikh presenting Andrew Tribute's presentation.
Click here for more photographs...

TechNova's Pranav Parikh said that as in the past, after major international exhibitions like Drupa and IPEX, TechNova continues to hold "yatras" in various cities in India. Internationally well-known print media experts are invited to interact with the Indian industry leaders on what is new and relevant to the Indian print industry at these fairs. For this occasion, Mr Andrew Tribute, an eminent global expert on CtP Systems and International Editor of Seybold Publications was also invited. Unfortunately, Mr Tribute could not make it, but had sent the presentation specially prepared for the CtP Forum. Mr Parikh made the presentation on Mr Tribute's behalf, focusing on the CtP trends and technologies prevalent in the West. This was followed by a Vendor Panel discussion. Equal time was given to each of the vendors to respond to a list of questions and lots were drawn to determine the order in which vendors presented their responses.

 Vendors Panel Members (in the order of their presentations) :

Mr Jurgen Szibbat Director of International Sales, basysPrint GmbH
Mr Dinesh ChandraGeneral Manager - South Asia, Esko-Graphics
Mr Steve MusselmanSenior World Wide Business Development Manager, Agfa-Gevaert N.V. Corporation
Mr Ashokan KrishnamurtySenior Manager, Sales & Service, Heidelberg
Mr Hanan DroryRegional Sales Director, Creo Asia Pacific

Indian representatives of international CtP manufacturers, who also shared their responses :

Mr Raju Amrutwar Ambika Enterprise, representing Lithotec
Mr R AnandMonotech, representing Escher Grad
Mr Satish NayakNippon Color/ Dai Nippon representing Screen
Mr Liam ClarkeTechNova

The Vendors addressed the following questions prepared by TechNova :

Que 1 : What criteria do you apply to assess the need for a CtP System of your potential customers in each of the following segments : commercial; packaging; newspaper; prepress service bureau.

Que 2 : What is the typical level of preparedness you find at a new CtP customer's prepress plant, in terms of overall prepress competency as well as digital trapping, imposition and proofing? (Choose a number from 1 to 10, with 1 being totally unprepared, 5 being somewhat prepared and 10 being a totally painless installation). Please highlight the typical blind spots that have caused the highest level of pain.

Que 3 : Based on your knowledge of the Indian industry, how would you rate the need and preparedness of the leading firms in each of these segments, on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being : Need=Critical; Readiness=100%. What are the trouble spots specific to the Indian environment, if any, that you feel Indian customers have to be particularly careful about?

Que 4 : (Optional) Please provide a profile of your user base. For example, percentage of installations by :
Segments : Commercial printers; packaging printers; newspapers; prepress bureaus; etc.
Size : Number of employees; plates used per day (CtP & Analogue)
Plate Technology : Thermal; Silver Visible/Violet; Photopolymer Visible/Violet; UV
Platesetter Technology : External Drum; Internal Drum; Flatbed (A chart would help.)

Que 5 : Are you planning to offer any financing options to your Indian customers? Details?

Que 6 : Can you provide any information about the average utilisation of the platesetters installed? How much time does it typically take for a customer to shift to 100% elimination of films? Please estimate the percentage of your customers that have been able to completely abandon film within 3 months of the CtP installation. Of those that were able to, what percentage had to purchase a copydot-capable scanner?

Que 7 : What is the typical payback period for your customers in US & Europe? (For just the base system, not including digital proofing, etc. Feel free to present a range of averages, probably based on monthly plate consumption.) In view of the high customs duties on equipment as well as digital plates, what will be the relative payback period for Indian customers? In view of the high customs duties on equipment as well as digital plates, what will be the relative payback period for Indian customers? Vendor Panel Questions

Que 8 : Do you find that your customers are aware of the REAL costs of getting into CtP? (Include factors such as acquiring or improving digital proofing capabilities, upgrading of network / servers, any additional "workflow" hardware / software that supports the platesetter, investment in training, and of course the cost of consulting, traveling to tradeshows / demo centers and other forms of research into the CtP purchase.) Feel free to retell your personal experiences or discuss the steps you take to raise awareness of these issues among your customers.

Que 9 : Do you find that CtP has allowed your customers to reduce the number of employees working in their prepress department, after say 90 days of installation of the CtP system? After one year?

Que 10 : What are the major points that differentiate your offering from other CtP systems, in terms of providing added value to the users? Discuss the advantages of your typical RIP installation's workflow.
Does your company offer more than one type of imaging architecture (-internal drum, external drum, flatbed)? Why or why not?
Does your company offer more than one type of light source (-violet, argon-ion, thermal laser diode, thermal fibre laser, etc.)? Why or why not?
Do you typically sell a materials handling system (plate loading and unloading) and/or on-line plate processing as part of a new CtP installation? Is the increased capital cost of these components offset by a significantly faster ROI?

Que 11 : What is your recommendation for the Indian customers from each segment? Please provide us with your recommendations in a chart form for the various customer segments for configuring their CtP System. Why? Segment : Plate type Recommendation : Platesetter Recommendation : Laser Recommendation : RIP & Workflow Recommendation : Proofing Recommendation :

Que 12 : (Optional) What arrangements do you have for supporting your installations in India? Spare parts?

Que 13 : How many installations of all types of platesetters put together do you expect to see in India in the next 12 - 24 - 36 months?

Que 14 : What is your view of the concept of converting the imagesetters into platesetters?

Que 15 : Trends that you forecast for India? Violet Silver? Thermal? Violet Photopolymer? High speed UV? Why?

Que 16 : Price level expectations for platesetters? Plates? Proofing systems? In 12 months from now : Constant? Up? Down? Should the potential customers wait for price reductions?

A frank and lively interaction followed each Vendor's presentation.

Transcription of the presentations and the Q&A sessions will be shortly available on www.CtPForum.com

 In the post-lunch session, it was the turn of the users to respond to a set of questions especially framed for them, by the TechNova team. Mr Narendra of Pragati Offset moderated the session with precision and was able to draw the best out of each panel member. He also shared his own CtP journey in a transparent manner and provided the participants with keys to success.

 CtP Forum was privileged to have the presence of Mr P Sen, Director, Times of India, who provided unique insights into the relevance of CtP to newspapers and their state of readiness.

 Members of the User Panel were remarkably open about their decision making process concerning CtP System.

User Panel Members (in the sequence of their responses) :

Mr P Narendra Pragati Offset Pvt. Ltd, Hyderabad
Mr Manu MalhotraMalhotra Print Shop, Mumbai
Mr Rajesh KhannaKhanna Prints, Chennai
Mr S ThiruVenson Graphics, Bangalore
Mr B S S ReddyInternational Print O Pack, Delhi
Mr R B KashyapThomson Press (I) Limited, Delhi
Mr P SenTimes of India

The Users addressed the following questions :

Que 1 : Please give a thumbnail sketch of your business, and tell us when and why you decided to go CtP?

Que 2 : What is the current status of your CtP program as measured against your original objectives? What is your current ratio of consumption of PS and Digital plates? When do you expect Digital plate to reach 100%?

Que 3 : Please describe how you evaluated and finally selected of the technology (i.e. Thermal, Visible, UV), and the System Vendors for Workflow, Platesetter, Proofing, Data Storage, etc. Any recommendations?

Que 4 : What were the workflow related issues that you had to resolve? Advice?

Que 5 : What is your approach to Digital Proofing? Customer acceptance levels?

Que 6 : How have you handled the Data Storage issues?

Que 7 : What percentage of your originals are received in digital format? What options have you considered for handling a mix of analog & digital originals?

Que 8 : Is CtP a good idea for a Service Bureau? Why / why not?

Que 9 : Please explain the process of selection, training & induction of the people in your CtP team.

Que 10 : What is your guesstimate of the number of CtP installations in India in the next 12 months - split up into Thermal, Visible, & UV.

Transcripts would be available on www.CtPForum.com shortly.

Summing up, Mrs Amila Singhvi, MD, International Print-O-Pac, Delhi, emphasised the importance and value addition of such Forums for the Indian Printers. She observed that the overall mood of the Forum participants was not 'to buy or not to buy' but 'what to buy'.

A similar sentiment was expressed by Mr Burjor Poonawalla of Comart Lithographers Limited who suggested that the theme of the Seminar ought to have been : 'CtP or Bust'!

 To facilitate more information on this technology and help the Indian printers find all the answers to this new trend, TechNova announced that it will dedicate a web site www.ctpforum.com shortly. Transcribed material of the presentations made by the vendors will also be available at the web site and in printed form for the CtP Forum members.

 It was decided that the CtP Forum would be an independent body providing assistance to the current and prospective CtP users on new technologies and trends by way of online chat with experts, vendors and users on a regular basis. It would also provide links to various informative sites and would be exclusively available to the CtP Forum members.

For information on Forum activities and registration, please write to :
ctpforum@technovaindia.com or contact Mr Rajesh Malhotra at rajeshm@technovaindia.com