The weather has been nippy. No sun in sight. There has been that typically annoying German rain. Not just that. This year, the fair grounds are over-crowded with vehicles and automobiles. It makes walking a bit of hazard.
Of coursed over and above the absence of the sun, and excess of automobiles, a lot of eyes were focussed on India. There are 18 Indian exhibitors at drupa 2004.
TechNova and CtP :
At the top of the list is TechNova.
- Thermostar TN : Thermal plate launched
- Thermostar TN will be available for India and SAARC nations
- Thermostar TN endorsed from all the leading CtP users in India
TechNova is the one of the largest manufacturers of offset plates, chemicals, inkjet, laser in the world. They launched the thermal plate, Thermostar TN, which has been developed and patented by Agfa.
The fact is, there are more than 60 exhibitors with CtP offerings. TechNova was present in Hall 6, the PrintCity Hall. They were launching their new thermal plate, which will be available for India and SAARC nations. This plate has endorsements from all the leading CtP users in India. And yet, as one stepped outside the TechNova haven of bindu-art by the Indian modernist painter, Raza.
The plethora of jargons with respect to each technology is jabberwocky. There is massive confusion about the technology: thermal, violet, polymer, silver, etc. This is compounded with every vendor having a new interpretation in order to defend his turf.
Newspapers and India :
The Indian web offset manufacturer at drupa 2004 was a solid show. The FRONTLINE 55 in the PrintCity Hall had a superb location. Plus three demos, daily, in which they printed "The Hindustan Times". The Frontline press is a single width, single circumference press with speeds of 55,000 cph; its printing units are available in flat cylinder arrangement with vertical web leads.
- FRONTLINE 55 running in full swing at 55,000 cph
- The Hindustan Times printed thrice a day
- Grafitex International missed the opportunity to show Gemini 45
Then there was the Orient press at The Printers House. And the 30,000 cph machines from Pressline and Sharp. Besides Indian customers, one saw printers, dealers from Africa, Russia, the former Socialist Bloc, enquiring about productivity gains, upgraded press, finishing, and other systems at these stalls.
Both Sharp and K K Printing Machines Manufacturing Co (P) Ltd, Faridabad displayed the catalogues of their web offset presses. Likewise J Mahabeer (as they are known in India) and Grafitex International (as they are known around the world) who missed the opportunity to show off their Gemini 45.
Third time for Proteck and first for Shilp Gravure :
Proteck, which has a 100 sq m. stall, has installed 60 cutting machines in India over and above stealing a march over the sheetfed manufacturers with installations of Mitsubishiu press. Proteck's fully hydraulic paper-cutting guillotine made its debut at drupa. Besides this, the company was also displaying a servo-controlled automatic screen-printing machine. Ecobliss, Holland has already placed an order for one machine.
- Proteck's fully hydraulic paper-cutting guillotine made its debut at Drupa
- Ecobliss a servo-controlled automatic screen printing machine on display
- The Ahmedabad-based Shilp is exporting cylinders to South Africa & Middle East
- Shilp plans to increase its exports four times
- Expert Industries going strong with 150 machines installed in India & the world over
Meanwhile the other big news was in flexo and gravure printing. The Ahmedabad-based Shilp is exporting cylinders to South Africa and Middle East. Shilp is a public limited company that operates with a great deal of transparency. Shilp's Managing Director, Mr. Ambar Patel is optimistic of 15 percent growth for the next ten years. The huge expansion begun in 2003, aims to go far beyond current standards of productivity and the 10 percent rejection rate of cylinders that is the international norm. It hopes to bring down the turnaround time for the whole process from the current 10 to 12 days to 7 days.
Shilp also plans to increase its exports four times from the current 5 percent of turnover to 20 percent in the next three to five years. Although it is aiming first at the regional market including Africa and the Middle East, the route passes through Dusseldorf, Germany where the company has taken a stand at drupa in May 2004.
Likewise, the 15-year old Bangalore based company, Expert Industries Pvt. Ltd. has installations of two coating units, EXPERcoat in Scotland. But their core strength is in rotagravure and to-date, they have installed 150 machines, in India and the world over. Their aesthetically designed, rotagravure machine, ExperPAC 3000 has some of the latest applications for flexible packaging, decorative and specialities.
Post press :
P Sajith of Welbound who displayed his machines at IPEX pointed that there has been a shift in the past two years within binding and finishing. He opined printing companies are constantly installing new systems and re-training personnel to gain the most minor production benefits - which ultimately add up. For example, the Welbound perfect binder has semi automation (agreed it is primitive by European standards but very advanced pedigree for India). As a book printer from Agra stated, India is not ready for automation. The printer needs a machine to cope with the huge volumes, for which he uses a machine along with manual labour. That being so, the machines at Muller Martini & Kolbus, and even the saddle stitchers from Blumer indicate the direction of the new technology. Most of this is, justified through workforce reduction. But as the printer from Agra pointed out, the West is running out of workforce to reduce.
- Printing companies are constantly installing new systems says P Sajith
- Welbound expects annual growth of 40-45%.
- Welbound machine offers the latest features in binding
Sajith's presence at drupa means networking with customers from all over the world. It means taking the next step from supplying to the domestic market, which has 1200 Welbound installations. According to Sajith, the number of local installations will continue to increase since the demand is tremendous. Today, with more than 50% of the binding being done manually, Sajith expects annual growth of 40-45%.
In fact, it was at IPEX that CP Graphics, dealers in web offset machines and pad making equipment, which are manufactured by Bracket, USA, who were just a stall or two away, noticed Welbound. They were impressed with the fact that the machine offered most of the latest features like side gluing, stack delivery, head-and-tail cut off adhesive, on a small machine. Later their representatives visited the stall at PRINTPACK 2003 in Mumbai and then the two factories in Kerala.
Indian and elections :
But for Indians, it was the election results which over-shadowed drupa offerings. The world's largest democracy on 13th May, delivered one of the biggest electoral shocks in Indian history. Almost everybody in India, most notably Atal Behari Vajpayee, its outgoing prime minister - who brought the elections forward by six months to capitalise on booming economic growth - failed to detect the warnings.
- 13th May, delivered one of the biggest electoral shocks in Indian history
- BJP-led coalition fell more than 80 seats short of the half way mark of 272
- "IT CM", Chandrababu Naidu was demolished
- India's ruling Nehru-Gandhi dynasty back in the driving seat
In the event, the BJP-led coalition fell more than 80 seats short of the half way mark of 272. The tremors were felt when "IT CM", Chandrababu Naidu was demolished.
This lead to huge and sometimes acrimonious debates at the Messe grounds. Indians gulped alt beer and hurled political slogans at one and another. India Shining? Disinvestments? GDP?
Whatever be the analysis, depending on personal prejudices and biases, the fact is, India's impoverished villages - and large swathes of its cities, where urban slum dwellers also came out in droves - gave educated and metropolitan India a reminder of the country's vibrant democratic undercurrents.
The verdict, which has put India's ruling Nehru-Gandhi dynasty back in the driving seat two decades after its last electoral victory, is likely to have profound effects.
All information procured from company press releases and compiled by TKX Editorial team. Please note this is not a comprehensive list.
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