The rise of print in India – a Kodak story

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The overall economic outlook for print is changing, and in a good way. Recent industry reports indicate that confidence and investment in the specific print and packaging markets are returning in most regions around the world, while some of these regions – including India – are already seeing exponential growth.

According to the NPES (now rebranded as the Association of Print Technologies, or AP Tech) and VDMA’s Worldwide market for print 2.0: Global opportunities in publishing printing and marketing & commercial printing (2012-21) report, the Asia Pacific region is expected to outperform all other regions in terms of both the publishing printing and marketing & commercial printing industries, with India one of the key growth countries in this region.

Predicted to grow at a rate of 8.1% per year between 2016 and 2021, India’s publishing printing market will surpass France and the UK in 2020 to become the fourth biggest publishing market by 2021 – adding US$ 1.2 billion of revenue during this time. The same goes for the country’s marketing & commercial printing market, which is expected to see a compound annual growth rate in local currency of 7.7% – the second highest globally – which will see revenue growth of US$ 957 million by 2021.

Growth projections for the packaging printing market is equally favorable, with India expected to top the growth rate charts at 12.5% between 2016 and 2020. This will see the country climbing the ranks of the print packaging industry to become the fourth largest (US$ 18.6 billion) by 2020, according to NPES in the Worldwide market for print 2.0: Packaging (2011-2020) report.

“The labels market in India is definitely growing at a much faster rate compared to the rest of the world, and it’s good to see how print service providers are embracing this,” says Rajesh Nema, honorary secretary of the Label Manufacturers Association of India. “Our members are still investing in conventional printing devices that offer better productivity and connectivity, and flexo is growing in the label as well as folding carton and flexible packaging markets. Digital printing will still take time to establish itself properly in the Indian printing market as it is still more cost effective to use traditional printing methods.”

Rajesh also says that with a rapidly growing market poses a couple of concerns: “With practically no market entry barrier, we are seeing too many PSPs entering the field, which in turn is creating unhealthy price competition and a great need for thought leaders to impart their knowledge. It is therefore the industry associations’ duty to ensure we educate the market, including our members, on the dangers of reverse auctions where the winner really is the biggest loser.”

Drivers for growth

There are a number of key drivers behind India’s optimistic growth potential. A rapid rise in literacy rates and education levels, urbanization, commercial development and rising incomes, which sees a bigger investment in brands, are all contributing to the growth of the Indian print and printed packaging industry.

Komal Sharma, regional director for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, Kodak shares, “Population and economic growth has fostered urbanization in the country and the number of urban towns and cities has drastically increased. This means that more people than ever have the economic ability to invest in brands and premium products, and the print industry is adapting to satisfy the requirements, including higher quality and efficiency associated with it.”

Various governmental and non-governmental literacy and education programs, which included several Kodak initiatives, have contributed to the rapid rise in literacy rates in India – confirmed at 74% after the 2011 census. This, together with a fast-growing population and urbanization, result in news and other content becoming more localized in regions, in turn demanding more versioning and different print runs from service providers.

Indian printers and printed packaging service providers are placing their trust in Kodak when they make new investments, and they are reaping the benefits of delivering higher quality and achieving high level of efficiency in doing so.

Komal Sharma, regional director for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, Kodak
Komal Sharma, regional director for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, Kodak

Kodak technologies offer host of benefits for PSPs

Kodak has long been considered one of India’s top trusted print technology suppliers, and with the country’s exponential growth rate printers continue to choose Kodak’s hardware, consumables and KODAK PRINERGY Workflow software to provide the best return on investment.

As the favored choice for printers when investing in thermal CtP equipment, the KODAK ACHIEVE Platesetters and KODAK TRENDSETTER Platesetters are not only chosen for their reliability, productivity and accurate imaging, but also for their reduced footprint and the up to 80%-95% reduction in energy usage compared to similar offerings.

Kodak’s variety of plate offerings are also proving popular amongst Indian commercial and newspaper printers. The company’s KODAK SONORA Process Free Plates, which completely eliminate the plate processing step, are increasingly popular – having seen a growth of 9% worldwide over the past year – as more and more printers are focusing on green credentials and water, chemistry and energy savings. With the latest introduction of SONORA X Plates, which enable much longer run lengths, faster imaging speeds, and more robust handling capabilities, up to 80% of offset printers can benefit from the sustainable and economic benefits the SONORA Plate portfolio offers.

Surat-based Progressive Printing Press, one of India’s leading commercial print service providers, has made great strides in improving productivity and the quality print they produce by utilizing Kodak’s SONORA Process Free Plates and KODAK TRENDSETTER Q400 Platesetter equipment. Imaging an average of 7,000 plates per month, the company is one of the largest SONORA Plate users in India.

“As we solely produce high-end fashion catalogs, print quality is naturally one of our key concerns. SONORA Plates deliver the best quality of all plates we’ve looked at,” explains Latif Sanchawala, director at Progressive Printing Press. “Furthermore, by using process free we not only do what every printer should be doing to be as environmentally responsible as possible, but it also gives us a great boost in productivity. With SONORA Process Free Plates, we’ve increased plate-making productivity by 60% – a huge benefit for us. That is why I recommend Kodak and SONORA Process Free Plates to all my industry peers.”

Raju Hiremath, assistant general manager at VRL Logistics adds, “By switching to KODAK SONORA Process Free Plates, we’ve had substantial savings. We’ve been able to remove 20 plate processors, which in turn allows us to save around 440 liters of water per day. Furthermore, we save around 820 kWh of energy per day, as well ongoing processor maintenance and additional spare parts. This is not only a great economic benefit for us, but an environmental one too.”

India has also experienced an increase in the number of flexo presses installed. This is indicative of what was reported in the drupa 5th Global Trends report, which stated that flexo is the most popular investment choice in packaging for 2018. The FLEXCEL NX System has captured the attention of a great number of Indian flexo prepress providers and printers, including those looking to convert gravure print production to flexo. Flexo benefits include greater substrate flexibility, including printing on lightweight films, and shorter lead times – and the KODAK FLEXCEL NX System ensures there is no compromise when it comes to print quality.

“As our trusted partner and long-term thermal imaging technology supplier, Kodak’s FLEXCEL NX System was a natural choice for us when we expanded into the flexible packaging and label market,” says Tarun Katyal, owner and director of Delhi-NCR based prepress bureau Anupama Printing Solutions. “Our customers were immediately impressed with and are now insisting on the FLEXCEL NX Plates, which allow them to achieve deeper solids and crisper text, while the speed of the FLEXCEL NX System has also allowed us to maximize productivity. When we expand our flexo business with the addition of another imager later this year, there is obviously only one choice for us and that is Kodak.”

Ahmedabad-based Pinmark, the first Indian trade shop to install the FLEXCEL NX System, chose Kodak for the exceptional quality and the wider color gamut that can be achieved. “With the FLEXCEL NX System, we have a very powerful technology that delivers the best possible quality – various awards won by our customers are testimony to this. Most of our customers now insist on FLEXCEL NX Plates,” explains Rutul Zaveri, partner at Pinmark. “We’re continually working with Kodak to upgrade our equipment and stay ahead of our competitors. We are looking at the new developments in Flexo that Kodak continues to be working on. We’ll be ready to implement it at Pinmark once it’s available.”

Kodak’s digital printing technology is also helping Indian print and printed packaging service providers to stand out from their competitors. The KODAK NEXPRESS Press, Kodak’s sheetfed electrophotographic printing (EP) offering, is utilized by PSPs across the country for a variety of applications, including Aadhaar (UIDAI) cards, textiles, promotional brochures and pamphlets.

K L Hi-Tech, based in Hyderabad, India, utilizes their NEXPRESS Press to produce almost a third of India’s Aadhaar cards – a compulsory identity card with a unique 12-digit identification number for all residents. Since the company started production of the cards in 2012, it saw print volumes of 500,000 and upwards, which the NEXPRESS Press has continued to deliver on without a hitch.

Commenting on the NEXPRESS Press, Sanchawala adds, “The NEXPRESS Press covers customer emergencies and short-run jobs of between 50 and 200 catalogs. As it is calibrated with our offset press, we can deliver virtually the same print quality as offset, a great benefit for us and for our customers.”

And, while the Indian print market has been slow in the adoption of inkjet up to now, many PSPs believe that the time to invest in inkjet production presses is here. Repro India revolutionized the Indian publishing market after it invested in a KODAK PROSPER 1000 Press from Kodak over five years ago. They have not looked back since.

Rishi Kharalkar, head of Supply Chain & Operations, Repro India says, “Kodak’s PROSPER 1000 Press is the perfect device for shorter print runs of 30–2,000 pages and has enabled us to bring together a range of India’s biggest publishers through a large database and digital storefront. It now produces an average of 70 million A4 pages per month, no mean feat by any standards.”

There has also been a big uptake on Kodak’s PROSPER S-Series heads for packaging, labeling and security printing applications, installed onto conventional presses to allow for a hybrid printing option. The imprinting systems has proved ideal for the production of lottery tickets (6.2 million tickets per day) and promotional or loyalty customer programs.

Over 700 Indian commercial printing and printed packaging service providers are benefiting from KODAK PRINERGY or PRINERGY EVO Workflow Software. This number continues to rise as more and more digital print service providers are now also adopting and investing in this trusted KODAK Technology.

Taking it further – beyond print

Making a difference in the Indian community is very important to Kodak. The company is involved with a number of programs to accomplish the same. Kodak’s global Print for Good campaign in support of increasing literacy, rallied employees in partnership with ‘Youth for People’ to distribute over 5,000 notebooks to 1,000 children based in the Nilmati province in 2017. The activity will be replicated again this year.

Kodak will this year also establish a new partnership with Room to Read, a global non-profit organization focused on literacy and girls’ education in low-income countries. Kodak will support the establishment of Room to Read’s Literacy Program at a primary school in Rajasthan, India. It will bring the community access to a safe and child-friendly learning environment, with books in the children’s local language, as well as teachers and librarians who are trained in the best practices of reading and writing instruction.

The future for Kodak in India

Sharma concludes, “The print and printed packaging industry in India has a bright future. Kodak will continue to play a key part in it. Printers are diversifying and aligning with trusted global technology partners with offerings that allow them to differentiate themselves and deliver economic benefits. Our commitment to our customers in India has stood the test of time. We will continue to bring leading, cutting-edge technology enabling them to meet their respective customers’ evolving needs and demands efficiently for years to come.”

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