"Digital printing has succeeded in increasing printing speed and quality production," says Anil Bhatia, managing director, Manroland India.


Do you think that the market is much more open to digital now than it was a decade ago, when Manroland teamed up with Xeikon?
Yes, the market has steadily grown to accept the value additions that digital printing brings to the table. Increasing number of short run jobs and variable print requirement is fuelling the sector in the metros and sub metros. Over the years, digital printing has succeeded in increasing printing speed and quality production. With the orientation on industrial-scale printers, we can offer best economics.

Commercial printer mixing flexibility of a digital production system. Is this a nice fit?
We believe the ideal situation for printers is to supplement their existing sheetfed and web capacities with digital set ups. This adds a new dimension to their production workflow, complements their high speed production capacity with variability in their end products. Thus, increasing their product portfolio and adding value to end customers. Variable printing and real time flexibility are the biggest strengths of digital printing.

Have you evaluated the Indian digital market?
Yes and we foresee an incremental demand for digital printing systems in the coming years. We have a high performance digital business partner in Océ (inkjet printing systems) and will aggressively work with them to establish the brand and products in the Indian market.

What is Manroland’s strategy in India?
Manroland has a focused strategic orientation: with their cooperation, Manroland and Océ serve the high-performance segment of the printing industry. The highly productive Océ inkjet printing systems are sold through Manroland’s worldwide market organisation, utilising the advantages of the company’s high profile in the graphic arts industry. Using the combined expertise of Manroland as the global market leader in web offset, and Océ as the global market leader in digital webfed printing, the partners develop joint workflows (digital/offset) and system components (e. g. folder) and thus offer the world’s first total digital solution for digital inkjet and offset printing.

Manroland has set a target of €100m for the new digital offering in the next three-to-four years. In terms of market does this excite you?
Yes, it is an exciting time to be a part of the digital growth story. Manroland is the only supplier with a complete breadth of print solutions – web offset, sheetfed and digital printing. With the addition of the digital arm in our portfolio, we are perfectly poised for an aggressive start in the market over the next few years. The demand for digital printing systems is mainly fuelled by the increasing customisation or individualization of printed products, but also by the trend toward just-in-time production. Technological progress and improvements in printing quality and speed, with a simultaneous reduction in costs, are factors that are driving demand. Digital printing already has a market share of 15% with increasing print volumes. Numerous printing companies around the world have already invested in digital printing.

In terms of technology – what do you think of the toner technology? Is it dying? Is the higher productivity of inkjet and lower cost going to be a major difference? Can the best of both technologies be combined? Please comment.
Inkjet is a relatively new technology and the quality has been well approved by the market. The high productivity and cost efficiency makes it a lucrative product for the quality conscious customers. Toner or better ELFO is unbeatable in terms of substrate flexibility. With toner you can print more or less with the same quality level on coated or uncoated paper. So to combine the best of both technologies, the productivity of inkjet and the substrate flexibility of ELFO is indeed the challenge for the future.

Has Manroland drawn any strategy in terms of calculating the print costs via different methods (various digital presses, regular offset, etc)?
As mentioned above, digital printing has greater cost efficiency in short runs, whereas sheetfed offers higher efficiency of scale in longer runs. The target audience for the processes remain distinct in their needs and we cater to both ends of the portfolio. We recommend a healthy mix of both technologies in your pressroom to give you the maximum advantage as a printer. Inkjet is much more economically than the existing toner technologies. We can provide just in time production and personalisation as well.

The Manroland- Océ tie-up offers tremendous opportunities in terms of workflow integration, colour management and the like. Agree?
We are working towards higher integration between all our product offerings and will comment on the same at a later date. Our integrated workflow solution is particularly meaningful: the range of services extends from business consultancy through implementation and support for the entire production line. Besides the print production lines, with PRISMAproduction Océ offers the market leading system in the field of production control and print automation for industrial high-performance digital printing. The Printnet systems from Manroland and PRISMAproduction supplement one another and provide customers with considerable synergy effects. This platform-spanning approach is a unique selling Proposition (USP).

There are commercial offset printers (Manroland’s customers) with either a HP or a Xerox installed at their plant. Do you see these presses as potential customers for your digital press, should they decide on a second digital press?
We will roll out our digital range of products very soon and look forward to offer our customers a holistic range of print solutions under one roof backed by the reliability of strong after sales support. With the orientation on industrial-scale printers, Manroland does not have any target group overlap. We do not focus on the lower end of toner-based digital printing systems with a lower output volume and considerably higher unit costs measured by materials consumption and run length.

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