Printing In India -
An Overview by
Kamal Chopra 

Indian Printing Industry has undergone several revolutionary changes in the past 15 years. The industry growing at a rate of 12% per annum, comprises more than 250,000 big, small and medium printers. The packaged printing industry is growing at an annual rate of 17 percent, commercial printing at an annual rate of around 10 percent and digital printing at a robust growth rate of 30%.

The industry has slowly been progressing from the heavy machinery using industry to a more software-centric business. The Indian printers are today equipped with the latest computer controlled printing machines and flow lines for binding, while state-of-the-art digital technologies are used in pre-press. UV digital printing and inkjet technology are also on rise in India.

The digital printing industry is seeing significant transformations with new technologies & applications providing cost-effective and customized solutions. For the foreseeable future, offset and digital will not only co-exist, but will also complement each other- with offset taking the medium-to-longer jobs and digital performing on short-to-medium run lengths. The booming Indian economy, increasing consumerism, entry of global brands in the country and opening of the sector to foreign investors are bound to offer growth opportunities to the industry.

As its growth trends continue to be well over the world averages, in print volume terms, India is set to become Rs. 431 billion market by 2021. Therein lays a great opportunity for the Indian & International print suppliers.

In the last ten years the technical capability of the Indian converting industry has advanced significantly with the latest technology from Europe, Japan and the US now in use, alongside domestically made printing and laminating presses.

India's export trade in converted flexible packaging has been growing, with customers in Africa, the Middle East, USA and Europe all recognising the quality available from some of the larger converters.

Imports of converted flexible packaging remain small and largely very low cost products or specialist high-value retort packaging materials.

The Indian Label Industry is complex, dynamic and fast-growing at the rate of 8% per year.

  • While investing in new presses, the Indian printers have graduated from being users of basic Mark Andy presses to fully loaded models of internationally branded presses like Nilpeter, Omet, MPS, Gallus, Rotatek and Mark Andy.
  • The demand of all servo, all UV, multicolor presses with multiple decoration and converting capabilities has grown considerably.
  • The competition has driven printers to invest in newer and diverse printing and converting technologies.
  • The growth in consumerism is contributing to the already growing retail sector. This is supposed to drive significant growth in demand for labels. Thus, there is space for players who have the technology and resources to cater to a demanding consumer oriented market.

The Indian Corrugated Packaging industry, converting about 2 million tons of Kraft paper into corrugated boxes, is on a growth spree.

  • Several in-line automatic plants are being set up, as corrugated box makers gear up to meet the new demands for high precision boxes with attractive graphics and large integrated production capacities.
  • To cater to the growing demand for international quality packaging, Corrugated packaging manufacturers in India are speedily moving on the path of modernization - adopting evolving technologies, installing high speed automatic machines, ensuring quality assurance and incorporating management systems and techniques for efficient operation of the plants.
  • Increasing demand and high volumes has triggered consolidation and setting up of large automatic plants. Many machinery manufacturers are also entering into alliances with Chinese, Taiwanese manufacturers for manufacturing/marketing.