manroland Goss
Sudeep Bhattacharjee, managing director at manroland Goss India at the company’s stand at drupa24. Photo PSA

The Augsburg-based printing press company sees itself as having huge domain knowledge in big web offset presses and their automation and maintenance using the latest sensors and software. It continues to use its legacy engineering and manufacturing resources to produce more efficient, automated and easier-to-maintain book, magazine and newspaper web offset presses and with its expertise to diversify its expertise to heavy-duty digital finishing solutions and the new area of packaging printing.

Notably, the group comprising several divisions comprising tasks including manufacturing, assembly, spare parts, maintenance, servicing and engineering, reports revenue in the past year of Euro 250 million with a commendable EDIBTA of 10%. This level of viability compares positively with the EDIBTA of some of the other German heavy metal printing press companies – giving room for optimism about the reinvention of manroland Goss.

On our visit to the company’s expansive drupa stand, we are shown its AI-based maintenance platform Maintellisense that can increase productivity in print production and reduce wastage of newsprint and other consumables, energy and manpower. The press and automation of the future are available and the only question is how many book, magazine and newspaper press owners are ready to buy a new machine or system.

How many of the automation and AI-based maintenance features can be cost-effectively retrofitted, and ultimately, which publishers and press owners have the self-belief to invest in new equipment as their legacy hardware reaches its end-of-life and spare parts can still be procured or locally manufactured? Here manroland Goss made a strong statement at drupa24 – the company is still visible, viable and ready to support its existing customers.

Sustainable flexible paper packaging solution presented

manroland Goss was able to project itself as a reliable and efficient business partner for commercial and newspaper printers for new equipment, used equipment and a wide range of service solutions, even as it explores new areas such as book printing and finishing solutions including its new variable-format pin folder. And at this drupa, as it did at interpack it showed a unit of its Varioman web-offset-based packaging solution that now has a global footprint of almost half-a-dozen installations including a repeat order.

manroland Goss
Samples printed on manroland Goss presses. Photo PSA

The Varioman leverages the low cost of offset plates and the high-quality reproduction of web offset technology and their sustainability that allows the use of new inks and curing systems including EB inks. manroland Goss and Huber announced an agreement just before drupa that is likely to advance the Varioman further into food packaging where it has already made some impact. Another emphasis of the new press using new curing systems is on flexible paper packaging which has become a sustainability trend.

The company says flexible paper packaging for frozen products printed in web offset is paving the way to a more sustainable packaging world. As it did at IpackIma in Milan in 2022, the company talks about the Varioman printing flexible paper packaging for frozen pizzas. At drupa, it has enlarged the conversation to retrofitting options for web offset printing presses for the packaging sector. This quite understandably met with significant interest among trade show visitors, particularly newspaper press owners who have been looking at the packaging sector as an area of diversification, although it bears further understanding.

The co-created flexible paper packaging ‘Pizza A Mano’ for frozen products attracted visitor interest. The cooperation partners manroland Goss, hubergroup, Weiss Druck and Koehler Paper were able to show samples of what is possible in terms of sustainability in collaborative projects with specific objectives. The partners claim the new development when compared to conventional frozen pizza packaging uses up to 80% less CO2 and material. Compared to traditional frozen pizza packaging made of cardboard and plastic, the new development using recyclable paper, printed in web offset, is something the co-operation partners want to build on and continue the project in further expansion stages.

Digital transformation for a successful future

“We look back on drupa 2024 in a very positive light,” noted Franz Kriechbaum, CEO at manroland Goss. “We feel validated that our product and service solutions provide the right answers to the challenging market dynamics and position us as a valuable partner to our customers. For example, our AI-based maintenance platform Maintellisense meets the demanding requirements of today’s service and maintenance offerings. It supports our customers in keeping pace with the dynamic developments in their markets.”

The company reports that it is experiencing high demand and significant interest in its core web offset business areas, including packaging, illustration, newspaper, and book printing, as well as digital finishing solutions. It says that at drupa, it achieved successful business transactions in the tens of millions of Euros across various product categories.

Packaging South Asia — resilient, growing and impactful — daily, monthly — always responsive

The multi-channel B2B in print and digital 17-year-old platform matches the industry’s growth trajectory. The Indian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Middle East packaging industries are looking beyond the resilience of the past three years. They are resuming capacity expansion and diversification, with high technology and automation in new plants and projects.

As we present our 2024 publishing plan, India’s real GDP growth for the financial year ending 31 March 2024 will exceed 6%. The packaging industry growth will match the GDP growth in volume terms and surpass it by at least 3% in terms of nominal growth allowing for price inflation in energy, raw materials, consumables, and capital equipment.

The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 45% over the past four years. With orders in place, we expect another 20% capacity addition in 2024 and 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels are growing similarly. As the consumption story returns over the next six months, we expect demand to return and exceed the growth trajectory of previous years. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – and as shown by our analytics, our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

For responsible and sustainable packaging, with its attendant regulations and compliances, there is significant headroom to grow in India and the region. Our coverage includes the entire packaging supply chain – from concept to shelf and to waste collection, sorting, and recycling.

We target brand owners, product managers, raw material suppliers, packaging designers and converters, and recyclers. This is a large and complex canvas – the only thing that can work is your agile thinking and innovation together with our continuous learning and persistence.

The coming year looks to be an up year in this region, and this is the right time to plan your participation and marketing communication – in our rich and highly targeted business platform with human resources on the ground. Share your thoughts and plans to inspire and mobilize our editorial and advertising teams!

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– Naresh Khanna (25 October 2023)

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Naresh Khanna
Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy. Elected vice-president of the International Packaging Press Organization in May 2023.

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