Heidelberg India hosts Print Industry 4.0 webinar for Anna University printing technology students

The webinar focussed on Smart Printshop and autonomous printing

Print Industry 4.0 webinar conducted by Heidelberg India

Heidelberg India conducted Print Industry 4.0, a technical webinar for the nascent printing technology engineers of Anna University on 30 April 2020, between 2 PM and 5.30 PM. The session was greeted with overwhelming response by university students and faculty, as it radiated tremendous positivity and optimism, amid the Covid-19 lockdown.

Anna University’s printing faculty J P Nirmala, co-ordinated with Heidelberg’s Narendra Kulkarni to organize this event, which kicked off with the welcome note of B Kumar, head of the Printing Technology Department, performing brief introductions of speakers.

About 70 students, who participated in the three-and-a-half-hour session from their homes, absorbed attentively the information and insights shared by Heidelberg India’s knowledge experts. The lectures went through without a snag, with students, faculty members, and domain experts from Heidelberg India, all coming under one umbrella for an interactive technical exposition on trending print topics. The theme of the lectures was well planned and designed to correspond to the BE printing technology curriculum to help students relate better.

The webinar focused on Smart Printshop and autonomous printing while touching upon lean production, prepress workflow, and MIS concepts. Samir Patkar, president – Heidelberg India, significantly boosted the morale of students, by stating that the print industry awaits fresh and innovative minds like theirs. He also emphasized on the importance of being future-ready with continuous skills-upgrade, to remain relevant in an evolving industry and capitalize on opportunities.

Ashokan Krishnamoorthy, general manager – Prinect & CtP, expounded expertly on how to print establishments can get a maximum run for their money with a smart press on the shop floor vs traditional OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) of just 25-35%. His catchphrase being, how Industry 4.0 is poised to accelerate efficiency at all levels.

On the other hand, Lalitkumar Lamba, product manager – Sheetfed solutions, shared his prowess on Heidelberg’s push to Stop technology and the actual engineering behind it. He also spoke about the evolution and modernization of sheetfed presses in detail. Prabaharan, deputy general manager – Post-press Solutions, delivered an impressive in-depth presentation on polar cutting and Stahl folding equipment. He covered the principles, drive mechanisms, automation, and safety provisions deployed in cutting and folding machines to enhance productivity.

Narendra Kulkarni, regional product manager – Gallus Asia, explained excellently the diverse technologies in the flexo process and how inline printing presses deploying major printing processes can also convert in a single line. He called it progress that is bound to propel the print industry to the next levels of performance.

Upendra Rajadnya, territory manager – Lifecycle Operations, brilliantly highlighted the role of Industry 4.0 in remote equipment servicing and predictive monitoring to enhance equipment effectiveness, while Shankar Srinivasan, head – Human Resources, provided pointers on confidence-building and interview-handling. The students said they benefitted immensely and look forward to more such interactions in the future. A Final year Printing Tech. student sums it up for others in her class, “It was a complete package for any final year student. Very informative! discussions on the present and upcoming technologies, academics-related topics, and life-skills helped tremendously. We look forward to more such sessions.”

A second-year, Printing Technology student says, “This is the best thing that happened during the lockdown. Thank you, Heidelberg! Printing Industry 4.0 is exciting. Industry insights and technology updates were mind-blowing. Wow is the one word I can think of.” As a feedback measure, Heidelberg initiated a rating method on a scale of 1 (lowest rating) to 10 (highest), to assess webinar quality, and students gave a 9-point rating. Encouraged by the feedback, Heidelberg India plan on extending such knowledge-sharing sessions to other educational institutions as well, so more students can benefit.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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