Heidelberg’s Saphira consumables gain traction in India

Becoming a consumables supplier to the print industry


“A key pillar for Heidelberg’s growth is in the Saphira consumables business, an area where we see growth for the company without the volatility associated with capital equipment sales. There is an opportunity in trying to add value and streamlining some of the purchasing and inventory costs associated with the procurement of consumables.

“We want to become the supplier of consumables to our customers where they don’t need to order anymore; where the materials are always there for customers with whom we have frame contracts. We can streamline some of these procurement and supply costs by having suppliers work with us.

“Coming from a manufacturing background, and having lived all my life with machinery and machine tools, we’ve done that. We want to take away some of the chores from our customers and automate them. Our industry is a little bit behind in this but we have to help our customers become automated. By doing this process we will become a kind of Amazon of the printing industry.”

— Rainer Hundsdorfer speaking to Packaging South Asia at the Heidelberg Packaging Days in Wiesloch on 8 November 2017

As in many other markets globally, the Indian print industry continues to hold significant upside potential for the consumables market, in particular thanks to the growth of the packaging industry. Increasing consumer awareness of quality and cost-effectiveness of after-market products is driving demand for branded solutions. The growth of Heidelberg’s Saphira in the past few years is testimony to the rising adoption of machine-optimized consumables and press room supplies.

Unveiled at drupa 2008, and introduced in India in 2010, Saphira was a slow starter in the Indian market but has eventually gained traction with a comprehensive range of pressroom

Robert Joseph, head consumables, Heidelberg India

consumables supported by trained application specialists. Heidelberg India’s print specialists and trainers have gained considerable domain knowledge and they know offset presses as well as day-to-day problem solving. The Saphira products that are designed to deliver consistent and predictable proof-to-print results now represent what can be called a decent slice of the market.

Inks, coatings, rollers, blankets, press supplies, maintenance products and press room chemicals for sheetfed and web-offset presses are sold under the Saphira umbrella by Heidelberg India. “Our branded consumables undergo vigorous and rigorous testing in our research labs to be optimized for not just Heidelberg equipment but any machine in the market, to make it as good as or even better than any competing product. An appropriate certification is issued before the product is released to the market,” says Robert Joseph, business head – Consumables of Heidelberg India.

Consumables do play a pivotal role in print quality while the use of inferior-grade or less-compatible consumables can lead to negative consequences, and at times can even damage press components. “For example, the wrong pressroom chemistry can seriously mess up printing rollers, in addition to creating numerous print quality issues. Substandard consumables can degrade performance and machine life,” adds Joseph.

We asked Joseph if there is any real competitive differentiation offered by Saphira. “Saphira has evolved into a full-fledged application now. It is not just a product line anymore. Heidelberg provides value-added professional support for the Saphira application through site visits and continuous follow-up. Heidelberg factory-trained application specialists assess the situation, inspect the press, and understand the operational aspects before suggesting a suitable range of consumables that can be applied to that equipment. Our application specialists are diligently trained on consumables at the Heidelberg PMC to provide the best machine-optimized consumable solution that boosts productivity and reduces waste. As part of the application support, Heidelberg also provides training to pressroom operators at client sites. As an offset press manufacturer, our superior knowledge of equipment parts positions us at a competitive advantage,” replies Robert.

Heidelberg has exclusive manufacturing tie-ups with New Waterline Chemicals in Germany and AFOSOL in India to produce FOGRA-certified press room chemicals. It has similar agreements with Trelleborg in Italy to make Prinect blankets, UV blankets and coating plates. The resulting consumable products are tested meticulously and certified by Heidelberg Quality Control prior to market release.

Joseph explains that the consumables also support its press business, “Heidelberg India has a dedicated sales network for consumables across the country, and over 70 dealers. A user-friendly eShop is in place for customers to order round the clock (24×7). To achieve quick delivery times, products are warehoused in regions with ample logistics support.”

So, what’s in store for Heidelberg’s consumables business in 2018? “The theme for 2018 is ‘Product Portfolio Management’ to promote pressroom chemicals and blankets in the Indian market. Packaging products, especially UV inks, coatings and special applications will be in special focus in the upcoming year, as packaging growth accelerates,” concludes Joseph.

The impact, resilience, and growth of responsible packaging in a wide region are daily chronicled by Packaging South Asia.

A multi-channel B2B publication and digital platform such as Packaging South Asia is always aware of the prospect of new beginnings and renewal. Its 16-year-old print monthly, based in New Delhi, India has demonstrated its commitment to progress and growth. The Indian and Asian packaging industries have shown resilience in the face of ongoing challenges over the past three years.

As we present our publishing plan for 2023, India’s real GDP growth for the financial year ending 31 March 2023 will reach 6.3%. Packaging industry growth has exceeded GDP growth even when allowing for inflation in the past three years.

The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 33% over the past three years. With orders in place, we expect another 33% capacity addition from 2023 to 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels have grown similarly. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

Even given the disruptions of supply chains, raw material prices, and the challenge of responsible and sustainable packaging, packaging in all its creative forms and purposes has significant headroom to grow in India and Asia. Our context and coverage engulf the entire packaging supply chain – from concept to shelf and further – to waste collection and recycling. We target brand owners, product managers, raw material suppliers, packaging designers and converters, and recyclers.

In an admittedly fragmented and textured terrain, this is the right time to plan your participation and marketing support communication – in our impactful and highly targeted business platform. Tell us what you need. Speak and write to our editorial and advertising teams! For advertisement ads1@ippgroup.in , for editorial info@ippgroup.in and for subscriptions subscription@ippgroup.in

– Naresh Khanna

Subscribe Now
unnamed 1


Subscribe to our Newsletter

As 2023 begins and FY 23-24 unfolds, will you support us?

What lies in store for the packaging industry in India and South Asia this coming year? Inflation, disruption of supply chains or environmental regulation? Or the resumption of high rural demand, continued investment and industry consolidation? Whatever happens, Packaging South Asia will be there, providing clarity and independent technical and business information in India and South Asia and around the world. We are a compact Indian organization bringing a window of fair and rigorous technical and business information that the industry can access this year and beyond. Please support us with your advertising and subscriptions, to keep us going and growing.

Thank you.

Previous articleSouth India Paper Mills’ world record using FFG 8.20 Discovery
Next articleRegular registration closes for Pentawards
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.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here