The attraction of the Multicolor option in Heidelberg’s Prinect

Fixed set 7-color printing gains interest in India

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Heidelberg CX 102 7-color plus coater at Parksons Packaging in Sri City

In the past two years a large number of 7-color presses and a few that are 8-color and even longer presses have been imported by carton printers. In some cases these longer presses were installed in order to accommodate in-line foilers that were mounted across the first two units – leaving the other units for C,M,Y,K and special or brand colors.

Printing with a fixed set 7-color inks really started with Pragati in Hyderabad importing two new Komori 7-color presses for printing shade cards for a paint company. This was accomplished (as I have written earlier) by using Esko’s Equinox software for the color separations. Subsequently, new 7 and 8-color presses with coaters from Heidelberg, KBA, Komori and RMGT have been installed around the country for printing on cartons.

However, when in the past two years I asked some of the leading carton printers about their reasons for  purchasing 7 and 8-color presses, (apart from the need for more units in the case of adding an in-line foiler), they were not too interested in using a fixed set of 7 color inks to expand the gamut on their presses. They were not keen to deviate from the usual scheme of C,Y,M, K and special color inks for matching brand and Pantone colors. Even at seminars where extended gamut printing was presented, there was little interest or interaction – perhaps because most serious printers who understand extended gamut printing know that while it can give a huge competitive edge, it also requires best practices, calibration and standardization of a fairly high order to be put into place.

Now that several Indian carton printers have already imported and installed 7 and 8-color presses, the concept of extended gamut printing using a fixed set of C,M,Y,K plus Orange, Green and Violet inks is starting to catch their imagination. And it is here, that Heidelberg has an opportunity to gain some traction amongst its long press customers because its Prinect prepress software already contains all the important packaging modules such as trapping and imposition as well as color management and Multicolor – its 7-color solution.

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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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.