The published articles are meant to primarily educate the students in printing to supplement their knowledge in the field of Printing. These are not simple Glossary of printing terms, but to the extent possible every term has been explained in brief so that it can be of some use to the students who appear in some sort of examinations and interviews.
I served the Printing Industry for over 40 years
in various capacities, a major part in an Security Printing Organization. In order not to waste the printing and paper related knowledge which I gained over years, I decided to keep them in public domain for the reason stated in prepara. Most of the illustrations - over 90% - have been generated by me to explain the terms suitably.
While I am not sure to what extent the published content will help, if the content is going to be of use to some one in some manner, I will be greatly satisfied.
Your views may be sent to me ( for my record and correction wherever needed.



- Over 400 terms-

Click on this line to read from 'A'

Monday, January 30, 2017

Print Industry - 3

[This is third of the four part article on 'Print Industry' which analyzes how the growth of several industries like Pharmaceutical, Label printing, Food products, Consumer products, Book publications, Periodicals, News Paper and Packaging industries inter se help the growth of Printing Industry in India --- N.R. Jayaraman

Packaging Industry :

The next major sector that contribute to the growth of the print industry is the Packaging industry. Few industries, varying in nature together not only depend upon, but also play important role for the growth of the packaging industry. Those industries and Packaging industry are inseparable since the growth of each other interalia depends upon each other, a two way path. Such industries are Pharma, Label Printing, Food items –ready to use to provisions, general fast moving products like Agarbathi, Matches and Cigarettes, Cosmetic, Clothes etc all of which require Labels or printed Cartons which can be supplied only by the Packaging industry. The packing and the designs over them play  an important role for increased sales. If the designs are fresh, eye catching and colorful with unique art work, they attract the attention of the buyers.

While the Packaging industry is reportedly growing by approximately 5 % per annum, on a conservative estimate of experts the Indian Printing Industry is growing at a rate of 12% per annum. Thus at the outset it may become clear that the print industry in its growth has contribution from the Packaging industry to the extent of 5 % while the remaining 7 % is contributed by other sectors.  

Even though the conservative estimate place the growth of the packaging industry at 5 % per annum, few other entrepreneurs in the packaging  industry claim that the packaging industry is growing at the phase of 14 to 15% per annum. According to the claim of Indian Packaging Institute too the Indian Packaging industry is growing at 15 % per annum. The packaging industry hopes to double up their growth in the next two to three years as the demand of packing is ever increasing. 

Read what the Packing Industry Association (PIAI) says in this respect:-


Packaging is among the high growth industries in India and developing @ 22-25% per annum and becoming a preferred hub for packaging industry. Currently the 5th largest sector of India's economy, the industry has reported steady growth over past several years and shows high potential for much expansion, particularly in the export market.


The growth of packaging industry is a boon to the print industry as nearly 70 to 80 % of the packed items require corrugated boxes or Card board cartons whose faces are printed in one way or the other by the processes like Flexo, Offset, Gravure etc besides labels affixed on them. Remaining 20- 30 % of the products are on flexible and rigid packing like glass bottles, cans, metallic collapsible tubes, some metallic or plastic foil covered etc which too are pre printed directly on their surface or marked by some mechanism. Even in the case of those 20- 30 %, a part of them carry labels or stickers over them. Therefore they come under the ambit of Label printing industry, another constituent which helps the growth of the print industry.  When we speak at the growth of packaging sector, we may have to also take into consideration  the growth of several  industries whose  product or material is not sold in India or world over without some sort of printed packing or printed cartons. Again remember that no product in the industry is sold without sealed pack in some form or foils of different varieties or disposable wraps.

One of the reports mention that during last two decades the growth in Printing industry has been in the range of 12%, while the printing linked Packaging as 16 %. Similarly the Printing Ink manufacturing industry's growth is also  around 12.5 % as per the Printing Ink Manufacturers association. Thus when we separately dwell into the aspect of the growth of the later two main sectors- packaging and Ink manufacture-   it becomes clear that the average growth of them may not  be less than 12 % in any case and thus they help for the growth of the print industry.  Corrugated board  manufacturing and cardboard and pulp board manufacturing units which are the basic raw material for the packaging material are also reportedly growing by over 8%. The flexible packaging industry's growth is in excess of 15%. 
On the growth of printing and packaging industry it has been stated in PAMEX 2017 ( that :

...............The Indian printing industry is increasingly being driven by growth in packaging and labels. The print media also continues to grow at a healthy annual pace of four percent. As its growth trends continue to be well over the world averages, in print volume terms, India is set to become the fifth largest market by 2018 moving up five notches from its present tenth slot. Therein lays a great opportunity for the Indian & International print suppliers..........

...............The greatest growth opportunities for print products are concentrated around revenues from print packaging and print publishing (specifically newspaper printing), with the growth potential in package printing, which is expected to increase 7.8% between 2012 and 2017........

.............The market size of the package printing sector is expected to increase from INR 53,374 crore in 2012 to 77,714 crore in 2017, and will make up 43% of total print product sales in 2017.............

.............Within the package printing sector, label and tags printing is expected to grow the most quickly of any product, at a rate of 11%, a result of increased demand from the emerging middle class in the region and India itself. ..................

......Insert printing and corrugated package printing are also forecast to have high growth rates, again reflecting the expanding segment of the population in the region capable of, and interested in, greater consumer consumption. This factor also accounts for the rapid growth of magazine printing, which is expected to grow 8.4% between 2012 and 2017.......

.....The publishing printing market size is supposed to grow from INR 20,859 crore in 2012 to 27,607 crore in 2017 with population increase, rising literacy rates and a growing economy.......

As per the report of Mr Ramesh Kumar Thakur, General Manager, District Industries Center (Mahepura Shaharsa), the market share of packaging media is as below. This chart has been prepared based on the data contained in his report:

Pharmaceutical industry 

As explained earlier one of the constituents under the Packaging industry is Pharmaceutical industry which is ever growing  not only in India but also around the globe. The moderate assessment worked out in the year 2005 on the growth of the Pharma industry in India revealed that this industry  was poised for a growth of 15 per cent per annum beginning from the year 2005 till 2020 and expected to outperform the Global Pharma industry, which is set to grow at an annual rate of 5 per cent during the same period. India is among the top 20 Pharmaceutical exporting countries and the exports have grown up very significantly at a CAGR of around 19% in the 11th plan period.

The printed cartons covering   both Ayurveda and Allopathic drugs in the form of tablets, capsules, orals and injectibles are made up of paper board, cardboard etc. Even though some drugs have aluminum foil or thin metallic foils as covering material they too carry some print with illustrations on them in multi colours. Most of them are printed by Offset or Letterpress, or Gravure while some carry Screen print and Flexo printing. The metallic and aluminum foils are printed by special machines and the printing is akin to rubber stamping process but printed by Flexo printing technique. The growth in the medication consumption has direct impact to the growth of the print industry. As the demand for more medicinal product increases, the supply chain demands more printed cartons and information leaflets to be inserted inside the packs. The print industry thus gets a boost from the growth of this sector.

At India pack 2013, the then Indian Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Dr D. Purandeswari, said

.............The Indian packaging industry is expected to grow at 12.3% CAGR during next 4-5 years to become the fourth largest global market, with sales of $42.7 billion. The Indian packaging industry constitutes about 4 percent of the global packaging industry. The growth of printing industry largely depends on the packaging printing that includes the metal container and fabric printing........

On the growth of Pharmaceutical industry, an organization called India Brand Equity Foundation reported ( thus:-

The Indian pharmaceuticals market is the third largest in terms of volume and thirteenth largest in terms of value, as per a report by Equity Master. India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally with the Indian generics accounting for 20 per cent of global exports in terms of volume. Of late, consolidation has become an important characteristic of the Indian pharmaceutical market as the industry is highly fragmented.

The Indian pharmaceuticals market increased at a CAGR of 17.46 per cent during 2005-16 with the market increasing from US$ 6 billion in 2005 to US$ 36.7 billion in 2016 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 15.92 per cent to US$ 55 billion by 2020.

One of the statistics on Phrama Industry from the Planning Commission reveal that the growth of this industry is indirectly helping the growth of the print industry.

(Data Courtesy:
Food, Cosmetics, 
ready made clothing industries etc

The other important group of industries under the package industry which indirectly contribute to the growth of the print industry is the Food packaging, Personal care, Liquid packing, ready made clothes, Baby food, Agricultural products and and many other items general in nature. No product is sold without a print over their outer pack.

The Food industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11 per cent.  Export of food items from India is also growing fast and in the export of Food items in India  reportedly ranks 12th in the World list of exports. Therefore the Food industry requires more and more printed packaging material and this helps in the growth of the print industry.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Print Industry - 2

[This is the second of the four part article on 'Print Industry' which analyzes how the growth of several industries like Pharmaceutical, Label printing, Food products, Consumer products, Book publications, Periodicals, News Paper and Packaging industries inter se help the growth of Printing Industry in India  --- N.R. Jayaraman]
News papers and other Periodicals 

The ever increasing reading habit in general can be attributed to higher rate of literacy. It has also come as a boon for the increased production of Newspapers and other Periodicals & Publications. One of the most important sectors, Newspapers and Periodicals publications, which is responsible for the growth of the print industry is published with the backbone of the well organised in house print houses. According to one survey, the readership of newspapers and magazines have gone up by 15% per annum. As on 31st March, 2015 a total of 105,443 newspapers and periodicals that include bi monthlies, tri monthlies and weekly magazines and periodicals were reportedly published in India. This figure is based on News papers and Periodicals actually registered with the Registrar of News papers of India. Even though the entire periodicals are not printed in house printing presses equipped with machineries and equipments of their own, still a majority of the News Paper and periodicals have most advanced print houses to publish their own publications while the other periodicals get their publications printed from thousands of quality printing houses in major metros in India on contract or rental basis.

Survey of top 10-12 National News papers and Periodicals published on national level revealed that the increase in the circulation was 8% on an average per annum from 2013 till 2014. This information is based on the data from the Audit Bureau of Circulation. Similarly the circulation of the local news papers have also gone up by 3.5 % during the same period. Remember that the Digital publications or their increase in readership have not been accounted for growth of print industry. Only the increase in the circulation of the printed News papers and Periodicals have been accounted as they aid the growth of print industry as every increase in the quantum of copies needs to be actually printed on some kind of printing machines.

As per one of the documents titled “Review of The Press in India (2008 to 2012): Report submitted to ‘The Press Council of India”, it is learnt that 2.5 billion people read print edition of the News Papers regularly, while 2.2 billion read them online. Though the habit of reading online is also increasing and their nos competing with the circulation of the print edition of the News papers, still in the competition between Digital publication and the print editions, the print edition of the News paper circulation has gone up by 4.2 % per annum between 2007 to 2011.

The report published in ‘Economic Times’ news paper dated 31st May, 2016 states that :

................Circulation of print publications, which include newspapers and magazines, has been growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR)* of 5.04 % over the past eight years, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC). The agency attributed the growth to launch of new titles and expansion of existing ones.

..............The print medium grew and expanded in India despite stiff competition from other media such as television, radio and digital media.
-: Unquote

* The Compound Annual Growth Rate shortly called CAGR is a useful measure of growth over multiple time periods. It can be thought of as the growth rate that gets you from the initial investment value to the ending investment value if you assume that the investment has been compounding over the time period.

A total number of 22,787 publications furnished their circulation figures online for the year 2014-15 to Audit Bureau of Circulation claiming total circulation of 51,05,21,445 copies. During the period 2013-14 the claim of circulation was 45,05,86,212 copies per publishing day. When we compare the circulation of these two periods, 13.30 per cent increase in circulation is seen during 2014-15 compared to the previous year.

As per the data available from, the circulation of registered publications from the year 2005-6 till 2013-14 showed gradual growth from 6% onward up to 13 % with an average of an average of 12.58 % indicating that the contribution of News Papers and Publications to the growth of the print industry could be around 12.58 %. 
( The above illustration is based on Data from: )
Thus though different opinions gave varying figure on the average growth of the News Papers and Publications, all their projections are fluctuating between minimum 5 % to maximum 12.58 %. We can therefore safely assume that the growth would not have been less than 8 % per annum on a conservative estimate. All the above information will reveal that the increased circulation of the News Papers and Periodicals increases the print demand which indeed supports print industry’s growth.

Newspaper industry is the only industry in the world which recorded highest growth in terms of copies circulated and this growth remained consistent even during global recession, irrespective of newspaper being published at local, national or even at global level. It is reported that during the period between 1941 - 2013 at gross national level, they have shown a growth of 18.78 % per annum.

School and College Text Books,
Educational books, Research papers,
other fiction, non-fiction publications

Besides News papers and Periodicals, there is great demand for printed material for schools and colleges and other educational institutions. There is a growing demand from the readers for several general category of books on fiction and nonfiction too. There are en no of publishers who publish fiction and nonfiction books on several subjects and various titles. The higher production of all those publications contribute to the growth of print industry. If one has to assess the growth of the print industry on account of publication of educational books, it is necessary to briefly look into the growth of educational institutions and students enrolled in them.

One of the salient findings of 'Seventh All India School Education Survey' with reference date of 30th September 2002 as released by NCERT revealed that as on 2002 there were 1,030,996 recognized primary, upper primary, secondary and higher secondary schools operating in this country.

It pointed out that compared to the no of schools that existed in the year 1993 when 'Sixth All India School Education Survey' was conducted, a growth of 50.68 per cent was seen in the year 2002. (Data Courtesy:

The data of the 'Press Information Bureau' dated Friday, 22nd January, 2010 on the growth percentage of Primary schools and upward institutions revealed that during the period 2002-03 there were 853,601 schools, it rose to 1,196,663 in 2006-07 and during during 2008-09 the same went up to 1,285,576 schools. If we take into consideration the period 2002-03 as base year for calculation (100 %), then the growth of educational institutions in the period 2006-07 show an increase of 10.45 % per annum (03-04, 04-05, 05-06,06-07) on an average, while in the period 2008-09 the growth was 7.43 %. 

As per the statistics of the Ministry of Human Resources, the growth of educational institutions and enrollment of students for higher studies in Professional Colleges and Universities from the period 1950-51 to 2007-08 show an increase of nearly 38 % in a span of 58 years if we take the figure of 1950-51 as 100 % (base year for calculation) and 2007-08 as end period for comparison.

The following two charts have been prepared based on the inputs from the statistics on the higher education released by the Ministry of Human Resources development. The charts will show how the growth has taken place in the sphere of higher educational field.

When more institutions come up and enrollment in them continue to grow in all spheres of education from Primary education schools to Professional Colleges and Universities, naturally the need for the printed text books and study material including research papers and related summary books too will keep on increasing thereby substantially contributing to the growth of the print industry.

One of the survey reports – Perspectives on Publishing in India 2014- 2015 presented by the German Book Office showed the following breakup for the General book market. This supports the impression that the educational book printing dominates the General Book Market and is ever increasing as more educational institution come up and more no of students get enrolled. 

When we see the entire list of data mentioned in pre paras, it becomes clear that in the General group of publications other than News Paper and Periodicals, the educational books of all nature dominate the list in contributing higher share to the growth of the print market. India has about 16,000 publishers who publish several books in over 30 languages. Every year about 77,000 books are published in India. However the Federation of Indian Publishers claims that there are approx. 19,000 publishing houses in India and are publishing approximately 90,000 titles as printed books. The higher figure augers well for the growth of the print industry.

As per a report published in the Business standard dated 10th January, 2016, the compounded book market growth was 20.4 per cent between 2011–12 and 2014–15. The report further stated thus:

............there are 9,000 publishers, over 21,000 retailers and 22 official languages, and if you include regional dialects, the total is 1,600. Literacy in India is raising rapidly, from 65 per cent in 2001 to 74 per cent in 2011, and it is predicted to reach 90 per cent in 2020...............
-: Unquote

Therefore if we consider the entire scenario we would realise that besides News Papers and BI, Tri weekly and monthly Periodicals, the printed Educational books and fiction and nonfiction books of many varieties and nature substantially contribute to the growth of print industry. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Print Industry - 1

[This four part article on 'Print Industry' analyzes how the growth of several industries like Pharmaceutical, Label printing, Food products, Consumer products, Book publications, Periodicals, News Paper and Packaging industries inter se help the growth of Printing Industry in India. Some of the information contained in these articles are based on data derived from several other sources and wherever they have been used, due acknowledgement has also been given. This article has been published with the intent to provide few inputs to the research students community in Printing for compilation of thesis or any such material needed for pursuing higher studies --- N.R. Jayaraman]

Print industry in India is poised for a big leap in the next few years, and its growth depends not only on the development of machineries and equipments, but also on the printed material produced. The invention of several sophisticated printing machines has helped the print industry to increase the production and transform the pattern of information distribution. Equipping presses with sophisticated machineries and equipments alone will not be suffice, but their effective use coupled with methodologies deployed too are needed for the the optimum utilization of those machineries and equipments for the productivity in shortest time.

Actually the saga of the growth of the print industry in India emerged only after the arrival of the missionaries from Europe. The establishment of presses and growth of printing began from the then called state of Bengal in India when several British offices under the alien rule were initially established there and they needed their own machineries to print official documents and other such material most of which were mostly black and white format. This slowly spread to other areas where their offices were established. Though the first modern press reportedly entered in Goa which was under Portuguese occupation in India in the year 1556, the credit for the printing of the first book in India certainly goes to a German born Christian missionary named Ziegenbalg who perhaps printed a full book in the year 1716 in Thanjavur district of South India, so say the researchers in printing. If one stretch back their childhood memory, they would remember during the periods 1950-1960, thousands and thousands of printed leaflets, pamphlets and booklets carrying the contents of Bible in several titles, filled with attractive illustrations, printed in smaller presses were distributed free of cost in India by the missionaries in various languages propagating Christianity. Thus the dawn of mass communication through print format as practiced by the Britishers and missionaries in India began to spread during conversion of people to Christianity beginning from several parts of South India and the Eastern regions.
From late 1800, the art of publishing books began to spread and rapidly expanded over next few decades. Compared to many other countries more no of recognized and private printing institutions to impart print education from simple certificate course in printing to B. Tech. Printing technology and M.Tech printing technology began to emerge in India, spread over in several states. Since Printing is part of the mass communication process in which technical skills holds the prime importance, well over 50 recognized institutions impart education and training on printing. It is estimated that on an average 4000 to 5000 students come out of these institutions per annum and enter into the print industry comprising of  small, medium to big- spread over in several states. The effective role of the trained personnel is utmost importance for the growth of any industry and thus the same is rightly performed by the educational institutions in printing.

The printing industry has undergone revolutionary changes and began to bloom forward from the year 1900 when several reforms were introduced by the govt of India. Globally Indian Printing Industry ranks amongst the top ten countries with USA leading top of the table. One of the reports states that the print industry in India grew by nearly 73 % till the year 2011 if one compared the growth from the period 2006. It will be interesting to read one of the documents titled ''Review of The Press in India (2008-2012): Report submitted to  'The Press Council of India' by the Department of Communication and Journalism, University of Pune,  compiled for the period 2008-2012" that explains that the effects of slump in global economy in the year 2009 were also felt in Indian news paper industry which contributes substantially to the growth of print industry. It further stated that the growth of the News Paper industry remained flat in 2009, but in the next year when things settled down, the News Paper industry rose by 11.7 % contributing its share to the print industry by 89.3 %. Amazing!  As per the same document the overall size of the print industry which was valued as  178.7 billion Indian rupees in 2009 registered a growth of 11.7 percent equivalent to the value of  161.5 billion Indian rupees in the year 2010. The same document cited a report from E & M (Entertainment and Media) sector projecting a growth of 9.2 % per annum for the print industry ending up to the period 2016. Indeed very interesting forecast on the growth of print industry. We have to wait for reports for the period 2016 to know whether the forecast has come true. Newer technologies in printing emerged from several countries during last two decades with the intent to enhance the production with quality and speed in delivery, the concept which was well utilized by Indian printers. This approach laid perfect road map for the growth of the print industry in India.

There are several factors responsible for the growth of the print industry, one being the higher rate of literacy which actually induces interest in the reading habit. The sudden spurt of several printed Publications, Periodicals and News Papers in various languages besides E publishing during last one decade can be attributed to this aspect- higher rate of literacy.

Over the years, the Printing Industry has rapidly grown in all parts of Globe and so was in India. With allied industries like Printing Machinery Manufacturing, Packaging industries, Paper manufacturing, Ink manufacturing and manufacturing of raw materials and consumables for printing growing steadily, India has emerged second in the growth of this industry in the world market.

The Printing Industry in India, one of the biggest and fastest growing sectors is estimated to have 225,000 to 250,000 printing presses of small, medium and large sizes if the registration of the presses are taken into consideration. However according to conservative estimates these figures could be anywhere near 200,000 only since it is quite possible that many in-house printing presses included in the list of 225,000 to 250,000 presses may not have been registered with the Registrar of Shops and Establishments act and operating as non registered print houses or cottage industry to avoid taxation and other formalities. Some of the registered print houses may also be existing only on paper for the sake of deriving revenue or other benefits from the govt like advertisements and license for the importation of newsprint paper etc. They thus cannot be taken into consideration  for fair assessment for the growth of the print industry. It is also true that in India about 75% of the printing presses are family owned.

The assessment of one forum called ‘The Federation of Asia Print Exhibitions, China (’ while commenting on the growth of the print industry in India states that:-

............The Indian Printing Industry revenue growth rate has consistently outpaced national GDP growth. As per one of the Economic Survey reports, the Print Industry’s growth rate was between 12 to 13% per annum in the year 2011. It is generally projected in all surveys that the overall growth in Printing Industry since 1990 has been to the extent of 12 to 14% per annum including allied industries. As per one of the Economic survey reports, the current annual turnover in Printing Industry has been to the tune of 50,000 crores in Indian rupees. As per another report available, the Capital Investment in this industry is over 83,000 Million rupees and a third report mentions the figure as 80,000 Million rupees (ITPO). The collective growth of Indian printing and packaging industries has a compound growth rate of over 13% .........

.......... The Indian printing industry may reach 374 Billion in Indian rupees by the end of 2018 ...........
'The Print Industries Market Information and Research Organization (PRIMIR)', Virginia, USA is a premier market research association of the graphic communications industry. According to their assessment, the Print market growth in India which slowed down during global financial crisis will again grow up at the rate of 6.8 % from the year 2017. They have also projected the growth of two sectors Packaging and Publishing to grow by 7.8 % during the same period. 

Let us now  see how the growth of some of the industries or sectors substantially contribute to the growth of the print industry. 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Know the latest development in the print world

Frequently some development or the other keeps on emerging upgrading the systems or technology in printing to help the printers improve the productivity with speed without compromising the quality so that they too can be a competitor for best bench marking to attract more customers. Automation on machines have been introduced to partially or fully replace the hereto performed manual activities on machines to speed up and regulate the flow of work. Generation and analysis of data directly from the machines are also made available through inbuilt systems on machines for speedier and trusted data. The generation of such data enables the printers to analyze them for effecting improvements wherever it is possible to effectively compete in the world of stiff competition.

In this direction, pioneers in the field of manufacturing and supply of printing machines and equipments, M/s Heidelberg, Germany has come out with a system that enables the printer across the world to compare their performance with that of other presses where same type of printing machines as theirs are deployed for production. The data thus accessed for comparison from a level playground will help the presses to improve their productivity. The system offered by Heidelberg is called ‘Prinect Performance Bench marking’. Few technical requirements are necessary for participating in the Prinect Performance Bench marking programme. The presses must be equipped with Speed master printing machines and those Speed master presses should have Heidelberg’s web-based remote service which is to be activated, and that they should be equipped with software version S10A or later for the Prinect Press Centre.

The presses which have engaged Speed Master machines for productive activities if agree to participate in the performance analysis programme, will have to activate the data transfer process through remote service technology so that the production data and performance of the machines are transferred to the main server installed in Heidelberg central unit. Remember that the central server at Heidelberg which receives the performance detail of the printing presses around the world are on a completely protected database and no information will be  used without the consent of the specific printer. As and when the data and the performance of all the connected machines automatically get transferred to the main server, the server continue to update the bench marking data by continuous evaluation of the data stored in the server. Thus performance of various presses connected with the central server over the chosen parameters is compared with the average performance of other presses whose identity will however remain anonymous, and the best performer from among them will be identified.

One can certainly ask as to how this kind of data transfer will help the presses ? By participating in this programme the performance analysis of similar machines in other presses will be available to the presses who have also installed the same type of machines. Using the Internet-based Prinect Performance Bench marking data from Heidelberg, the presses can compare their own performance with the same set of technologies and machines, and this might actually help the printer to catalyze the production in their units by reworking or modifying the methodologies or technologies wherever possible to compete with the best printer.

Is there possibility of misuse of data or information of any particular press ? Heidelberg says that the printer can be rest assured about the security and confidentiality of the data extracted from their machines. Heidelberg has ensured that appropriate and effective security measures have been put to place to keep the actual inputs confidential, and the said data is not used for any other commercial purpose other than for Performance Bench marking evaluation of their machines. No other participant can gain access to any other information of those presses.

M/s Heidelberg states:
All Speed master presses supplied by Heidelberg are connected through Remote Services to the Prinect productivity server in Heidelberg. When you switch on the OK sheet counter, production data automatically starts getting recorded. It then gets transferred to the productivity server on a daily basis, and the evaluation is done on the server. Printers who choose to participate can access the productivity server themselves through the Internet. The Prinect Online Portal is designed such that you can see the production report from your press displayed alongside the anonymous comparison data. This allows you to compare the performance to the average productivity of the connected presses, and also with the best performer of the lot.
:-un Quote

One can certainly ask ‘how could the comparison be possible when each press print different types of jobs, each varying in quantities, have their own standard of working etc even though the machineries are same like the best bench marked press’ ?

For example on a specific size of paper used, one press may print only two pages laid out work, other may print multiple ups, say four pages but smaller in size and others even twelve up playing card size job work or product labels. How then could the comparison of productivity be possible?

Generally the self performance assessment is carried out by the presses using annual expenditure and income - as final yardstick. Taking into consideration several factors the presses work out the cost of printing either per page or per 1000 sheets of specific sized paper  which includes profit/ loss margins. This is compared with the cost of printing of the same with other presses to assess where the improvements could be carried out to reduce the cost to compete with the presses who offer lesser rates than them. However the cost of printing, either per page or per 1000 sheets of specific sized paper that includes profit/ loss margins may vary over the years, not necessary that it will only escalate, it may even come down. Therefore a breakeven limit where execution of job at 'x' rate will not incur loss will be derived by compiling data of several similar jobs of same size and same quantity executed at various period of time before arriving at the breakeven limit figure.

The data will be continuously generated over a period of time for exactly similar or same job to arrive at the average rating even though every time when the same job is produced there may be variations and fluctuations altering the average rating. The breakeven limit is mid cost derived between highest cost incurred and the lowest cost incurred for executing the same or similar job with same quantities executed by the press. Year after year cost escalation of 2-3 % on account of escalation of prices of material and cost incurred on labour could alter the overall cost of producing the same job and they are taken into consideration before drawing the line of breakeven limit. Only after this factor -breakeven limit- is stabilized, then the comparison with others on performance will be attempted and accordingly review of working and other corrective measures are introduced. The exercise takes time for those who desire to be in the field and effectively compete for best bench marking.

In this manner when the data is generated by the press for each specific type of job they have produced, there will be set of data available for each kind of job produced which will form the basis of the chart for comparison. Remember, the figures may continue to change each time a fresh order is processed because of variations in the cost of material procured.

When exactly similar job is produced in a press having same type of machineries and equipments then whenever the same type of job is produced by them, they can compare break even limit cost of  others provided such data is available. If made available and analyzing the data they can track down the critical factors that hike their cost and take corrective measures to improve the working to reduce the cost to remain competitive. This is the general principle and theory practiced to remain a competitor in the race of front runners in attracting the customers. 

On the flip side the general comparison for overall performance of presses is also done based on only few factors like :

  • overall size and type of machineries deployed- fully automatic or semi automatic kind of machines- 
  • single colour or multi colour machines 
  • average speed on which the machines are run 
  • no of jobs produced per annum total output achieved per annum clubbing all jobs 
  • average output achieved per annum 
  • annual loss of machine hours lost due to breakdown -separate figures for technical problems and malfunction of machineries 
  • average no of personnel deployed per annum 
  • type of process deployed 
  • type of substances used for printing 
  • type of ink used- quick drying, UV drying or other means of drying 
  • average expenditure incurred on men and material per annum
While the author is not sure what parameters are considered and applied for generating data for bench marking of the presses who participate in the programme of bench marking introduced by Heidelberg, the concept of comparison of performance, based on data from very similar machines across the world is something new in the print world introduced by them.

In today’s competitive print environment, knowing what the costs are and how to optimize the use of equipment and machineries has become essential in establishing sustainable business practices to ensure long term success for the press. Heidelberg claims that ‘with their press reporting technology, print managers can decipher exactly what each print job costs to produce, both in materials and in time. Heidelberg further claim that the benefits are many for the presses who agree to participate in this programme. 

It is reported that the Prinect reporting solutions provide independent and unbiased reports and are easily accessible on a computer with internet connection. With a high level of graphics displaying details of data they are easy to read. In today’s stiff competitive world of printing environment, where runs are getting shorter and costs are increasing, it is more essential to know exactly at what level the operational costs are to be contained to have an edge over others for establishing sustainable business. The data from others are needed for time to time evaluation and to effect changes in the working procedures wherever needed without affecting the overall working atmosphere. Access to this kind of detailed data enables the presses to streamline productivity for maximizing the profits by reducing the wastage to deliver enhanced service to customers to retain the hold on them.

According to Heidelberg some of the benefits of this exercise are:

  • Direct comparison of productivity on the basis of the latest data 
  • Options to choose the comparison parameters for your machines 
  • Transparency of national and international markets 
  • Regular updating of anonymous benchmarks, giving you a standard to compare against 
  • Adjustable comparison classes 
  • Availability of effective tools that let you optimize your processes and cut costs