Situated on the banks of river Yamuna in northern region of Uttar Pradesh, Agra is a well-known tourist destination. The city is also becoming a hub for digital print service providers as there is a lot of demand for short-run, faster turnarounds and good quality prints. Here’s more on the same. Tourists flock to Taj Mahal as moths are drawn to the flame. Infact, a visit to Agra is a must for all national and international tourists. Besides, Taj Mahal, there is much more to see in Agra. One industry that is definitely flourishing in Agra is the photo printing segment, which is now going more towards digital printing. Also, seeing the trend towards smaller print runs in commercial as well as label printing market, many digital printers have sprung up. Here, Abhinav Mallik of Print & Publishing met a few digital printing service providers in Agra to know more about this flourishing trade. Excerpts.
–First printer at Sanjay Place
Sanjay Place is considered to be a printing hub in Agra, housing more than a ton of printers, catering to not just signages, but also offset and digital. One such printer here is GM Printers, which is known to be the very first one to house in this printing hub of the city in the year of 1991. GM Graphics has a line of clients which includes corporates and government bodies. Gopal Maheswari, the owner of the firm, shares that LIC, SAIL, OSE are some of their regular clients.
Gopal has 3 offset (single color), one 4 colour Konica Minolta 528 installed at his 10 workers backed facility. “There is a need for an association for the betterment of printers in Agra,” said Gopal.
Speed Color Lab
–A vintage colour lab
A vintage color photo lab enthralling in the Agra’s photo market since 1988, Speed Color Lab has come a long way. It was earlier known as Kala Kunj, located at St John Chowk Crossing. The height of its prominence can be estimated with the fact that even the Agra authorities hired them as official photographers for several international delegates meets at Taj Mahal. During the course of that period, the color lab has a bag full of memoirs of more than 125 foreign Prime ministers and Presidents including Vladimir Putin, Bill Clinton, Lady Diana and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, amongst others.
In a tete-a-tete with the owner of this Color lab, Sanjay Goyal shared that they remain booked all year round and this being the marriage season, is the busiest. The color lab has introduced modern imaging solution and also sells an array of photo frames at their outlets.
Talking about the set up, Sanjay shared that the lab is equipped with two Xerox 700 digital colour press. The machines deliver quality CMYK prints. Besides, they also house two photo printing machines from Noristu Japan. A much grounded person, Sanjay has maintained his age-old tradition of photo business by keeping ignited the same beam of photography in their core business form.
The company is diversified not only in Agra, where they have four big units at the city’s prime spots, Speed Color Lab has made their presence in other cities like Mathura and Firozabad.
Priya Lall Grand Sons
–A century old photo lab, now run by eighth-generation
Making use of their photography skills, Vikas Khandelwal, the 8th generation owner of this one century old photo business, has taken the business to a next level of success. From a photographer to a well-known photo lab, the journey has been phenomenal.
The company has diversified into three units of Digital studio cum photography store in the vicinity of Sanjay Place, Agra. Established by his father of great grand-father some 138 years ago, the Priya Lall Grand Sons has transformed itself into a well managed, highly acclaimed photographic printing solution provider in Agra.
The diversification started with a photographic printing machine, QSS machine in 1990, which is still running successfully. Around 11-12 years back, the digital studio installed color printing machine from Xerox, which was a dry digital printing machine.
Shedding light on their assortment of quality printing machines, Vikas shared that they house Xerox digital printing machine, one unit each of Konica Minolta and Noritsu Photographic Printer, apart from this, there are few more allied photographic printing machines. At present, they have a team of 25 people, diversified in 3 units, spanning an area of 14,000 sq ft.
Though photographic printing remains their core business, the company has recently diversified to print shoe labels, tags and stickers and others. Bugati is one of their top-notch clients in the shoe label industry.
Xerox Colour Centre
–More into colour and map printing
As the name goes, Xerox Colour Centre is a digital colour lab. The proprietor of the PSP, RK Gupta shares that they started the company in 1998 with the installation of a color copier machine from Xerox which was then followed by other color copier machineries from Konica Minolta, Canon and HP in the coming year.
Majorly focusing on the color printing, Gupta has infused several services under his printing umbrella within this a span of two decades, which includes Computer designing, CADD, plotter prints and colour as well as black-and-white map copy. Talking about their core mode of business, the printer has strong agro-based clients who generally ask for their products’ labels as well as tags and others in color. Other well-known clients include ASI, ADRDE and L&T.
Gupta expressed concern over the need of a well-incorporated governing body to bring uniformity in these sporadically spread digital printers in Agra. At present, this 20 employees backed PSP has no plan to extend anywhere in near future, all they want to do is to augment more clients under their printing business.
–Offset-cum-digital printing set up
Setting a perfect example of offset blended with digital printing service provider under a single roof, Dayal Printers has served both government bodies as well as corporates in Agra. Ably run by Ritesh Dayal Agarwala, the company was started by his great grandfather BD Agarwala in 1939, the year when the world was about to face sequel of World War.
At present, Dayal Printers is facilitated with Xerox 550 digital color printing machine, besides a 15”x20” single color offset press. Business cards and other lesser volume printing job works constitutes their work profile. At present, this 1100 square feet print facility has 8 workers who are well trained to meet clients’ specific requirements. Ritesh looks forward to install more digital printing machines, preferably refurbished ones.
Bhanu Media Center
–Striving to excel
A unit of family-owned Dhanwani printing center, Bhanu Media Center has embarked successful market outreach by providing qualitative digital printing services. Talking about their present facility, Suresh Dhanwani, the owner of the Bhanu Media Centre, shared that they have full colour printing machines viz. Xerox Color C 60 and Xerox Versant 80 Press. In a recent development, Suresh has placed order for a Konica Minolta 1080 which can be seen at the facility within a couple of months.
The PSP is engaged in commercial jobs which include walk-in customers as well as their set of clients. Established in 1999, this print service provider has 12-15 employees and it’s trying its best to spread its wings.
SG Digital Machine’s
–Journey from a digital service provider to a stationery supplier
From a complete digital printing service provider to a well-known stationery supplier, the journey of SG Digital Machine’s has been remarkable in a span of 12 years. Established in 2005 with the installation of Canon 6060 black-and-white printer and Canon 1155 color printer, the company has come a long way. The company now boasts of ultra-modern printing machineries viz. Konica Minolta Bizhub 220, Konica Minolta Bizhub 405 and MFC-J3520 InkBenefit from Brother.
In order to meet black-and-white print needs for walk in customers, the PSP has an array of IR (Image Runner) series of printing machines from Canon viz. IR 6000, 2870, 105, 2525 at the facility. More recently, they have added thermal printing machine at their facility, told Sachin.
–working effortlessly 24x7
While talking about the printing industry of Agra, we cannot fail to mention Darpan Printers, which houses two Adast Dominant multicolor offset machines. The printer, who is better known for making use of every single minute and which claims to be active 24x7, has recently installed a multi color Komori Enthrone 429 20”x29” sheet fed printing press. The printer is situated at one of the prime spot of Agra’s Loha Mandi, has 350 to 400 agents in their loop which includes some of the big shots like Max Media, Medi Pack and Technocrat. At present, they have a team of 65 people and the company is planning to install one more Komori press with the same configuration.
Graphic Media Hub
–New but quality at par
Graphic Media Hub can be counted as one of the flourishing entrepreneurs in Agra who has defined a new section of digital printing. Erstwhile, working as a graphic designer in Speed Color Lab, Piyush Garg established this company in the year 2014 to tap the biggies of the corporate world. Vishal Megamart, Aditya Birla, Yepme, Pantaloons are enlisted in their consistent client list.
Piyush shared that they excel in barcodes, stickers, tapes as well as wrapping papers – all produced through digital printing.
At present, they house Xerox 550, Xerox 5745, and more recently Xerox 560. On asking about their loyalty to a particular company ‘Xerox’, Piyush shared that he finds it quite easy to get good after sales service of Xerox, besides the machines being user friendly. On asking about his future plans, Piyush replied that they are planning to install a laser cutting machine for designing and cutting of shoes.