“PAMEX 17 will be a digital feast for visitors” Kamal Chopra, president, AIFMP

–PAMEX is the flagship event held by the All India Federation of Master Printers (AIFMP) since last 23 years. So, what can the visitors expect this year, shares Kamal Chopra, president, AIFMP. PAMEX 2017 will be held from December 18-21, 2017 at Bombay Exhibition Centre, Mumbai. Here, Kamal Chopra, president, AIFMP, shares his views about the Indian printing industry and the upcoming PAMEX ’17 to be held in Mumbai shortly.

Tell us something about the future of the printing industry in general and Indian printing industry in particular?

Kamal: Print has an unequalled history of strength and believability. It has the power to shape ideas and influence action. It is important to note in today’s world of sound bites—of fleeting impressions—of here today, gone tomorrow messages – that print lasts. It is its permanence and consistency — it is its reliability that generates the power of print. No one should ever underestimate this power. Print is more live than any other time in the past, and therefore, the future of print is brighter.  Yes the system of printing and style of working is changing, because, with the transformation, our living style is changed. For example, we today have phone in the pocket while 42 years back, it was a distant dream. Infact, many of today’s printers might not be knowing about the photo typesetters, Vandyke process, use of process camera, and even image setters – these things/processes have vanished with the time, because new and more user friendly processes were innovated.

Printing in India is growing and people are taking keen interest in this key industry now. Advent of TV and Internet has not affected the growth of printing and requirement for printing professionals. The industry has made giant strides in recent times in improving its machinery in terms of the scope, technology and speed. Computers and electronics have invaded all the departments of printing, improving quality and speed of the jobs executed with the consequent enhancement of cost enormously. In fact, the arrival of computers has complemented the printing business and has played a vital role in increasing its status as a clean profession. In India, there are more than 36 printing institutes, some of them giving even post-graduate education. Every year, more than 3,500 new printing engineering graduates join this industry, while many more get on the spot training in the print shops.

The printing industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in India. It is estimated that more than 250,000 printing companies of small, medium and large sizes exist in India, with a capital investment of over USD 2 billion.  In India about 85% printing presses are family owned. According to an estimate, the printing industry in India provides direct employment to more than 1.6 million people and indirect employment to over another 1 million. The printing sector in India has developed into a growing multifaceted business. Its leaders in graphic design, print quality and capability are nearly at par with their global counterparts. India’s printing infrastructure has changed significantly over the past decade. Many high end machines have been installed and demand is growing rapidly. Digital and hybrid machines have become popular and are receiving more investment. Most of the leading players have a presence in the Indian print market.

What according to you are the strengths and weaknesses of the Indian printing industry?

Kamal: There is no dearth of talent; Indians are known for crises management and now with more young people than any other country in the world, global industry is looking at India. Strength of Indian printing and packaging industry is again the talented youth and penetration of the industry at the remotest locations of this huge country. The only difference is slow adaptation of ‘Change’ or transformation. That may be due to capital intensive machinery and non availability of latest print education. Non availability of training/education for the latest innovations and modern systems of printing, may be is the biggest weakness for printing industry of India in my view; other being the non-investment in the research and development activities. 

Coming to PAMEX 17, what is the total expanse of the fair? Are this is sync with your targets?

Kamal: The exhibition, which was only in Hall 1 at PAMEX’15 will also expand into Hall 5. The growth target of fifty percent over the last year seems well to be on course to be achieved. A larger contingent of Chinese companies than that has ever exhibited in an Indian event is expected.

What new can the exhibitors/visitors expect at the fair?

Kamal: There will be a digital feast in store for the visitors with most of the major players active in the India having already signed up. The leading brands of offset presses are all on board. While, the exhibitors are yet to reveal their plans of what they will be showing, a very large focus on post press and packaging is foregone. Expect to see a range of rigid box making machines, hard bound galley making and folding & pasting machines.

How many visitors are you expecting at the show and from which areas?

Kamal: We have planned an extensive visitor promotional campaign that includes more than 50 road shows at three levels. At the grassroots levels, we expect to extensively cover the B and C category towns in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh. At the regional level, we expect to have Road shows in larger towns like Ahmadabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Indore, Lucknow and Amritsar. International destinations will include Colombo and Dhaka. We would expect visitors from all over India and the neighbouring countries. The target is to double the footfall over the last edition.

What other efforts are taken by the organisers to make it a best-in-class show?

Kamal: Our aim is to make PAMEX truly an international event, with the support of 250,000 printers, I do feel it is possible. It is for the first time ever that we organised International Media Week at New Delhi from  August 3 to 6. International Media Week is not only important for the overseas promotion of PAMEX but, it may

pave a way to convert India as the hub for export of printing and allied services.

Any message for our readers....

Kamal: The print and media industry is changing; with the inception of internet traditional printing started declining. But, at the same time, new technologies in printing are establishing themselves. Packaging, functional printing, printed electronics, web to print, 3D printing and green printing are opening up new sectors for the printers. The concept of printing in the enterprise has undergone a major paradigm shift in the last couple of years. This has created a scenario where printers have evolved much beyond their basic printing function. My only message to the printers of the country is, “Those who resist change, will lose, what they want to keep or those who merely print will be under pressure.” 

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