Going for growth with fleet of Prisma presses

Successful completion of major project at DB Group

(PresseBox) ( Würzburg, )
In December 2007 Diligent Media Corporation and DB Corporation, two enterprises owned by Indian media major Dainik Bhaskar Group (DB Group), signed a contract with KBA for seven Prisma newspaper presses, totalling 25 printing towers, for multiple locations. The first Prisma, a fourtower configuration, went live in December 2008 at the group's Bangalore operation, and was followed in July 2009 by an eighttower press in Jaipur. On 14 November last year the biggest installation, comprising three sections and nine towers, was officially inaugurated at the group's production plant in Ahmedabad, northwest India. The ceremony was attended by over 2,000 representatives from politics, business and the media industry.

The new press line, which has nine reelstands, one double folder, one single folder and four control consoles, was set in motion by Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of India's businessfriendly Gujarat state. The commemorative publication printed at the inauguration illustrated the course of the project from the initial investment decision to successful completion. The inaugural ceremony in the presence of DB Group chairman Ramesh Chandra Agarwal and guests of honour from all over India was an event of major significance for the fastgrowing Indian newspaper industry.

Cuttingedge newspaper press technology...

The doublewidth, singlecircumference KBA newspaper presses in Bangalore (Karnataka), Jaipur (Rajasthan) and Ahmedabad (Gujarat) are the most technologically advanced of their kind in the country. The fleet of Prismas is also evidence of the steep growth trajectory pursued by the Indian print media, particularly in the northwestern and southwestern states. While the newspaper industry in many European countries, the USA and Japan has been severely hit by competition from the internet, with many titles seeing their circulations steadily dwindle, printed newspapers in a densely populated country such as India still offer huge potential for growth fuelled by increasing prosperity.

...for ambitious growth strategy

This major investment in three brandnew printing plants highlights the determination shown by DB Corporation and Diligent Media Corporation to secure a sizeable slice of the expanding media pie. They are planning to use the Prismas' formidable colour capabilities and high productivity to boost the circulations of their many titles, which include India's biggest Hindi newspaper, Dainik Bhaskar, Gujarat's leading regional title, Divja Bhaskar, and an Englishlanguage daily, DNA (Daily News & Analysis), which also includes an entertainment section, After Hours, and a business section, DNA Money. The DNA titles, which first hit the streets in 2005, quickly established a foothold in the market and have become a serious challenger to the Times of India which was first published back in 1838.

In the words of Girish Agarwaal, DB Group director, the entire Prisma project has been an unmitigated success: "We are all delighted at being able to complete such a major investment bang on time despite a challenging economic environment. Our awardwinning marketing strategies have been highly effective, and in tandem with our highpowered KBA press technology give us grounds for boundless optimism. Over the next few years we are confident of maintaining or even enhancing the growth trajectories we have achieved in the print sector in previous years. For us, the printed word is still the most authentic way of disseminating information."

The best choice

Although the DB Group originally focussed on production plants in Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Jaipur, after conducting a painstaking market survey the final choice was changed to Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Bangalore. Of the seven Prisma press lines ordered, six were brought on stream within the space of one year. The location for the seventh press has not yet been confirmed. R D Bhatnagar, DB Group CTO, is certain that, of the possible options offered by German and Japanese press manufacturers, the KBA Prisma was by the far the best choice: "The production figures prove that we made the right decision. Our expectations have not just been fulfilled, they have often been surpassed. Technology, price/performance ratio and delivery deadlines were most closely aligned with our specifications."

Dinesh Sharma, DB Group head of production, emphasises the troublefree collaboration with KBA: "The timing, installation quality, commissioning and training were excellent at every facility. The project culminated in the startup of the ninetower Prisma installation in Ahmedabad, and technical acceptance took place twelve months to the day after the startup of the first press in Bangalore. For our company this represented the harmonious completion of a circle."

Rapid transition to new technology

Sharad Patel, who is responsible for engineering at the Ahmedabad plant, says: "Thanks to the outstanding training provided by KBA instructors, our press operators mastered the transition without a hitch. Alongside their much bigger colour capabilities the Prisma presses offer us unprecedented format flexibility and output levels. Our production line in Ahmedabad can print as many as 85,000 copies per hour, each with up to 72 fullcolour pages in three sections. The prefolding facilities in the KF 5 folders allow us to print quadruple spread ads or posters, which gives us additional layout options."

A leader, not a follower

Rakesh Singh, head of production in Gujarat State, says: "The feedback from readers, advertisers and other newspaper publishers following the production start of the first Prisma presses has been overwhelmingly positive, they have all shown tremendous interest. Since the new press line came on stream at our plant in Ahmedabad more than 5,000 visitors have come to see the Prismas in action. We have become a showcase for cuttingedge KBA newspaper press technology in India and are helping to open the door for KBA to a market with enormous growth potential. This is typical of the DB Group mentality: we are a leader, not a follower."
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