Kunal Gandhi, Executive to President, Kunal Enterprise, talks in detail about the new technology opening new avenues and opportunities for printers in India in an exclusive interview with PRESSIdeas.
Kunal Enterprise and Saralon Gmbh – two of the leading players of the Screen Printing Industry have come together with a joint venture to provide printers in India with a range of innovative, smart printing job solutions by Printing Electronics technology. “Saralon was looking for good partners who know the printing Industry well and most importantly Screen Printing to market their technology in India,” says Kunal Gandhi, President Kunal Enterprise. “Eventually our joint venture would be coming to India upon market development and our aim is to convert India to a Printing electronics hub & give all printers innovative, smart printing job solution to Indian market,” he adds.
When we speak of printed electronics, it certainly goes beyond printed circuits. There are many applications in Printing Electronics which Saralon can cover upon customer requirement but their ready commercial products are in smart and LED packaging, labels, POS and POP applications.
“We are hearing about Smart Packaging, Labels since 2-3 years and market for it. But yet there are no players providing organised solution for the same due to lack of track design knowledge, right inks and integration with jobs to provide final application,” asserts Kunal. “Our first step is to enter in a segment which printer can easily relate to and can develop at their own premises upon market test runs. Besides, we have other solutions for different applications in Printing Electronics segment like FSR sensors, Potentiometer, Piezoelectric sensor and RFID etc.,” he reveals.
Catering to existing printing processes and changes required for adoption
As regards printing applications already specialising in specific printing technology, the solutions by KE and Saralon have been designed to cover maximum gamut of value addition in various applications. “Our main job is to provide sampling, small job runs and technology transfer, Silver ink and Conductive glue to customer so that they can develop this in-house.
This is integrable in Digital or Offset for graphics and we believe most of the printers will have either of the facilities at their place,” explains Kunal.
The technology is easily adoptable by existing set-ups and workforce with minimum necessary investment and training for existing operators. The required investment is for Screen Printing Line and Pick N Place machine. “Initially customer can do sampling, short run jobs for market test upon market demand they can do investment depends upon capacity & volume of jobs. Additional training can be provided with joint efforts of Saralon GMBH and KE team,” confirms Kunal.
The volume of investment that would be required for adoption of this technology completely depends on nature of job and application, according to Kunal. For start-ups, he however advises minimum printing background or experience. “We prefer seasoned printer who have good relationship with brand owners, advertisement agency to adopt such technology,” he says. Few of the best application areas with opportunities presently in Indian context for the technology could be:- Luxury Packaging, Anti Counterfeiting, Short Run Campaign for consumer engagement, Visual Communication application, Smart or Interactive Labels and POP & POS applications.
The technical support available for customers for smooth adoption of the technology would be designing of conductive tracks, usage of right machines and right material. “All these things play pivotal role in Printing Electronics. Our team would be responsible to advise and guide the printers on all these aspects to develop their market ready products for brand owners,” he assures.
Apart from and in addition to illuminated content on printed products, the technology by Saralon can also provide NFC card reading technology used for anti counterfeiting. “This can further provide value addition in, for example, to enable scanning with a smartphone to know details about a product or company by visiting their website etc.,” explains Kunal.
The power source – battery
Since the special effect of illumination has to be powered from a power source i.e. battery, it can be incorporated in the product as per the nature of the particular product. It can be powered by any one of these – a coin battery, AA batteries or printed battery. “But all has pros and cons considering life, cost and sleek design. Again, it depends upon nature of the product customer decides to design,” says Kunal.
The shelf life of products featuring value addition with printed electronics by KE and Saralon can be anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. “We can also place a light sensor which has a feature to operate only during daylight or when store lights are on and it can be turned off accordingly to save power and prolong battery life,” underlines Kunal.
Extra cost for end customer?
As the technology provides attractive value proposition for brands to promote themselves in a novel way obviously it would entail a price tag which would be higher than normal graphic value additions. It will nevertheless depend on the nature of job brands expect. “We believe end customers i.e brand owners are always looking for new addition,” marks Kunal.
“We expect Indian Printers who want to do something new and innovative in printing industry to invest in this technology. This will certainly give them an edge over competition while presenting to brand owners – who in turn look for something new for their product launches and campaign runs. This is not easily imitable so we would say this technology is not for anyone who doesn’t have experience in Printing Industry. Our target is to bring production of Ink and printing electronic facility in near future with help of Saralon Gmbh & provide solution to all printers,” he continues.
“We have launched this application for Indian Market in commercial and packaging segment at this moment with Saralon but we have different products for different applications, like for sensor and biomedical strips etc. It would be interesting for many to know that this can even replace electrically lit night signage in many applications.”
The technology is environmentally friendly with low environmental footprint. So far as inks are concerned, Saralon offers environment friendly inks. Whereas for customer requirements in other popular segments like PET sheets and LEDs, the recycling and disposal norms would follow the existing established standards.
Kunal concludes with these comments: “Kunal Enterprise has chosen to be in Printing Electronics segment since it involves more of Screen Printing and is going to be the next big thing in the Printing Industry. We have solutions for other products as well in Printing Electronics to answer diverse customer requirements and their target applications. We can provide entire printing setup, material and consultancy when it comes to Printing Electronics.”
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