Bhatia Graphica, Mumbai taps the growing flexo prepress demand by investing in Esko CDI Spark, DuPont processor and DuPont exposure, dryer and light finisher unit.
Bhatia Graphica got established in the year 1997 by the father son duo – Mr.Ram Bhatia and Mr.Jitendra Bhatia. Ram Bhatia had an association with Patel Extrusion where he worked as an Art Director, before he decided to start his own business. It was the same year when Jitendra Bhatia completed his graduation and he immediately joined his father in the business. They commenced their journey by providing zinc plates to the dry offset printing industry, especially to the aluminium collapsible tube printers. Later they diversified into photopolymer plates. As they progressed they added a couple of imagesetters and Nylon (photo-polymer) platemaking facility in house. They were among the first to have a dedicated facility under one roof for all prepress needs of the printing industry.
The major milestone came with the investment in Xeikon Thermoflexx in the year 2014. “It was a first-of-its-kind CTP (Computer-To-Plate) machine from Xeikon in the country at our premises,” says Jitendra. “It enabled us to offer metal-back digital plates for dry offset printers in the region, thus improving the print quality and the reproduction of photo-realistic images for the dry offset printing industry,” he adds. With Bhatia Graphica acquiring an ISO 9001 certification in the year 2015, it was another two years when the company invested in its second CTP system in 2017. The second CTP device was an Esko CDI which marked their stepping into digital letterpress plates and eventually digital flexo plates.
Today Bhatia Graphica boasts of a state-of-the-art facility for flexo pre-press and plates from world leading companies like Esko, DuPont and Xeikon. A highly motivated and experienced team takes centre stage when it comes to providing impeccable service to clients round the clock. “These powerful combinations along with the very concept of being a partner to our customers, rather than just being a supplier, has helped us to reach where we stand today,” states Jitendra. It is a well known fact that flexo pre-press is a different ball game as compared to the offset prepress though technology has helped the industry to overcome much of it over the years. Bhatia Graphica’s expertise in the field along with a customer centric approach has not only helped them to serve their customers better but also brought advantages for their customers. “It also has empowered the company to tackle even the most difficult and complicated jobs that demand the highest quality pre-press and plates,” asserts Jitendra.
In 2023, Bhatia Graphica added a bigger size CTP from ESKO to meet the augmented demand from their customers. “We have been experiencing a constant growth in demand from our customers from the flexible packaging industry, which is growing at almost 13% and the expected future growth is also encouraging. To cater to all these demands, we have recently invested in a bigger CTP – an Esko CDI Spark 4835 which can image digital flexo plates up to 48 inches. We have also boosted our capacity by buying a DuPont Cyrel 1000 P solvent platemaking processor along with a Cyrel 1000 ECDLF exposure, dryer and light finisher unit,” informs Jitendra. The state-of-the-art Esko CDI Spark 4835 can have a maximum plate size of 48″ x 35″ (1200 x 900 mm) and comes with a range of optics depending on one’s needs. The CDI Spark family offers a wide range of digital flexo imagers for plates for different markets: from a small footprint imager to very large, for the tag and label, flexible packaging, small and medium folding carton to corrugated market. One can choose and configure a CDI to match one’s current production needs, and expand capabilities as one’s business grows. The CDI Spark family can accommodate all plate sizes and one can choose any brand of digital plate and processing method.
Bhatia Graphica is equipped with a strong infrastructure and has a highly motivated and skilled workforce that impart them the ability to have faster turnaround times and speedy deliveries to customers. The prepress at Bhatia is a no-compromise zone keeping a keen eye on every small detail to bring out the impeccable quality. In addition, their automated workflows ensure the fastest turnaround times of customers’ jobs as well as the approval process. “We know the importance of getting accepted proof to resemble a finished print. Therefore, the digital proofs we provide are ISO standard, enabled by our latest high-end software and hardware (Epson proofer),” emphasizes Jitendra. They can also simulate halftone screens on the proofs so that moire patterns and other defects can be caught before the job is taken for production.
3D Mockups is another USP that the company provides, on demand, to their customers which saves time and reduce wastage of resources by presenting printing products in 3D (digital – PDF) before final production. “We can produce 3D files of aluminium cans, cups, lamitubes etc. for our customers so that they can then get a first impression of how the final packaging will turn out,” reveals Jitendra.
Mr.Bhatia further highlights that their High Definition (HD) Flexo plates are suitable not only for alcohol based but also for water based and UV inks printers. “They can be used for printing labels, lamitubes, seamless tubes, flexible packaging, carry bags, corrugated pre and post printing etc. because the HD is a combination of high resolution optics with unique fine-tuned screens specifically designed for higher imaging resolutions on flexo plates and results in a digital flexo plate for superb print quality and stability,” adds Jitendra.
Calling flexographic prepress business as a rewarding career for young entrepreneurs, Mr. Jitendra Bhatia cautions that experience and technicalities are prerequisites of this field and one can’t merely rely on investment and machines. “Surely it is a rewarding career. It would obviously take time to gain the knowledge about the technicalities which are quite complex and it’s a highly technical process. I had the passion for prepress from the very beginning. And, I find myself fortunate to get to chase my passion and make it as a career for myself,” concludes Jitendra.
Zinc plates for Dry Offset printing
Zinc plates are made of a metal with hydrophilic (water-receptive) properties. The surface is treated to make it more porous and coated with a photosensitive material. The plate coating can include deionized water, citric acid, sodium phosphate dibasic, gum arabic, magnesium nitrate solution, glycerine, and propyl alcohol and the thickness of the copper-zinc plate for dry offset printing varies from 0.04–0.05 mm.
Dry Offset printing
Exactly as in Offset Printing, the image is etched onto a metal printing plate, loaded onto a printing press and then the blanket transfers the image onto the substrate BUT the plate is not dampened and so it is named thus. It is used for printing on Paper, Cardboard, Plastic as well as Metal (Aluminum).