In talk with Rohit Sachdev, founder Lucky Graphics – a major force of the changing Indian Printing Industry since 1978 – about their journey and latest offerings.
Rohit Sachdev, founder of one of the leading printing solutions providers of the country, started his journey with Standard Type Foundry in the year 1978. Standard Type Foundry was owned by his ‘guru’ and guide, Mr. S.L. Sachdev and was the distributors for Tech (Czechoslovakia) and Aurelia. It had a type foundry in Calcutta with distribution all over India. Rohit, after completion of his graduation, had a brief stint of a year and a half with Standard Type Foundry before beginning his professional journey in 1989.
Rohit was new in the Printing industry with no formal technical education to have an ideal launch, however, his passion proved printing as his right business choice. He learnt the tricks of the trade through the tough route – spending time in the industry, understanding the needs of the customer and troubleshooting day-to-day problems of customers. Today he is a successful print professional leading one of the top print businesses of the country.
Rohit has been associated with Toyobo for more than 40 years. The Japanese company called Nippon Graphics from Mr.Nishiwaki – an extensive export house selling all sorts of printing machines like Taiyyo, Iwasaki and Sugano punching machines, plate making machines and Toyobo plates etc – was a crucial part of Lucky Graphics’ success journey.
Flexography was at nascent stage and Rohit found it lucrative to explore new opportunities in the associated flexible packaging market. “Taiyo business Forms was ‘the’ machine for computer stationery and we had a great success with these machines in the country,” remembers Rohit. It was the time when the computer stationery was on its way to the pinnacle with sheets in reels with sprocket holes. Even multi-colour printing was being done on it by flexographic plates. Many leading companies used to be Rohit’s customers who installed machines and equipment provided by Lucky Graphics. The big names in his clientele included Color Cartons, India Coated Cartons (Bangalore) and Vijay Flexible Containers to name a few. “More than business it was always our purpose to support our customers to achieve what their customers expected and we normally used to achieve it every time,” emphasizes Rohit.
They provided the big hit – Iwasaki Label Printing machines – and had sold many machines in the Indian market. The Iwasaki stall by them at Pamex Exhibition even received the “2nd Best Stall Design” award at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. “The first Iwasaki press was installed at RK Papers, Taloja near Mumbai.In association with Mr.Surinder Kapoor, we also had an Open House with customers ferried to and from Nariman Point to Taloja for two full days. It was a huge success and probably one of the few Open Houses in the region those days!,” reveals Rohit.
Standard Graphics was started by Rohit in 1982. The company dealt with consumables for the printing and packaging industry which included offset plates Technova, inks and Toyobo consumables. In 1989, their Vaishnavi Graphics dealt mostly in Toyobo, Ohkaflex products. In between Rohit also had the opportunity to import and sell food packaging machinery including those for chocolate and biscuit and triple roll mills for ink manufacturing from Europe & East Germany. “We were the proud provider of the first pillow packing machine to Park Davis for their Halls toffees. This replaced the popular twist wrap used in toffee packing,” says Rohit.
Down the years Rohit acquired distributorship of Sunga brand of rotogravure machine from Koreain association with his first cousin, late Mr.Sunil Kumar of Standard Machinery, Chennai.
In 1991, with the bringing down of the Berlin wall, business diminished tremendously with East German companies, but Rohit continued with West Europe and Japan. Label printing machines were a big draw for the Indian industry then; though it was just the beginning of industry then. “Toyobo thus developed for us to be one of the main companies we developed strong relationship with. They had numerous applications for the label industry including security printing like cheque printing and currency note printing and Braille printing etc. to mention a few. Specialty varnishes from Toyobo were an attraction for those who were in security printing in the country,” shares Rohit.
Vaishnavi Graphics also represented Jemflex brand solvent based flexographic plates from Japan ever since. It is a family-owned company with a good hold in the European market and also having the distributorship of Lastra Neeraj brand of Offset Plates for Mumbai since 1988. For some time, they also distributed Technova’s PS plates.
Lucky Graphics started in 2003. Toyobo has been the mainstay with their variety of plate products suitable for even dry offset printing for metal can printing applications (like for aerosols, aerated drinks etc.) in addition to flexography and letterpress.
In 2003, Rohit’s son Raghav Sachdev joined him in the business after his Graduation and started taking care of the sales of the organization. He is presently looking after the North Indian market’s sales at Noida branch. He is the technology partner to Lucky Graphics clients, troubleshoots their technical issues and helps the organization develop new clients.
“Our entire perspective is to take the flexographic industry on to the next level by leveraging our combined experience and knowledge and give back to the industry which has given us so much over the years,” states Raghav Sachdev.
Rohit puts special emphasis on the technical aspects of flexographic printing while planning solutions for his customers. “Since flexography is a technical subject, we always ensure that we guide our customers on the right raw material usage, minimize wastage, improve productivity and print quality etc. and it has always been our objective to contribute to our customers’ best advantage. Our key focus remains reducing wastage of time as well as resources and increasing profitability,” underlines Rohit.
He considers his experience with customer Essel Propack as a milestone achievement in recent times. “It was a turning point when we enabled the conversion of solvent-based flexographic plate making to water-washable Toyobo plates workflow for one of our key clients, Essel Propack Limited,” says Rohit.“Apart from being an environment friendly process without losing the essential elements of printing including quality, it was a great achievement to convince one of the best setups like Essel. It was a major turning point for us. It was possible because of extremely cooperative management of Essel,” he adds. Through this environment friendly upgrade, Essel Propack reduced the plate making time from almost five hours (for a six plate job) to just under an hour, resulting in increased productivity from the existing machines itself. This Indian success was later repeated for switching over to water washable plates in China, Egypt and the UK as well, all enabled by Lucky Graphics’ expertise.
Toyobo by Lucky Graphics is a popular solution with Indian print providers. “Toyobo is the only company which provides letterpress plates with flat top dot feature resulting in higher quality images from the press, they have been the pioneer of water-washable photo-sensitive printing plate in India since the 1980,” declares Rohit. In addition to EPL, Wada unit (1.4mm and 1.7mm) and China, Lucky Graphics has also equipped two more facilities with the Toyobo Cosmolight series of water washable plates including one in Silvassa. “Now with the Cosmolight QZ series which is suitable for long run jobs, we plan to aggressively make inroads into the flexographic market in the country. The QZ series is available in both analogue and digital place processing, and it also has a distinct advantage of capability to go up to 200 line screen and over 10,000 dpi,” asserts Rohit.
“Flexographic printing has a great future in India,” notes Rohit. “The flexo printing will part-take the gravure printing market share for sure since the quality standards have matched gravure and, in some cases, even superseded it. The plate versus cylinder costs cannot be compared. Short and medium runs – and to an extent the long runs – will also be taken over by the Flexo industry,” he adds. “With ever increasing footfalls in supermarkets and hypermarkets, and shelves vying for catching eyeballs and consumer’s curiosity, flexography is going to be the choice for packaging printers,” assures Rohit.
Rohit’s clear vision is equally shared by his two sons Vaibhav & Raghav and the trio leads a successful business to greater heights. Find the latest offerings from Lucky Graphics at the Labelexpo India Stall K30- Hall no 5 next month at Noida.