Grafica News - January 2018

21 years, Protolab gears up to meet the needs of industrial printing in 21st century

Let us first congratulate New Mumbai based Protolab Electro Technologies Pvt. Ltd who have entered 21st year of manufacturing Human-Machine-Interface products and other industrial printing activity.

And congratulations to Protalab team for winning1-Gold and 1-Silver in the recently concluded SPAI-FESPA Awards in Goa. A regular winner in international competition, Protolab had also won Awards in FESPA'17 - Hamberg, Germany.

Established in 1996, Protolab Electro Technologies Pvt. Ltd, New Mumbai, is a vertically integrated manufacturing company having 30,000 sq. ft of state of art dust controlled factory housing advanced production equipments used for the manufacture of wide range of Human-Machine-Interface products which are supplied to over 900 OEM’s worldwide.

The company boasts of having a unique distinction of introducing many indigenously designed products. It undertakes printing nearly on all industrial substrates. By designing and developing indigenous products, Protolab has emerged as one of the leading technology oriented screen print solution providers in India.

To cater to the diverse needs of wide spectrum of industries such as Automobile, Electronics, Electrical, Instrumentation, Home Appliances, Aviation, Defence, Bio Medical, and many more emerging technologies, Protolab has embarked on a major investment plan. It has already invested in state of art automatic screen printing machinery and equipment.

Protolab has a team of proactive engineers and a dedicated work force with hands on experience in manufacturing Printed Electronics and Human-Machine-Interface using state of art printing equipments, colour matching, Laser systems ,Die-cutting and laminating processes combined with environmental life cycle testing.

Interview with Sanjay Mehta, Managing Director, Protolab

Tell us about your recent expansion plans:

Since we are a quality driven company, we started getting orders from large companies and MNC's and also export orders. Hence there was a need to have a larger space to cope with the quantum jump in demand. We then shifted to a new premise with 30000 sq.ft area in New Mumbai.

We have acquired new facilities and we have set up additional 10000 sq ft of clean room factory where we have manufacturing facility for auto and white goods industry products.

We have over 24 semi automated screen printing machines and complete screen making set up, post press equipment and allied accessories. Such advanced technology set up surely ensures quality and repeatability.

What is your perception about screen printing?

Today there are advanced technology available worldwide in screen printing. Small printers, who have mostly manual set up, may find it difficult to adapt to the new technologies initially. In order to meet the dual requirement both quantity and quality - of print buyers especially those of reputed brands, screen printers will have to move into automation or semi automation. With the fast drying technology, better screen making, improved color management systems, printers are able to achieve high volume, high quality with low price which the print buyer demands today.

What is the importance of quality in industrial screen printing?

Due to cut throat competition, the print buyers demand quality print output from the printers. This very fact forces printers to move from manual to automatic. One may also try to offer low priced products by using low priced input. Use of low quality input will only produce low quality output at cheap price. But customers are now more and more quality conscious and they do not mind paying premium if the product is of high standard. We do not compromise on quality. We believe in using finest materials like polycarbonates, polyester, polymers, for laminating and mounting layers, conductive paste, glass epoxy copper clad for the PCB, etc. Our aim is to give our customer nothing less than the finest and the best. We are committed to manufacture products with a high degree of quality and reliability coupled with competitive price.

What are the quality measures adopted by your company?

We have implemented ISO 9001-2015 and other global quality standards which are in process, namely ISO 14001 and the upgraded TS 16949 standards. These are required to match customer requirements. Manual operations in screen printing is labor intensive as a result of which turnaround of jobs was very slow, and hence achieving faster delivery was not possible especially in the kind of industrial job that we handle which involves multi color printing. Besides, there used to be higher rejection due to dust settling down on the jobs kept for drying. With the advent of automation, all these problems are now solved and we offer faster delivery of products with consistent quality, reliability and efficiency.

In industrial printing, are Indian printers at par with global standards?

Yes. India is producing to global standards but primarily it is focused on small volume niche market segments and if we automate and train our resources we can color the world beyond what the eye can perceive.

Yours message to the screen printers doing industrial jobs?

Protolab believes in reigning in tomorrow and is passionate to deliver beyond Endless possibilities and making impressions where ever you can imagine similarly there is no replacement to screen printing, digital can cater to a market other than what industrial screen printing requirements one must elevate and automate to Print a Perfect in every print.

What  are the industry / sectors catered by Protolab?

Protolab caters the Electronic, Electrical, Industrial Automation , Medical , Defence ,Aviation , Naval, Automotive and the Appliance OEM manufacturers.

Which are the promising / growth areas? Why?

The Automotive, Medical and Defence sectors are very promising; the Industrial Automation and Electrical and Electronic sectors are also equally encouraging. The 'Make on India' initiative is not only a invite to the world, it actually created infrastructure development opportunities and indirectly benefits the MSME. Further with our talent pool of young skilled Indians we are the destination to the world for Value Addition and which should be India’s main focus.

Ratio of domestic: Export market:

Currently the ratio is 78% Domestic and 22% Export to USA, Europe and Thailand.

As per your analysis, future of industrial printing in India:

It is always here to exist, the demand shall forever increase as customer demands and product challenges will strive for perfection in opacity, definition and vibrancy of colour.

When was your latest investment in screen printing machine? How many you have?

We made first investment in advanced screen printing in 2006, and then in 2010, and now in 2017.

Have you made any thought to invest in digital ink jet for industrial printing?

Yes we are invested into a HP Indigo but takes care of requirements of predominantly variable data required in our Photo ID and Packaging line.

Your company's growth Year on Year? Last two years?

We are averaging a 20% growth year on year and with the latest investment strategy we should add to a 35% growth and then maintain the year on year average.

What changes have seen in the world of industrial printing?

From printing on Aluminium and Acrylic engraving the market has evolved. Textures and finishes , form and shape , colours and definition are the demand of today and ever increasing the complexities of specification.

Your views about ‘knowledge’ and training in industrial printing:

Without knowledge there is no wisdom and without experience no expertise.

It's a combination of both and it coexists. We believe in Interactive participation and invest in training all thru the year. We have programmes for self development, team development as well as skill enhancement.

We do group exercise of push and pull where team members are expected to perform the task of the preceding or subsequent department and this brings a lot of understanding of the challenges in task fulfillment. It's always important to understand from another's perspective too.

Any other thoughts you want to share.

We in India have Values and India is the Value add destination to the world. Strive for perfection will at least help one in achieving excellence.

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