The Bhaskar Group is investing close to Rs 315 crore to upgrade its printing infrastructure, starting with Jaipur (Dainik Bhaskar), which is already functional. The next destination is Ahmedabad (Divya Bhaskar), scheduled to be operational in August.
A major portion of the investment has been on KBA printing machines (manufactured by Koenig & Bauer AG, Germany). The Bhaskar Group claims to be the "only language newspaper to have installed these sophisticated precision printing machines".
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According to RD Bhatnagar, chief technology officer, Bhaskar Group, the upgradation and introduction of new machines not only allows better printing but also enables late closure of the newspaper and the affordability to add more pages at the last minute. "These machines enlarge the window of available news. They can print up to 85,000 copies per hour, which is almost 60 per cent more than the common machines. In layman's terms, they bring 'event to print' on newspapers down from nearly an hour to just 11 minutes," says Bhatnagar.
KBA machines, which cost at least Rs 70 crore, besides having built in expansion capabilities for future needs, require 80 per cent less floor area; the machines also have 10 per cent improvement on waste control and use 58 per cent less energy.
The machines can cut down on distribution time as well. They allow automatic insertion of loose inserts, flap printing, drop outs and even 64 page tabloid printing, along with pop-up and other innovative solutions at the printing process itself. Packaging of a certain number of copies can be programmed, negating manual counting and packaging, hence making distribution much faster.
In addition to the KBA machines, the Bhaskar Group will also install printing machines from reputed manufacturers such as Krause (Germany), Manugraph and Printer House in its printing facilities at Bhopal, Gwalior, Ujjain, Indore, Raipur and other major centres. The upgradation, according to Bhaskar, should be complete by the end of October.