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Just another momentary ramble around Kolkata

It was in the summer of 2009 when the SIGN & GRAPHICS team flew to Kolkata for a week-long discovery expedition of the city’s signage landscape and those who hold fort of the eastern region’s market. After a gap of six years, conceivably a long gap, JYANESWAR LAISHRAM recently revisited the city for a second stroll but in a swift manner, spending barely one and a half day around, for an update on any fresh development. A brief meeting with Pritish Shroff, CEO, Graphic Enterprises, a prominent distributer of Epson printers in the city, led to the discovery of a host of PSPs running the high-end machines; they are not included at this time, but pitched in for the third coverage of the city under this column.

Atul Commodities
Where innovations transpire

Parag Boghani
Sharp Sign—a media range made for exclusive creation of innovative signage and display items for an extensive array of applications, covering both indoor and outdoor arenas, is a brand identity of the signage division of Atul Commodities, one of the leading importers of office automation and signage products in Kolkata. The company’s products are selected after undergoing a long R&D process, which eventually makes every single piece proficient or dexterous when it comes to quality. “All in all, we are not the kind of material supplier people normally expect to be, selling just flex materials; our focus is a bit diverted from printing medias; we are more into providing complete display solutions,” mentions Parag Boghani of Atul Commodities (P) Ltd.

‘Complete signage solution’ is what it defines the signage materials Atul Commodities caters through its convertors based around major cities and towns across the country, such as New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. High-end LED panels, aluminium profiles, non-lit boards, which are required to bring innovation to a display system, are the products listed in the company’s portfolio. These products available under Sharp Sign brand from the company have been widely acclaimed and the demands get spiraling among sign makers or signage firms all over the country. “Even our ultimate objective is to provide a combo combining quality into innovations,” asserts Parag.

Some of the Sharp Sign products best ever introduced from Atul Commodities to the sign makers of the country include: aluminium profiles for high-end click frames, textile frames, baguette frames, poster frames, non-lit boards, one-side and twoside boards, to mention a few. Constantly updating with the latest products designed for modular applications in office spaces, mall corridors, corporate building interiors, outdoor display systems, those signage professionals moving around in pursuit of innovations always end up their search with Sharp Sign products. According to Parag, some of the latest launches from their end include: flex stands, stand-alone boxes for front-lit and backlit display systems and more in the categories keep pouring in.

Klassic Ad World
Literally a complete world

Faizal Rahman
Over the decades, around the city of Kolkata, one thing very much sure about a sign-making firm known to many for exclusive router-cut signs or display solutions is turned out to be Klassic Ad World. It’s indeed a complete world full of all kinds of CNC and laser engraving technologies required to craft signage of any kind, be it cut letters, routed displays or simply outdoor billboards, available under the roof of the company’s production facility where installed six laser engravers, two CNC routers, two cutting plotters; and latest addition being a NEGIJet solvent printer. The main mover behind all these activities at Klassic Ad World is Faizal Rahman who sees and takes things to different ways, in his attempt to stand out with differences amid the crowd. “My sincere gratitude is to those who provide me wonderful machines and services, without them I couldn’t have gained success that we achieve today,” says Faizal.

Six laser engravers from Mehta Cad Cam Systems; two CNC routers and two cutting plotters from Angel India Cad Cam; and NEGI-Jet from NEGI Sign Systems & Supplies—the machine portfolio of Klassic Ad World is one of the largest among many sign makers in the city. In connection to for whom (customers) the company has been working for years, Faizal mentions they have been associated with a number of agencies based in big cities across the country and walk-in customers are evident throughout the day at the company’s reception corridor. Major works done at the production facility of the company are predominantly of steel letters, laser-cut display items, and NEGIJet, which is being adopted just three months back, is for flex and vinyl prints.

A team of 28 long-experienced professionals, comprising machine operators and sign makers, is the main force behind the overall success of Klassic Ad World. Known widely across the country, some of the major router-cutting jobs at the company include works on MDF panels, foam-boards, aluminium profiles, wood as well as other range of jobs on varied rigid materials, which have been catering to its clients based all across the eastern region that includes the remotest parts like North- East. An update, according to Faizal, to be brought into the current machine portfolio of the company will be addition of a set of eco-solvent printers soon.

Vishal Enterprise
Exclusively supplying and servicing

Hitesh Kamdar
Having been engaging in multiple tasks of selling imported inks and distributing a string of printers from overseas countries as well as that of indigenously manufactured Indian brands around the eastern India’s region, Vishal Enterprises is known to a number of PSPs based in Kolkata. Dealing in a line of brands of Chinese printers like K-Jet, Ultra-Jet and so on, Vishal Enterprise is also a sole distributor of Infiniti printers sourced from New Delhi-based VK Enterprises. “But we equally devote our activities to selling inks from China,” says Hitesh Kamdar of Vishal Enterprise. When asked about why Chinese brands, he rightly explains that such economy products still have room in the Indian market as demand for high-end products is quite limited.

The range of imported machines in the current product portfolio of Vishal Enterprise include printers of all kinds and configurations, comprising UV flatbed, textile, solvent and eco-solvent, and laser engravers. “We don’t do the way many do in the country—‘sell it and forget it’,” asserts Hitesh, adding that they have a team of 12, which include five engineers, deputed to attend calls of their customers 24x7. Prominent in the list of customers of Vishal Enterprise around Kolkata include Techno Graphics, MAM Ad, Maa Tara Enterprise and Sreeji Prints. Over the last 15 years, under the proprietorship of Naveen Khan, Techno Graphics has been a popular PSP equipped with a K-Jet printer and a laser engraver of 4x3 ft. On the other side, MAM Ad is an eight years old in the market, serving a number of local and corporate clients with daily print capacity of 20,000 sq ft/day. Installed in the production facility of the company includes a line of Ultra-Jet (Konica 512 printheads), E-Jet eco-solvent printer and a set of finishing equipments.

Maa Tara Enterprise is a new but widely admired PSP among corporate biggies ever since its inception over the last four years in Kolkata. The company’s production facility is equipped with Ultra-Jet (with Konica 512 printheads), E-Jet eco-solvent, Q-Jet Plus (with Konica 1024 printheads) and capable to deliver 35,000 sq ft of prints per day. Perhaps the youngest of all, Sreeji Prints is barely a three-month-old PSP in the city and now moving persistently forward with a Q-Jet printer (with Konica 1024 printheads) with production capacity of 1,900 sq ft\hr. Hitesh observes that the signage market of Kolkata is a home to a mix of both big and small firms, equally enthusiastic for innovations of all sorts.

Bengal Plastic Store
Serving to the core of cut signs

Bapan Chakraborty
While many go for multitasking, embracing a multitude of printing tasks collectively comprising flex printing, CNC routing, laser engraving, screen printing and more under one roof, Bengal Plastic Store goes to just one direction as this sign maker is specialised in routercut signs and focused around this arena only. According to Bapan Chakraborty, in-charge of the company’s production facility where equipped a Mehta LX 1325 CNC router, Bengal Plastic Store is exclusive provider of cut sign and display items to a number of sign makers as well as ad agencies based around Kolkata. Such a focused activity makes the company concentrate only upon CNC routing.

Plastic display items, vinyl boards, ACP signs, to mention a few, are some of the major works done exclusively at Bengal Plastic Store. Bapan says the overall glory of their success is very must centered around the Mehta LX 1325 machine.

Bengal Plastic Store is a brainchild of SK Musi who incepted the store as an exclusive dealer of a range of materials, which include acrylic sheets, glass, sunpack, sunboards, vinyl sheets, ACP and other printing substrates supplying to sign makers/ PSPs based in the city. “After seeing the momentum of demands for routed signs and display items escalating among the sign makers and some good old ad agencies whom we closely know, we decided to switch to CNC routing activity just a couple of years back,” says Bapan, adding that they look forward to further magnify the production facility to a bigger dimension.

LED Centre
For all that illuminated

Manirul Zamadat
One of the promising parameters in the current signage industry, which everyone in any regional market is looking forward to tapping as new business opportunity, is doubtlessly the ‘glow sign’ sector where LEDs play vital role. This is what Manirul Zamadat captured in his mind while planning to open LED Centre located in a busy corner of Central Plaza on BB Ganguly Street in the city. “LED has changed the entire gamut of glow sign applications these days,” explains Manirul.

LED Centre is just another newly popped up store around, inaugurated just around five months back. According to Manirul, they are now in the R&D stage and looking ahead to expanding their business with wider regional presence beyond Kolkata. “As of now, we are too young to expand your branches to other parts of the region. Our first aim is to fulfill the need of the signage companies based only around Kolkata city,” he says.

Like other accessories, LEDs available around in the current market are of varied qualities, among which many turn out to be so sub-standard. In this respect, Manirul has the nose to sense ‘quality’ and maintain it in their product portfolio.

Varied range of LEDs stocked in the product portfolio of LED Center consists of high-end international brands like SAMSUNG, LG and others, which are known for stupendous luminosity and efficient life span. “Of course, we keep some low-cost products or the so-called Chinese too, but we study the swing of market demands well,” mentions Manirul.

Art Centre
Young one down on a new path

Naba Kumar Das
It has been barely a year since the door of Art Centre opened to delivering a versatile rage of signage works, which attract quite a number of corporate customers around West Bengal. And today, the company is gaining its popularity and looking ahead to expanding machine portfolio as well as sign making activities revolving around the innovations that catch the trends in the present market. “We are very much in a beginning stage as we have just one printer and very limited staff,” says Naba Kumar Das, founder of Art Centre. He explicates that they are now planning to go for updating their machine portfolio to a ‘greener’ and more versatile lot to handle different projects at varied levels.

“What we are looking at for our future is to hook into eco-solvent printers, which will not only provide fine quality prints but also care about environment, particularly in concern of vulnerability to the health of machine operators and others mingled around,” narrates Naba Kumar. Though the company is popped up so new in the market just in a matter of one year time, Naba Kumar has been around in the advertising sector for years as he used to run a firm dealing in classified ads and other graphic art related jobs. Since then he would sense the growth trending in the large-format printing segment of the advertising world and hence resulted the birth of Art Centre.

So far, Art Centre has been serving for a number of big corporate clients, namely, Parle G, Coca-Cola, Lifebuoy, etc. Signage projects of Art Centre are scattered all over West Bengal, sometimes reaching down the neighbouring regions as well and all these activities of the company is an output of a Lotus printer (with XAAR printhead), now running vigorously to comply with the increasing demands from the company’s clients. In this, Naba Kumar is in a deep thought to add some good eco-solvent printers to its machine portfolio sooner than expected.