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From Digital To Offset And Back

From his humble surroundings, he has grown to become the owner of the fifth biggest printing press in South East Asia.  Thirty five years ago, Pornthep Samatiyadekul started off his print shop with a copy machine – a Gestetner. He started the journey in print by doing greeting cards and envelopes. Today, Sirivatana Interprint Public Co., Ltd prints for customers all over the world and is equipped with around 22 sheetfed presses, 17 commercial web offset presses along with an entire fleet of other machines. Their main areas of service include creative printing, pop-up works, pre-press, press and post press.

ME Printer Magazine had a candid talk with Pornthep Samatiyadekul, Managing Director and Chairman of Sirivatana Interprint Public Co. Ltd., during the recently concluded KIPES exhibition (19th Korea International Printing & Graphic Industry Show), which was held in Seoul, Korea. Pornthep said that his success mantra was simple – Delivering the best to his customers. “We have always strived to deliver the best available standards to our customers, and I am proud to say that today we stand amongst the top 5 printing presses in South East Asia,” he said.

Pornthep Samatiyadekul worked in a chipping company for 13 years before starting his print shop. While working in the chipping company, he along with his wife ran the print business and sourced initial jobs from his friends and colleagues. Commenting about his endeavour, Pornthep said, “My first machine cost me only 2000 US$. Later on we moved on to become the first commercial printer in Thailand to use the densitometer. I loved following technology updates and I beleve that technology is very important for the success of a print shop. For me everything must be first class, and that includes printing.”

Sirivatana, located 40 Kms away from Bangkok employs more than 4,000 employees in its facility. The press has won many awards including the Thai Print Awards, Asian Print Awards and the Seoul Print Award. Pornthep added that Sirivatana press is the first press in South East Asia to get the PSO certification.

Sirivatana Interprint is equipped to provide all kinds of commercial printing, packaging and finishing jobs. Their main area of expertise though is in producing pop-up books. The press has around 2,000 employees in the pop-up section (as there’s a lot of manual job involved in it). The creativity displayed by the paper engineering division is certainly remarkable. The paper engineers first creates a mock up of the pop-up book by drawing the art work and on getting the approval from the client prints them out. The pop-up books make use of modern techniques and are quite attractive, both in design and form.

Sirivatana has recently developed its packaging division and are now undertaking more and more packaging jobs. Pornthep observed that the possibilities of packaging are immense and they certainly don’t want to miss out the opportunities arising in this sector.

The press also exports its print products to countries like the USA, UK, Europe, Australia and Japan. Pornthep explained, “Our customers are very quality conscious. We do have offices and representatives in places like New York, Los Angeles, Europe, Germany and Holland.”

While talking about the recent trends in the country, he observed that digital printing is yet to gain market in Thailand. “Till now there’s not much market for digital printing in the country. But we are always ready to offer digital print service to our clients. We are waiting for more developments to happen in this sector, as today digital printing is not economical when compared to offset.”

According to Pornthep there are about 3000 stationery printers and about 100 major printing presses in the country. Explaining about the mode of operations of the company, he said that they source paper directly from the mills. “We buy it directly from the mills. We buy in rolls, and we also have local suppliers but they do not have many varieties in stock. We still import 70% of our paper supplies. The print market in Thailand is recovering. Currently, packaging is showing the highest growth.”

Sirivatana is literally a Komori house. Majority of the machines in operation are Komori. Reasoning this decision, Pornthep said, “I started printing with a Komori and share very close relationship with the brand and its owner. Not only that, Komori is very easy to use and is built to suit the convenience of Asian people. Apart from Komori, we also have Heidelberg machines in the press.”

Pornthep said that people in Thailand still prefer to read printed material. “At Sirivatana, we print a lot of local magazines. When global recession struck, we expected a dip in the growth rate of magazines, but to our surprise the magazine industry was not at all affected, rather it showed much growth during this period. In this part, people still prefer to read on paper. A major reason maybe the percentage of people using computers here is not very high when compared to Europe or US.”

Talking about the recent developments in Sirivatana, he said that the press has now developed its packaging section and provides security printing services like credit cards, passports and ID cards. He concluded by saying that their strategy has always been to provide everything that a customer needs.

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