Grafica News - August 2016

Bharat Potteries relies on Grafica's technology and technical knowhow for ceramic decal Printing

Here is the success story of Jaipur based Bharat Potteries Ltd (BP), a leading manufacturer of Bone China and Crockery products under the brand ‘Bharat’ Fine Bone China. Their new manufacturing plant at Manda (about 50 km from Jaipur) has also commenced production. This expansion project itself is an indication of the growing demands for the company’s crockery products. Bharat Potteries has been confidently using Grafica’s two semi automatic screen printing machines (called CamShell) and complete screen making set up to produce ceramic decals inhouse. They have a well maintained screen printing unit under the leadership of Rajendra Singh (Director), a defense personnel-turnedentrepreneur and now a ceramic decal printing expert. Currently Bharat Potteries rolls out about 30000 sheets of decals per month, depending on the size, viz, 20’’ x30”, 65cm x 85cm. The company has 5 graphic designers, led my Mrs. Nutan Bhardwaj, GM, Operations. Interview with Rajendra Singh, & Nutan Bhardwaj.

Why did you set up inhouse decal printing facility?
We produce ceramic decals only for inhouse use of our Group. By producing decals inhouse, our identity and job secrecy is maintained. Moreover, there is a freedom for creativity; there is exclusivity of design which are conceptualized and created inhouse as per market demand. We have full control over production, we can monitor quality of decals before transfer and post transfer onto crockery. Because, what you see on monitor cannot be exactly transformed into print and what you see in final print will not be seen on the crockery. That’s because after transfer of decal and o subsequent firing (under 1000 C or more), the colour changes and the result obtained is different than the original artwork. So, we need to have full control over this process, else after transfer and firing if the product is rejected, it will be a big waste of time, money and resources. In the corporate segment, designs are supplied by customers. In that case we have to be even more careful and it is really bad if products are rejected by corporate clients.

Tell us about Designing and printing of ceramic decals:
The design elements involve flowers, abstract, geometrical, scenery, etc. Ultimately, the ware must look beautiful. We had printed decals and made Tea sets for IPL cricket franchises. We make designs and print involving 4 to 12 colours which are printed one after another. Often light and dark of same color is printed separately after due color separation. Sometimes we print 3-4 light colors. It must be noted that ceramic colors/inks are opaque, and not like conventional CMYK or spot colors used in commercial printing which are transparent.

What’s the role of screen printing in ceramic industry?
Screen printing is used for ceramic decoration. The role of ceramic decoration is to augment sales, and it is a branding activity in case of corporate jobs. Ceramic decoration is nothing but adding face value to the product to make it attractive. The ware must look beautiful. Whatever looks beautiful is sold faster- whether it is garment, jewelry or ceramic products. However, Hotel/catering industry use plain wares, but in the household markets you need to have decorated wares and people like to buy designer wares for daily use as well as for keeping on the shelf. Earlier, we tried printing decals by offset but we were not successful and the print result was not as per our requirement. There used to be smudging and other quality issues. Even some other leading ceramic units had also tried printing decals by offset.

What’s your specialisation?
We are specialized in printing decals with Gold, Platinum, metallic, and luster colours. We print real pure gold and platinum colours. Even after firing, they look real on the crockery and they are not artificial colors. These are very costly colors and it’s not everybody’s everyday cup of tea! It is a very specialized job because, many decal printers are not able to print and bring real effect of ‘gold’ after firing. These value added crockery products are costly and are meant for premium market. There is super demand for these items. In 1997 Diwali season, we had printed decals with metallic colors using a Grafica screen printing machine. The same was applied on black-ware for the first time which had created a ‘heat’ in the crockery market. The metallic color perfectly blends with black-ware with awesome effect. Bharat Potteries has also tied-up with the world renowned Swarovski group; we are the only bone china manufacturer licensed to use Swarovski Elements crystals on its product.

About Bharat Potteries Ltd:
Bharat Potteries Ltd is managed by Agarwal family. Their first unit was set up in 1978 by Kamal Agarwal, specialized in stoneware crockery. They shifted their focus to Bone China in 1998. The Group has excellent infrastructure equipped with state-of-the-art manufacturing plant & machinery, imported raw material, in-house design studio and screen printing unit for decals.

Their product portfolio include: crockery Items, Hotel Kitchenware, Mugs, Crested Ware, Dinner set & Tea set. The company exports these products to over 35 countries like United Kingdom, Canada, Russia, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Australia, UAE, South Africa, Egypt, Singapore, Kenya, France, Ireland, etc.

The company offers products with traditional, contemporary and modern art dinnerware patterns. They also supply directly to the star-rated Hotels, Restaurants, Defense canteen, and Modern Trade & Retail chains, Corporate Houses, Caterers, Banquets and Airlines. Their products are also sold online. And 80% of their customers are households and the balance is corporate/ institutional customers.

Interview Abhishek Agarwal, MD, Bharat Potteries Ltd:

Please give your view about the importance of screen printing in ceramic industry?
To keep good design for ourselves it is must to have an inhouse printing unit.

What is the advantage of having an inhouse screen printing unit?
When the design are printed inhouse then it is difficult for other to procure from the market.

Your view about Grafica screen printing technology and know-how for ceramic decal printing?
Grafica screen printing technology is the best for ceramic decal printing.

Tell us about the market for ceramic (crockery) in India and in the world?
The market for ceramics (crockery) is very good during festivals in India and the world.

What are the reasons for the success of Bharat Potteries?
The main season for the success is a dedicated team of workers and the motivation provided by our Kamal Agarwal.

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