Going green and safe with fabric media by Exibu Displays
By Akanksha Meena, deputy editor
Exibu Displays – a brand by Amrit Sales Corporation – is a Delhi-based provider of soft signage products and printable media. The company launched Covid-19 safety products made with fabric including sanitization tunnels, sanitizer dispensers and masks in May 2020. Japneet Sethi, director, Amrit Sales Corporation says that the products are priced at the ‘most economical rate in India.’
‘During the lockdown, we focused on products that were widely needed such as masks, sanitization tunnels and automatic sanitizer dispensers – entirely made of fabric. The tunnel is a portable structure that also comes with branding opportunities. We can custom print it for brands. It can be easily folded and sanitized for transportation,’ Sethi explains.
Exibu bagged orders from leading brands for its Covid-19 products. ‘We got a project from Jyothy Labs for automatic sanitizer dispensers. Coca Cola and Ultra Tech Cement also showed interest in our products,’ he adds.
He explains that as businesses reopened, they needed to create a safe working space for employees. Similarly, tourist attractions and monuments also need to take safety precautions or they risk being shut down. This is where products like sanitization tunnels can be helpful. Sethi expects a regular and healthy demand for his products in the coming months. Exibu is seeing heavy demand from hard-hit cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata.
The company is using its wide distribution network across the country to supply its products from its manufacturing units in Delhi and Haryana. ‘We are present in all major cities through our distributors who help us to target any region in India,’ Sethi says.
Exibu was not previously into exports but is now exploring the option. ‘We received numerous export inquiries during the lockdown, but we were not able to act on them due to the high transit costs and limitations in the kind of products being exported at that time. But now that the government is implementing relaxation, we might look into it.’ he confirms.
Sethi is ‘happy to announce’ that Exibu Displays has partnered with a second party (to be revealed soon) to introduce fabric media with new developments to make it available in the same price range as flex. Fabric offers several advantages over flex – a one-time-use product. It is bio-degradable, recyclable and washable.
He explains that the fabric, launched two years back, is compatible with most printing technologies, bringing tremendous opportunities for fabric printing in India. ‘Earlier, the issue that we and most PSPs faced was that you needed a specific setup to print on fabric. We use dye-sublimation in our plant to print on fabric, but dye-sublimation printers are expensive, and a small businessman might not be able to invest in them to offer fabric printing services. With our new fabric, PSPs can print on fabric using their existing infrastructure. This solved a big hurdle in fabric printing,’ Sethi elaborates.
Exibu started dealing in fabric five years ago with the ambition of replacing flex in the printing industry. The company, established 20 years ago, was previously into flex. ‘The competition in the flex business was getting higher and we didn’t want to support flex any longer,’ he highlights. According to Sethi, there is a huge demand for fabric by the government and private companies. ‘Airtel was especially a good deal for us. They started with flex but gradually shifted to fabric.’
The ban on flex in several states and the emphasis on sustainable technologies is further propelling the demand for fabric. He suggests that the wide adoption of fabric could be beneficial for the printing industry. ‘You can develop several new products offering a host of new opportunities and it is a sustainable product.’
However, it was not an easy feat for Exibu to shift from flex to fabric. It took the company more than five years to educate the industry about the benefits of using fabric and is a challenge still. Investing in a product that costs more but gives the same benefit and quality was not considered feasible. The company faced many rejections and challenges in the beginning but with increasing awareness of sustainability and the new government policies, there was a surge in demand.
‘We noticed a spike of 30 percent in demand for fabric this year as compared to 25 percent last year. South India leads in terms of fabric consumption and Delhi is slowly catching up. Customers are hesitant since it’s a price concerned market, but they are coming around,’ Sethi explains.
While the sign and graphic industry is one of the worst-hit industries in India, Sethi observes that the industry is tackling the challenge head-on. ‘Our industry is creative and has accepted the new reality. This helped us to come up with interesting ideas to overcome the challenge and survive. Indians are hard workers in general, and they don’t sit idle in the face of adversity. People have effectively adapted to the new work and business norms and are helping each other get back on track,’ he concludes on a high note.