Al Madeena Printing Press general manager Ashraf N.P  shares with PrintWeek MEA some exciting news  about his company’s latest buy and their plans to enter the packaging industry. 

An employee of the US Navy who was working in Bahrain, Indian expat Ashraf N.P enteread  the printing industry when the sector was booming. “I was working in the administration section of the US Navy when I was  offered
an inhouse job by Dubai’s Al Madeena Group,” said Ashraf.

Born and brought up in Kerala, Ashraf is passionate about sports and reading.

“Al Madeena Group was established in 1967 with supermarkets, home appliances and bakery. In 2003, the Group’s print division took off as Al Madeena Printing Press,” he added. The press, which initially had just seven employees, currently has about 60 staff members. “Initially, we started out with conventional and screen printing with Heidelberg GTOs. Later, we added Heidelberg Print Master 74 and a few other smaller equipment such as SM52. Our latest purchase is Heidelberg’s CD102 digital printer.  We hope to enter the regional packaging market with the new machine,” Ashraf said.

Ashraf emphasized that their new purchase is one of the most important upgrades for the company. The new version of CD 102 was launched in the region in 2019. According to Heidelberg, it is the most successful and trusted machine among packaging printers. The upgraded version comes with all new and innovative features in feeder, delivery and machine controls which are benchmarks in the industry and  boost the productivity of the machine. A statement from Heidelberg said: “CD 102 has gained good reputation and printers in this region consider this model as their first choice for packaging printing.”

Supporting Heidelberg’s claim, Ashraf said: It is the machine’s ease of use, shortest make ready times – with plug-and-play slide-in dryer modules, patented infrared/hot-air dryer cassette and cooled sheet guide path – and effortless switch between commercial and packaging print  that makes it very dependable. Flexibility in configuration, from simple basic features to most automated and fast production capacity ensures that every print job, no matter how complicated, is printed at highest quality standards. Therefore, CD 102 was our first choice for coating on paper and drying. The machine produces sophisticated spot and metallic coatings in consistently high quality and has a fully integrated DryStar dryer technology that permits fast finishing.” While Al Madeena’s key specialization is commercial services for the local market, they are now ready to tap into the packaging sector, even overseas.

Regarding Al Madeena’s success mantra, Ashraf said: “Being honest to the customer is of great importance to us. Our success comes from our  team members who ensure quick deliveries and competitive services. Thus, it is important that we take care of our employees since day one, with good benefits.”

Commenting about the challenges faced by his company as well as printers in general, Ashraf said: “The current credit policies are seriously affecting our cash flow. Also, it is tough to keep up with the competition while offering clients with a reasonable price and giving quality result at the same time. Adding to this, is the growing number of presses in the region creating a situation of excess supply over demand. But, even in the face of competition, there is scope to grow if businesses stay focused on the target and go with the flow.”

When asked what Al Madeena’s near futures plans were, Ashraf informed: “To boost our company’s growth in the next five years, we are planning to invest in manpower, production and postpress machines.”


Al Madeena Printing Press initially had just seven staff members. Currently, it has about 60 staffers

The press recently purchased Heidelberg’s CD 102 digital printer in a bid to enter the regional packaging market

Al Madeena’s key specialization is commercial services for the local market

The press intends to invest in staffers and production machines to boost its growth in the next five years