19 June 2016 Business

Komori aims to combine digital and litho for future expansion

Digital is on course to be one fifth the size of Komori's litho business as the Japanese company adjusts for next phase of development.

Komori is aiming to achieve sales of ¥20 billion a year by 2020, one-fifth of its offset business at that point, in a target which will see other divisions help take revenues to ¥140 billion.

This year, ending in March 2016, sales reached ¥95.33 billion, scarcely higher than the ¥92.56 billion reported for the 2015 financial year. The poor state of the Chinese market continues to drag the figures back. Elsewhere market growth in Europe helped increase sales 5.9%; in North America there has been firm demand as companies upgrade equipment leading to an 8.3% increase while Japanese growth boosted domestic sales by 13.7%. The fall in the Chinese market led to a 17.8% sales decline.

Demand in the Japanese market has been helped by government subsidies for companies investing in equipment with energy saving features. For Komori that has meant demand for its H-UV technology. A first LED-UV machine was introduced at Drupa, but this is tied at Chinese and other emerging markets where the demand is for four-colour only printing.

European sales were helped by firm demand from the UK, while demand from southern European countries is said to be increasing. It adds up to predictions of steady demand for 2017, which will increase sales and profits, but not by the amounts needed to achieve the current management plan.

This calls for a rapid increase in demand for digital print systems. Komori only achieved 9% of its target in this sector in the previous management plan because of delays to the introduction of digital printing equipment. This includes the Impressia i29, co developed with Konica Minolta, and the NS40, the Lithrone using Landa technology that was shown at Drupa. It would also include building the base units for Landa’s own sheetfed presses.

There will also be an emphasis on increasing sales in emerging markets, on some acquisition activity, a transformation of its sales channel business, and a focus on packaging print. There are already plans to shake up production across the three factories, two in Japan and one on China in order to reduce costs and cut lead times.

The company will position its digital print portfolio as complementary to offset, digital relieving the pressure on handling shorter runs through conventional presses. It will add consumables sales for both types of machines, promoting its K-Supply branded inks and chemistry for offset plates and related inks and other consumables for digital. It has struck a deal with Siegwerk to supply K-ink for Europe. This will have the effect of evening out peaks and troughs in demand for capital equipment.

The company’s analysis of the position that printers find themselves in underpins the strategy. The company carried out indepth research with 31 users across the globe. This uncovered major issues relating to how printers organise production.

The press was in operation only 33% of the time; makeready took a further 33% of available time while 34% of available operating time is described as downtime. The problems relate to the continuance of manual scheduling and planning operations, to a lack of understanding of the issues at hand and poor colour management across digital and offset platforms. The lack of understanding and communication makes it difficult to implement improvements.

Komori’s solution is built on combining offset and digital using its K Station4 as the hub for scheduling, colour management and simplifying the operation of a press. It will also link to external finishing equipment.

There is already a link to Highcon, which Komori sells in Japan, and to Bobst’s Chinese subsidiary to build other finishing equipment. Part of the plan is also to promote the service aspect of how Komori goes to market and relates to its customers through K-Support to help deliver the vision.

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Lithrone G37

Lithrone G37

The Lithrone G37 is the new SRA1 press intended for the Asian customers. It is the first Komori press to be offered with LED UV curing as this suits a four-colour only press.

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