26 January 2020 Analogue Printing Technologies

Komori to emphasise growth in digital printing

Expansion in digital printing is a priority for the Japanese press manufacturer as it initiates its sixth medium term management plan.

Komori is prioritising growth in digital print, according to the company’s sixth management plan. The Japanese company had planned to release this in November last year, but has only now published the plan as the slow down in demand for offset litho presses becomes clear.

The challenges in the market, particularly in Europe, have been documented by German press manufacturers. Now Komori says that it has fallen short of targets set in the company’s fifth medium-term plan. Had this been achieved, sales from the existing business would have reached ¥120 billion with a further ¥20 billion coming from acquisitions.

However, sales at the end of the 2019 financial year were ¥90.2 billion with economic stagnation in the mature economies blamed. Opportunities in the digital print segment were missed due to delays in launching new machines, referring to the NS40 nanography press.

It is not all bad news. Komori has shipped more than 1,000 HUV equipped presses, says president and CEO Satoshi Mochida in his new year’s address.

In the new plan, the company is investing heavily to monetise its digital printing products and in the consumables related to these. It is preparing for rapid expansion of the B1 press thanks to increasing demand for shorter runs and variable data, reaching into carton printing. The Impremia IS29 B2 inkjet press is now in full series production.

The company says it is uniquely placed in being able to combine digital and offset presses under a single banner, namely the KP-Connect automation environment. This will help ensure higher utilisation of the digital presses, it says. The company will engage with third party partners in prepress and post-press to make the most of these opportunities.

The existing core businesses areas are not ignored. There will be greater focus through differentiated products for the packaging sector, to be seen at Drupa this year, through efforts to improve cost competitiveness via machines manufactured in China and aimed at the Asian market and by taking a modular approach to product development.

A long perfecting Lithrone GX40 was launched last year, and at Drupa “we will focus on using 'connected automation' to maximize customer labour productivity. Presentations and exhibits will focus on how KP-Connect Pro IoT technology can link manufacturing workflows and further increase customer profits”, says Mochida.

In the currency printing sector, Komori plans to promote Banknoteology, a future design concept for currency production, and extending what it can offer through additional peripheral equipment and consumables. The company has scored some notable orders from the Bank of France, Indonesia, India and China. The plum to come is Japan, where a new banknote design will be introduced in five years.

A second new market is in printed electronics. It too has failed to live up to expectations and Komori will continue to nurture this business with a greater focus on opportunities in Asian market through production of printed circuit boards and flexible hybrid electronics needed for the transformation to the Internet of Things.

Should the refreshed approach be successful, Komori will have net sales of ¥116 billion in the financial year ending in March 2024, with ¥10 billion in operating profit.

The plan also calls for two new management approaches. Komori will adopt Ameoba management principles developed by Kyocera to decentralise decision making and responsibility with the aim of maximising profit per hour, and Discover Driven Planning which applies numerical values to goals so that any deviation can be spotted and acted on rapidly.

By Gareth Ward

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