26 August 2019 Business

Komori's Landa will lead to light touch printing

Komori is counting down to installation of its first NS40, the sheetfed press with nanography, with this paving the way to greater degrees of automation in printing.

Komori anticipates its upcoming NS40 becoming part of a new automated print production line, heading towards lights out operation.

In the company’s 2019 annual report the company says the NS40 will be suited to “simplified, non stop single-pass printing via end to end integration of all processes from data entry to final printing, thereby significantly reducing the need for manual labour, human skills and stockpiling of spare supplies”.

The NS40 is Komori’s implementation of the Landa nanography technology. It showed this at Drupa and spent time since “endeavouring to make it highly reliable, stable and easy to use” the company says. The first field test machines will be in operation by the end of December it says.

The delays in the initial schedule for this machine and the Impremia S29 B2 inkjet press are in part blamed for the 4.2% drop in sales the company suffered in the 12 months to the end of March. There was weakness in the core sheetfed offset operation which accounts for 55% of its $813.1 million in sales.

This was the result of sluggish demand in the UK due to uncertainties over Brexit, ending tax concessions in France, US hesitancy to invest in offset presses leading them to spend on digital machines to cope with short runs. China has also been part of an economic slowdown, with changes in requirements from the market. Chinese printer now have requirements that are as stringent as those in developed countries comments Satoshi Mochida, president and CEO.

He points to delays in orders for currency presses as another factor in the dip in orders. Some of these have subsequently been completed. The company also missed out on business from other emerging nations by failing to adapt to demand in emerging nations it says.

However, interest in digital printing is now picking up: 30 of the IS29 B2 inkjet presses have been installed worldwide with the NS40 to come on stream in the next 12 months.

It has launched the SRA1 format G37-8P long perfector showing this with an LED curing system at Igas last year. At the same event it introduced the GX44RP carton press, showing LED UV for the carton press sector at Igas and a subsequent open house at the factory in Tskuba.

Igas was also the venue for demonstrating the sort of end to end connectivity, inline with the Internet of Things, that is possible, linking to the Apressia guillotine and banking platen as well as the presses. That is as important to the business as the development of the NS40 to increasing the efficiency of printing.

However, the company is not spelling out how it will get there. The company fell short of the current medium term management plan and has delayed announcements about the next plan, originally due in April, until October this year. This will take in celebrations for the company’s centenary in 2023.

By Gareth Ward

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Komori will deliver the NS40 B1 digital press to its field testing sites before the end of December this year. Digital printing has yet to make a huge impact for Komori, but interest in the B2 IS29 inkjet press is picking up with 30 installations worldwide.

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