Print Innovation Asia spoke with the Managing Director of Konica Minolta Business Solutions Asia, Mr Osafumi Kawamura, as he outlines moving forward in turbulent times, a focus on end-to-end print technology, and a new flagship series for high production printing.
The financial year of 2019 has been a year of growth for Konica Minolta Business Solutions Asia (BSA). According to an IDC report, Konica Minolta achieved an 8% increase in market share, which is staggering compared to its competitors. Konica Minolta BSA is the Southeast Asian subsidiary of Japanese multinational company, Konica Minolta.
“I believe that Konica Minolta is well positioned to bring value to our customers with our suite of solutions that goes beyond just hardware but also software solutions. With a strong emphasis on improving our product offerings by understanding customer requirements and partnering with industry partners to provide an end-to-end solution to address business needs,” said Osafumi Kawamura, Managing Director for Konica Minolta BSA.
As the COVID-19 pandemic hits globally, businesses are taking a hit, with most impact being felt in the manufacturing sector. Konica Minolta was one of the first few companies in the industry to issue response statements. In its most recent update, the company reported its swift recovery and that production facilities in China has resumed operations.
“We anticipate 2020 to be a challenging year, with a possible downturn in the economy that could impact several months ahead. However, we will continue to strive in these difficult times as we scale our operations and adapt to the economic landscape,” addressed Kawamura.
In these times, Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has been especially useful in alleviating some of the challenges. Konica Minolta has a suite of workflow automation software that allows companies to cope with issues such as staff shortage.
“Our machines are designed to help customers achieve more with less through automated workflow and processes, companies can operate in a more efficient way during difficult times like this,” Kawamura explained. “During this period where many industries are facing manpower crunch, our smart technology like the IQ-501, provides extensive automation designed to reduce operator time and print wastage while increasing productivity. This allows companies to reduce manpower reliance and free up the operator to perform higher value task.”
IQ-501 Intelligent Quality Optimizer is Konica Minolta’s proprietary smart technology that automatically and continuously monitor and adjust colour and front-to-back registration to ensure output stability throughout the production process.
Headquartered in Singapore, Konica Minolta BSA distributes industrial and business products designed to transform the workplace of the future. In the region, office printing continues to be a core of its business. That said, Kawamura added that the company is placing high focus on the industrial printing and production printing market.
Kawamura highlighted Konica Minolta BSA’s commitment to growing markets in the region: “We continue to place great emphasis on expanding our reach in the region, as we further establish our market presence in growing markets such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. Not forgetting our local domestic office in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.”
“Asia continues to be one of the growing markets for us and I believe that Konica Minolta is well positioned to provide our customers with a suite of solutions that goes beyond just hardware but also software solutions. With a strong emphasis on digital printing, we have done extensive research in our toner to close the gap between digital and offset printing quality,” said Kawamura.
Recently, Konica Minolta achieved a milestone for its AccurioLabel series. It had sold its 500th unit globally, signalling a growing demand in digital label packaging. Designed for small to mid-size label converters by offering affordable entry to high-quality digital printing, the AccurioLabel series was launched at drupa 2016.
“We see great potential in the digital label packaging market,” said Kawamura. “The AccurioPress family will welcome its new member, the AccurioPress C14000 and C12000, a new flagship model that designed for the high production print segment. With this addition, Konica Minolta now has a complete lineup of digital printing solutions in the market.”
Introducing Cypress - AccurioPress C14000 series
With the AccurioPress C14000 series, Konica Minolta entered the high speed, high production, cut sheet toner print market. The AccurioPress C14000 series is Konica Minolta’s new flagship model and answer to the high production print segment. The new models are designed to distinguish themselves with unprecedented print quality, amazing media flexibility and integrating with high degree of automation.
“The AccurioPress C14000 series prints at 140 pages per minute (ppm) in A4 and is 40% faster than the existing toner-based line up. It offers higher print volume and longer duty cycle, to reach the high production print segment needs. With that, Konica Minolta now has the most complete lineup of digital printing solutions in the market,” said Kawamura.
The AccurioPress C14000 series is especially suited to meet the needs of the region: “Asia is an evolving landscape where turnaround time and print quality are inseparable, the AccurioPress C14000 addresses the very need that businesses have been longing for. Having the AccurioPress C14000/C12000 in the lineup of machines will further strengthen the business’ services and product offerings to their customers.”
“The first is definitely speed, with a speed of 140 ppm, we are talking about higher productivity, shorter turnaround time and in turn allows businesses to take do more jobs and increase revenue. With automatic media recognition and more paper media that are suitable, this expands the possibility and applications to meet the needs of the market,” said Kawamura.
The AccurioPress C14000 series offers three main benefits: opportunities for business expansion, operational efficiency and improved productivity, profitability and turnaround time.
“There are opportunities for business expansion because the press gives customers the opportunity to offer new applications, such as gatefold brochures, book covers and even short-run packaging,” Kawamura explained.
Built to execute day to day operations with consistency and reliability, the AccurioPress C14000 series is compatible with a wide array of media. The series has a resolution of 3600x2400 dpi and can handle media of up to 450 gsm. It can support long size media printing up to 1,300mm, combined with envelope and embossed media printability.
“To improve productivity, the AccurioPress C14000 series is incorporated with the IQ-501 Intelligent Quality Optimizer, as mentioned earlier,” said Kawamura. “There are auto inspection options to offer expanded inspection performance, verifying print quality, in addition to detecting streaks and spots as well as blemishes.”
The series has an automatic media detection sensor that can detect stock and assign the appropriate tray, eliminating time- consuming paper settings and operator error, reducing waste and increasing productivity.
Other features include an optional inline trimmer unit which allows full-bleed finishing support for banners, booklets, direct mail and a dedicated business card cutting option. A large capacity stacker LS-507 offers operators the advantage of offloading while the machine is still running. The new powerful colour management and job management utilities that available in the AccurioPress C14000 series helps to simplify the production flow and provide improved efficiency.
The AccurioPress C14000 offers stability, high durability and maximise the uptime to improve the total cost of ownership (TCO). The series is equipped with cutting edge technology to offer a highly reliable duty cycle of 2.5 million prints which improves productivity, profitability and turnaround time in today’s competitive market without compromising the print quality that customers demand.
First published in Print Innovation Asia Issue 04/2020.