• Print Innovation Asia

Konica Minolta halts toner production due to factory explosion

Konica Minolta announced updates regarding toner supply and availability as a result of the factory explosion that occurred at the Tatsuno, Japan site in August.

The Tatsuno factory produces Konica Minolta toners multi-functional peripherals (MFPs) and other equipment. In its latest press statement, the company commented on the domestic supply for the digital printing systems:

“Regarding toners for on-demand digital printing systems, we are trying to recover at an early stage, including adoption of alternative toners. As for some colour toners, with our sincere apology, we have no choice but to halt new orders.

By resuming production, we will start supply sequentially from around November 20. Until that time, we will continue to provide support for the business continuity of our customers. For monochrome machines, toner supply will keep running, while adjusting the shipment volume.”

Risk assessment is still underway for the Tatsuno factory, located in Nagano perfecture. Toner production is expected to resume on 8 November. Shipments for the toners are expected to begin on 20 November.

Second accident in six weeks

On 12 August, around 5:15pm, an explosion occurred at Konica Minolta’s The 46,641 square meters factory at Tatsuno, Japan.

According to Konica Minolta, the explosion had occurred at the production line. One unit of production equipment on the second floor of the production building was damaged and the external wall of the third floor of the building was partially damaged. No injuries were reported.

As a result of in-house investigation including advice from a third party organisation, Konica Minolta concluded that it “is highly likely that the static electricity generated in this drying process was the cause of the dust explosion”.

As a measure to resume production, the company has introduced a new production process that does not use the secondary drying process, with the aim of eliminating the risk of accidents and ensuring safety.

The 12 August explosion is the second accident that had occurred at the Tatsuno site. The first accident was an explosion and fire on 6 July. Both accidents had occurred in the secondary drying process in the toner production process.

Assessment on Kofu Site

At the company’s factory in Kofu, a risk assessment by experts is currently under way. The Kofu factory produces toners mainly for office products. Once the assessment clears, the Kofu site is expected to resume toner production with the new process on 18 October. Shipments for the products are scheduled to begin on 28 October.

According to Konica Minolta, supply of its office toners will still continue.

“The Konica Minolta Group takes the accidents seriously and will continue to strive to ensure the safety of the community. At the same time, we would like to express our sincere apologies for the accidents, which caused concerns and inconvenience to our customers due to a shortage in the supply of toners. We also ask for understanding and support as we work to resume production in the future,” the company concluded.

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