Historic India visit of Yoshiharu Komori

Further future of offset unpacked for package printing

Yoshiharu Komori, the master bastion behind the renowned ‘Komori’ brand of offset presses, recently paid a historic visit to India during which he cheered up everyone with brighter and broader futuristic prospects of offset printing in diversified ways at a gathering in New Delhi. Gracing the momentous occasion, SK Khurana, editor, Print & Publishing conducted an interactive session with the leader who was flanked by Ajay Agarwal, CEO and Sangam Khanna, director, Insight Communication and Print Solution India Pvt Ltd, a sole distributor of Komori offset machines in India, along with a host of other industry fellows. It was 20 years back that Yoshiharu Komori, chairman & CEO, Komori Corporation, landed for the first time in India to inaugurate a Komori Intaglio press installed at a currency printing firm in Salboni, near Kolkata. After the time gap, he found the Indian printing market getting spiralled to a new level today. Chronologically recollecting the company’s landmark achievements in manufacturing sheet-fed and web-offset machines, Yoshiharu alongside Toshiyasu Kubotera, GM, Export Department-2, (Asia Pacific and Latin America), Overseas Sales Group, Komori Corporation narrated every minute advancement and latest development of the company in connection to their overall successions in technology, collaboration, market expansion and many others in the presence of all delegates attending the get-together.

SK Khurana hosting the interactive session with (L-R) Ajay Agarwal, Sangam Khanna, Yoshiharu Komori and Toshiyasu KuboteraKomori Corporation boasts globally acclaimed portfolio of Lithrone, Enthrone, Spica, System, PESP (Print Engineering Service Provider) series designed for commercial, packaging, newspapers, books and other segments. Prior to the presentations of Komori officials, Ajay Agarwal briefed the audience about their overall activities and the factors leading to the great success in the Indian market. “Despite the fact that our sheet-fed presses include the ones capable to run at 18,000 cph, we consider speed secondary when it comes to taking into account of new technological enhancements,” mentioned Yoshiharu, adding, “High-quality print, short-run production and cost saving practice are vital in today’s highly competitive printing market and these are our priorities.” Another important area where Yoshiharu would like to pay further attention for constant enhancement is after-sales service in India, for which R&D activities have been fostering to correspondingly amplify it with the company achieving 50 percent market share during the last two years.

Pointing to packaging

Drawing attention of the gathered crowd to the latest Komori packaging solutions, Toshiyasu presented Chambon in-line presses perfectly configured to allow all processes from printing to wrapping across different industrial clusters, particularly food, pharmaceutical and others. He further narrated in specific about the company’s latest KHS-AI (Advanced Interface), a nextgeneration integrated printing management system with new functions and enhanced performance, capable to receive data from prepress and production management sides and prepare optimum preset data for the machine before running print job.

Since the wave of offset printing at global level is now moving towards the packaging segment, India finds its path in the progression which Yoshiharu amiably mentioned as a persistent development in the country. “I have carefully examined the Indian packaging sector; it is now equally upgraded like others in the developed countries,” mentioned Yoshiharu. However, he defined the growth is similar to what the Chinese market has perceived so far. “In China, current domestic demand is down, but its exports to Europe and US keep spiralling. I believe the same market trend is coming up in India too,” observed Yoshiharu, adding that yet another similarity likely to happen in India soon is that offset printers in the country are likely to switch to repeat orders (of 4-5 machines) like their Chinese counterparts.

Training centre

As long as Komori Corporation’s strategic plans for development in India are concerned, Yoshiharu firmly mentioned to consider the opening of a Komori training centre in the country where fresher professionals can get formal trainings for pre-press and press operations. This initiative came into consideration when attendees alerted Yoshiharu the current state of the industry in India, where operators are trained while running the machines.

When enquired about any future plans to open manufacturing subsidiary of Komori Corporation within India, Yoshiharu was very clear about this, “We don’t have such plan for India as of now. Most of all, I always like to smell the whole manufacturing process at arm’s length, particularly for quality concern. We do have a subsidiary manufacturing plant in China for producing some spares, not the whole machine.” In his further explanation about the company’s quality manufacturing process, Yoshiharu revealed that all important components of Komori presses are engineered in-house, except the 15 percent sourced outside.

Offset for years

Keenly eying the future of offset printing, Yoshiharu confidently mentioned that the technology will remain on top in the years to come. However, Komori Corporation has geared up for a collaborative move in which they have tied up closely with two big digital players – Konica Minolta and Landa Nanotechnology.

He mentioned the joint ventures would provide professional offset printers the digital requirements. Quoting the research data from PIRA and NPES, Yoshiharu revealed that the global growth in the packaging segment will remain at 8.1 percent during 2012 to 2017, in which offset will remain a fortified technology with a meagre two percent support from digital.

He also revealed that Komori Corporation has set to launch its Impremia IS29 single pass UV inkjet 50x70 press at IGAS 2015 in Tokyo. And the company’s collaboration with Landa is expected making a big blast at drupa 2016 in Dusseldorf.

SK Khurana in a conclusive note at the end of the interactive session conveyed the industry fellows to accept the combo of offset and digital technologies like a perfect mixed meal of rice and roti. Secondly, Yoshiharu indicated the point that in Japan, the normal depreciation period to replace a machine in a printing unit is ten years. This point in Indian context might turn out to be a big challenge for printers to replace machines in that kind of time frame as they are not able to comfortably invest in new equipments that fast. “But if one wants to continue offering top quality print, replacement of machines in reasonable time becomes imperative. And to accomplish this good amount of investments need to be made equally fast. To facilitate such kind of investment within a span of ten years or so, one needs to achieve ROI much faster which can actually happen if you are able to make your selling price equally good.

Offering customers continuously reduced rates will never help in bringing a solution in the long run as it may rather extent machine replacement period. Then at the end of the day, by using the same old machine, quality will be degraded and customers may get frowned in dissatisfaction,” urged SK Khurana adding that everyone in the industry must step forward to discuss this point seriously through forums and seminars with a strategic approach and device a mechanism to charge better price, but do offer best quality.

At the end of the programme, Yoshiharu presented mementos to some Komori customers for their print excellence. Elated to the overall satisfactory gesture and hospitality he received from the Indian partners, customers and industry fellows, Yoshiharu pledged to visit the country once a year in future.

Group Publications