Konica Minolta touches upon the whole universe of printing solutions

Ever awaited KM-1 cut-sheet inkjet press likely to hit the Indian market soon
Fresh competencies as well as value additions that have been constantly augmenting their machine portfolio, advanced imaging technologies, manpower and so forth in the swing accelerate Konica Minolta Business Solutions India into a new motion, which has set them stride along the changing market dynamics. V Balakrishnan, executive general manager–marketing, sales & marketing division, Konica Minolta Business Solutions India Pvt Ltd reveals such developments in an exclusive chat with Print & Publishing editor SK Khurana over a cup of high tea at Digital Imaging Square (DIS) at their Gurgaon office. Creating value chain to meet the increasing demands for newer applications among customers, yarning for advanced technologies, Konica Minolta Business Solutions India has taken on all possible verticals—be it in production, technological solutions, fresh innovations, customer service—covering whole gamut of parameters including education, healthcare and many others. “Now, we have covered all domains, left nothing untouched; look at the eco-system of our existing customers, it includes all, be it graphic art, commercial printing, book printing, photo albums, packaging and others,” says V Balakrishnan. In this, everyone knows Konica Minolta as a manufacturer of measuring instruments for industrial and healthcare applications, inkjet printheads and textile printers for industrial use and related consumables and solution services.

Of the gamut of activities for which Konica Minolta has been known for decades, book printing is one such arena where a number of book publishers across the country are gainfully running KM monochrome presses for the purpose. “In addition to print production, we are now into e-books as well; converting books for e-learning contents,” mentions V Balakrishnan, adding that other allied activities in this domain, which Konica Minolta monochrome machines are engaging include in-house print productions of report cards, question papers and others such documents for schools, colleges and academic institutes. According to Balakrishnan, what Konica Minolta has been leveraging is to add value of digital printing to offset, rather than looking at it as an alternative.

New dimension

Unpacked this year during the PRINTPACK INDIA 2015 expo, Konica Minolta’s landmark introduction of JET Varnish 3D (from MGI Digital Graphics) to the Indian market has opened up a new paradigm shift in spot varnishing, adding highly allured 3D effects on digital prints and allowing to varnish upto 2298 A3 pages per hour. Saving time and cost, this digital solution application can be prepared on demand as well. “Of course, this UV spot varnishing machine lends a big opportunity to the packaging segment as well,” explains Balakrishnan.

Balakrishnan further details the machine’s added advantages and competencies in terms of make-ready time and auto-registration, “JET Varnish 3D is equipped with ARC (automated registered camera) designed to calibrate coating registration from sheet to sheet,” he explains, adding that the machine is perfectly designed for premium products rather than mass scale consumer products. Till date, a printing firm has already adopted the JET Varnish 3D and expecting the count to be multiplied sooner than later.

Mobile app

As things around us get gradually escalating online these days, mobile apps play vital tool in every aspect and Konica Minolta is not missing the bandwagon in this as the company has recently launched its PageScope Mobile App for iphone and ipad, which is a novel application that allows users to easily connect to KM presses from mobile devices through Wi-Fi. “This mobile device enables users to print documents, images and could import scanned data to any KM printer that supports this application,” explains Balakrishnan. PageScope Mobile App can store data in different locations, such as My Document, Online Storage, Mail and Web pages being spooled into the PageScope My Print Manager server, which can eventually be printed using a printer that has been registered in the app.

When asked how secure the app device from misuse, Balakrishnan says the device is full proof from any maligned activities as it supports authentication and secure printing on the KM devices connected to it. “You have mobile phone, but if you are not authenticated by the printer which is equipped with authentication device designed as similar as that of the one used in highest level of financial transaction, there is not even a thin chance of infiltration,” he explains.

Photo albums

V BalakrishnanIn the land where weddings are not mere occasions but professional mass-scale celebrations and people substantially spend huge every year, Konica Minolta genially captures this big-fat Indian nuptial ethos with a special attention on the provision of photo album printing/making to cherish the treasured moments forever in finest textured photo prints. Of course, a robust line of KM presses is available for excellent photo printing jobs, but the JET Varnish 3D is yet another proven excellence into this grasp. According to Balakrishnan, Konica Minolta provides relative software for all aspects of printing, be it photo, commercial, books, among others, which eventually help printers customise any sort of prints.

When it comes to counting the number of KM printing presses running in the Indian market, it is being enumerated that Konica Minolta has delivered more than 300 bizhub PRESS C70hc, which features high chroma image quality and it boasts high-speed production of 70 ppm in colour and monochrome. In fact, this press raises the bar in digital production with its fast and efficient RGB workflow that makes colours that pop, texts that grab attention and images that practically leap off the pages. Balakrishnan points out bizhub PRESS C8000 and C1060 are also suitably engineered for such outputs.

Categorically, around 30 percent of KM presses have been installed in the offset printing houses in India. As of now, a collective figure of more than 2300 digital production presses are currently running across the country; on other side, more than 60,000 MFPs of the company have been sold and these devices contribute a lot to the innovative front, engaging in groundbreaking technologies like cloud computing. But the popularity and concept of cloud printing, as Balakrishnan observes, is now in a developmental stage in the country.

Demo centres and labs

“Apart from our existing DIS (Digital Imaging Square) in Gurgaon where visitors are privileged to experiment a line of all models of KM machines, we have recently unveiled two labs where equipped every single model that has so far been sold in the Indian market, including JET Varnish 3D,” mentions Balakrishnan. He counts other popular KM models being put on display in the labs and DIS as: bizhub PRESS C1060, bizhub PRESS 1250, bizhub PRESS 1052 as well as a line of MFPs like bizhub 283, bizhub C221, bizhub C454, bizhub 283, bizhub C754, among others.

In addition, Balakrishnan elaborates that the newly introduced labs are designed as complete customer care corners as visitors can experience the whole gamut of Konica Minolta’s activities and products. It’s not only the machines but also the solutions, including software packages, such as Corel Draw, Adobe Illustrator, among others are accumulated in a perfectly arranged manner in the labs to serve the need of their customers.

Colour projects

V Balakrishnan (3rd from left) with SK Khurana (extreme right) and team KM‘Right colour’ is one of the biggest challenges ever faced by the printing professionals these days. Sensing this need to the core level, Konica Minolta has taken up a series of workshops called ‘Demystifying Colour’ conducted in different cities, inviting their customers to educate them the fundamentals of colour and right management of it. “We invite our customers to come along with their media, their own print files and challenges to the workshops,” says Balakrishnan. So far, three Demystifying Colour workshops have been conducted and Konica Minolta is targeting to make it 15 this year itself.

KM-1 arrival

Excitement is that Konica Minolta is getting set to bring KM-1 to the market. The machine is constructed with press chassis from KOMORI and the company’s very own UV inkjet technology, expected to be a big showcase at drupa 2016 to be staged from May 31–June 10 in Dusseldorf. KM-1 runs at the speeds of 3,300 sph in simplex and 1,650 sph in duplex modes, capable to outpour prints in 1200 dpi resolution. Rejoice is for book printers as KM-1 can produce a maximum sheet size of 750x585 mm, which in turn can print three book jackets per sheet, taking a range of substrates, including heavy, textured stocks.

Suitably engineered for high-speed commercial printing as well as short print runs to a given deadline and processing variable data, the arrival of KM-1 will open a new chapter of quality and competence in the Indian digital printing market, covering varied aspects of various spheres.

Group Publications