Dec 12, 2016
We were in Japan last month and as luck would have it we were there at the same time that Komori held an open house to showcase its newest digital print solutions. This international event took place at Komori’s facility in Tsukuba, Japan and drew hundreds of attendees from all over the Asia Pacific region. It provided the opportunity to showcase Komori’s Impremia IS29, a B2-format, sheet-fed, UV inkjet printer capable of speeds up to 3,000 simplex sheets per hour. Also on display were a six-unit, 18,000 sheet per hour, B1-format Komori Lithrone GX40RP H-UV offset press running UV inks and a Komori Apressia DC105 die cutter. Komori’s recently announced sales partnership with Highcon was clear to see through the demonstration of the Euclid II+ during the open house. Horizon, also a Komori partner, showed a saddle stitcher.
The theme running across all of the products shown was a demonstration of a hybrid workflow for test marketing a national campaign for a cosmetic product. Read more »
Nov 16, 2011
Last week Canon announced its plans to acquire Showa Information Systems (SIS), a Japanese manufacturer of high-end printing systems. If the acquisition goes as Canon expects it to, the deal will involve the purchase of around 12 million shares at a price of 200 yen per share. This would make the total sale more than 2.4 billion yen or about $31 million. Canon expects the share acquisition to be completed around May of 2012. Canon has already concluded an agreement with Showa Information Systems’ largest shareholder (Mars Engineering Corporation), which owns about 26% of SIS.
SIS was established in 1973 and has been active in the development of Japanese language processing technologies for office printers, including what it describes as the world’s first kanji printer. With its SX series of printers it has also competed in high-speed continuous-feed printers for the data center printing. A key strength is its proprietary controller, whose technology may also be used for languages that use two-byte characters. Canon hopes to leverage this capability first in China.
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Oct 5, 2011
On March 11, 2011, a major earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck Japan. Several factories of equipment suppliers and manufacturers of sub-components were struck, with more being affected by subsequent power outages. It was expected that this would impact shipments of digital printing equipment as many digital printing devices and parts used in these devices are manufactured in Japan.
Apart from anecdotal evidence getting hard facts on the impact is difficult. Due to the time it takes to ship the equipment overseas, no impact in Q1 was expected, but Q2 placements would have been affected by any supply chain interruptions. The InfoTrends quarterly tracking program looks at quarterly installations of digital production printing equipment, including A3-capable color MFPs. Placements fluctuate driven by overall demand, product launches, and tend to have some seasonality. Through our quarterly tracking program, we are able to draw historic comparison to gauge the seasonality factor.
Based on shipments in Q1 2011 we saw deviation from what would have been expected in the second quarter. In several color device segments installations were 15% to 20% below the expected level. Black & white installations in some product groups fell back as well, although to a lower extent. The few product groups that are dominated by vendors outside of Japan remained essentially within line of Q2 expectations or did even better than expected.
Is this a bullet-proof evidence that tsunami and earthquake did impact shipments by that amount? There is enough potential for fluctuation in times of an unstable economy, so we cannot be absolutely sure. However, the contrast to product groups mainly manufactured outside of Japan is remarkable. We will be closely watching Q3 results and see whether shipments recover or stay at a lower level.
InfoTrends published more details on the Q2 2011 results in a separate report:
Jul 14, 2011
I’ve spoken at InfoTrends’ On Demand Japan conference for many years now. My annual visit to Tokyo is a high pointÂ of the year because it gives me a chance to visit face-to-face with our Japanese clients and to catch up with InfoTrends employees here. Since I was here last July, of course, Japan has suffered a tremendous natural disaster followed by a nuclear plant accident with long-lasting implications. It’s only been four months since the earthquake and as I arrived I wondered what changes I would see in Tokyo since my last visit.
Here are a few observations:
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Mar 18, 2011
The tragic events in Japan over the last week have left many around the world wondering about loved ones and professional colleagues in the affected areas and how the country will move beyond this crisis. Scattered reports indicate that some of the companies involved in the office products industry have been severely impacted: Read more »
Mar 15, 2011
The 9.0 magnitude earthquake of March 11, 2011 has wreaked havoc with all aspects of the Japanese economy, and the digital imaging industry will not be immune to the immediate and long lasting repercussions. Even though many digital imaging companies were not directly affected by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, they will certainly be affected by the disruptions to the Japanese power and transportation infrastructure and their supply chains.
One company directly affected is Nikon who has digital camera and lenses manufacturing sites in the Sendai area. Nikon produces its professional grade DSLR bodies, the D700, D3s, and D3x cameras, in its Sendai factory, just south of Sendai in Natori and about four miles from the coastline. The area was hard hit by the high walls of water but it is reported that the Nikon plant just suffered some building and equipment damage as well as injuries to some employees (satellite photos show that the water did not make it that far inland, though the water did reach up to six miles inland in other areas). With the destruction that the tsunami left in its wake, there will certainly be issues with personnel, power, water, components, and transportation that will directly impact this plant and others across Japan. Nikon is not able to say when the factory will reopen. Read more »
Jun 15, 2010
Fujifilm Simple Products (FFSP), a software development subsidiary of Fujifilm, released its Form Magic 4 Variable Data Print (VDP) software introduction on June 8, 2010. FFSP is one of the primary VDP software vendors in the Japanese market. According to an InfoTrends report exploring the Japanese POD solutions market (published December 2008), Fujifilm had a market share of 12% in 2007–making it the fourth-largest player in terms of volume base and new licenses sold for graphic arts use). During a press conference on Form Magic 4, FFSP claimed that its customer base was currently in excess of 250.
The VDP software market is currently dominated by Japanese players such as Morisawa, Tapcom, and FFSP. These Japanese vendors accounted for more than 70% of Japan’s VDP market because:
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Nov 10, 2009
At the JANPS newspaper production show in Tokyo later this month a web offset press manufacturer called TKS (Tokyo Kikai Seisakusho) will be unveiling a production color inkjet newspaper system called JetLeader. It is a roll-fed device that prints at speeds of 150 meters per minute (492 feet per minute) and has a maximum print width of 541 millimeters (21.3 inches) on a maximum roll width of 546 millimeters (21.5 inches). It uses piezo drop-on-demand inkjet heads and aqueous pigment inks. TKS says it can print on groundwood newsprint at weightsÂ of 60 gsm or higher. The configuration that will be shown at JANPS will be process color on one side of the web and monochrome on the other (4/1) and will include a sheeter and accumulator. TKS says that a 4/4 configuration will be available upon launch at the end of this month. Pricing has not been released. In addition to the standalone JetLeader newspaper system, TKS will also demonstrate a hybrid offset/inkjet offering at JANPS. Read more »
Jul 31, 2009
Alex Sumarta and I were in Tokyo recently for the On Demand Japan Conference. One of the questions that we frequently get is “Why hasn’t production color digital print been more successful in Japan?” No one knows the answer for sure, but as we listened to the analysts from our Japanese office talk about the market, some points became clear:
- Japanese printers pride themselves in providing high levels of quality
- Print service providers feel that quality and consistency is what differentiates them
- The poor quality and lack of consistency of some of the earliest digital color print products has given digital a bad reputation that it is only now beginning to shed
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