Posts Tagged ‘IGAS’

  • Hits & misses make the most of IGAS

    Tokyo Typhoon Number 12 of the season was a fizzer, a bit of a blow but nothing to bother the printers attending IGAS at Big Site out in the Bay. It came and went within a few hours; rain and wind enough to alarm the woman at the Heidelberg showroom where I was on Saturday afternoon. She urged us to get out quickly to avoid being stranded. Perhaps a little over the top, but …

    So, why was I at the Heidelberg showroom in Tokyo? Well here’s how the second part of my IGAS went.

    IGAS is an international exhibition, although overseas visitors are still only a small part of it. It’s international in that every manufacturer of note exhibits and as is becoming increasingly obvious that means most are Japanese firms. There are the large well known brands, but a walk around IGAS shows clearly the depth of ingenuity and industry in small firms and startups driving the printing equipment industry in Japan.


    With notable exceptions of course – HP is the eight hundred pound US gorilla in the centre of printing. Its digital reach is immense, encompassing every aspect of printing and packaging. In a prime position just inside the entrance in Hall 1 visitors were treated to a display of printed packaging that leaves no doubt that the future is definitely digital. It provided a testament to just how far the technology has been pushed and how this show was mostly about industrial printing mostly packaging.


    Konica Minolta Australian and Japanese colleagues (L to r) David Cascarino, Toshitaka Uemura, Koji Asaka and Anthony ‘AJ’ Jackson.

    Friday afternoon I had an appointment to meet with people from Konica Minolta who took time to talk about the 145-year-old company. Toshitaka Uemura, GM industry print business and Koji Asaka, assistant manager, are fine examples of all that’s best about Japanese corporate life. Dedicated and loyal they not only know the technology, but also are also deeply versed in the ethos and history of the company.

    There’s plenty of disparagement about the supposedly oppressed Japanese ‘salary men’ but they’re a remarkably hardworking and loyal bunch and these two were anything but put upon. Well informed too, as Uemura-san took me through the development of the company, its history as a photo and camera business and its prospects as a manufacturer of leading digital technology.

    There’s no doubt the Accurio KM1 is the flagship, a B2 inkjet press that is the first real contender to HP Indigo’s dominance. But there’s more in the portfolio too. The MGI digital embellishment JetVarnish 30 engine was prominent on the stand.

    Watch for a re-worked version of the Accurio Label press in the next few months, moving away from its BizHub-box appearance while still sticking with toner. It’s the technology the market wants, says Uemura-san, who was part of the planning team. He reckons the inkjet label sector is very well served but there’s a gap in the market where toner works in terms of cost and quality. And he gives every impression of knowing about what he speaks.


    Label specialist, Taishi Motoshige, (left) showed me around the Screen stand and introduced me to Ayaka Sasaki who looks after the CTP.

    Just next door Screen, another iconic Japanese manufacturer had a very busy stand. Based in the imperial city of Kyoto it has successfully reinvented itself as the market for its emblematic platemaking technology dwindled and almost died. But Screen is one of the few in the world still manufacturing CTP machines and lo and behold, there’s a new version released at this IGAS. A stripped-down unit aimed at the replacement market in developing countries, the PlateRite 8600NII can be upgraded with all the latest technology. As with much of Screen’s well-regarded technology, it’s widely rebadged and OEM’d.

    If you think a new CTP verges on the anachronistic, I was astounded to see a new proofing press on the stand, the Proof Jet F780 Mark ll. Who’d have thought sections of the Japanese media and advertising industry still insist on a proof from a proofing press? I mean, what’s the point, when it’s not going to be printed on the proofing press? Still, that’s what they want and Screen is happy to provide it.

    However, don’t let me give you the impression that Screen is caught in a weird time warp. Most of its stand was a model display of high-powered digital printing with two versions of the high-speed Truepress Jet, one for direct marketing production, the other for graphic arts; very impressive results. No sign yet of a cut sheet version.

    Fascinated to see the developments of Screen’s label press, with a new version out for the show, the TruePress L350UV+LM. The LM stands for low-migration; an ink set aiming to avoid any challenges to its suitability for labels on food products. Next to it was an Italian laser die cutter, a Cartes GE361L producing the best results from the technology I’ve seen. The label roll is split as it enters the machine with the printed layer being laser cut from the rear before being reunited with the liner. Clever solution that solves most of the angle cut problems from using lasers.


    Nothing to see here again, I’m afraid.

    One of the disappointments of IGAS was the no show of the Canon Voyager, the much-hyped flagship graphic arts digital press. I saw it at last drupa, but it wasn’t operating. The samples on display were tremendous. Same at IGAS. Lots of fabulous samples behind glass, lots of banners promoting the model, but no actual press. There were no English speaking staff, insofar as I could find, so I’m no wiser as to what’s happening with the Voyager. Perhaps it’s not for the Japanese market.

    There was an Océ Colorado there, promoted as a Canon product.


    David Currie, Australian IGAS-san and still a formidable printing equipment salesman.

    After a couple of days of missed calls, I managed to get in front of David Currie, executive chairman Currie Group, on the Saturday morning. I was keen to meet in Tokyo because David, if anyone, is the Australian IGAS-san. He tells me he’s being coming to the show for 31 years, ever since he hooked up with long-term friend and partner Hori-san, founder and owner of Horizon. (Hori-san… Horizon. Geddit?)

    We forget that at that time in the 1980s there was a sense, much promoted by competitors, that ‘Made in Japan’ was somehow dodgy and inferior. Certainly the trail David Currie blazed at the time was the road less travelled. Of course, nowadays, Japanese technology is the benchmark of quality and innovation.

    Such is the case with the vast range of equipment on the Horizon stand, the largest at IGAS, and not only on the Horizon stand but on others too, such as Ricoh and HP. In fact almost all the digital press manufacturers are using Horizon finishing kit.

    We tried to track Hori-san for a celebratory photo, but he wasn’t to be found. Then true to form, David Currie transformed into a younger version of himself as a Horizon equipment product manager and gave me a pretty comprehensive tour of the stand. Sure, he’s got people to do that for him, but once a printing equipment salesman …


    Anniversary celebrations for Richard Timson, whose 30 years with Heidelberg, man and boy, was commemorated with a gift of saki from Shuya Mizyno, president of Heidelberg Japan and Thomas Frank, head of sales Asia Pacific, who is also a 30-year Heidelberg veteran.

    Saturday afternoon with the typhoon closing in it was time to taxi to the Heidelberg showroom in Shinagawa. (Travel tip: never trust the driver over Google maps.) The German press manufacturer, represented by the redoubtable Thomas Frank, was showing off its Smart Print Shop concept while virtually promoting the new digital Primefire. There was no actual showing of the inkjet (at the Heidelberg IGAS stand visitors donned goggle-style glasses for a virtual tour) but there was a mighty Speedmaster XL 106, which proceeded to print 12 jobs of 150 sheets each (20 waste sheets per job) in 30 minutes, without operator intervention.

    While the printing was underway, the plates changing automatically and the press autonomously adjusting the settings, we were taken on a tour of the full print process, including the Versafire, which produced 26 digital jobs at the same time, again without operator input.

    Heidelberg promotes the concept as digitally controlled printing. Hugely productive to meet the challenge of the digital world, Frank also mentioned the ‘r’ word as in ‘rent a press’ with all the consumables supplied. This is the reality of the ‘subscription printing’ scheme being promoted by the company to drive new sales. It’s attempting to change the concept of how you go about owning productive print. Richard Timson, managing director ANZ says he’s close to getting the first Australian customer signed on.


    Determined to win: Tomomitsu Harada, is new managing director of the Australian company.

    Monday morning saw me heading west out of Tokyo to Tomi, halfway across the main island to visit the Mimaki plant. The aggressive and competitive wide format brand makes no bones about its drive to win market share in Australia and New Zealand. Tomomitsu Harada, the new managing director of the Australian company, unabashedly takes pride in his determined sales drive. At 31 it’s his first overseas managing director’s role and he’s determined to make the most of it. Bringing his family here in September, he’s settling in Chatswood, where else?

    Mimaki has one of the largest ranges of wide format equipment in the sector. With a company goal to double its revenue to $US1 billion within five years it’s the very model of a ‘win at all costs’ Japanese company. Fascinating to hear Harada quote the ‘beat sheet’ used by his salespeople; equipment that’s half the investment cost of rivals, ink that’s always cheaper, service that is aiming to be 100% performed by the company with a few years.

    There’s no doubting the engineering quality of Mimaki, but what makes it stand out for me is its sheer sales drive to win. It’s only been going direct in the local market for four years but expect to hear a lot more from the full-on Harada. He’ll be here in time for Visual Impact in Sydney where he promises to unveil a few surprises.


    The Epson stand, where I missed my walk through with Alastair Bourne, was packed with good gear such as the Surepress L-6034VW. It also provided my first sight of the LX-10000F, the Workforce engine that’s bringing PrecisionCore inkjet technology into the office and small production sectors.

    And that’s it from me in Japan. It was a great show. I messed up with a couple of appointments, notably with Epson on Monday (my apologies Alastair – see photo above). Check out the next issue of Print21 magazine for full IGAS report.

    Now I’m off to Haneda airport for an overnighter to Sydney. See you at the Yaffa LIVE Forum on Friday.

    Sayonara.

  • Print looks to the ‘Next’ at IGAS Japan

    There was an enthusiastic opening to Japan’s international graphic arts trade show at Tokyo’s Big Sight exhibition centre as crowds queued to get into the halls on the first day.

    Ushers at the entrance had to calm the throng as the doors were finally opened after an extensive ceremony to celebrate what the organisers themed as ‘Venture into the Next.’ Hard to imagine such enthusiasm in Australia for getting into a printing trade show, but the Japanese industry has embraced its opportunity to step up to international centre stage.

    Unlike many previous IGAS there is a sizeable international presence here, not only in exhibitors but also in visitors. I ran into a number of locals in the aisles having made the trip in a year when the late lamented UK Ipex would normally have provided a reason for overseas travel.

    As this is Japan, the people at the show are largely a homogenous bunch of locals, keenly attending to the numerous exhibits and presentations, all of them in Japanese. The international visitors are completely dependent on their compatriot contacts on the exhibitions stands for any information. Luckily, many companies seem to have sent representatives to handle the overseas visitors’ questions.


     

    No printing trade show in Asia Pacific is complete without the attendance of the delegates from the Forum of Asia Pacific Graphic Arts, and so it is with IGAS. Decked out with red and white rose buttonholes the great and the good from the trade associations in the region assembled for their conference. Representing Australia was long-term chairman of FAPGA, Peter Lane (far left) as well as Andrew Macaulay, CEO of Printing Industries (far right). They stolidly sat through the speeches before Lane joined in the ceremonial cutting of the opening ribbon.

    Afterwards I ran into Walter Kuhn, president of Printing industries, with the others heading in for a daylong session of presentations and speeches.

    I couldn’t attend myself, having too many appointments on the exhibition floors, but I’m sure it went a long way towards defining whatever the ‘Next’ is we’re invited to ‘venture’ into.

     


    In the Big Site swelter, David Cascarino and AJ flew the flag for Konica Minolta.

    No one told the crowds that the opening was at 11.00 on the first day to allow for the speeches, so it got a little testy in the lobby, in polite Japanese style, of course. I came upon two Konica Minolta representatives who were in danger of getting run over in the crush as the doors were finally opened. David Cascarino and Anthony ‘AJ’ Jackson are here to meet and assist a fairly substantial complement of Australian and New Zealand visitors to the Konica Minolta stand. I haven’t made it on there yet, so I can’t tell you what they’re looking for, but I will.


    Then and now, now and then: Moggers with Mike Boyle.

    As always HP is at the show with a massive presence, the largest non-Japanese exhibitor here. HP Indigo B2-size presses dominate the stand but there is a plethora of segments and products illustrating just how diverse are the uses to which digital printing is being put. I ran into the non-stop Alon Bar-Shany, honcho of HP Indigo, well known to Australian and New Zealand industry. He was with Mike Boyle, vice president graphics solutions Asia Pacific, our local guy who’s claimed a senior role in the company’s operations in the region.

    The two of them share more than common business interests – both are accomplished rock guitarists who take any opportunity to get together on stage.

    No sooner had Bar-Shany moved away than Michael Mogridge, Landa Corp vice president for Asia Pacific, joined us. Surprising to me, Boyle and he didn’t know one another, so I was pleased to make the introductions. In another life, Mogridge occupied almost the same role in HP. Many of Biyle’s current team came on board during his tenure, although it’s a far larger enterprise now.

    It’s a small world, this printing industry.


    Tesuya-san leading the Ricoh revolution.

     

    My first scheduled appointment was with Tetsuya Morita, vice president commercial & industrial printing, Ricoh. Fascinating company and very well helmed by efficient management, insofar as I could tell. I didn’t realise the depth of experience in Ricoh, or the amount of technology collateral it has invented and accumulated over the years. On a tour of the considerable stand it became obvious that Ricoh is a Japanese technology leader intent of leveraging its position to gain greater prominence in the industry. Centrepiece of the stand is the VC60000, a high-speed duplex inkjet that has as good a repro as any I’ve seen. Another version, the VC70000, is about to be launched with a new ink set and a top-secret drying system. This style of digital press is a little high-end for our local industry so I’m not sure when we’ll see one. Apart from the well-known production print work horses of the brand, the Pro C7210s up to the ProC9200 for commercial printing, more likely for our market is the new hugely productive wide-format flatbed, the Pro T7210, outputting at over 50 square metres an hour, double that of its nearest rival.

    We had a good in-depth interview, Tetsuya-san and me, so keep an eye out for a full exposition in the next issue of Print21 magazine. It’s a story worth the telling.


    Guru & pupil: Dayne Nankervis with Bernie Robinson.

    Trawling the aisles after lunch I came upon one of the industry’s elder statesmen, Bernie Robinson, managing director Currie Group. He’s over here with David Currie, executive chairman, to attend a Horizon worldwide channel partners conference today. All good news seemingly; Hori-san, founder and owner, has some announcements to make. To emphasise the point, Horizon has the largest exhibition stand at the show, not bad for a company that makes digital finishing equipment.

    Bernie was showing Dayne Nankervis the ropes, the scale of the industry and who’s who in our zoo. Remarkably for a member of the prestigious Melbourne printing family, this Nankervis is only a recent entry into printing, after a career in engineering. Now with CMYKhub, a good Currie Group customer, he’s here for the duration of the show, soaking up as much information as he can.

    Nice to see the traditions continue of the wise passing on their wisdom to young.


    Leading the charge for Mutoh is Isobe-san.

    I left the show in the late afternoon to go with Maeda-san on an interminable train journey through the sprawling city that is Tokyo to visit his boss Yasuhiko Isobe, senior managing director of Mutoh. One of the industry’s best kept secrets, Mutoh is an example of just how the Japanese do it. A company founded on the invention of the first the first drafter (designated part of Japanese mechanical engineering heritage) in the 1950s, it prides itself on the quality of its engineering. According to Isobe-san it’s not seeking to compete in the general market, preferring to invent its own category of production, especially in industrial printing. It’s a big ask but there’s a certain samurai-like determination about it.

    With Russell Cavenagh in place as the new Australian GM, Mutoh is set to use this year’s Visual Impact in Sydney to launch three world first machines. Not an everyday event, you’ll agree.

    At the Visual Impact show you’ll be the first to see:

    1. ValuJet 1638 UR, a UV inkjet that expands the range and is the first to use a new Mutoh-invented ink, the US11 that has the qualities of ‘bendability.’
    2. ValuJet 626 UF, a UV flatbed, a first for the company.
    3. ValuJet 1948 WX, a high-speed textile printer with another new ink, DH21, specially designed for the segment.

     

    Finally Maeda-san, who’s the deputy GM sales, took me to dinner at Shibuya, the jumping sector you always see in Tokyo videos where everyone crowds onto the intersection. It was packed and hot … did I mention there’s a heat wave in Tokyo? Dinner was sushi and sashimi in a nice low-key diner. Japan does it very well.

    Now I’m up for another day at the show, before the typhoon hits on the weekend. Oh, didn’t I mention the typhoon?

    Gotta love this place.

    Sayōnara!

  • Screen’s ‘Digital Everywhere’ for IGAS

    The Truepress Jet520HD high-speed inkjet press will be the star of Screen’s ‘Digital Everywhere’ stand at the big IGAS trade fair in Tokyo later this month.

    ‘It’s well worth the visit’: Peter Scott, MD Screen GP Australia.

    “We look forward to warmly welcoming all IGAS visitors from Australia and New Zealand,” says Screen GP Australia MD Peter Scott. “Although the theme is ‘Digital Everywhere,’ Screen will also show latest developments in CtP and other products not yet available in our market. The venue is stunning and, of course, Tokyo night life after work is legendary. It’s well worth the visit.”

    Working examples illustrating the possibilities available with a digital printing business will be on show, including many items not possible with standard offset or flexo/gravure label printing, including mixed and small lot on-demand books, variable direct mail, security tickets, food packaging labels and shrink-wrap labels for beverages.

    At the core of the stand will be the EQUIOS workflow solution platform, which drives the range of Truepress Jet digital presses and can also interface with offset CtP for longer runs and mixed offset/digital production.

    The star of the show will be Screen’s Truepress Jet520HD high-speed inkjet press, running SC wide-gamut inks that enable digital printing onto standard offset coated stocks.

    The excellence of the 520HD + SC ink combination led to them receiving twin prizes in the US and Japan: a 2017 InterTech Technology Award from Printing Industries of America (PIA) and a 2018 technology award from the Japanese Society of Printing Science and Technology (JSPST). Newly improved drying functions have further increased print speeds to 75 meters per minute even on offset coated papers.

    Attendees will have the opportunity to see a production solution built around EQUIOS that is linked from its front end, through to digital print and on to a cut and stack system provided by post-processing experts Tecnau.

    The exhibit will also include the debut of EQUIOS Online Version 5, the latest edition of the platform’s Web portal system.

    The Truepress Jet L350UV+LM will make its Asia-Pacific regional debut at IGAS. The high-end digital label press enables a significantly expanded range of applications including food packaging labels and shrink-wrap labels for beverages.

    A laser die cutting machine from Cartes will also be on display as a post-processing solution. Technologies newly developed by Cartes are highly effective for overcoming the issue of white edges generated during die cutting. The system’s capabilities will be introduced in a demonstration of high-speed cutting using variable data.

    Screen’s IGAS stand can be found in East Hall 2, No. 2-1, at the Tokyo Big Site from July 26th to 31st.

  • Komori rolls out new offset press at IGAS

    Press giant Komori will exhibit its latest offset technologies including the new the eight-color 37-inch Lithrone GL37P at next month’s IGAS 2018 trade show in Tokyo.

    Being shown for the first time, the Lithrone GL37P convertible offset press features an advanced perfecting mechanism and one-pass double-sided printing. The GL37P’s compact footprint expands installation possibilities for users with space restrictions and comes equipped with Komori’s H-UV L (LED) instant curing system. 

    The Komori Lithrone G37.

    Other offset technologies on show at the Komori booth – the largest in the exhibition – include the compact Lithrone G37 (GL37) (pictured, above). Debuted at drupa 2016, this press has been updated and re-engineered. It offers a 25 x 37-inch maximum sheet size and is ideal for a range of publishing and commercial printing on both light and heavy stocks. The GL37 press is equipped with Komori’s proprietary H-UV L (LED) instant curing system to enable fast turnaround.

    Demonstrations at the booth will feature Komori’s KP-Connect, middleware that connects processes and provides visualization of production status such as operating conditions and operating controls. Visitors will be introduced to the concept of Connected Automation, a process that maximizes production efficiency by linking prepress, press and post-press using the evolved KP-Connect.

    Komori’s inkjet UV printing system, the Impremia IS29, will also be front and center at the show. The Impremia IS29 is a state-of-the-art inkjet printing system capable of printing on a wide range of stocks, including ordinary offset paper. By taking advantage of UV inkjet characteristics, the IS29 is ideal for commercial print applications and package printing.

    Other technology at the booth will include the Highcon Euclid III digital cutting and creasing system, the Lithrone GX40 (GLX40) and Lithrone GX40RP (GLX40RP) – a 40-inch one-pass, double-sided press – as well as a lineup of new high-speed cutting systems, the Komori Apressia series.

    IGAS 2018 will be held in Tokyo from July 26 through July 31, 2018 at Tokyo Big Sight.

  • IGAS 2015

    The Japanese International Graphic Arts Show in Tokyo Big Sight is a comprehensive demonstration of the amount and diversity of the country’s contribution to the graphic arts industry. Despite the lack of English literature, and often  the failure to have anyone on the stand that speaks English, IGAS can provide an overview of the latest technology from one of the most developed printing industries in the world. IGAS still aspires to a place as a global trade show, a task made more difficult by the rising importnace of the Chinese exhibitions.

    Always worth a visit if you’re thinking of buying some digital – especially finishing – or even offset press equipment.