RMGT customers in Japan pioneer LED UV curing

RMGT customers in Japan pioneer LED UV curing
Vinay Kaushal of Provin Technos

On the RMGT open house trip to Japan in January this year, our senior desk editor Priyankaa Dey was among the Indian and Asian printers taken on factory tours to leading commercial and packaging printers in Fukuyama, a city located on the Ashida River in Hiroshima Prefecture.

Kumagai Printing
The three plants we visited were all users of RMGT presses. The first user, Kumagai Printing, is a leading name in the packaging and commercial printing space that prints posters, publications and brochures. Kumagai built a new office and factory in 2016 and equipped it with a 4-color RMGT 940ST with LED curing, a 5-color 940ST with LED curing and a 6-color plus coater 1050LX with LED curing. The 5-color and 6-color presses are equipped with print quality inspection systems. The three offset presses were installed in November 2016 with the primary objective of expanding Kumagai’s business to include production on thick cardboard, metalized papers and clear plastic files.

In our conversation with Katsumi Kumagai, the company’s chairman, we understood Kumagai Printing’s contribution to the regional industry in the field of plastic packaging for many food-based businesses located in Niigata Prefecture. Starting from product concept work through to design, functionality and preservation, Kumagai Printing plans and designs product packaging that imparts high added value to products.

RMGT 2The RMGT 940ST 4-color LED-UV press at Kumagai Printing factory

Kumagai said, “We believe in promoting the 3Rs—Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Basically, we keep the size of our packaging materials as small as possible. We work to keep our packaging materials thin and light, and we eliminate wasteful packaging by simplifying gift packaging, for example. We use plastic for the winding core of film materials and we strive to reuse or recycle this plastic. Film loss that occurs in manufacturing during the inflation process is used to generate pellets, which are reused as a resource. In order to offer further environmental support, we continuously review our plastic raw materials, product shape and product recyclability, and try to optimize packaging.”

Based on the ISO14001 approach, Kumagai Printing strives to reduce environmental burden through measures like workplace energy conservation and waste reduction, as well as devising product development with reduced environmental impact.

The second RMGT user we visited, Sanshinsya, was established in 1977. The company prints commercial work such as publications, leaflets, flyers and brochures. Sanshinsya is the first LED-UV curing user for offset printing in the world—installing a 924(4-A) press way back in 2008. Currently, it has an 8-color 928P (Ab-4) perfector with LED-UV curing system.

The RMGT 928P offers faster make-ready for short-run jobs and is an efficient option for the 8-up printing of A4 size products. Because the press allows instant LED curing of the printed sheet, Sanshinsya decided to install it directly in their postpress factory, instead of their printing press, so that they can process, finish and convert the printed sheets most efficiently.

Nishikawa Printing Company
Our third visit was to Nishikawa Printing Company, a contract-based partner of Raksul Inc. Raksul is a leading on-line printer in Japan, which has a very interesting and unique business style. The company does not have any printing factory of its own. Instead, it has forged tie-ups with many printing companies and in order to print jobs, Raksul uses the non-operating time of printing presses of these companies. Since Raksul started receiving orders that exceeded the production capability of its contracted companies, it decided to purchase its own printing machines and install them at Nishikawa Printing Company, one of its contract partners.

RMGT 3RMGT 928P press with LED-UV at Nishikawa Printing Company

Raksul invested in two sets of RMGT 8-color 928P (Ab4) perfector with LED-UV curing system, together with an LED-UV ink piping supply system and an ink agitator. The offset presses with the auxiliary equipment were installed at Nishikawa Printing Company. Apart from the two new RMGT offset presses, Nishikawa has five Komori and Mitsubishi commercial heatset web offset presses.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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