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.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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