Konica Minolta increases stake in MGI Digital Technology

Investment to shore up developments in printed electronics

Konica Minolta
MGI Jetvarnish 3D One

Konica Minolta has made an additional investment in France-based MGI Digital Technology (MGI), a manufacturer of digital-based printing equipment. With this move, the Japanese company has raised its stake in MGI to 42.3%. Konica Minolta and MGI formed their equity and business alliance in January 2014. The implication is that the additional investment by Konica Minolta will bring capital into MGI for investment in future technologies such as printed electronics and chipless RFIDs.

In recent years, digital marketing has shifted into mass customization by changing content aligned to target audiences and customers. Konica Minolta believes that this trend will spread to the professional and industrial printing sectors. As demand increases for digital printing technologies and moves toward personalized printing, post-processing digitization will become increasingly important.

“Particularly, it is essential to expand the lineup of digital embellishment machines that make printed materials more appealing, and it is crucial for Konica Minolta to deepen the alliance with MGI, the first company in the world to commercialize digital embellishment printing machines, steadily forming the market for digital decoration printing since then,” said Konica Minolta.

The company believes that print on demand and digital printing will accelerate in the near future. “During the Covid-19 pandemic, demand has temporarily stagnated in some areas of the industrial printing sector. Over the medium to long term, however, the company believes that demand for industrial printing will shift more to on-demand than ever before and that the shift from analog to digital printing will increasingly accelerate in order to respond to this change in demand,” the company said.

Addressing the package printing market

Konica Minolta is currently marketing the AccurioJet KM-1e, a 29-inch sheet-fed UV inkjet printing machine that can also print on cartons for packaging, in the packaging print market. The company expects packaging printing to grow by 15% annually from 2018 to 2028 and says this segment is positioned as a key field for business expansion.

At the drupa exhibition held in Germany in 2016, MGI made a technological showcase of its Alphajet, a system that enables integrated printing, decoration, and post-processing that can also be printed on corrugated products.

“MGI is about to become the industry’s first high-value-added digital printing solution to meet the demands of the packaging printing industry for smaller lots and customization. In order to drive the DX (digital transformation) at packaging printing sites, Konica Minolta will strive to provide increased value and establish a strong position in the market by effectively launching the Alphajet, taking advantage of the customer contact it has accumulated through its global sales network and capabilities,” it said.

Printed electronics and chipless RFIDs

In addition to color printing and decoration printing, Konica Minolta has been considering how it can add value in the field of functional printing in the future. It is examining areas such as printed electronics and chipless RFIDs and positioning them as business developments that society needs or will need.

Ceradrop, a subsidiary of MGI, is completing laboratory-level printed electronics developments, including cooperating in functional printing studies at several well-known universities with advanced material sciences.

“Through this increase of stakes in MGI, Konica Minolta will accelerate the development of material technologies and production technologies for the early commercialization of functional printing, in addition to the synergies of the results that both companies have accumulated to date,” it said.

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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