On 27 September 2021, Konica Minolta issued its third notice regarding the fire in July and the explosion in August at its Tatsuno toner supplies factory. The Tatsuno factory produces toners for on-demand digital printing systems. See our earlier coverage on the incidents. Although we asked Konica Minolta India for an input on the toner supply and inventory situation in India, 48 hours before publishing our story on 24 September 2021, we still have not heard from them on this issue. – Editor
The 27 September statement issued by Konica Minolta Japan says – Regarding the accident that occurred at Tatsuno Factory of Konica Minolta Supplies Manufacturing Co., Ltd. on August 12, we sincerely apologize for the considerable inconvenience and concerns among local residents, relevant authorities, and customers who use our products. As it took time to investigate the cause and determine the timing of production resumption, the current situation is as follows:
Cause identification and countermeasures
Both of the two accidents occurred in the secondary drying process in the toner production process. After the August 12 accident, it took time to collect and analyze data. As a result of in-house investigation including objective advice from a third party organization, we have decided it is highly likely that the static electricity generated in this drying process was the cause of the dust explosion.
As a measure to resume production, we introduced a new production process that does not use the secondary drying process, with the aim of eliminating the risk of accidents and ensuring safety.
Plans for resuming production
At Kofu Factory, the risk assessment by experts has currently been under way. With confirmation that the assessment ends with no problem, we will resume production of toners in this new production process on October 18. Tatsuno Factory also goes through similar risk assessment and, in addition to explanations to fire departments and other relevant authorities, we will hold an explanatory session for local residents. Resumption of toner production at Tatsuno Factory is planned on November 8.
Shipments of products are scheduled to begin on October 28 at Kofu Factory, which mainly produces toners for office products, and on November 20 at the Tatsuno Factory, which mainly produces toners for on-demand digital printing systems. We will endeavor to ensure that our customers can use our products.
Domestic toner supply (in Japan)
Supply of toners for office products continues so that customers can continue to print. Regarding toners for on-demand digital printing systems, we are trying to recover at an early stage, including adoption of alternative toners. As for some color toners, with our sincere apology, we have no choice but to halt new orders. By resuming production, we will start supply sequentially from around November 20. Until that time, we will continue to provide support for the business continuity of our customers. For monochrome machines, toner supply will keep running, while adjusting the shipment volume.
The Konica Minolta Group takes the accidents seriously and will continue to strive to ensure the safety of the community. At the same time, we would like to express our sincere apologies for the accidents, which caused concerns and inconvenience to our customers due to a shortage in the supply of toners. We also ask for understanding and support as we work to resume production in the future.