Konica Minolta explosion in Tatsuno could impact toner supply

No injuries, but second incident in six weeks could be disruptive

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Konica Minolta finalizes 8 November as Tatsuno factory restart date
Konica Minolta has confirmed its production at the Tatsuno factory will resume on 8 November Photo Konica Minolta

An explosion on 12 August 2021 at a Konica Minolta toner factory in Tatsuno in Nagano prefecture in Japan may affect the supply of toner in coming weeks. According to a statement from the business, employees said, “It was and explosion in the production line.” The local fire and police departments were called immediately. Apparently there were no injuries but some of the production equipment on the second floor was damaged and there was some external damage to the third floor of the building.

The large factory of almost 47,000 square meters was opened in 2007 and employed 44 people in July this year. An earlier fire on 6 July 2021 was linked to static electricity in the production equipment. Although there were no injuries or casualties several countermeasures and precautions were taken at that time and the factory had only restarted production on 7 August. The second incident, the explosion took place just five days later on 12 August.

Reports say that given the scale of the factory and statements by the company, some customers may experience shortages of toner supply mid-September onward for a limited time. We asked Konica Minolta India to update us on toner inventory and availability on 22 September but there is no clarification till now (12.37pm IST on 24.09.21).

Konica Minolta statement on 16 August

The company’s statement on 16 August says, “Regarding the explosion at Tatsuno Factory of Konica Minolta Supplies Manufacturing Co., Ltd. on August 12, we would like to give our sincerest apologies to residents in neighboring communities, relevant authorities and all those for the trouble. Below is the current status. We will keep posting updates.

“The on-site inspection was conducted by the local fire and police departments, starting on 14 August. As it takes time to collect and analyze the data, the cause has not been identified.

“The Konica Minolta Group sincerely addresses the incident again and, in cooperation with the local fire and police departments and relevant authorities, will thoroughly investigate the cause. Until the cause is identified and safety is ensured, we will not resume operation.”

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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