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.”
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.