Fujifilm to close plate manufacturing unit in The Netherlands

Production transferred to factories in Japan and China

Offset printing plates by Fujifilm. Photo Fujifilm

Fujifilm, a global provider of print solutions, has announced the closure of the company’s offset plate production line in Tilburg, The Netherlands. The immediate triggers are rising raw material and energy costs, and a decrease in demand due to a shift towards digital.

Production of plates currently made in Tilburg will be transferred to factories in Japan and China. After this transfer has taken place, the production of offset plates in Tilburg will stop, with the process anticipated to be completed in late 2023.

The company says there has been a continuous decrease in the demand for offset printing plates caused by the transition to other forms of communication, particularly digital media, and the diversification of printed output as a result of the growth in digital printing.

This trend has been accelerated by the effect of the Covid pandemic and the impact this has had on the way people consume print. This situation has been further compounded in Europe by raw material cost increases, the volatility of the energy market, and the impact of higher inflation.

However, there is no doubt that offset printing will remain a critically important production process for many years to come, because of its ability to produce a high-quality, cost-effective print in highly productive and automated print businesses, the company said.

Fujifilm says it is committed to keep supplying its best-in-class offset printing plates into the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) market and be a key driving force by increasing the adoption of its process-less plates, such as the industry-leading Superia ZX, as they offer the best combination of quality and performance, and help print service providers improve production efficiencies.

The company says it will strive to serve EMEA customers in the best way under the new business setup and will continue to focus its efforts on ways it can contribute to the future of the offset printing market.

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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