The UK has been a sluggish market for Komori in the company’s 2017/18 financial year, while demand elsewhere in Europe has remained firm. It notes at least one success in the UK: Komori presses have since September been printing the new polymer £10 note.
Overall Komori recorded an 8% increase in sales in the 12 months to the end of March and an operating profit more than double that of the previous year. Brexit concerns are blamed for the slow business in the UK which dragged down sales in Europe by 4.8% in the year. US sales fell 12.5% due to a drop off in higher value web offset sales and a marked shift towards printers dealing with shorter runs and multi item orders which have led printers to look at production options.
However, the Chinese market is back for the company, recording a 78.7% rise in sales. This is because of a demand for more automated presses with a requirement for less labour at larger printers, while a government policy is squeezing smaller less efficient printers out of the market.
In total sales for the year rose of ¥95,168 million (£652.7 million) up from ¥86,618 million (£594.2 million) and operating profit increased to ¥3,732 million (£25.6 million) from ¥1,712 million (11.7 million). It forecasts a further increase in sales to ¥101 billion (£693 million) for the current fiscal year, despite a 1.8% drop in incoming orders.
The optimism is framed by the forthcoming Igas show in Tokyo in July. Komori plans to show its KP-Connect Industry 4.0 concept in action. It will “deliver total automation” says the company, linking press to MIS, scheduling and so on to reduce efficiency sapping errors and increase production time.
The company had analysed returns from KHS-AI equipped presses and found wastage levels higher than anticipated and an average press usage of just 33%. OEE of finishing equipment is even lower it says. This is what KP-Connect will address.
At Igas it will be shown with an 18,000sph version of the GX40RP press, equipped also with an inkjet head to sequentially number each sheet so that those identified by the on press registration and colour assessment system as falling short of perfect can be identified and sorted from the delivery.
A new A-APC system will complete a full plate change, blanket wash and presetting of ducts in two minutes with running to colour in a similar time to minimise turnaround times. This will be available first on the commercial presses, with super short makeready promised for packaging.
As with other press manufacturers Komori is focused on growth in packaging to mitigate declines in commercial print and to catch trends towards urbanisation and economic development in emerging countries. It anticipates growth in India for example, following the impact of tax changes introduced last year.
The company is also changing its SRA1 format machines. The A37 model is being withdrawn and the G37 model updated to fall in with the G29 and G40 designs launched at Drupa. The G37 will also be available as a perfecting press and with coating unit.
Further developments are promised between Igas and Drupa in 2020 as the company also expands its activities in finishing equipment to diversify away from being purely a producer of litho printing machines. It has produced its first guillotine, first autoplaten and plans to expand the scope of its inks and consumables range.
Komori will introduce a high speed changeover to its presses at Igas, will add perfecting to its SRA1 machine and will increase top speed on the B1 GX to 18,000sph. This comes on the back of an 8% increase in sales in the 2017/18 financial year.