Pamex 2023: Konica Minolta provides better ROI with its machines

Katsuhisa Asari, managing director, Konica Minolta Business Solutions India, tells Noel D'Cunha that the printing industry will grow rapidly in the coming years.

29 Mar 2023 | By Noel D'Cunha

Katsuhisa Asari, managing director, Konica Minolta Business Solutions India

Noel D’Cunha (ND): How important is Pamex for you?

Katsuhisa Asari (KA): Since we established this company in 2010, we have never missed out on the Pamex exhibition. And Mumbai is one of the places where people are curious to know more about printing technologies. This is after Covid. I think the market has just opened up, and many short-run digitals are booming. We have a wide range of products at Pamex that might interest people. 

ND: You are enhancing the speed of AccurioLabel 400. Is speed a criterion for label production?

KA: Speed is one aspect which can increase productivity; by achieving a much faster way of label printing. It is beneficial for somebody who is already doing the labelling, but also for someone who is in offset and looking for a short run, in a passive speed with a fixed colour.

So, the basic idea when we talk about the short-run on AccurioLabel 230 is, we can do 800 to 1,000 linear metre jobs. But in the case of AccurioLabel 400, we increased that speed from 1,500 to 2,000. Label converters get the job. They measure it in terms of linear metres.

ND: How does Konica Minolta position itself in the speed parameter as all the label printers in India looking for high speed?

KA: There are certain categories where people also look at the way the investment versus the return that they can see in terms of the ROI. Our machines are not that expensive, but there are many applications of our machines using electrophotography.

ND: How is Konica Minolta looking to expand its machines’ applications?

KA: Minolta has the technology to print on different substrates. So, we have our own ink technology and user kits. Depending on the situation, we weigh in terms of probably how we can expand in making equipment. We already have the technology. So, it is slowly progressing into various segments leveraging what we are doing well. We try to upgrade some features in the existing model instead of making a new one. Over a period of time, yes, you may see more technologies coming from Konica Minolta.

ND: Where do you see the printing industry's future in terms of technology and application? Which segment do you think is the growing segment? And how is Konica Minolta placed there?

KA: I think all the segments I believe will grow. Today, when we actually look at our lineup of products at the show, we have the labels and all the products related to digital printing. Companies are also continuously investing to make better technology products. In the next 10 years, the printing industry will also grow in India. We really need to look at what kind of applications and what kind of printing technology we can provide in this growing market ahead of others. Our company already has R&D, so we are developing new innovative products.

ND: How is the flexible industry in Japan?

KA: The people in Japan focus on a different segment, such as electrophotography. Flexible is also one market which is growing rapidly, and post-Covid has gained more traction. Companies like Konica Minolta already have technologies which can convert into a flexible substrate.

ND: What is happening with KM-1?

KA: Good news is expected this year. Because there are a lot of opportunities, we are putting the KM-1 back in focus.  

ND: How was the post-Covid period for you, 2022?

KA: Everybody probably was stuck in 2020 and 2021. So suddenly, people's investments started in 2022. Even in terms of the market size, it is like 50% growth. That was some kind of special demand. Post-Covid, once the economy opened up, people saw that they could invest, and there was a sudden demand. So, 2022 was probably be the biggest market size ever.

ND: Three months into 2023, how is the business looking up and how many machines has Konica Minolta sold?

KA: In 2023, if I look at the opportunity part, I think the conversion to digital is going to accelerate, and the print demand is going to increase. From that, there are many opportunities not only for the existing customers to upgrade the machine but also there will be a lot of other new customers who may also invest.

ND: What are the plans for AccurioLabel 400? What is it that you are bringing into the market?
Accurate label printing is important. Besides being more productive, we have added more technologies to it. Besides printing, the capability to add white. Because white was one of the key requirements which came from the label converters, we have added technology to make the colour management strong. It also has an inline spectrophotometer. It also has an optional corona treatment to manage difficult substrates.