Konica Minolta Brings Applications to Main Street
While Konica Minolta (Booth 9536) may be showcasing one of the widest ranges of products on the PRINTING United show floor, it’s the applications that are drawing the most attention at its booth.
“Part of our responsibility is to help show new ideas as much as showing new products,” explains Kevin Kern, senior VP, Business Intelligence Services and Product Planning at Konica Minolta.
And the company is doing that in a big way in its storefront boutique-themed booth, which invites visitors to stroll down a city avenue, peering at window displays that show off applications printed on Konica Minolta devices.
“We’re spending more time working with brand owners and graphic designers, as much as printers, because we’re trying to put people in the position of either offering new [applications] or specifying new [applications], which we think will drive higher-value print into print organizations,” Kern says.
Konica Minolta, he adds, has the comprehensive range of equipment and software solutions to produce this higher-value print.
“We are fully invested in the business and continuing to invest,” he stresses.
That is certainly borne out by the company’s booth, which features devices covering its full range of technologies. One of the highlights is the new AccurioPress C14000, the company’s fastest toner-based production press to date, at 140 ppm. But that speed is not what stands out most for Kern; it’s the press’s ability to hold color reliably over very long runs thanks to its IQ-501 Intelligent Quality Optimizer, which continuously monitors and adjusts color, density, tone, and registration settings with closed-loop, automated process controls.
“It really holds Delta E in a very tight range, over runs up to 10,000 or more,” Kern reports. “It takes a lot of operator time out of the production of print … while increasing productivity and reducing waste. To me, it’s one of the coolest things we’ve ever developed.”
Digital embellishment is another focus at the booth, and the new MGI JETvarnish 3D One press brings digital special effects to the mainstream. The entry-level device lowers the barrier of entry into this market, Kern says.
“It gives some really cool capabilities to do spot varnish, etc., at a much more aggressive price, in a more heavily featured machine,” he says. “It broadens the base of people who can afford basic digital embellishment.”
Though the AccurioJet KM-1 inkjet press is not at the show — “It takes three weeks just to set it up,” points out Kern — interested visitors are being shuttled to a nearby customer’s facility for a KM-1 demo.
Both the AccurioWide 160 and 200 hybrid LED-UV wide-format inkjet printers are at the show, as is the new AccurioLabel 230 short-run label press. Kern notes that the AccurioLabel 230 is 43% more efficient than its predecessor, and can print more than a half mile of labels without stopping.
To address a growing interest in the packaging market, Konica Minolta has also brought the PKG-675i digital packaging printer to Dallas. It prints short-run, customized packaging on a range of corrugated materials, including folding cartons, displays, and traditional cardboard boxes.
“We think that labeling and packaging are probably going to be the fastest growing areas in graphic communications,” he says. “You’re seeing more and more very high end packaging … so I think that’s just a great opportunity for anybody in the graphic communications side.”
Kern says he’s noticing a lot of print providers breaking out of their traditional molds and chasing opportunities in adjacent markets, a trend also known as convergence.
“The interesting thing we’re seeing is a lot of crossover between silos in the print industry,” he says. “I see more commercial printers looking at labels, more label printers looking at embellishment. What used to be defined lines of how people do things is changing a lot.”
In its booth, Konica Minolta is presenting all of these options for print providers to consider as they plan their future business direction.
“Our long-term plan is about bringing new ideas [and] new technology that can benefit printers … in terms of productivity, efficiency, and opening up new areas and new markets,” concludes Kern.
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited nearly 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.