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Konica Minolta covers major themes at drupa 2024

Chris O'Hara, National Industrial and Production Print Manager (left) and Wade Marriner, Industrial Print Specialist (right) at DRUPA 2024.

At drupa 2024, Konica Minolta and MGI braced themselves for a massive influx of visitors on their joint stand. The exhibition did not disappoint.

The seventh largest stand at drupa 2024 displayed end to end workflow demonstrations over the main areas: toner; inkjet; embellishment; finishing; as well as labels and packaging. It also showed a holistic concept of future trends.

Around 170,000 visitors attended the world’s largest and most important print industry trade fair for print. Even though this number represented a slight decrease on the 2016 overall statistics, Konica Minolta increased throughput to its stand, with numbers significantly exceeding expectations.

The company recorded over 200 show sales as it continues to accelerate its leadership in digital printing markets. Aiming to ignite printing possibilities, Konica Minolta highlighted its vision of digital transformation in the print room of the future.

A significant aspect of its demonstration revolved around the efficient use of digital equipment, specifically highlighting print automation and assistance technologies.

Konica Minolta’s showcase at drupa 2024 involved more than 20 premieres, software innovations and important advancements in areas such as commercial printing, label printing, packaging as well as industrial printing, with focus on aspects like digital transformation and sustainability.

Other focuses included next steps in programmatic printing where Konica Minolta showed how variable data could be taken to the next level by harnessing artificial intelligence (AI).

Konica Kiwis at drupa

For Konica Minolta New Zealand, Chris O’Hara, national production print manager attended the show with Wade Marriner, industrial and production print sales specialist.

Chris says, “Konica Minolta’s theme for drupa 2024 was ‘See the potential in the future of print’ and we certainly had a range of solutions on our massive 2,400 square metre stand at drupa to demonstrate that. With this being the first in-person drupa in eight years (the last drupa being virtual due to the pandemic), this was always going to be a showcasing of where the industry is going, and it certainly did not disappoint the 170,000 or so attendees.

“Three key themes of B2 inkjet, packaging, and automation came through at drupa 2024, and Konica Minolta was right there with solutions across the board.”

Digital B2 becomes a reality

Pundits have predicted the rise of inkjet over the past three drupas, but drupa 2024 really brought the technology to the level that visitors have wanted to see.

Chris says, “Many drupa visitors came to the giant show hoping to see what advancements the major manufacturers had to offer in the exciting space of B2 inkjet. And I would have to admit that this was the drupa of B2 inkjet, more than any other technology, with several  suppliers showcasing new technology in this area.

Konica Minolta addressed this vertical with our highly proven AccurioJet KM-1e B2 UV inkjet press.

“The bottom half of the AccurioJet KM-1e B2 UV inkjet press is essentially offset press technology, and the top half or imaging is delivered by Konica Minolta’s highly proven inkjet technology.

“With the AccurioJet KM-1e B2 UV inkjet press, you get the best of both worlds: offset press stream feeding, registration accuracy and delivery combined with high quality, consistency, and wide colour gamut of digital inkjet on a single sheet, or thousands of sheets.

“In addition to the AccurioJet KM-1e, drupa 2024 saw Konica Minolta unveil the highly anticipated AccurioJet 60000 UV inkjet press with productivity of 6,000 B2 impressions per hour, doubling that of the AccurioJet KM-1e. I must point out, however, that the AccurioJet 60000 is not a replacement for AccurioJet KM-1e. It is an additional product that has taken its place in Konica Minolta’s impressive, and growing, B2 inkjet portfolio.”

Digital packaging focus

The trend for growth across the labels and packaging sectors continues globally and drupa organisers rightly predicted massive interest in the technologies for this area. Chris comments, “There was a huge focus on packaging at drupa 2024 and in particular, digital packaging. For Konica Minolta, packaging solutions encompassed our digital label printing with the AccurioLabel 230 and AccurioLabel 400 digital roll fed presses, but importantly, it also included our MGI JETVarnish 3D Web 400.

“Enabling roll to roll single-pass UV selective varnishing and hot foil stamping, the MGI JETVarnish 3D Web 400 uses a one hundred per cent digital process. It handles open or closed substrates, and offset, flexo, toner or inket printing to address the self-adhesive label and flexible cardboard markets.

“The MGI JETVarnish 3D Web 400 digital embellishment system won the EDP (European Digital Press Association) prestigious Digital Embellishment Packaging award, which honour bestin- class innovations. It is the perfect complement to Konica Minolta’s AccurioLabel 400.

“Konica Minolta addresses the cut sheet packaging market with our AccurioJET KM-1e B2 inkjet press printing on media up to 600gsm. Then, we deliver digital embellishment of spot varnish and foiling provided by our AccurioShine 3600 and MGI JETVarnish 3D Evolution solutions.”

Hands free

Automation holds the key for all industry sectors to make significant advances in production and quality, providing superior products for their customers. Chris says, “At drupa 2024, a key focus of the future of print was on automation. Here, we are concentrating on moving the print job from prepress to invoicing in the fastest time possible, with the least number of hands touching it, and with maximum profitability.”

“Konica Minolta demonstrated how its wide range of digital presses help customers with their digital transformation. These ranged from the AccurioPress C14000 toner press with over 2,100 installations worldwide through to the AccurioLabel toner presses that have reached the milestone figure of 1,500 installs.

“During the show, Konica Minolta revealed a number of new inline solutions for our small format digital presses with the launch of inline cold laminating; inline die-cutting and embossing; as well as inline wrapping. These solutions captured significant interest on the Konica Minolta stand. In particular, the inline lamination caught many visitors’ eyes as it removes the highly manual and time-consuming process of laminating, while resulting in a highly professional finish.

“Additionally, seeing a single-pass process where a print job is printed to high quality, die-cut and embossed to the finished product, was quite unbelievable to so many of those present. It provoked numerous conversations among our attendees who could clearly see the opportunities that this technology offers for their businesses.

Numerous highlights

The world’s premier print trade show gave Kiwi visitors their first look at the MGI AlphaJET B1 Print Factory. Chris says, “Our Kiwi visitors had the chance to sees something really special where, within the one closed loop factory, a B1 sheet is printed, spot varnished and foiled in the one pass.

“With the ability to print on media from 160gsm to 2mm thickness, with each sheet personalised and customised to the end recipient, this B1 press opens up many possibilities particularly in the packaging area and was an impressive sight.”

Another interesting aspect of the show occurred around embellishment, which I have already mentioned, we delivered through our AccurioShine 3600 and MGI JETVarnish solutions. What happened here was that, while these solutions are often associated with packaging, they created discussions with our customers around other products they could use them with.

“These discussions brought the focus on bringing value back to print; by having spot varnish and digital foil of such high quality that it commands a premium price in the market. Using it to differentiate from their competitors, and to open up new markets provoked a lot of thought patterns with our Kiwi customers.

“Other interesting solutions saw visitors learning about Konica Minolta’s remote servicing operations, as well as the smartphone app AIReLink, a specialised tool for service technicians.

“From a people perspective, one of the highlights was the social and business interactions with industry experts from around the world, including our industry partners. For example, we had the pleasure of helping the team from Plockmatic to celebrate its 50th birthday and it was great to catch up with Chris Toll, who is well known to our Kiwi customers.

“The value in connecting with printers from around the globe, who are doing things differently, helps us to forge new paths for the future of print. We took the chance to connect some of our customers with these printers so they could collaborate, and share thought processes.

Sustaining the future

On Konica Minolta’s stand over the 11 days of drupa 2024, visitors witnessed the company’s strong focus on sustainability, the value of print and how customers can ‘See the Potential in the Future of Print’. Olaf Lorenz, general manager international marketing, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe, says, “We demonstrated ways of sustainable production in line with the philosophy of Industry 5.0. This was achieved by assistance technology, labour-saving, and skill-less operations by improving the total throughput of all processes, not only printing.

“This time more than ever at drupa, we took an approach of demonstrating true end to end print applications. And we achieved exceptional results, all within the Industry 5.0 framework. Our showcase of a range of new presses in toner and inkjet, highlighted how these technologies complement each other.

“Konica Minolta unveiled unprecedented setup configurations and new applications at drupa 2024. All have far-reaching positive implications for commercial printers and converters, as well as brand owners, designers and design and advertising agencies, in the way they do business. Other distinctive software that attracted attention at the show was the premiere called ‘Ex Kansei’, the predictive software based on eye-tracking insights.

“Our innovative displays went far beyond showcasing equipment to present a comprehensive view of print applications that we know from visitor feedback impressed and inspired. We helped customers to see the potential of print by igniting possibilities, as we continue to witness the unstoppable shift from analogue to digital printing.”

“We underlined pioneering digital transformation on a scale never seen at the exhibition in Düsseldorf, Germany. Visitors saw at close quarters how Konica Minolta is holistically combining expertise as it continues to help customers with their digital transformation and grow their business profitably.”

Chris adds, “While drupa 2024 has come to an end, there is so much value that is extracted from it that will guide us into the future. My closing thought would be that print is alive and well, its incredibly exciting, there is so much to do, so many opportunities for printing companies to bring value back to print, to focus on new verticals, to all about b2 inkjet transform their businesses and to see the potential in the future of print.”

Originally published in the June 2024 issue of the New Zealand Printer Magazine.

To find out how Konica Minolta can accelerate production for your business, contact the team today.

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