After solving the fan-out problem, the company could bring the special qualities of Komori Super Perfector to bear in increasing productivity by 20%.
Konno Printing Co., Ltd
Konno Printing Co., Ltd. has been in business for more than a century, it was 1908 when the company was founded and celebrated its centennial in 2008. The company name at the time of founding was Shueisha. In the entrance to company headquarters a Boston type hand-fed platen press and a typecasting machine are on display, exuding the atmosphere of a hundred-year old established firm.
Unable to use a perfector due to fan-out problem, the firm had to make do with a simplex press.
Orders increased for items ranging from direct mail postcards to regular periodicals, which meant more variation in printing papers. The Lithron SP A1 size eight-color machine used as their main press exhibited fan-out problems, which led to troubles stemming from reduced operational rates.
In solving these problems Hashiura appointed Kazufumi Kawauchi, Manager of the Production Operations Division, as a project leader.
“Regardless of job length or paper type, long grain or short grain, if the ream weight was 80 kg or less, we were using an average of 300 sheets as backup paper. Especially when a paper ream was 75 kg or less, registration did not match on the perfecting press, so were done on simplex four-color machine. It got to the point that the number of plates to be mounted for the simplex press exceeded those for the perfecting press,” says Kawauchi as if testifying to this situation. Productivity decreased so much that it was not possible to mount plates for the perfecting eight-color press, which didn’t require a time for return. In addition, on the worksite, where two teams of workers were working two shifts, there were few cases of finishing a job in a single shift, which meant many cases of changing a shift while still engaged in printing a job. This in turn had an influence on meeting deadlines.
Results that included approximately a 30% decrease in waste paper.
Hashiura then visited a user who had implemented waterless printing and received reports after repeated tests. This led to his decision to implement waterless printing operations in July 2008. Komori Corporation and Toyo Ink Co. Ltd. actively recommended the move, and monthly study meetings were held to train operators.
“Komori Corporation provided the initiative and took the lead in putting our worksite into order. It was all due to their providing guidance that we were able to come up with a solution,” says Kawauchi, in praising the assistance of the press manufacture.
Positive results from introducing the new equipment were immediately visible.
“We were released from a fan-out problem, and productivity increased by 20%. We also reduced backup paper by about 30%, while also achieving a dramatic decrease in the rate of transferring work to simplex machines. We were able to finish jobs while hardly ever needing to pass work on to the next shift, so that a single team could now complete a printing job during their shift time,” says Kawauchi, who strongly realized for the first time the advantages of a perfecting press after changing to waterless printing.
Another aspect that Kawauchi, who leaned forward to tell us about enthusiastically and which he rated highly was quality stability.
“When we were still doing conventional printing, there were either problems of being hit by the jacket or there were differences in the color tone between the front and back sides during impression cylinder adjustments. After changing to waterless printing, however, such changes in tone virtually disappeared. We then realized that the printing surface with the emulsified ink might have been influenced by jacket hitting and impression cylinder adjustments, which had a bad effect on quality.”
As for the Lithron SP device, which can handle a monthly figure of 1,500 plates, we are now aiming for constant operation at a rate of 12,000 revolutions, with ream weight ranging from 180 kg to 50 kg.
The company is now starting to calculate how much it can reduce costs by adopting waterless printing, while taking the developing solutions, printing solvents, rewinding water rollers, waste liquid, etc. into account. “Probably the cost reduction effect due to reduction in waste paper will be more than that for chemicals and waste liquid” says Kawauchi, emphasizing the effect from waste paper reduction.
Appealing to customers as a printing company that reduces the environmental burden.
Today, one year after introducing waterless printing, the rumor that the company has achieved amazing results has made its way from the Sendai Printing Industrial Complex, where the company is located, to the entire Tohoku region.
“It’s true enough that there are more people coming here to gather information or make study tours,” says Kawauchi while spreading out magazines and newspapers including articles about the company.
Having achieved the task of switching to waterless printing, Hashiura now wants to establish a corporate image among clients that his firm strives to reduce the environmental burden.
“There are presently only two printing companies in Miyagi Prefecture that have introduced waterless printing. We now want to make an appeal to customers about our stance as a printing business that reduces the environmental burden, thus taking advantages of our ‘rarity value’ in the printing industry.” This shows how the company is urgently implementing corporate development while pushing the environmental aspect to the forefront.
Although it is surprisingly unknown in the printing industry, Konno has been actively urging its business clients to improve their operations. For example, these include creation and development of in-house email systems and Intranet systems, as well as business support systems and others. Among these is the business support system known as SFA, which allows unified management of all steps from management of customer information to management of contracts, scheduling, and preparation of cost estimates. By using this system, it has been possible to make operations more efficient and improve customer satisfaction, thus creating an increase in sales. It has now become a dogma of the IT industry.
These systems, which Hashiura created to improve business operations since his appointment as president, are now part of business to extend to business clients.
It’s now several years since Konno Printing has been on the forefront of operations that support other enterprises as a consulting business. “We’ve finally come to the point where we have an overview of the entire printing industry,” says Hashiura with an air of self-esteem.