Voice of the Industry
Who Is Miyakoshi?
By Andrew Tribute
Published: June 5, 2008
At drupa there are three different Miyakoshi high-speed color print engines. Two of these are on the Miyakoshi stand in Hall 5 and the third is being seen under the guise of the Océ JetStream 1100/2200 in Hall 6. I understand that Miyakoshi also has a fourth high-speed engine for textile printing but this is not at drupa. Miyakoshi is a Japanese offset press manufacturer with a turnover around $200 million that is endeavoring to break into digital color printing. Miyakoshi started its move into high-speed color in the 1990s when it worked with Scitex Digital and provided the base print engine and substrate transport for early Versamark presses. In 2003 if I recall correctly it previewed a liquid toner press at IGAS that used imaging technology from Toshiba. Then at drupa in 2004 it showed a high-speed 20 inch wide inkjet press using Panasonic print heads. The liquid toner machine has not been seen since and I understand the Panasonic inkjet machine never became a product and none were sold.
At this drupa an interesting fact is that the company is not just using one technology, it is using two. The first of these is inkjet technology, this time using print heads from Brother Kyocera. The second is electrophotographic imaging with LED imaging and using liquid toner.
I would like to concentrate in this post on this latter technology and then cover the inkjet technology later. The new electrophotographic press is the MD-Press 1260. This is a continuous feed web press with an imaging width of 487 mm (19.7 ins) that runs at a speed of 60 meters/min (approx 200 ft/min). It images at a resolution of 1,200 dpi using ultrafine particle liquid toner.
I watched the demonstration of this press as well as the demonstration of Miyakoshi's high-speed UV cured inkjet web press. It was a very strange demonstration where first one press and then the other ran for around two minutes printing pictures on the web while music played. When the presses and music stopped so did the presentation. Nothing was said. I wandered around trying to find out more when a Swiss gentleman approached me saying he liked the articles I wrote. I found he was a very well known specialist in digital printing, André Gigon, Chairman of the Board of Advanced Imaging Processing (AIP) of Switzerland. He told me he was working with Miyakoshi on the development of the press. I later found out that Research Laboratories of Australia (RLA), a company that Advanced Image Processing are linked with were also working on the development. RLA are one of the leading development organisations in this industry and I also had the opportunity to discuss the Miyakoshi project with their CEO Owen Crees.
From my discussions I think this may be a real key development for the future. The two of them advised me that this will be real offset quality, perhaps similar to that of HP Indigo. They expect beta units of the press to be going in within six months and full deliveries in around a year. They also expect to be able speed up the press to 100 metres/min. The target price for a twin print engine unit imaging on both sides of the web is under $2 million and this is very competitive. Toner will be manufactured by AIP and I am told the cost per print will be highly competitive.
So far no channels to market have been established, however I am sure there will great interest in how this will be done. I will continue this view of Miyakoshi and its inkjet technology in a later post.