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Komori's Jacki Hudmon on their digital strategy

Published on October 5, 2012

Senior VP of Sales for Komori talks to Cary Sherburne about their multi-tiered digital strategy starting with a relationship with Konica Minolta shown at drupa. The next step features the first two digital inkjet presses manufactured by Komori.

Cary Sherburne: Hi, I'm Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com. And I’m here with Jacki Hudmon, who is Senior Vice President of Sales at Komori America. It's good to see you again.

Jacki Hudmon: Nice to see you again.

Cary Sherburne: So, obviously, Komori's a offset-press manufacturer. But you also have a digital strategy, as everyone must these days. Can you talk to us a little bit about that?

Jacki Hudmon: It's an exciting time for Komori Organization. We're actually taking a completely different route. We've always been, since 1923, focused on the printing industry. And we're taking that same philosophy and we're just expanding it out to the digital forefront. And it's very exciting, because what we're doing is not just merely partnering with someone and reselling what they're offering. We're coming out with a multi-tier strategy.

So the first strategy, which we've already announced, is a relationship with Konica Minolta, where we're selling their print-on-demand device, the bizhub C8000. So you'll see that at Drupa. We'll show that with some integration tools for data integration, as well as color-management tools.

Cary Sherburne: So managing color between the different technologies.

Jacki Hudmon: Yep, and proofing as well. So we take the three areas to get consistent color, no matter what output device it is. Basically, that's what it becomes. Your printing press.

Cary Sherburne: Hybrid manufacturing.

Jacki Hudmon: Right, exactly. But we're stepping it up a notch. I think what people are going to be very surprised to see is what we're doing at the next two levels. So, in a technology showcase, we will be unveiling our first two digital inkjet presses.

Cary Sherburne: Wow.

Jacki Hudmon: Yeah, it’s a big deal. The first one is a sheetfed, so it's 20 by 29. Everything is manufactured by Komori. So we take, again, our core competencies is we get front-to-back registration. We get sheet control. We get that level of precision manufacturing that maybe you don't see from other people that have digital presses that came at it from a different direction. So we know the needs of the offset market, the commercial market, and the tight restrictions that you have, and we're bringing that to the table. Now, we're combining that with the only thing that isn't ours in these two offerings, would be the inkjet-head technology.

Cary Sherburne: And that's manufactured by?

Jacki Hudmon: On the sheetfed side, it's Konica Minolta inkjet-head technology. And, what's we're seeing is we built that base platform because what's going to change dynamically over time is the head technology is going to get better and better, and hopefully less expensive.

Cary Sherburne: Longer life.

Jacki Hudmon: Longer life, better quality, less expensive.

Cary Sherburne: And what kinds of inks? Where do the inks come from?

Jacki Hudmon: What you're going to see at Drupa is going to be a little exciting, because it's not just about people launching inkjet-head digital presses. There's new paper coming out. There's new ink coming out. So it's all changing and it's coming full—

Cary Sherburne: Circle, kind of.

Jacki Hudmon: Thank you, full circle around. So, I can't really tell you that right now, because I might have to kill you.

Cary Sherburne: Okay, but is it light pigment or dye? Can you say anything about that? Water based? It’s water based.

Jacki Hudmon: Well, we're using two different inks, so the third offering that we have is taking our web technology, offset web technology, and we're bringing it down to a digital press.

Cary Sherburne: With inkjet.

Jacki Hudmon: With inkjet. With both offerings what we want to do is address some of the limitations that we have seen with inkjet, which is the limits you have with substrates and inks. So let's just leave it at that, that you're going to see something very unique. And what I know of where everybody’s going, I still think what Komori's going to show is game changers. Only because, as I said, we're keeping our core competencies, our understanding of precision manufacturing, and working with a variety of other different vendors on the consumable side, to bring together a solution that I think you're going to fit more of the mass market in than many other solution.

Cary Sherburne: And so the web one is 20 inches, you said?

Jacki Hudmon: That's correct.

Cary Sherburne: Yeah. Well, I really have a lot more questions for you but I don't want to be shot. So, we have to leave a little surprise, a little mystery for Drupa.

Jacki Hudmon: Exactly, thank you.

Cary Sherburne: So, thank you very much.

Jacki Hudmon: Thank you.

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