The right product to meet your needs

Every so often an opportunity presents itself which is contrary to the norm and allows the local supplier to have access to a market leader and the manufacturer to have access to the leading supplier in that market. Just such an opportunity has presented itself to Kemtek Imaging Systems. In the printing plate sector of the local SA market, Kemtek is acknowledged as the leader with approximately 50 percent market share. In the international market for the manufacture of printing plates there are three major manufacturers recognised for the consistent quality of their printing plates. One of these market leaders is Fujifilm, a company which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, whose turnover in 2013 reached $22 billion and which spends more than $5million per day in research and development. Fujifilm has offered the distribution of its printing plates in Southern Africa to Kemtek Imaging Systems Holdings Ltd. Kemtek’s agreement with its existing plate supplier was subject to certain restrictions on the product range which it could sell into the local market. In addition, Fujifilm’s local supplier – Ferrostaal – by its own admission, did not have the critical mass to allow it to achieve the market share which Fujifilm felt its plate products deserved. As a result, both Kemtek and Fujifilm were looking for a new partner. However, in the case of Fujifilm, it required a partner who was prepared to work with Ferrostaal, in recognition of the amount of work done in building the brand in the South African marketplace. The result of lengthy discussions and negotiations between Kemtek and Fujifilm, in conjunction with Ferrostaal, was that Kemtek will take over as the primary distributor for the Fujifilm Brillia range of photopolymer and thermal CTP plates with effect from 1 October 2014. Ferrostaal will be a sub-distributor for Kemtek. The extended period for the commencement of the agreement is to give Kemtek time to reduce its current stock levels from its existing supplier in addition to serving out its existing notice period in an orderly fashion, so as to minimise the inconvenience to its customer base and its existing supplier. Announcing the agreement, retiring Kemtek Chairman, Toekie Rudaizky, commented, ‘This milestone partnership between Kemtek and Fujifilm SA represents an excellent value proposition for the southern African printing community. During the next six months it will be business as usual for Fujifilm SA and Ferrostaal. Then from October, Kemtek will work together with Ferrostaal, building on its existing distribution achievements, to uplift the Fujifilm SA brand to a preferred product status.’ While Fujifilm’s presence in the local market is known, the full extent of the company’s reach may not be so well known. At the official announcement of the new agreement, Ryosuke Miki, Managing Director of Fujifilm South Africa explained the full extent of the company and its areas of influence. It is active in three main sectors: Imaging Solutions – for the digital image capture and photographic markets (13 percent); Document Solutions which addresses the Fuji Xerox agreement (46 percent) and; Information Solutions for the Graphic Arts and Medical sectors (41 percent). In the Graphic Arts market Fujifilm has a total of five plate manufacturing plants, two in China, one in Japan, one in the United States and its largest plant in Tilburg, in The Netherlands. This latter plant spans more than 630 000sqm, making it the largest plate factory in the world. As testimony to the professionalism and commitment to sustainability of Fujifilm, five large wind turbines provide up to 20 percent of the total power requirement for this plant. This represents a 12 000 tonne reduction in the carbon dioxide emissions from the plant per year. The local market will be served from this particular factory with thermal, violet-sensitive and processless plates. Commenting on the process of reaching the agreement with Fujifilm, Gavin van Rensburg, Group Managing Director of Kemtek commented, ‘We spent many months investigating the plate market and considered the leading suppliers and thereafter we entered an extensive negotiation phase with Fujifilm. We were very happy to find that our approach was well received. They manufacture leading brands with a strong reputation for quality and attention to detail. In our opinion, Fujifilm offers the perfect fit for our product range and our customers.’ Adding to this Tomonori Hemmi, General Manager for graphic arts and medical systems at Fujifilm South Africa,said, ‘We have had strong representation from Ferrostaal but we believed that our plate range was capable of a higher market share in the South African marketplace. The agreement with Kemtek and Ferrostaal means that we have strong distribution throughout the country and SADEC region without losing sight of our existing customers. We did not make this decision quickly, and we had to make sure that it was done correctly.’ The Fujifilm Brillia range features high-sensitivity thermal and violet, processless and low chemistry plates, which have earned a reputation for the highest top quality and superb on-press performance and reliability. This range is the result of more than a decade of research and development into multi-Igraining technologies, and has set new standards in terms of quality and productivity, allowing wider imaging and processing latitudes which help to achieve the highest quality print. Eric Duggan, Managing Director of Ferrostaal commented, ‘The Fujifilm Brillia range offers superior-quality plates which has been well received by our customers. We are looking forward to working with Kemtek to expand the spread of these plates and achieving a larger market share.’ Gavin added, ‘Our aim is to make the transition process as painless and simple for our customers as possible. In fact, we are working hard to explain the process to customers and to put systems in place to ensure that there is the minimum amount of disruption to their production as possible. There will be certain technical adjustments which have to be made, but these will be done at times that do not affect production schedules. We have 22 engineers who will be handling these adjustments, and Fujifilm has offered additional technical assistance, if required, in order to make the process smooth and easy.’ The combined efforts of Fujifilm, Kemtek and Ferrostaal will ensure that local customers have access to state-of-the-art plate technology for all their printing requirements.