Fujifilm Expanding its presence in Africa

Africa is seen as the great untapped resource, both for imports and exports and companies from around the world are making inroads into this market. In all of this, South Africa is seen as the gateway and as such is the first port of call for many companies. In May of 2012, Fujifilm made the decision to create a direct presence in the South African market with specific emphasis on its photo-imaging sector. This was Fujifilm’s first step into the African market and marked the start of great things to come. A year later Fujifilm introduced its range of Graphic Arts products with the appointment of Ferrostaal to supply the mainstream print products and, Graphix Supply World to supply the wide-format range of printers. At the same time, it also introduced its range of Health Imaging products. Now another year later and yet another development with the appointment of Kemtek Imaging Systems as the local distributor for the range of printing plates and prepress equipment, with Ferrostaal operating as a sub-distributor. Early in October, Fujifilm hosted an open-house held at Gallagher Estate in Midrand. The two-day event included a large selection of its product range along with the companies responsible for their path to market in South and Southern Africa. While a wide range of products were on show and being demonstrated, it was not possible for Fujifilm to have its entire range available due to the full extent of its product portfolio. Graham Leeson, Head of European Communications for the Graphic Systems division commented, ‘We have such a large and comprehensive product portfolio that we could not possibly bring everything, but what we have here certainly gives a good indication of what we are capable of and the markets we serve.’ Such was the importance of this event for Fujifilm that it was attended by Hitoshi Yoshida, chairman and representative director of Fujifilm Global Graphic Systems. He welcomed the visitors and offered a toast to the future success of Fujifilm South Africa, its distributors and its customers. He was joined by senior management from the local organisation including Ryosuke Miki, managing director of Fujifilm South Africa. Senior management were also present from each of the three Graphic Systems representatives – Ferrostaal, Kemtek Imaging Systems and Graphix Supply World. The event not only marked the major launch of the full Fujifilm product portfolio to the African market but was also the first official launch of the agreement between Fujifilm and Kemtek for the distribution of printing plates within the local market. The Fujifilm product portfolio is technically advanced, offering high performance and high quality throughout. While it may not be very well-known in the local market, it has been in business for more than 80 years and is arguably the largest imaging systems company in the world with products in Photo Imaging, Healthcare and Graphic Arts. In the Graphic Arts sector, Fujifilm is one of the largest manufacturers of printing plates, with the largest single plate plant in the world in Tilburg, The Netherlands. The plate range comprises thermal and violet technologies, with both low chemistry and processless options available. Fujifilm also supplies a range of platesetters and processors for both commercial and newspaper printing environments. It currently invests more than $5 million in research and development per day. A major part of Fujifilm’s focus is to help printers improve efficiency and reduce costs, while also reducing their impact on the environment. Both its Brillia HD PRO-T3 processless plate and ‘lo-chem’ systems are designed to assist those printers for whom the environment is a priority. With both of these products, printers are able to achieve considerable savings in costs due to the reduction or elimination of chemistry, water and electricity for plate processing. On the basis of the amazing success achieved with the PRO-T3 plate, Fujifilm established a programme to donate a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of these plates in Europe, the Middle East and Africa to WaterAid, an organisation which aims to provide, clean, safe drinking water to impoverished rural communities throughout Africa. The programme was launched at Drupa 2012 and to-date has seen donations totalling more than E150000 being given to WaterAid. The ‘ZAC’ lo-Chem option is available for both newspaper and commercial printers. Customers can achieve significant savings through the use of a system which accurately replenishes developer based on the image on the plate and local environmental conditions, rather than a standard replenishment rate which is based on the number of plates processed. This can help printers to achieve chemistry reductions of up to 80 percent. For newspaper printers, Fujifilm has just introduced the Luxel News VMAX computer-to-plate system capable of outputting up to 400 Berliner format plates per hour in fully automatic operation with a maximum resolution of 1270dpi. This makes it the fastest newspaper CTP system in the world. The Luxel News VMAX is a violet CTP system specifically designed to meet the needs of the newspaper printing environment. It images the Brillia PRO-VN and lo-chem plate. An important element in the production and quality of printing plates is the workflow which drives the computer-to-plate system. Throughout the show, John Davies, business strategy manager for the European Software Business Unit of Fujifilm conducted presentations where he explained the benefits of the Fujifilm XMF workflow. He said, ‘Workflow is no longer the process of simply controlling the pages from design through pre-press to the printing plate. Workflow governs all processes involved in the pre-press process, including colour management, according to output requirements. Output could be to printing plates or to a digital press, to a large-format printer or to other media.’ Fujifilm’s XMF workflow is based on the Adobe PDF Print Engine which means that it is compatible with all Adobe creative solutions and jobs which are based on the PDF format. XMF is an all-encompassing workflow solution for controlling all aspects of the production workflow with solutions for all types of output. Fujifilm has achieved a high degree of success with its XMF workflow and has seen more than 4600 installations of its workflow products in 50 countries around the world. As much as 70 percent of these installations have been to replace competitive workflow products. XMF comprises solutions for conventional output, web-to-print and colour management among others. All aspects of the workflow process can be managed and the point of output can be determined at the very last stage of the process. This gives complete production flexibility. All stages of the workflow can be handled and the output can be to plates for conventional printing or to a digital press depending on the run length, the requirements of the customer or available production capacity. XMF PrintCentre is a fully hosted, cloud-based web-to-print service which is fully customisable and easy-to-use. It is suitable for use with both digital and offset print production. It allows customers to order stock items such as brochures, flyers and catalogues or more personalised items such as stationery or photobooks. XMF ColorPath is also a cloud-based system which provides high performance colour management. ColorPath Sync connects directly to a spectrophotometer. As it is cloud-based it is always up-to-date and does not require dongles or servers. ColorPath Sync Align creates optimised colour curves which can be imported into most workflows. ColorPath Sync DLP creates high-quality, optimised, colour-managed device link profiles which plug into an existing workflow. ColorPath Validation offers the ability to determine if a colour-managed device is still within tolerance. ColorPath Sync Ink Optimisation can enhance and improve the print process. While Fujifilm is best known for its prepress range of systems and solutions, it also supplies an extensive range of inkjet printing solutions both for the large-format market and for the commercial and packaging sectors. In the large-format sector, Fujifilm has a range of systems for a broad spectrum of production requirements. The Acuity LED 1600 UV inkjet printer features the latest LED curing system which produces very little heat, allowing heat-sensitive materials to be printed, and reducing energy requirements. The Acuity LED 1600 is an eight-colour printer featuring CMYK, light cyan, light magenta, white and clear ink. It allows all colours plus white and clear varnish to be printed in a single pass. It handles prints up to 1610mm wide on either roll material or rigid material up to 13mm thick. Fujifilm also supplies the popular Acuity Advance range of printers which are flatbed models specifically designed for printing onto thicker rigid substrates up to 50mm thick. They can be fitted with a roll media option for increased production flexibility. Fujifilm also supplies the Uvistar Series of printers for the super-wide format market. These printers are designed to handle roll-to-roll production but can be fitted with an optional rigid media handling system for materials up to 25mm thick. The Uvistar Series uses UV inks for instant curing and immediate handling after printing. Fujifilm has also co-operated with Inca Digital to develop the Onset flatbed UV printer platform for the production of high-quality display graphics. However, the Onset is also achieving success in the packaging market for the printing of corrugated board. The Onset Series was designed to be completely modular allowing customers to increase productivity or enhance the colour configuration of their printer according to changing needs. All of these printers are based inkjet printing technologies, and Fujifilm has spent the last 10 years developing the capability of these technologies to meet the needs of the commercial print market, with the company’s high performance Jet Press 720 B2 sheet-fed and the Jet Press 540W web-fed press the result. The Jet Press 720 is a high-quality, four-colour sheet-fed digital press aimed specifically at the short-run printing market. It fits comfortably into any existing sheet-fed press environment in terms of paper handling and finishing. The Jet Press 540W is also targeted at short-run print applications and is ideal for the production of leaflets, magazines, textbooks, manuals and newspapers. It uses direct data digital printing giving it increased flexibility in the cut-off size of the paper. The Fujifilm product portfolio is very extensive but with a high-level of focus on the different sectors of the Graphic Arts market. While many of its products may not be well-known in the local market it is certainly not holding back and has comprehensive plans in place to take its rightful place among the leaders in the market. In the words of Hitoshi Yoshida, ‘Kampei Fujifilm South Africa – to a bright future!’