LED specialist acquires Seiko’s wide format inkjet business, launches new label printer and drives push into graphics market with new sub-brand
Like other printer companies, OKI Systems UK is relying on innovation and diversifiation for future growth.
At a dealer event held in late summer, managing director Takaaki Hagiwara said: “OKI’s future vision is based on growth through diversifiation. This is only possible through innovation. What makes OKI stand out in the printer market is this commitment to innovation. Our development of LED technology is one of the great successes of this approach. Our vision is to meet our goals through a strategy designed to stimulate and sustain sales performance.”
To this end, as well as continuing to expand its office print offering with high definition colour LED devices, printer-based solutions and managed print services (MPS), OKI will be exploring and developing new markets, including graphic arts and professional printing.
The first fruits of this approach were revealed in October, both at a corporate level, when OKI announced that it had acquired the wide format division of Japan’s Seiko Group, and locally with the unveiling of a new narrow format label printer and a new sub-brand for graphics arts (GA) devices.
Wide format division
On October 1, OKI Data Corporation completed the acquisition of the wide format printer business of Seiko I Infotech Inc. (SIIT), a subsidiary of Seiko Instruments Inc. (SII), and set up OKI Data Infotech Corporation. As part of the agreement, OKI subsidiaries in Europe and US acquired the wide format printer business and assets of SII’s European and US group companies.
Takao Hiramoto, President of OKI Data Corporation, claims the acquisition will help OKI expand into the professional print market with ColorPainter inkjet-based wide format graphics devices and the Teriostar range of LED-based engineering printers.
He said: “Through this acquisition, we have not only acquired a portfolio of wide format inkjet printers for signs and LED graphic plotters, but also the corresponding technologies, development resources and sales channels. By offering one-stop printing solutions targeting the printing, distribution and retail industry sectors, we will strengthen our printer business in the professional printer market.”
Narrow format printing
At the same time, OKI announced a new application of its core colour LED technology that will enable it to pursue new opportunities in the short-run label printing market.
Providing reel-to-reel and cut sheet label printing, OKI’s modular label printer, to be launched in January 2016, opens new opportunities and revenue streams for high street print shops and small print houses, whilst also enabling end user organisations to bring label printing in-house.
OKI Systems UK Marketing Director Graham Lowes said: “OKI toner technology gives us a lot more flexibility with the type of substrates we can print on. The white toner product especially opens up new applications where you can start printing on clear labels and get good imagery on gold and silver labels as well. It really does open up new market opportunities for this type of product.
“This is going to be key for short-run markets where variable data is important and for industries that have short, customised runs where using traditional print technologies involves huge amounts of time and cost in setting up the device and doing a relatively short print run.”
He added: “You can look at this as a new added offering to your product portfolio. We really do believe that there is a good margin opportunity in selling this product.”
The graphics arts (GA) market is another opportunity for OKI resellers. Two years ago, OKI re-invigorated its presence in this market with the introduction of its four and five-station A3 colour engine. It now plans to build on this and generate further growth with the launch of the Pro Series sub-brand for the GA market.
Lowes says that OKI is introducing the Pro Series sub-brand to differentiate its GA products from its C series of IT devices and to strengthen its offering for proofing and light production and on-demand printing by commercial printers and advertising, design and creative agencies.
“What we want to do with this product range is to move into the short-run, lower production space and offer a higher contract volume click on the engine so we can start bringing in even more competitive click pricing at the high volume stages,” he said.
The Pro Series includes the Pro9541 (previously the ES9541), which can print a fifth spot colour (white or clear gloss) in addition to the four process colours; the five-colour Pro9542 (previously the ES9542), which can print full colour plus white toner in a single pass onto substrates for use on glass, leather, fabrics and plastics; and the Pro9431 50ppm High Definition A3 colour printer.
The latter is also available in a version for medium-to-large office workgroups. The newly launched C911 dn is up to 40% faster than its nearest rivals and can print High Definition, 1200 x 1200 dpi output onto media up to 360gsm (320gsm duplex).