In reviewing the 100th anniversary year for Toyo Ink Manufacturing Co. Ltd., two landmark events stand out among a lengthy list of accomplishments that took place in 2007, according to Fusao Ito, president of the Toyo Ink Group in America.
"Toyo Ink has firmly established itself as a leading partner with printing companies and printing-related manufacturers in promoting a comprehensive approach to environmentally responsible print production," Mr. Ito said. "Secondly, Toyo Ink is the company that press makers rely on to help show off the quality and capabilities of their equipment to potential buyers."
Incorporated in 1907, Toyo Ink has grown into the world's fourth-largest international ink manufacturer and one of the largest pigment producers. Toyo Ink has long been active in implementing environmental initiatives, such as reduced waste and resource usage and elimination or safer disposal of harmful byproducts.
The company's R&D efforts are directed toward formulating process inks and water-based gravure inks, along with aromatic compounds-free inks and ester/alcohol-based inks. In addition, Toyo Ink has made significant strides in developing a solvent recovery system for gravure inks in Japan.
At Graph Expo 2007 in September, Toyo Ink America joined with Komori America Corp. and vendor partners Fujifilm Graphic Systems USA and Sappi Fine Paper to highlight the environmental benefits of their respective products. Demonstrations on Komori's Spica 429P convertible perfector press showcased the "green team" consisting of Toyo HyPlus 100 Process Series ink, Fujifilm Brillia Pro-T process-less plates and Sappi Lustro Offset Environmental (LOE) paper with 30 percent post-consumer waste.
HyPlus 100 offers a high-quality, green printing alternative in the pressroom. HyPlus 100 allows sheetfed printers to replace inks containing petroleum-derived solvents with formulations for all four basic colors that are entirely free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). It contains 100 percent solids, ensuring a sharp dot and superior coverage.
"We introduced HyPlus 100 to tremendous response at Print 05," said John Copeland, president and COO of Toyo Ink America. "In fact, the Komori and Heidelberg USA booths at Print 05 served as premier venues for this earth-friendly formulation. We received a flood of orders for HyPlus 100 during that first showing. The immediate impact was well beyond expectations."
In the subsequent two years, HyPlus 100 has taken off in the marketplace, thanks to its exceptional print performance and solvent-free attributes.
"A new product may enjoy a strong first impression, but the true measure of success lies in the volume of repeat orders," Mr. Copeland observed. "To be successful, a new ink brand needs to generate substantial sales volume through extended usage. The overwhelming demand among first-time and existing users alike suggests that HyPlus 100 is poised to set the industry for petroleum solvent-free ink. HyPlus 100 opens new opportunities that create customer satisfaction."
A veritable who's-who of press manufacturers tapped Toyo Ink formulations for customer demonstrations at both their in-house litho centers and graphics industry trade shows. For instance, more demonstration presses at Graph Expo 2007 ran Toyo products than inks from any other manufacturer -- a repeat of Toyo Ink's achievement at Graph Expo 2006 and Print 05.
"Mitsubishi Lithographic Presses has developed a close working relationship with Toyo over a long period of time," said Barclay Laux, Mitsubishi's sheetfed press specialist. "We use Toyo ink at our corporate demonstration center. We also furnish samples in our starter kits for new press buyers. Toyo products deliver predictable results. The qualities we expect from the ink are the same from batch to batch. The high pigment strength is great for printing solid colors. The dot reproduction is clean and crisp, whether we are printing on a straight press or a perfector."
Heidelberg USA, MAN Roland, Komori and Mitsubishi topped the lineup of major press builders that featured live print jobs and finished samples at Graph Expo 2007 produced with Toyo inks. Rounding out the list of Toyo ink users at the trade show were Screen (USA) and Akiyama International Corp.
Screen (USA), a supplier of digital prepress systems and components, put its four-color Truepress 344 direct imaging press through its paces using Toyo's popular HyPlus(TM) EC Process Series ink.
"When we introduced the Truepress 344 in the U.S., we tested a number of inks," said Mark Crawford, Screen's product manager for output solutions. "We wanted an ink that would lay down on the sheet evenly using different fountain solutions. Toyo has a strong reputation in the industry. Toyo inks have excellent stay-open characteristics. Now we use HyPlus EC as our standard ink."
Mr. Copeland pointed out that the right ink can make all the difference in the world for print providers striving to distinguish themselves in a fiercely competitive business climate.
"Toyo products are the ideal complement for helping printers meet that critical need," Mr. Copeland said. "They surpass rival products in terms of production efficiency, print quality and customer satisfaction. The enhanced printing and environmental performance give printers a distinct advantage in the marketplace."