Top Companies Report

12. FUJIFILM Graphics


Systems Division - Sericol Unit
1101 W. Cambridge Circle Drive
Kansas City, KS 66103
Phone: (913) 342-4060
Fax: (913) 342-4752

U.S. Sales: $75 million (Ink World estimate)

Major Products: UV screen, UV flexo, UV digital (piezo inkjet), solvent-based digital and solvent-based screen inks; screen pre-press; Inca Digital Printers and Fujifilm Digital Printers.

Key Personnel: Mitch Bode, general manager; Chris Lomas, VP of sales; Steve Pocock, technical director; Terry Mitchell, director of marketing.

Number of Employees: 165.

Operating Facilities: Seven.

Comments: In April 2010, Fujifilm Sericol became part of the Graphics Systems Division of Fujifilm North America Corporation. The integration combines the screen, wide format inkjet and flexographic business of Sericol along with the strong market position of Fujifilm Graphics in the commercial offset business.

“The integration brings even more products and services to print providers,” said Mitch Bode, general manager of the Sericol Unit business in the U.S. and Mexico. “Fujifilm now provides products and services for offset, screen and digital inkjet printing. The combined organization reduces our cost and improves our service to customers. This will enable us to expand our customer base and grow our business.” 

The Sericol Unit of Fujifilm Graphics Systems Division experienced revenue growth in 2010 as the improving economy led to higher ink demand in the point-of-purchase and graphic display markets.

“We saw most of our markets return to levels of business we had prior to the economic downturn,” commented Mr. Bode. “Our traditional screen business has been steady throughout 2010 and our wide format inkjet business has seen significant growth for both equipment and ink.”

Wide format digital inkjet printing remains a key growth area for the company. Print buyer demands for shorter print runs, multiple versions, and faster turnaround times are driving growth, and UV equipment and inks are leading the growth due to the speed, quality and environmental benefits of UV curable inkjet compared to solvent inkjet. 

“We are keenly focused on bringing new and innovative UV digital solutions to the market and expect continued growth of this business in the years ahead,” Mr. Bode said.

Fujifilm continued its long term partnership with Inca Digital and renewed its exclusive distribution agreement to market Inca’s UV flatbed printers. A key driver of Fujifilm’s growth in 2010 was the Inca Onset S20 high speed UV digital flatbed. The Onset S20 offers exceptional quality and choice of finish from low glare satin to high impact gloss making it ideal for point-of-purchase display graphic printing.

“The print speed and output of the Onset S20 is a very good fit for in-line screen printers primarily focused on the graphic display market,” said Chris Lomas, vice president of sales for the Sericol Unit.

Although digital inkjet is growing at a fast pace, traditional screen printing inks rebounded and grew modestly in 2010.

“Screen printing is still competitive and well suited for longer print runs,” Mr. Lomas said. “However, the demand for shorter print run lengths, faster turnaround and multiple versions will continue to favor digital inkjet over screen printing. As a result, we expect digital inkjet to grow even faster in 2011.”

While the Onset series presses are the fastest and most productive UV flatbeds, they are just one of many digital solutions offered by the company. Fujifilm also introduced the photo-realistic quality Acuity Advance HS, the latest addition to the Acuity series that offers faster speeds and higher productivity. The Uvistar UV roll press rounds out the UV printer portfolio and the series includes both a 3.5 meter and 5.0 meter printer.

“The Uvistar is ideal for printing billboards, building wraps and grand format display graphics on a wide range of flexible substrates,” said Terry Mitchell, director of marketing. “The Uvistar also prints at faster speeds and higher productivity when compared to solvent printing, and offers the advantage of lower environmental impact.”

Raw material availability was a challenge during 2010 as some materials were rationalized during the economic downturn or simply in short supply when the economy started to improve. Pigments were especially difficult to procure, however formulation expertise helped offset some of these supply shortages. More recently, raw material prices have escalated; however productivity improvements in manufacturing helped hold the line on prices in the market.

“We feel it is absolutely critical to reduce supply chain costs to keep our customers competitive,” said Mr. Mitchell.

A computerized managed inventory program was also expanded to provide improved service and lower freight cost. “Our managed inventory program monitors supply stocks at customer locations and replenishes on a schedule that reduces shipment frequency,” said Scott Holub, vice president operations. “Our customers see tremendous advantage in our program because products are readily available to respond to customer orders.” 

Fujifilm has a positive outlook for 2011 with digital printers and inks remaining an important driver to Fujifilm’s future growth. 

“Our investments in digital solutions have resulted in new sales opportunities within our traditional customer base of screen printers. The broadening of our portfolio of digital presses, and the expansion of our product portfolio, will continue to fuel our sales growth,” Mr. Bode concluded.