34-8 Hon-cho, Itabashi-ku
Tokyo, Japan 173-0001
Sales: $386 million (¥31,971 million); $569 million (¥47,185 million) (consolidated).
Major Products: UV offset, letterpress, flexo, news, waterless and screen inks; sheetfed offset inks; web offset heatset inks; waterless offset inks; gravure and flexo packaging inks; water-based varnishes; metal decorating products.
Key Personnel: Hiro Iida, sales representative in charge of America; Masahiro Kakoi, marketing director; Masanao Kobayashi, technical director.
Number of Employees: 664 (T&K Toka); 1,500 (consolidated).
Comments: T&K Toka (the T&K in the company’s name stands for Technology and Kindness), a specialist in UV inks, had an excellent year in 2010 despite the challenging economy, as the company’s ink sales grew 8.8%, and consolidated sales rose 5.7%.
“It was a very tough year in 2010 due to the exchange rate between the dollar and yen, increasing material costs, etc.,” said Hideyuki Hinataya, T&K Toka’s overseas sales manager. “However, we were able to achieve higher sales than 2009. We believe it is because the market trusts our spirit of T&K (Technology and Kindness), such as our quality, higher value and strong customer support to cooperate with our U.S. distributor, Top Level Printing Ink.”
As is the case with every ink manufacturer, T&K Toka is coping with the higher raw material prices, but is striving to add value to best help its customers.
“It is obvious that the impact is huge and it is very difficult to take care of the situation only by our internal effort,” said Mr. Hinataya. “Therefore, we have to ask the market for cooperation on pricing. At the same time, we will add values on the products in order to establish the ‘Win-Win’ relationship with the market.
“The most important thing is that lots of printing companies have kept using our product for a long time, even though there has been tough price competition, the economic crisis and other difficult situations,” Mr. Hinataya added. “We really thank all of our customers for trusting our product.”
T&K Toka has a major presence in China, as Hangzhou Toka Ink, T&K Toka’s joint venture in China, is the second-largest ink company in China. In 2006, the company opened a new plant at Hangzhou Toka Ink. In addition, the company has operations in Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Bangladesh, and a U.S. distributor, Top Level Ink, in Dallas, TX. In recent news, T&K Toka merged with Fuji Kasei Kogyo, which is now a totally-held subsidiary of T&K Toka, in February 2011.
R&D is a major focus of T&K Toka’s, and the company has recently developed a range of new products. For example, the company has developed its UV OFS-LED type UV ink for LED curing systems and its UV K-HS type UV ink for the Komori H-UV system.
“Recently we have introduced some value-added inks, such as wider gamut process color called BROAD, a UV ink for news printing called UV NEWS, UV ink for LED-UV system, UV ink for Komori, H-UV ink, and a new type of UV waterless Ink called UV 171 SW,” Mr. Hinataya said.
The new UV 171 SW type UV waterless ink is ideal for the KBA Genius Press, and offers strong adhesion and is good for lamination.
“The competition with the digital printing has been getting harder,” Mr. Hinataya noted. “However, as the pure-play company focused on ink, we will provide the highest quality ink and propose value-added printing to the market which digital printing cannot achieve. Also, the Genius UV waterless press from KBA has been getting popular. We prepared the UV ink for the Genius press.”
By offering its high-end UV products to the printing market, T&K Toka is differentiating itself from commodity offerings.
“The market has been separated between ‘High-end Market’ and “Economical Market,’” Mr. Hinataya said. “The ‘Economical Market’ is very tough. However, we can also approach the high quality market with our technologies. So we think that it is a huge chance for us to show our technologies to the high-end market. We will also aggressively provide the ‘Green’ ink (such as non-VOC ink) and ‘Efficient UV Ink’ (such as UV ink for H-UV system) to support the printing world’s social responsibility and cost effort.”
Mr. Hinataya noted that T&K Toka continues to invest in the ink market, even during the difficult economy.
“We have built a new UV ink factory in Japan on September 2009,” he said. “We might develop a plan on important projects, according to the circumstances.”
All in all, T&K Toka continues to thrive in the UV marketplace, thanks to its quality.
“The economic situation is still tough, but we will keep providing our products and ideas with confidence and pride as the manufacturer,” Mr. Hinataya concluded. “We will try to get more market share by offering high quality products.”