Top Companies Report

10. FUJIFILM North America Corp. Graphic Systems Division


850 Central Ave.
Hanover Park, IL 60133
Phone: (800) 621-1049
or (630) 259-7200, Fax: (630) 259-7078

Sales: $375 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; Fujifilm Acuity Advance and Inca Digital presses; J Press 720 digital inkjet press.

Key Personnel: Tak Yanagawa, division president, Graphic Systems Division, FUJIFILM North America Corporation; Todd Zimmerman, vice president and general manager, Graphic Systems Division, FUJIFILM North America Corporation; Pete Kenehan, managing director, Fujifilm Specialty Ink Systems Limited; Jerry Avis, chief commercial officer, FUJIFILM Europe Graphic Systems Division; Terry Mitchell, vice president marketing, Graphic Systems Division, FUJIFILM North America Corporation.

Number of Employees: 1,250 (Ink World estimate).

Comments: FUJIFILM North America Corporation, Graphic Systems Division is a global leader in digital and screen inks, and the company continued to experience growth in the digital side of its business in 2012.

“Inkjet grew at double digits, offsetting a decline in graphic screen inks. Demand for industrial screen inks and narrow web flexo inks remained robust, particularly in Eastern Europe,”commented Peter Kenehan, managing director, Fujifilm Specialty Ink Systems Ltd., Broadstairs, UK.

The shift from analog to digital continued in the graphic display market, and some industrial segments were down year over year. This was particularly evident in optical media disk decoration, where digital downloads are becoming more prevalent. 

“Fujifilm’s North America graphic and industrial screen inksexperienceda decline in 2012, primarily due to the shift to digital inkjet for graphics and the shift in technology from disks to downloads for optical media,” said Larry Hettinger, product marketing manager for graphic and industrial screen inks.

Fujifilm also recorded growth in narrow web in North America, seeing increases in water-based and UV flexo inks for packaging. 

“The packaging industry is healthy and growing in both analog and digital technologies. In particular, flexography is growing due to increased quality capabilities and economic benefits of short run and fast turnaround times compared to gravure and offset,” said John Fultz, business development manager – packaging, Fujifilm North America Corporation. 

The commercial offset market paints a different picture with offset ink volumes declining, which Fujifilm attributes to the migration of and improvements in digitaltechnologies and market demands for shorter print run lengths. There is also some price erosion in the commercial print segment due to market pressures to reduce cost.

European markets showed some improvement, despite a depressed economy across Europe. Emerging markets such as Turkey, Middle East and Russia are leap-frogging analog and investing directly into digital technology.

“While there has been some improvement in Northern Europe, access to capital remains difficult,” Mr. Kenehan said. “This condition results in a lower rate of investment in new technologies.”

As Fujifilm grows, the company continues to upgrade and expand its operations. In 2012, the company completed the refurbishment of its R&D facilities in the UK and commissioned its new UK inkjet manufacturing plant, which adds capacity for the company’s growing inkjet business. Fujifilm also added improvements to its inkjet ink manufacturing capabilities at its facility in Kansas City. 

In addition, a fully automated ink manufacturing cell for water-based flexo inks was installed in Kansas City. The state-of-the-art cell allows for highly accurate and quick turn-around batches while minimizing costs.

Personnel additions in the packaging segment included adding dedicated regional and national sales resources in addition to more resources for business development. There are several new product introductions planned for the packaging segment in 2013, including inkjet equipment, inkjet inks and new flexo plates. 

In the screen graphics market segment, Fujifilm will be launching new products to help customers reduce costs and increase productivity. Efforts are centered on launching new inks that will improve print performance on the wide array of various media available today.

Fujifilm’s wide format inkjet business is growing, and many of the new products – both equipment and ink – are being launched in the wide format and production inkjet product areas. With new equipment comes to new inks, and Fujifilm launched several new inkjet inks for its wide format UV equipment. More flexible and high adhesion Uvijet inks were introduced, and new Vividia inks were also launched for the J Press series. Fujifilm has launched four new digital inks in the past year, each designed to optimize the performance of a market-leading Fujifilm printer platform.

Uvijet QN is the new UV curable ink for the Fujifilm Uvistar series printers. An upgrade to the original Uvijet QK ink series, Uvijet QN delivers enhanced print quality, increased adhesion and lower odor. Uvijet QN also includes light black, light cyan and light magenta inks for the new Uvistar Pro8.

Uvijet OZ is the new UV curable ink for the Inca Onset flatbed printers. Due to increased flexibility, Uvijet OZ has superior finishing performance when cut, creased, routed or punched. A new brighter yellow also enhances print vibrancy and color gamut. The new ink series offers a choice of either blue shade or yellow shade magenta, each with a matching light color.

Uvijet LL series, a fast curing UV-LED ink, was launched with the new Fujifilm Acuity 1600 LED printer. Benefits include excellent adhesion, elongation and abrasion properties. Offered as an 8 color set, Uvijet LL includes CMYK, light cyan, light magenta, white and clear. The inks are provided in a reusable cartridge and replaceable ink pouch system for added convenience and reduced waste.

Uvijet KA is a new alternative UV curable ink for the Fujifilm Acuity Advance series printers. Designed to meet the demands of the UV flatbed print market, Uvijet KA sets a new standard for adhesion to rigid plastic substrates. Uvijet KA is a CMYK plus white ink set and can also be used with the Uvijet KN clear on Acuity Select models.

At drupa 2012, Fujifilm introduced a digital inkjet web press as a technology showcase. The press uses Fujifilm’s new high performance Vividia ink, developed specifically to facilitate superb image quality. 
Vividia ink allows high-density images to be printed at high speed, with less ink transfer from sheet to sheet, with high quality reproduction possible even on thin paper. A variety of ink types, including both pigment and dye-based inks, have been developed for use with this press.

Fujifilm also offers its Color+ aftermarket inkjet inks, which are designed to provide optimal performance on a wide variety of inkjet printers from many of the leading suppliers. Color+ utilizes Fujifilm’s proprietary MicroV fine pigment dispersion technology, which greatly reduces printhead clogging while offering stronger, brighter colors. 

Fujifilm’s primary highlight in narrow web packaging was entry into the water-based flexo ink market with the 700 range of products. Technology advances in on-press stability and very broad adhesion range are key differentiators in this new ink range.