Sales: $535 million (53,042 million yen) (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; synthetic resins.
Key Personnel: Hideyuki Hinataya, sales manager of Overseas Sales Division; Hiro Iida, sales representative in charge of America; Hironori Yanagase, sales representative in charge of Europe; Jun Wada, sales representative in charge of synthetic resin; Masahiro Kakoi, marketing director; Masanao Kobayashi, technical director.
Number of Employees: 1,600.
Comments: Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, T&K Toka (the T&K in the company’s name stands for Technology and Kindness) is the largest UV ink specialist in the world. As the market for UV grows, so does T&K Toka: the company had a spectacular 2012, with sales growing 9.4% to 53,042 million yen.
“We had a good year,” said Hiro Iida, sales representative in charge of America for T&K Toka. “The trend of the market goes to UV printing, and our ink quality and support are accepted by the market.
“As our company name shows, ‘T&K’ represents Technology, which means high and stable quality, and Kindness, which means specialized customer support, and these are very important factors to do business in the UV market,” Mr. Iida added. “If the ink is not good, the press cannot work to its potential. If the ink does not have quality, the printer cannot select many substrates. If the ink quality is not stable, the printer cannot have good production efficiency. If the ink manufacturer cannot provide a good support, for example, color matching, trouble shooting, consulting, etc., there is no reason for printers to install a UV system.
“In the case of UV printing, all aspects of printing, such as the press, operator, substrate, chemical, ink, etc., have to cooperate, and then new business will be developed,” Mr. Iida concluded. “I think the market accepts the hard work our company and our distributors do, which leads to our good results in 2012.”
Raw materials are a concern, and while prices stabilized during the past year, they leveled off at a higher rate than in the past.
“Material prices have been kept in a higher range through the year, and it is forecasted to increase more in 2013,” Mr. Iida reported. “Even though we had worked very hard to reduce all of our costs and asked customers about price increases, we will have to work harder to do the same in 2013.”
To meet the growing demands for energy curing products, T&K Toka’s exceptional R&D team continues to develop cutting-edge inks. During the past year, T&K Toka launched a new conventional high intensity black ink, an efficient UV ink for Komori H-UV systems and conventional fluorescent colors.
“We developed a supreme intensity conventional black ink, and bluish and neutral types are available,” Mr. Iida said. “They have stronger intensity and deepness of color than previous dense type blacks. Regarding our new H-UV ink, we have developed a more suitable, efficient UV ink for overseas, as each region has its own printing conditions, and the H-UV system is completely different from ordinal UV system.
“We also developed new conventional fluorescent color inks, called Viva DX,” Mr. Iida noted. “Viva DX offers good density, and printers can get enough density even with one impression. If it is printed with two impressions, it will not be so glossy, and it will have a high fluorescent effect. Further, Viva DX has a wider water tolerance, so even it is printed high volume, because of the higher density and wider water tolerance, printing will be trouble-free.”
T&K Toka has a major global presence. Hangzhou Toka Ink, T&K Toka’s joint venture in China, is the second-largest ink company in China. The company also has operations in Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Bangladesh, and a U.S. distributor, Top Level Ink, in Dallas, TX. Mr. Iida noted that T&K Toka brought in new distributors in Europe (Spain) and Latin America (Brazil).
“Although we have excellent ink and technology, the important thing is to be closer to the market,” he said. “Therefore, we are glad that we established a new relationship with our new distributors, Anagraf in Spain and Resino Flexo in Brazil.”
T&K Toka has branched out into the field of synthetic resins, now offering polyamide resins for gravure and flexo inks among other new products. Mr. Iida said this will help the company successfully develop new inks. The company also brought in Jun Wada, an experienced sales representative for synthetic resins, to be sales representative in charge of synthetic resins.
“Our main business field is in the printing industry,” Mr. Iida said. “However, we are getting into a new market with our knowledge and technology which we have cultivated through our ink business, and we think that the new knowledge and experience from a new market will be transferred back to our ink business to allow us to provide a much higher level of printing ink.
“As a manufacturer of the finest quality UV printing ink, the present movement completely matches our policy, T&K (Technology & Kindness), and we are confident that we can be a part of the development of the printing industry,” Mr. Iida concluded.