Saitama, Japan, 354-8577
Sales: $430 million (¥48,030 million) (consolidated).
Major Products: UV offset, UV flexo, UV letterpress, energy saving UV ink, UV waterless ink, conventional offset ink, powder-free conventional offset ink, waterless offset ink.
Key Personnel: Shigetoshi Nishimori, department manager, overseas sales; Hiro Iida, manager, overseas sales, and sales representative in charge of America; Hironori Yanagase, sales representative in charge of Europe; Ryuichi Kurimoto, marketing director; Kazuhiko Shigesu, marketing director; Kazuhiko Nakama, technical director.
Number of Employees: 1,600.
Comments: The largest UV ink specialist, T&K Toka (the T&K in the company’s name stands for Technology and Kindness) had a fairly strong year in 2016, with sales of ¥48,030 million, an increase of 2.7% from last year. Still, the year had its challenges.
“I would have to say that it was a tough year,” said Hiro Iida, T&K Toka’s overseas sales manager and sales representative in charge of America. “Though the US economy was good, it seemed that it did not link to the print market in the US. Also, we had a tough time in price competition of conventional ink. The good thing was that we had increased a number of users of our UV ink, including energy saving UV, not only in the US but also in other regions. Our lifeline is UV technology, so the trend which a lot of printers have been switching or considering to switch to UV/LED-UV/H-UV is fair wind for us.”
Iida pointed to drupa 2016 and Kireina, the company’s new powder-free conventional ink, as major highlights for T&K Toka.
“It was our first time to exhibit at drupa and we had a great success,” Iida reported. “During and after drupa, we have had a lot of inquiries about UV ink and Kireina inks. And actually it gave us a lot of opportunities to do business with new customers.
“Since drupa, we introduced Kireina to the market, and we have had a lot of inquiries about Kireina from both the US and Europe,” Iida added. “And actually, Kireina receives a good valuation from printers who use it. It changes a press room environment drastically better because of no powder, and it dries very fast. It saves time to clean up presses and the print room, and makes productivity higher.”
T&K Toka has a major presence globally. In China, Hangzhou Toka Ink, T&K Toka’s joint venture, is the second-largest ink company. The company also has subsidiaries in Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand and Bangladesh, as well as distributors in the US (Top Level Ink), Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Argentina, and Colombia.
During the past year, Iida noted that energy saving UV systems are doing quite well. “It is not recently started, but the market has kept paying attention to energy saving UV system,” he said. “We have a lot of inquiries about it and I am pleased that many printers use our energy saving UV inks.”
Overall, Iida anticipates an excellent year ahead for T&K Toka.
“I believe that it will be a good year,” Iida said. “The trend is UV and energy saving UV, and our strongest point is UV technology. Also, we will be exhibiting Print 17 to promote our UV ink. We are looking forward to this opportunity to show our value to the market.”