Page 26 - Print 21 Magazine Sep-Oct 2018
P. 26

Japan technology
Quality drives the best brands
Corporate culture is an essential dynamic when it comes to the way a brand perceives itself. For Tokyo-based wide-format manufacturer, Mutoh, the understanding that its technology is engineered to the very highest quality generates great confidence in itself.
Heritage is key in
the development
of Mutoh. It had auspicious beginnings in the 1950s when it developed a drafter that became the construction industry’s default tool, thereby changing how architectural drawing was performed. The original design is now designated as part of Japanese mechanical engineering heritage. The engineering quality of the drawing tool went on to epitomise a level of quality that has informed all subsequent Mutoh products. While manual drafting implements fell victim to CAD systems in the 1990s Mutoh had by then moved on to focus on developing large format inkjet printers.
It has continued to do so with focus and determination as I found when I visited its headquarters in Tokyo during IGAS. There I met Yasuhiko Isobe, senior managing director of Mutoh, who proved mercifully free of the type of marketing hype common in our industry. For him Mutoh is its own standard bearer. It is not seeking
to compete in the general market:
he disregards the question as to
who are his competitors. Instead he maintains that Mutoh will invent its own category of production based on its level of engineering, especially
in industrial printing. It is a big ask,
but he carries a certain samurai-like determination in saying so.
It’s not only in the engineering where he thinks that Mutoh makes a superior product. The company also develops
its own ink, specifying its composition without actually producing it. Currently it is launching a new ink, UV US11, for its new LED UV platform, the 1600mm wide, (64”) ValueJet 1638UR roll to roll.
Mutoh in Australia
Although Mutoh enjoys a substantial market share especially across China and the USA, where the brand is valued as being at the top of the chain when it comes to engineering quality, it is the best kept secret in the local Australian market. Four years after establishing direct representation with a sales and service office in Sydney and authorised dealers around the country, it is about to embark on a campaign to raise its profile, increase its presence and, of course, lift the number of sales.
Part of this drive revolves
around the appointment of two
key individuals – Motoshi Suzuki, the new managing director for Australia, and well-known industry identity, Russell Cavenagh, as general manager. Both recognise that the Mutoh brand is not as well recognised in the market as it ought to be, and both share the company’s conviction in the technical superiority of its products.
They promote the narrative that printers ‘graduate up to Mutoh’ when they are seeking high-volume reliability, quality and throughput. This is the
accepted experience overseas, and one they intend to replicate in the Australian and New Zealand markets.
According to Cavenagh the quality and productivity of Mutoh printers is a sure selling point. “I greatly admire Mutoh’s dedication to developing printers that can deliver, low-cost, high- margin business for the users,” he said.
That range was dramatically expanded at last month’s Visual Impact show in Sydney (see pp77- 80) where Mutoh launched three world firsts here in Australia. The extensions to the existing ValueJet line are designed to meet market demand and expectations.
• ValueJet 1638 UR, is the first LED-UV inkjet engine to use a new Mutoh-invented ink, the US11 that has the qualities of ‘bendability’ with CMYK, White and Clear VOC clear inks, which enable printing on the widest range of roll substrates.
• ValueJet 626 UF, an A2+ size flatbed LED-UV printer that prints up to 150mm high on surfaces such as sign media, plastics, acrylic, wood, aluminium, leather, vinyl and more making it one of the most versatile printers available.
• ValueJet 1948 WX, a high-speed textile printer with another new ink, DH21, specially designed for the segment.
With an expanded product line up and the fresh management team of Suzuki-san and Cavenagh, the Mutoh brand is set to become a much larger presence in the Australian and New Zealand marketplace. 21
Above: The new faces
of Mutoh Australia: Russell Cavenagh and Motoshi Suzuki.
Below: A Samurai quality:Isobe- san
in Tokyo.

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