Konica Minolta Business Solutions (KMBS) USA, one of the world’s leaders in information management focused on enterprise content, technology optimization, and cloud services, was seeking a partner that could provide a high quality, production-class, wide-format printer that would open new business opportunities for its customers. Operating in both direct and dealer sales models, KMBS’s portfolio of offerings delivers solutions to improve its customers’ speed to market, manage technology costs, and facilitate the sharing of information to increase productivity.
KMBS turned to long-time business partner EFI and its 65-inch-wide EFI H1625 LED hybrid roll/flatbed printer as the high-quality inkjet graphics platform to offer to its customers. With features such as white ink, LED cool curing, and the EFI Fiery XF production software for wide-format inkjet printing, the EFI H1625 LED printer offered market differentiation and new capabilities for KMBS and its customers.
KMBS expanded its long-term relationship with EFI in 2015 to add the EFI H1625 LED printer to both its direct and independent dealer channels. Printing at speeds of up to 80 square feet per hour in Ultra Quality mode, it gives KMBS customers the benefit of higher-end imaging using four-color, eight-level grayscale print heads, producing near-photographic image quality with saturated colors and smooth gradations. The printer’s Express mode prints at 458 square feet per hour.
“We considered various options in the marketplace,” said Todd Smith, manager of Product Marketing – Specialty and Wide Format Products. “The EFI H1625 LED made the most sense, and with EFI’s extensive inkjet portfolio, there are lots of options to continue to grow the partnership.”
Historically, KMBS sold black-and-white and lower-end color wide-format printers, primarily into the architecture, engineering, and construction market.
“We saw a huge opportunity, in both our existing customer base and with new customers, in the addition of a high-end, graphic arts-quality printer that was affordable for smaller businesses yet also offered significant advantages to larger organizations,” said Smith.
In the first 45 days after the launch of the H1625 LED printer to its dealer channel, KMBS saw strong success with a larger-than-anticipated number of placements. “Some customers have wide format already,” he says, “but not that many have production-level devices. All of the advanced features of the H1625 LED, coupled with its affordability and environmental sustainability aspects, have our customer base excited about the opportunities. We saw demand skyrocket right out of the gate.”
The printer, which is EFI’s top-selling LED inkjet product, also gives users the ability to print on a broader range of substrates, including media that cannot withstand high-heat drying or curing methods.
“And with its reduced energy usage and affordable price it offers unmatched value in terms of total cost of ownership,” Smith said.
Since joining KMBS’s product line in June 2015, the H1625 LED printer has opened new markets for KMBS. “It will bolster our presence in franchise and commercial print,” Smith said, “but it will also give us a dynamic way to enter the sign and display graphics market, including sign franchises.”
KMBS maintains one of the industry’s leading direct and independent dealer channel organizations for the graphic arts industry, and the strength of KMBS’s reach in North America brings significant benefits to EFI as well.
Smith notes that KMBS customers appreciate the ease with which the printer can convert from a flatbed that prints directly on rigid substrates to a roll-fed printer for a wide range of flexible materials.
“Customers are also quite excited about the white ink capability that enables them to create stunning images on clear, translucent, and dark substrates,” he added. “For most of them, this is a brand-new capability, and they are aggressively marketing it to their customers.”
KMBS’ parent organization, Konica Minolta Inc., has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for three years in a row, so the company and its subsidiaries are conscious of the environmental impact of the products they sell.
“This is another terrific advantage of the EFI H1625 LED printer,” Smith explained. “Its ‘cool cure’ LED technology reduces energy consumption and costs compared to arc lamp UV and latex inkjet printers.”
“EFI has a long-standing, successful strategic alliance with KMBS centered on the development of EFI Fiery products for Konica Minolta production equipment, and we are very pleased to have the opportunity to expand our partnership,” said Frank Mallozzi, EFI’s senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing. “With its extensive distribution, national service footprint, and deep relationship with customers, KMBS also expands EFI’s market reach, and we look forward to working with them to add more EFI wide format products to its portfolio in the future.”