TSUKUBA MANUFACTURING PLANT — STILL PRESSING AHEAD
AUTO DEVICES to speed makereadies. Ever-increasing press unit requirements. Convertible and dedicated perfecting configurations. Unique coating capabilities. As U.S. sheetfed commercial printers strive to differentiate themselves from their competitors, they increasingly opt for more customized press solutions.
And, once they decide to buy a new offset machine, the ability of their chosen press supplier to deliver the order within a short time frame is crucial to sealing the deal.
That market trend, in part, is what drove the Komori Corporation to build its new Tsukuba sheetfed press manufacturing facility near Tokyo, which went into full operation in December with the second phase completion of an approximately 414,000-square-foot factory, R&D facility, customer demo and training center, and employee fitness facilities—all situated on a 451⁄2-acre tract with room for further expansion.
To showcase its advanced manufacturing platform at Tsukuba and to discuss its plans for the upcoming IPEX exhibition in England next month (see sidebar), Komori invited an international group of trade press editors to tour the new Lithrone manufacturing complex.
The press event also included a stop at Komori’s Sekiyado web press manufacturing facility, as well as a visit to a major Komori customer—Leo Paper Group’s Heshan plant in Guangdong, China.
Designed around the concept of customer kando (means beyond expectations), the goal of the new Tsukuba facility is to surpass clients’ needs through product development and manufacturing efficiency. R&D, design, production and final print testing are now done at one location, following the closure of its Toride plant that opened in 1967. This enables closer interaction between various departments. And, in building a new facility from the ground up, Tsukuba’s processes have been engineered for high-speed production of standard and customized presses (about 2,000 press units annually).
The plant incorporates several productivity and quality assurance advancements. An expanded design department now features the latest CAD systems. Computer-controlled machining equipment precisely outputs components such as side frames and press cylinders, and AGVs are employed to transport the cylinders to the next stage. Sub-assembly lines run in concert with an automatic crossover system for the main press assembly line.