Sakurai Europe has enjoyed considerable growth over the past two years signalling an increase in demand for the company's screen printing technology. In this interview we talk to Claudio Moffa, Branch Manager located in the U.K and responsible for sales in Europe about how this growth has been achieved and his view on the screen printing market.
Please explain a little of who you are and your background
I have been involved with the print industry for many years now and am both inspired and fascinated by the continued innovation for industrial screen printing and technology. My initial education was in aviation engineering and I guess I have a natural passion for high-grade engineering which is why I'm happy to be the Branch Manager for Sakurai Europe, based close to London.
Allied to my inquisitive nature and interest in innovation, I like to help people achieve growth with their business. So when I am with my customers these three elements come together; my interest in engineering, the excellence of Sakurai technology and my enthusiasm for helping people generate new possibilities for their business.
What do you aim to achieve with Sakurai?
Continued growth in demand for screen printing generally, and of course in Sakurai’s technology in particular!
Over the past two years and we have seen incredible growth in demand in Europe for our technology. For example, in 2015-16 we achieved growth of almost 300%! (From 11 units to 32) And we are expecting to beat that again this year!
Why has this growth occurred?
I think there are three key reasons:
1. Whilst many focus only on the growth in digital inkjet, screen printing, particularly for industrial printing is also growing in demand for industrial applications.
2. We prefer to educate and inspire our customers so they grow their business and as a result we also grow.
3. Lastly our customers really appreciate, and trust the performance and quality of the Japanese made Sakurai screen printing machines.
For industrial print, what do you regard as the main opportunity?
Industrial print is experiencing continued growth for screen printing. In a variety of industries, screen printing remains the key process due to its efficiency, quality and speed, which cannot be matched by digital. The process is so good and the output such high quality, I cannot see a time where it is replaced. But there is a need for education, as I do not think the full potential is being realised. Screen printing is the best printing option for functional and industrial printing applications such as automotive, smart technology, pharmaceutical and packaging, and it can provide amazing special effects with specialist inks. This can also add a lot of impact to paper based print applications.
So from adding a perfume smell to a package, heat sensitive ink to a t-shirt or a gloss or metallic finish to a package, screen printing can really add the 'wow' factor, and this is something we want to remind people of.
What trends do you see as important for screen printing?
Automation has become a key trend and issue. There is no doubt that manufacturing is changing and there is demand for products to be made as well and as efficiently as possible. Screen printing has to respond to this change by giving manufacturers excellent quality printing that can be produced at high speed whilst being as efficient and as easy as possible. Industrial printers really appreciate the potential of automation, which is made possible by digital technology. Some may be surprised to hear this, but screen printing can benefit from digital technology as well!
What do you see as the main problems and challenges for screen printing?
I think that screen printing does not 'shout' as loud as digital and this gives people the impression that it is not as innovative. And this is wrong. Screen printing is really pushing the boundaries with highly innovative applications such as smart technology and 'in mould' decoration in automotive production. So I think as an industry we need to get better at promoting the power and value of screen printing to inspire and educate more customers.
With digital inkjet growing so much are you concerned at all about the future of screen printing?
Not at all. As I have already said, screen printing will remain the dominant process for many applications. All of the InPrint Show Survey results point to digital inkjet playing a unique role that creates new value, not by replacing the conventional process.
What kind of application areas do you see as growing for screen printing?
Obviously both smart technology and automotive will continue to grow as this market continues to evolve and innovate. I also think that packaging will see growth for screen printing, particularly for luxury productsas special effect printing provides retailers and FMCG brands the ability to stand out on the shopping shelf and reflect the high quality values and the prestige of the brand.
What do you believe is important for future growth?
I think as an industry and technology we need to be open minded to new ideas of development. We can't always focus on the way we do things now and think this is the best we can get. So being open minded to discussions with other companies to develop new technologies that enable new possibilities is a positive and logical thing to do.
In addition, we must educate and inspire our customers of the amazing possibilities of screen printing. Without inspiration and help none of us grow, and working in partnership is the best way to yield positive results for the industry.
Branch Manager London Office
UK and Europe Sales Manager
Sakurai Graphic Systems Corporation London Branch