Toray Opens New Czech Plant for Additional Waterless Plate Production

Toray International America Inc., the premier supplier of Toray printing plates for the North and South American markets, has started its supply of Toray waterless printing plates produced at its new manufacturing facility at Toray Textiles Central Europe (TTCE) in Prostejov, Czech Republic. The new 60,000 sq ft facility, located outside the country’s capital of Prague, will be manufacturing Toray’s LL-7 commercial sized waterless plates for European, North American and South American customers, with VG-5 waterless plates to follow. 

“We’re excited to have this new centrally-located facility in Europe,” says Eric Friedman, North American sales manager of Toray International America. “After some 30 years of plate production in Okazaki, Japan, Toray plates will now also be supplied from the heart of Europe. This new modern plant has begun to ship our new LL-7 CTP waterless plates this past March 2014 for North American and South American customers.  It will provide us with a second facility to expand our plate production for worldwide consumption and increase our speed-to-market for our rising demand. The new TTCE production is equal to our factory in Japan and allows us to double our production capacity. Our new plant in Prostějov is essential if we are to satisfy rising demand and enable further growth over the coming years.”

Continuous growth and the rising sales of printing plates have prompted Toray to significantly expand its production capacities for waterless printing plates by adding this new plate line. “Since 2005, sales and turnover for waterless printing plates have increased fivefold,” says Mitsunori Hayashi, general manager for sales in the graphic materials department at TTCE. “We are seeing annual percentage growth in many areas including newspaper printing due to the success of the KBA Cortina press, of which 20 systems are now in operation or have been ordered, and security printing. While traditional offset printing is slowing down for conventional printed products, we are noticing growing demand for high-quality and special applications. Waterless offset allows trickier materials like plastics, metal and even wood veneers to be printed to a high standard of quality. Waterless offset with UV inks is also an increasingly attractive option for packaging applications.”

To respond to this growth, Toray, in 2010, began to seriously consider the possibility of building a new production line. Prostějov was chosen due to its geographical location in the heart of Europe and is ideal from a logistical standpoint.   

“The new Toray factory in Prostějov should make the printing industry take notice,” says Friedman. “In times when people are only worrying about margins, consolidation and a drop in production, with the corresponding impact on investment behaviour, Toray is significantly expanding production and sending the market an important signal. The print business is not dead – in fact, waterless offset printing is opening up some very interesting growth prospects. Many people in the industry still haven’t grasped the fact that it isn’t the cheapest that will survive, but the most innovative!”

The Toray factory in Prostějov was built in 1997 and was originally designed for the production of synthetic textiles for apparel applications. Today it is also an important site for the manufacture of air bag fabrics for the auto industry. In 2007, the favourable geographical location of the factory prompted Toray to ship the Japanese-made ‘blanks’ for offset plates to the Czech Republic, where they were finished for delivery to the end customer. Toray has now invested another €50 million in the site to construct the coating line for waterless printing plates and has shown its additional dedication and devotion to waterless printing.

Toray (www.toray.com) is a diversified corporate group with operations in 25 countries and 42,000 employees around the world. Toray International America Inc. (TIAM), a wholly-owned subsidiary, is responsible for sales and marketing of Toray waterless and letterpress products for North America and South America. Its Toray waterless plate is a key component in Toray’s graphic arts portfolio.

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