Reitoft welcomes Taketsugu and thanks him for joining despite the late hour in Japan. Taketsugu, representing Horizon, is busy preparing for Drupa, the major industry show in Düsseldorf. Reitoft expresses admiration for Horizon’s continuous innovation and commitment to R&D. Taketsugu affirms that Horizon is still developing new ideas and is committed to achieving its smart factory concept, which began in 2019 and remains a work in progress.

They discuss Horizon’s use of robotics, AGVs, and robot arms, all integral to their smart factory initiatives. Taketsugu explains that the demand for such technology is growing, particularly in Europe and the US, where automation is sought for repetitive tasks. Although Japan’s printing industry lags in adopting new technologies, Taketsugu mentions that labor shortages due to an aging population are driving a gradual increase in demand for automation.

The conversation shifts to Horizon’s iCE LiNK platform, which integrates both hardware and software, emphasizing the importance of data collection for operational efficiency. Taketsugu highlights the collaboration with software vendors to enhance data utility, which benefits both Horizon and its customers by providing insights and predictive maintenance alerts.

Reitoft inquires about data security concerns. Taketsugu reassures that Horizon only collects machine data, not personal data, and emphasizes customer transparency. They discuss Horizon’s long-standing partnerships, such as with Hunkeler, which continue despite industry changes like acquisitions.

Taketsugu shares that Horizon will showcase 18 different solutions at Drupa, including bookbinding technologies and various automated systems. Reitoft praises Horizon’s modular equipment design, which allows for scalability and integration based on customer needs.

Reitoft acknowledges Horizon’s market-driven approach and the importance of customer feedback in its development process. Taketsugu mentions Horizon’s expansive booth at Drupa, which will feature live presentations and demonstrations by knowledgeable staff.

Finally, Reitoft and Taketsugu discuss the overall market outlook. While the printing industry’s volume may be shrinking, opportunities within specific segments, such as books with increasing titles but shorter runs, are growing. Taketsugu highlights the feasibility of short-run and on-demand printing, which aligns with current market trends.


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