KM: Kofu restarts, Tatsuno delayed

Jo Francis
Monday, October 18, 2021

Konica Minolta has asked for “understanding and support” as it works to resume toner production, and has pushed back the expected re-start date for its crucial Tatsuno plant by more than a week.

Konica Minolta's Tatsuno facility is in Nagano Prefecture
Konica Minolta's Tatsuno facility is in Nagano Prefecture

The manufacturer’s Kofu production facility restarted production today (18 October) as scheduled. It mainly makes toner for KM’s office printers. 

However, the Tatsuno plant will now not resume production until 18 November according to the latest statement. KM had previously said that it hoped to re-start manufacturing there on 8 November. 

In its update, KM stated: “Tatsuno Factory is on its way to resume production on November 18, as planned,” without referencing the change of date.

“We sincerely apologise for the considerable inconvenience and concerns among local residents, relevant authorities, and customers who use our products,” KM said.

Production had been halted at Kofu while a risk assessment was carried out following a fire and subsequent explosion at the Tatsuno factory, which makes the Simitri toner used in KM’s toner-based digital presses. 

The dust explosion was caused by static electricity that built up during the secondary drying process. One unit of production equipment on the second floor of the building was damaged and the external wall of the third floor of the building was partially damaged.

Over the weekend Konica Minolta held briefing sessions for local residents around Tatsuno, to explain what had happened and what it was doing to fix it.

KM has introduced a new production process that does not use the secondary drying process.

The group stated: “The Konica Minolta Group takes the accidents seriously and will continue to strive to ensure the safety of the community. 

“At the same time, we would like to express our sincere apologies for the accidents, which caused concerns and inconvenience to our customers due to a shortage in the supply of toners. We also ask for understanding and support as we work to resume production in the future.”

UK users of KM’s production digital presses fear it will be next year before toner availability is restored. 

UPDATE: Konica Minolta subsequently issued a correction regarding the Tatsuno re-start date.

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