M Partners has trumpeted the reliability of Japanese presses after expanding its remit by becoming the European Technical Service Centre for the former Mitsubishi press range.
The move follows last year’s establishment of a joint venture for printing presses between Ryobi and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
Ryobi has a majority 60% stake in the venture, Ryobi MHI Graphic Technology.
M Partners had handled Mitsubishi kit through its MPL division since it became the manufacturer's UK distributor in 2010.
This remit has now been expanded and will involve the firm managing the European service, training and support operation for presses from what was the Mitsubishi stable, as well as direct sales in the UK and Ireland of the Ryobi Diamond V3000 B1 press.
The firm’s European Technical Service Manager Iain Moxon will head-up the service offering.
“We were up against some major competitors from Europe so we are really, really pleased to win this business,” said M Partners Group joint managing director Murray Lock.
“They wanted a partner with B1 experience, because it’s a different business. We put forward plans they liked, and they recognised how well we’d worked with them in the past.”
Lock said the M Partners team was “already really enthused with Ryobi’s drive.”
The Mitsubishi installed base across Europe, including Russia and Ukraine, amounts to circa 300 B1 presses.
Lock’s fellow joint managing director, Mark Stribley, claimed Japanese presses offered reliability advantages over European equivalents, particularly when it came to spare parts costs.
“Our own data shows us that European manufactured machinery is less than reliable. It suffers from regular breakdowns, associated service visits, and needs all-too-frequent and expensive spare parts,” Stribley stated.
The firm cited a figure of £50,000 per annum for spares and service over five years, “for a typical German-manufactured six-colour B1 press” and said UK printers had become “conditioned” to this level of costs.
Stribley also said the exchange rate for the Japanese yen had become “significantly more affordable” over the past two years.
Separately, Apex Digital Graphics managing director Bob Usher said it was business as usual for the firm, which continues to handle sales of Ryobi presses in A3, B3, B2 and SRA1 formats.
“There will be some technology swaps between the presses, for example incorporating some Mitsubishi technology on the Ryobi B2 range,” he explained.
Apex is in the process of installing a five-colour Ryobi B2 LED-UV press at its Hemel Hempstead showroom. It will form part of the kit on show at the upcoming Print Efficiently event in October.
“The press market is doing a lot better than it was, and LED-UV is really taking off,” Usher added.