Nobody expected it. MGI, a French manufacturer of digital printing and finishing equipment, and Konica minolta they reach a strategic collaboration agreement and, in parallel, Konica acquires a 10% stake in MGI.
Although the two companies had a previous relationship (MGI uses the Knonica print engine in its Meteor range), until then the collaboration had been discreet and no one expected it to follow the same path as the EFI / Landa relationship.
Some will be surprised to learn that MGI –Knowledgeable especially for its UV varnishing equipment with reservations, the model JETvarnish 3D, and its Meteor printing range - accumulates more than 30 years of experience. In all this time, a reputation for innovation. In fact, Konica cited MGI's "ability to innovate" as one of the pillars on which the agreement was built.
Proof of this is the Meteor machine itself, which, although it works with the Konica print engine, is a higher level system, capable of printing on a wider range of media (even plastic thanks to MGI's intelligent temperature management technology ), formats (from 100 × 148 mm to 330 × 1,020 mm) and to produce a result that is considered more comparable to an HP Indigo machine than to the Konica Bizhub from which it starts.
As such, MGI Meteor DP8700XL will be introduced as a new top-of-the-line digital press to complement the Konica Bizhub or, in the words of MGI Executive Vice President Victor Abergel: "MGI will be to Konica what Lexus is to Toyota".
Everything seemed to indicate that the main advantage for MGI would be access to Konica's largest distribution network, and this is how the news was largely interpreted. However, Victor Abergel clarified that this is not exactly the case. The plan is for Konica to refer customers looking for a machine worth more than € 175,000 to MGI, making the Meteor a competitor to the HP Indigo, Xerox 1000 and Kodak NexPress machines.
"For the Meteor range, it will be a great opportunity to increase sales, but we will not supply the Meteor range to Konica's distribution channel, especially in a country where we already have an official MGI distributor"Said Abergel. “Over time we will see what is the best solution for the group, whether to appoint Konica or not. For now, what we will do is individually and jointly develop new products ".
It remains to be seen what these products will be translated into - toner or inkjet, printing or finishing? - and to which markets they will be destined, although they will not include any collaboration (beyond, perhaps, the license of a specific technology) in the field of sheet inkjet technology in B2 format, a segment in which both companies are about to launch their first products. It potentially seems like an area where there could be some overlap and competition between new partners' offerings, especially since relatively little is known about MGI's Alphajet compared to the Impremia IS29, 50 × 70 inkjet digital press what Komori has created in collaboration with Konica Minolta.
Abergel was unequivocal in its assertion that this would not be the case, and highlighted some key differentiating factors between the two products. “We have patented an exclusive system - our own chassis, our transport system - with Kora Packmat, the German company that we bought two years ago and which currently manufactures the chassis and the entire transport system of the Alphajet model.", he claimed. Furthermore, instead of being tied to a printhead manufacturer (as is often the case with any inkjet device), the Alphajet will be compatible with printheads from three different manufacturers, allowing the equipment to be tailored to the end application.
This represents the third differential factor between the two devices, as MGI is targeting the commercial and packaging printing markets with its Alphajet, which will only offer online finishing features such as UV with reservations and foiling, while the model Impremia IS29 it is, in Abergel's opinion, better suited for the high-production market, similar to that of the Kodak Versamark. In addition, the Alphajet platform will be used as the basis for future MGI inkjet devices for printed electronics and 3D printing, another segment in which MGI has experience and that will undoubtedly interest Konica.