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Ahead of the Curve


Having recently signed up for The Print Show, Genevieve Lewis spoke to Tatsuo Murakami, managing director of RISO UK, on the company’s history and its plans for the future

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Tatsuo Murakami is the managing director of RISO UK

The only way is up

“We must always pursue our ideals to ensure the future” is the ethos of the RISO community, and true to its word, RISO UK has continued to develop to guarantee its survival and success. These words were said by the founder of the manufacturer, Noboru Hayama, who laid down this ethos as the building blocks of the organisation in 1946.

We must always pursue our ideals to ensure the future

“On September 2nd 1946, Noboru Hayama began development work on his first mimeograph printer,” explains Tatsuo Murakami, managing director of RISO UK. “And then in 1958 he launched the mimeograph printer, the RISO-Graph.

“Since those first foundations were laid, RISO has had an impressive list of milestones it has marked. In 1963, we became officially known as RISO KAGAKU Corporation. Then in 1977, RISO launched its PRINT GOCCO for home use. This product recorded explosive sales soon after its release and by the end of the year had become a huge hit.”

Murakami continues to explain that the company first made its move into overseas markets in 1986, when it launched RISO in the USA. Just six years later, RISO UK was founded and the Japanese manufacturer now had a presence in 27 countries. RISO was listed in the first section of the Tokyo stock exchange in 2006.

“In the year 2000, RISO took another technological leap forward, with its V8000 becoming the world’s first one-pass two-colour digital duplicator,” says Murakami. “It was only three years later that it launched its HC series of high-speed colour inkjet printers to increase the economy and accessibility of inkjet devices across a number of markets including print businesses and the education sector.”

Green technology

An applauded moment for RISO came in the form of the important Climate Change Conferences, held by the UN in 2015 and 2016. The company’s ComColor series of high-speed inkjet printers, with its environmental credentials, was one of the key reasons as to why RISO was chosen as an official UN Partner.

On the environmental attributes of the ComColor series, Murakami explains: “The ComColor range is the most environmentally friendly due to its low power consumption and lack of emissions. Due to their cold printing process, printing with RISO inkjet machines can be easily achieved without the need for special power arrangements, ventilation or cooling of the operational area.” As proven by the aforementioned UN meetings, the environment is becoming increasingly more important to talk about. As the global community approaches a climate emergency, doing every little bit possible to limit an impact is crucial.

Today, we are a global company with systems that have broken new ground when it comes to harnessing the speed, economy and flexibility of inkjet printing

The continuing expansion of RISO technology is at the forefront of the corporation’s plans. RISO is now focusing on expanding the ComColor series and in 2018 launched the dual inkjet print engine, the 320pp (duplex) full-colour RISO T2. Murakami continues: “Today, we are a global company with systems that have broken new ground when it comes to harnessing the speed, economy and flexibility of inkjet printing. The strength of RISO, which has seen it through its development journey, remains its founder’s vision of remaining true to ‘ideals’.

The RISO T2 was launched in 2018

“In that sense, RISO’s product is not print technology, but instead a platform for its customers to achieve business growth with cost-effective investment. This, in turn, has ensured we have been able to grow sustainably from this strong foundation.”

Upward trajectory

Moving forward, a key strategy for RISO in 2019 is expanding into the corporate market in the UK. “There is great potential to drive and increase our market share in the corporate sector and our investment in expanding the corporate sales team supports this key goal,” says Murakami. “In addition to growing our corporate sales channel, we have strategically reorganised the Partner programme to create a tier-based systems that see partners given additional sales, marketing and technical support in line with the particular tier they are on.”

Murakami adds: “Our partners are invaluable to us and at RISO we are fully committed to a collaborative approach in taking our award-winning technology to market. Our goals are to educate the print and corporate sectors about the depth, breadth and quality of technology portfolio and how it can assist in reducing overheads with improving productivity.”

The ComColor GD9630

RISO’s successful instalment into the UK market can be witnessed from happy customers; one of which is Paragon Customer Communications. Paragon upgraded to a ComColor GD9630s after previously using ComColor models. Paragon CC uses its RISO technology to produce variable data print communications for its clients. Another happy customer is Spectrum Graphics, which invested in the ComColor FW5230 and has praised its reliability. Also showcasing the manufacturer’s exponential growth across the globe is that it now operates in 190 countries – a significant step up from the 27 countries it was present in during the 1990s.

On its return to The Print Show, where RISO UK will no doubt highlight even further the benefits of investing in the above technology, Murakami says: “The Print Show is where the latest innovations are on display and it sends out a strong message that print is the industry to watch. Therefore, it’s an ideal opportunity to showcase the range of unique cutsheet inkjet printers from RISO.

“The show is well-established, and we know that it attracts senior decision makers and key players in the industry. We believe that the next event will continue the networking opportunities and sales success that we have enjoyed to date.”

With its core values, attitude to the environment and support of its partners and clients, it seems that RISO UK has truly stuck to its founder’s mantra of “We must always pursue our ideals to ensure the future.” The only way is up for RISO UK.

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