May 17, 2020

Canon launches end-to-end printing smart suite

Digital
printing
publishing
Media
Harry Menear
2 min
Canon's Book Smart Suite is aimed at increasing efficiencies for printers, using automated workflow, media, and finishing solutions along the whole supply chain.
Canon Solution America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canon USA, announced this week the launch of its new end-to-end solution aimed at increasing effici...

Canon Solution America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canon USA, announced this week the launch of its new end-to-end solution aimed at increasing efficiency in printing organisations. The Book Smart Suite is aimed at increasing both time and costing efficiencies for printers, using automated workflow, press, media, and finishing solutions along the whole supply chain.

"With Book Smart Suite, Canon Solutions America allows customers to connect the entire digital book manufacturing process from pre-press to print to finishing," said Marco Boer, Vice President, IT Strategies.

"It offers a more efficient way to deploy and maintain end-to-end digital book manufacturing workflow than individual book manufacturers could develop on their own."

The suite will allow manufacturers to reduce inventory size, move product to market faster and keep backlisted titles available. According to the company, “In the past, it was a challenge to match the quality of offset, but advancements in production digital technology mean that Canon Solutions America's high-speed digital solutions offer unparalleled speed and efficient supply chain management — without sacrificing quality. Now, these solutions are offered together in one easy-to-implement, end-to-end suite, taking the guesswork out of the transition to an automated book solution for printers and book manufacturers.”

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For publishers, the Book Smart Suite offers a way to efficiently create short-run and customized content, opening up new possibilities for education materials, trade books, cookbooks, and more.

"For book manufacturers looking to grow and scale, as well as commercial printers who see the revenue opportunity in the book market, the Book Smart Suite is the total package," said Francis McMahon, Executive Vice President, Production Print Solutions, Canon Solutions America. "Canon Solutions America is pleased to offer not only a true end-to-end automated solution but also the most robust product portfolio on the market — and the only production inkjet sheet-fed option for book printing."

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Jun 23, 2021

Japan Seeks to Revive Stalled Semiconductor Industry

TSMC
Taiwan
Japan
Semiconductor
Elise Leise
3 min
As international supply chains falter, the Japanese government intends to incentivise foreign chipmakers to build localised foundries

Post-pandemic, Japan has seen the consequences of relying solely on foreign imports for its semiconductors. Over 64.2% of its chips are usually imported from South Korea and Taiwan, leaving the country dependent on its neighbours. Industries from auto manufacturers to consumer electronics firms wait for chips, to no avail. But now, the Japanese government looks likely to put real funding behind its semiconductor industry, with top officials emphasising their support.

 

Domestic supply chains have never been more important. Rather than remain tied to international shipping routes during shortages and delays, governments are doing everything in their power to develop local lines of supply. But the question remains: can Japan pull it off? 

 

How Will Japan Pay For It? 

Herein lies our first issue. Japan’s debt has rapidly increased over the past few years, and the semiconductor industry will need roughly a trillion yen—US$9bn—in this fiscal year alone. This cost, however, pales in comparison to what Japan could lose if it fails to keep up with Europe and the US. Both nations have launched aggressive funding measures to revive their local semiconductor industries. And if Japan refuses to invest due to its debt, it could slow down progress in fields ranging from artificial intelligence to autonomous driving. 

 

According to Tetsuro Higashi, the former president of Tokyo Electron and Japan’s top government advisor in semiconductor strategy, ‘If we miss this opportunity now, there may not be another one’. Yet one advanced wafer fabrication factory can cost more than US$10bn, and any money poured into the industry will go fast. That’s why Japan, rather than invest trillions and trillions in failing domestic firms, is considering a second option. 

 

What Do They Plan To Do? 

Japan now intends to look abroad and convince overseas chip foundries to come to its shores. Its past failures mostly centred on trying to merge domestic firms that were already going through tough times. ‘This sort of made-in-Japan self-reliance approach hasn’t worked out well’, said Kazumi Nishikawa, a director at the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry’s IT division. ‘This time the goal is to offer a strong incentive for an overseas logic foundry to come to Japan’. 

 

As follows, Japan will now reach out to industry partners and leaders in other countries, including the industry heavyweight Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), to build Japanese bases. According to the South China Morning Post, the heart of Japan’s mission is a US$337.2mn research and development project in Tsukuba that will involve TSMC and more than 20 Japanese firms. ‘I think we need to cooperate with our overseas counterparts’, said Akira Amari, a senior member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. ‘[And] TSMC is the world’s top logic chipmaker’. 


Indeed, if that’s Japan’s strategy, the future looks bright. TSMC recently set up a venture near Tokyo to research energy-efficient 3D chips with several Japanese partners. And in the future, the multinational chipmaker may consider expanding its Japanese operations—that is, if government incentives pave the path forward.

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