Ricoh is set to buy LAC Corporation, which is said to have unique inkjet technology that supports printing on three-dimensional surfaces. Ricoh has already identified industrial printing as one of its three growth strategies, and this acquisition will help with that.
The LAC technology in question can discharge high-viscosity ink from a maximum distance of 100mm, which allows it to print to objects such as the sides of cars, trucks, aircraft and even tyres and glass bottles. LAC, which is based in Tokyo, Japan, manufactures an interesting and eclectic range of industrial printing systems able to print to products such as cars and liquefied petroleum gas cylinders. This includes the Vehicle Art Robo, which can be used to print directly to the body or trailer of a truck or bus in full colour more cost-effectively than other conventional methods. There’s also an industrial flatbed printer as well as a wall printer and a coating machine.
The company, which has 47 staff, was founded in 1983 and initially developed electronic and data processing equipment before switching to printing machinery.
Ricoh has said that it will combine LAC’s proprietary inkjet technology with its own. Ricoh will also aim to use its global network to expand LAC’s product lines into new overseas markets though LAC is already active in Europe and the US, as well as some Middle East and Asian countries. The transfer of the shares is scheduled to complete tomorrow on October 31, 2018.
In the meantime, Ricoh has also acquired MakeLeaps, a Japanese company that has developed cloud-based billimg management software. This includes the creation and dispatch of a variety of forms for the Japanese market such as estimates, purchase orders and invoices as well as receipt management documentation. It’s mainly used in Japan but also supports foreign currency. Ricoh says that it will combine the MakeLeaps software with its own multi-function printers, as well as other venders’ systems for customer management, accounting, sales management and so on. The idea here is for Ricoh to create a platform for intercompany transactions, especially amongst small and medium-sized businesses.