Press Releases

Kao Looks to Reshape Industry With Water-Based Inkjet Ink – 08/03/18

Kao Corp. (TYO:4452) is pursuing change in the printing ink industry with a new innovation. Having already set itself apart from the competition in the promising inkjet ink market by way of a new water-based product, the company has now managed to improve the print permanence, and reduce the odor, of its offering here.
This improved product, Kao hopes, will take the leading role from UV-curable inks when it comes to surface printing applications. Past this, the company is also aiming to overturn the very structure of the packaging market itself, where reverse printing is currently the norm.

Kao first entered the ink market in 2016 with its development of Lunajet, a water-based inkjet ink. The product features proprietary technology for pigment nano-dispersion, is free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and is the world’s first such ink to offer image quality on the same level as gravure printing methods. Now, the company has also added a product grade to be used in surface printing for packaging.

At present, around 70 percent of the market for food packaging uses gravure reverse printing. This method comes in the aim of boosting durability through the printing of images on the back of packaging materials, then laminating the material with film so as to protect the image. In contrast, surface printing applications have been limited to products with short shelf life, such as daily food items.

But by using a polyester resin, Kao has been able to form a stronger printed coating film, improving print permanence and opening up a far wider range of possible applications. This film comes in at only a tenth the thickness of alternatives using UV-curable ink yet provides the same level of resistance to weather, alcohol and scratches. Its design also incorporates new dispersant and emulsion components.

Kao’s new offering here is able to avoid the issue of odor, which is often seen with the UV- curable ink that represents the norm in surface printing. And since processes for surface printing can be made significantly simpler than those for reverse printing, this new technology carries the potential for surface printing to make a comeback in terms of relative market share.

Further, inkjet ink can be used for the on-demand, small-batch production of a wide range of products, and so is being met with rising demand for applications such as product planning. One hurdle to clear here, though, will be popularizing inkjet printing presses that are tied more closely to users, as the printing industry generally sees ink manufacturers and printing companies interact with each other directly.

Having acquired both U.S.-based and Spanish-based ink manufacturers in 2016, Kao likely has ample business opportunities in the international market. Back in Japan, the company appears to be targeting a production increase for its inkjet ink, which it currently manufactures at its Wakayama Plant – with a leading candidate for this project being the company’s Kashima Plant.

Kao Collins X-BAR and Universal Controller – 09/27/18

CINCINNATI, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 27, 2018: Kao Collins Inc., a leading provider of inkjet solutions, announces the launch of the Kao Collins X-BAR print module and controller.
The Kao Collins X-BAR print module utilizes Samba technology to produce excellent, high-quality images on everything from porous bond to high-gloss coated stock at speeds up to 1000 fpm (300 mpm). The system can also be configured to print on other substrates like foils. With its small footprint and wide-variety of available ink types, the Kao Collins X-BAR is an ideal solution for high-speed, high-volume, single-pass applications.

The Kao Collins X-BAR controller, allows customers to integrate multiple printhead technologies on a single platform, eliminating the need for multiple controllers dedicated to different printhead types. Kristin Adams, Kao Collins’ Marketing Manager, states that “Extending the useful life of existing equipment, rather than replacing it, provides our customers with an upgrade path into the future.”

The Kao Collins X-BAR will be on display at Print18 in Chicago from September 30th to October 2nd. Those unable to attend the event are invited to see a demo at the Kao Collins showroom in Cincinnati.


Newly Created Kao Advanced Printing Solutions – 9/10/17

Kao Corporation announces the formation of “Advanced Printing Solution Business Development” (commonly, referred to as Kao Advanced Printing Solutions) under Kao Chemical division.

Kao Advanced Printing Solutions’ primary focus will be to leverage core technologies developed by Kao Chemicals Business to create eco-friendly, technically superior solutions for industrial inkjet and traditional printing markets. Solutions include novel inks formulated to expand the application space for both traditional and digital printing such as food safe water-based inks formulated to print on non-porous films, and inks for printing home décor.

Kao Advanced Printing Solutions is comprised of Kao’s inkjet ink development and manufacturing operations in Japan along with Kao Collins Inc. located in Cincinnati, OH, USA and Kao Chimigraf located in Barcelona, Spain. The combination of the 3 member organizations of Kao Advanced Printing Solutions provides Kao with a strong worldwide presence. “The strengths of each individual company complement one another well,” says Kao Collins’ Marketing Manager, Kristin Adams. “Together, Kao Advanced Printing Solutions is excited to introduce new, unique solutions for the printing industry.”

About Kao Group

Kao creates high-value-added products that enrich the lives of consumers around the world. Through its portfolio of over 20 leading brands such as Attack, Bioré, Goldwell, Jergens, John Frieda, Kanebo, Laurier, Merries and Molton Brown, Kao is part of the everyday lives of people in Asia, Oceania, North America and Europe. Combined with its chemical division, which contributes to a wide range of industries, Kao generates about 1,500 billion yen in annual sales. Kao employs about 35,000 people worldwide and has more than 120 years of history in innovation. Please visit the Kao Group website for updated information.

Kao Named One of the ‘World’s Most Ethical Companies’ for Eleven Consecutive Years – 3/14/17

Kao Corporation was recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies 2017 by the Ethisphere Institute, a U.S. think tank that specializes in research on corporate ethics and social responsibility, on March 13, 2017. Since the award’s inception in 2007, Kao is the only Japanese company that has received this recognition for eleven straight years.

The “World’s Most Ethical Companies” is an annual recognition bestowed on companies that have achieved significant results for corporate transparency, fairness, ethics and compliance. The institute has surveyed and evaluated companies the world over in five categories: 1) Ethics and Compliance Program; 2) Reputation, Leadership and Innovation; 3) Corporate Citizenship and Responsibility; 4) Governance; and 5) Culture of Ethics to select the World’s Most Ethical Companies.

Michitaka Sawada, President and CEO declared: “We are honored to be recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for 11 consecutive years. For 130 years, we have upheld the value of Integrity passed down from Kao’s founder. As a core value, we positioned Integrity as the foundation of the Kao Group Mid-term Plan 2020 (K20), which started from this year. This Integrity continues to be embraced as K20 guides the group’s daily business activities.”

“Kao is the only company in Japan that we have honored on the World’s Most Ethical Companies list every year since the award’s inception,” said Ethisphere’s Chief Executive Officer, Timothy Erblich. “It underscores their commitment to engaging in business with integrity and we hope they will continue to lead their industry in advancing ethical standards and practices.”

As a foundation of its business activities, Kao advocates Integrity. This core value, inherited from Kao’s founder, indicates that Kao is committed to abiding by laws and ethical principles to engage in honest and healthy corporate activities. To apply this core value in daily business practice, Kao has established the “Kao Business Conduct Guidelines,” and instills the concept of Integrity in all Group members through training programs that incorporate the characteristics and case studies of individual countries.

In addition to these approaches, Kao continues initiatives to contribute to the preservation of the global environment and to solve social issues through its business activities and to create a vibrant and diverse working environment in accordance with the Kao Sustainability Statement.

The Kao Group will continue to strive for the wholehearted satisfaction and enrichment of the lives of people globally and to contribute to the sustainability of society.



Kao creates high-value-added products that enrich the lives of consumers around the world. Through its portfolio of over 20 leading brands such as AttackBioréGoldwellJergensJohn FriedaKaneboLaurierMerries and Molton Brown, Kao is part of the everyday lives of people in Asia, Oceania, North America and Europe. Combined with its chemical division, which contributes to a wide range of industries, Kao generates about 1,500 billion yen in annual sales. Kao employs about 33,000 people worldwide and has 130 years of history in innovation. Please visit the Kao Group website for updated information.

Kao Acquires Collins Inkjet – 7/1/16

Collins Inkjet is excited to announce that Kao Corporation has acquired Collins Corporation. Kao Corporation, while a relative newcomer to inkjet, has world-class dispersion and polymer chemistries that offer the promise of better, more robust ink solutions. Kao Collins has been developing innovative inkjet solutions for over 26 years. By joining forces, the two companies look forward to expanding the application space for inkjet printing.

The current management of Collins Inkjet will remain in place. Collins will continue to operate out of its facilities in Cincinnati, Ohio and Berlin, Germany.

View Kao’s official release here.

Q: What does this mean for current customers?
A: Business as usual. Customers can expect to receive the same service and support that they’ve always received from Collins.

Q: How does this affect the ordering process?
A: Day to day operations such as placing orders and receiving technical assistance will remain unchanged.

Q: Does this affect distributors and other partners?
A: Kao Collins will continue to move forward and honor all existing contracts.

Q: Why did Kao Collins make this decision?
A: Kao Collins has continued to expand both vertically and horizontally. Moving forward, Kao Collins will need to be able to support an ever-increasing customer base worldwide. Not only does Kao have fundamental dispersion technology which should enable Kao Collins to improve and expand its product portfolio, but Kao has an existing infrastructure, which can be leveraged to support the growth of Collins.

Q: Who is Kao Corporation?
A: Kao Corporation is a large, wide-ranging Japanese company that has a presence in both consumer products and industrial industries. Kao Corporation prides itself on its integrity and the promotion of environmentally friendly solutions.

If you have any questions, please contact us. That’s what we’re here for.


Collins Ink Changes Name to Collins Inkjet, Begins Refurbishing KV Equipment – 9/8/13

Collins Ink Corporation is changing its name to Collins Inkjet Corporation. The name change is to reflect Collins Inkjet’s expansion into printer upgrades, parts, and support.

Collins Ink has a 23-year history of working closely with customers of high-speed inkjet printers. Recently, customers have asked Collins to refurbish Kodak Versamark print heads. Presently, Kodak has a monopoly on the refurbishment of print heads used in Kodak Versamark printers. Collins Inkjet’s goal is to become a full service alternative for all parts for Kodak Versamark brand printers.

In addition to print head refurbishment, Collins Inkjet is also introducing an upgrade to Kodak’s 6240 fluid stations. The upgrade extends the useful life of the fluid stations by as much as 10-15 years. Collins Inkjet is introducing its upgraded fluid stations at Print 13 in Chicago.

Some of Collins Inkjet’ customers and OEM partners also asked Collins Inkjet to provide support services for many of their current printers. In response, Collins Inkjets has set up a service organization with plans for expansion over the next two years. Collins Inkjet is experimenting with the idea of providing service contracts with a number of select customers and support services for other OEM’s.

Lexmark Funai Acquisition – 4/1/13

It was announced Monday, April 1 that Funai Electric Company, Ltd. has acquired Lexmark International, Inc.’s inkjet-related technology and assets. Lexmark’s press release states: “The acquisition of the inkjet-related technology and assets will enable Funai to launch new inkjet hardware and supplies under Funai’s own brands. Funai has established a strategy to develop and grow its inkjet printer business by introducing Funai’s own inkjet printers and supplies into the market. With the inkjet patents, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and comprehensive R&D capabilities, Funai will be able to accelerate the expansion of its inkjet business.”

As a Lexmark technology partner since 2009, Collins is excited about the news and what that means for the future. The Collins-Lexmark business has seen significant growth over the past few years and Collins Inks will continue to formulate innovative inks that expand the capabilities the Lexmark technology. For Collins Ink customers, it is business as usual; there will not be a disruption of supplies.