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 user 2007-06-20 at 11:28:00 am Views: 74
  • #18114

    Zink to Buy KMMU Plant
    Mass., June  2007 — Waltham, Mass.-based Zink Imaging, developer of
    “zero ink”  technology that enables printing of color images and photos
    without ink, ribbons or toner from mobile electronic devices, announced
    today it will buy a Whitsett, N.C., facility owned by Konica Minolta
    Manufacturing USA Inc. (KMMU) in which it will make paper for use in
    its printers. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.The site is a
    coating and chemical mix facility originally built in 1989 for the
    production of Konica Minolta imaging products. Zink Imaging said it
    will hire KMMU employees now working there to assist in the
    manufacturing of its paper — an advanced composite material with dye
    crystals embedded inside and a protective polymer overcoat layer
    outside.Before printing, the embedded dye crystals are clear, so the
    paper looks like regular white photocopy paper, the company said. A
    Zink-enabled printer uses heat to activate and colorize these dye
    crystals. Zink said its products, which will integrate the printers in
    cell phones and other devices, are expected to be available late this
    year.“We are quite pleased to be able to extend our manufacturing
    operations beyond our headquarters in Massachusetts to the Konica
    Minolta facility in North Carolina,” said Wendy Caswell, president
    & CEO of Zink Imaging. “The Konica Minolta manufacturing site is
    synergistic with our existing operations, which made the decision to
    purchase the facility a natural one.”

    Konica sale keeps plant open

    — A Boston company is buying the Konica Minolta Manufacturing plant
    that was due to close this year, allowing 60 remaining workers to keep
    their jobs.Zink Imaging will begin operating the photo-paper plant July
    2, said Bob Harris, president of Konica Minolta Manufacturing
    USA.Konica Minolta announced last year that it would shut down
    operations here because digital photography has reduced sales of its
    photo paper. At the time, the Japanese company, which is pulling out of
    the camera and photo business, had planned to close the plant and lay
    off all of its workers. Harris said 160 already have lost their jobs
    permanently.But a new technology developed by Zink is taking photo
    paper into the digital age while still using Konica’s equipment and
    remaining employees.Zink says its new type of “zero ink” photo paper is
    much simpler than photo papers prior to computer imaging.The company’s
    paper is an advanced composite material with dye crystals embedded
    inside, the company said, and a protective polymer overcoat layer
    outside.It looks like regular white photo paper, the company said, but
    a Zink printer uses heat to activate and color these dye
    crystals.Konica Minolta began working with Zink last fall, helping it
    develop products, and the relationship grew from there, said Harris,
    who will continue to run the plant. The new product has so much
    potential, Harris said, that this factory could eventually increase
    production.The advanced-manufacturing workers at the factory will make
    an average of more than $50,000 a year in salary and benefits. Its
    total payroll is about $10 million a year, Harris said.

    company may seek local economic development incentives to help it
    expand, Harris said.Harris worked hard to find a buyer and keep the
    operation running, said Richard Beard, a partner in Simpson, Schulman
    & Beard, which manages Rock Creek Center, where Konica Minolta is
    based.”He had his fingers crossed,” Beard said. “He went in a lot of
    different directions trying to keep that operation going. He really
    deserves a lot of credit.”Zink bought the 300,000-square-foot factory
    and 80 acres, Beard said. Harris declined to disclose the purchase
    price.The most recent tax records from Guilford County set the value of
    property at 6900 Konica Drive, the location of the plant is, at more
    than $45.4 million. The building and land alone are worth about $18.5
    million, county tax records show.