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Visit Marks New Era of Partnership for Currie Group & Horizon

Currie Group and finishing specialists Horizon have marked another milestone in their long-term partnership with the visit of Horizon’s new generation of leadership to Australia.

Hideharu Hori, Executive Director of the company and grandson of its founder Hachiro Hori, and Managing Director, Sam Miyazaki, spent a week in the country meeting with Currie Group’s operational team, and visiting customers in both Sydney and Melbourne.

For Hori, it was the first opportunity to visit Australia since taking over the reins from his father, Ejiro Hori, and he was quick to reinforce Horizon’s commitment to its long-term channel partner for the ANZ market and excited to meet and learn from long standing Horizon customers.

“The relationship between Horizon and Currie Group is a long and close one built on similar values and a shared understanding that partnership delivers the best outcomes for everyone,” he says.

“As island nations, Australia and New Zealand are similar to Japan in that the vast majority of work produced here is done for the domestic market. We understand this type of market very well, but our partnership with Currie Group has always been vital to ensure we are up to date with what is going on here, and what print service providers in the ANZ region need.”

For Currie Group, too, the partnership is pivotal. Established under Chairman, David Currie, in 1981, it fills an important role in the company’s ‘complete solutions’ approach.

“Over many years, Currie Group has grown its stable of brands through partnerships with pioneering manufacturers like Horizon – in this case, enabling us to provide innovative, reliable finishing solutions to complement print production,” explains CEO, Rob Mesaros.

“It is more than a supply arrangement, however; we are close at all levels. We have open access to Horizon’s technical experts and regularly factory-train our service technicians, so that we can continue to meet our commitment to outstanding service and support as markets develop and Horizon technology continues to evolve.”

Horizon has always been a master at anticipating and reflecting evolving market needs, and Hori says this has led to something of a shift in focus, with the company responding to an increased demand for systems solutions with higher levels of automation and integration.

“Here in Australia, like Japan, I can see for myself that businesses are facing significant skilled labour challenges,” Hori says.

“Everywhere in the world, too, the pandemic highlighted the need to optimise the use of staff resources by supporting production teams with systems that streamlined workflows, reduced touchpoints and made cross-skilling easier.

“This is not to say that we are moving away from supplying stand-alone solutions,” he clarifies, “but we recognise the need for automation for businesses to streamline their operations and maximise profitability.”

Horizon has responded, driving its future development under three pillars: Usability, Workflow and Automation.

“Those who are familiar with Horizon equipment will already know that our interfaces are not only easy to use and intuitive, but are very similar across all our systems and equipment,” Miyazaki explains. “They operate seamlessly on a single platform, and if an operator needs to switch from one machine to another, it’s an easy transition.

“In terms of workflow, we know that good solutions demand not only machines which integrate seamlessly, but the right platform to ensure smooth operation and optimise performance. This is where our commitment to developing our workflow management software iCE Link and collaborations with all leading print engine manufacturers ensures our customers can maximise the value of their systems. “Finally, as visitors to drupa will see in May, we are increasingly optimising production through automation, and incorporating complementary technologies like robotics and automated guided vehicles (AGV) to further enhance workflow efficiencies. “These are our priorities and, because all our systems are fully modular, businesses can invest in the solutions which meet their needs today, and then scale up as required.”

Visitors to the world’s leading trade show, which will be held in Düsseldorf from 28 May to 7 June this year, will see an impressive display, says Miyazaki.

“We have invested in a large stand of more than 1600m2 and will be featuring 16 systems in total, including at least five new products, with end-to-end, highly-automated workflows incorporating features like robotic arms and AGVs taking centre stage,” he reports

“You will see our systems and equipment in action, both on our booth and in the booths of our collaboration partners. In total, we are bringing over 450 pieces of equipment to Germany!

“We will also be showcasing our new, predictive AI technology, which is currently under development and already being piloted at three Japanese sites, to test its benefits for set-up and production optimisation.”

In terms of business more broadly, Hori says Horizon remains focused on growth – but in a measured, sustainable way, and always in partnership with his global supply network and the company’s end-users.

“At Horizon, we are aiming for sustainable growth, and we know that our success is not built alone as a manufacturer, but together with our global network of suppliers into local markets, and our end-user customer. None of us prospers when another is failing, but together we are strong.”

Mesaros agrees. “Currie Group shares that understanding,” he says. “As business partnerships go, we have a relationship few can equal, dating back well over 40 years. We are partners and we are friends, and we look forward to that relationship flourishing for many years to come.”



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