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RISO Africa opened its doors 21 years ago in July 1994 as a subsidiary of the Riso Kagaku Corporation of Japan.

In South Africa, it was a time of new beginnings as President Mandela announced his first cabinet on 11 May in the wake of the first democratic elections. “A 21st birthday is always a milestone, the more so when one shares it with a whole country,” says Sonia Anderson, Marketing Manager at Riso Africa.

Riso’s success is partly built on its pedigree as a producer of specialist inks. Its founder began by mixing inks at his kitchen sink just after World War II, and its mastery of inks allowed it to develop its signature duplicators. The machines use an ink-based cold process, and so consume remarkably little power—something that has always made them very attractive in remote areas, and in now in today’s energy-deprived South Africa.

RISO printers

The inkjet ComColor range has allowed RISO Africa to enter new industry sectors while continuing to dominate education, traditionally the backbone of its business. The printing industry, blue-chip corporates, publishers and training academies have all become key market segments. RISO now holds 20% of the high-volume colour market.

Riso’s combination of innovative technology and high reliability has successfully shown that print on demand is a viable and cost-effective model for schools, churches, corporate training departments and the like.

Another industry benefitting from RISO’s product offering is the publishing sector. For example, the ability of the flagship Riso Comcolor 9150 to print and perfect-bind a full-colour, 600-page book in under six minutes is making short runs of books a commercial proposition.

Riso’s innovation is keeping it abreast of modern sustainability trends. It received the Eco Logic Award in 2013 for Energy Efficiency, with a runner-up place for innovation.

Building on the solid foundation which birthed RISOLAR – solar powered printing solutions for its range of duplicators – RISO is now comfortably able to run even its ComColor machines off alternative energy. With a lot of investment in researching the best solutions, ComColor customers who take up the UPS backup power solution can now avoid any impact on their operations by the current energy environment in South Africa. When load shedding strikes RISO continues to deliver.

Anderson is clear about one thing: technology is a constantly moving target and Riso is always looking forward. “Great technology is not enough, you have to solve problems for your customers,” she concludes. “Today the fact that you can run our machines on solar power is important, but you can be sure that our R&D teams are busy looking for the next competitive differentiator to keep us growing into the next 21 years.”

What clients say

What a pleasure having the UPS system, our machine ran smoothly during the two and a half hours of loadshedding. The printing department at TAS is on “fire” all thanks to you and the Riso team.” Chadleigh Gowar, The Answer Series (ComColor 2150 with UPS)

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