Kyocera to boost output of key copier component

Company will spend $22m to expand plant in China
OSAKA — Japanese electronics maker Kyocera will increase production capacity of photoreceptor drums by 150% through a 2.5 billion yen ($22.3 million) expansion of a Chinese plant, in hopes of capturing growing demand for copiers in emerging Asian economies.

Photoreceptor drums, which allow copiers to print on paper, are a consumable that must be replaced and can affect the life span of the machine itself.
Subsidiary Kyocera Document Solutions will add a new building to a plant in China’s Guangdong Province that currently also assembles finished copiers.
Mass production at the new facility is slated to start in May. The entire production process will be automated, allowing the company to employ more than 90% fewer workers at the new facility and offset rising labor costs in China.
The drums produced there will be used in slower models that print 20 to 35 sheets a minute. Kyocera’s drums use just one layer of photoreceptors instead of the typical three, making the parts more durable than the competition’s.
More businesses in China and other emerging economies are using copiers in their offices. Kyocera aims to boost sales of slower models in such markets, while developing more sophisticated products for mature economies.