TOKYO -- Konica Minolta plans to acquire U.S. measurement equipment manufacturer Radiant Vision Systems to tap into the company's technology in detecting pixel defects in the displays of smartphones and other devices.
The Japanese company is expected to spend around 30 billion yen ($241 million) to purchase Radiant Vision, which has been selling automatic detection systems for defects in high-resolution displays since 2014.
About 60% of Konica Minolta's sales of about 1 trillion yen come from multifunction printers for offices, a business susceptible to economic ups and downs. The company also produces parts and materials for liquid crystal panels, but demand fluctuates.
Konica Minolta believes strengthening measurement equipment operations would offer the company a stable earnings source while helping diversify its operations.
Defects in displays such as subtle unevenness in color and dead pixels come in many forms, are easily affected by just a little light from outside and cannot be easily found by machines. Many manufacturers still rely on experienced human inspectors.
Radiant Vision has a high level of expertise in analyzing data from inspections and offers a similar level of screening to that done by human inspectors.
Konica Minolta plans to extend use of the defect detection technology to autos and food. The technology can be used to ensure even colors and textures in autoparts, and also in checking the color of raw meat and the condition of meat after cooking.
In fiscal 2014, Konica Minolta posted sales of 22.3 billion yen in measurement equipment operations. The company, which in 2012 bought a German manufacturer with strength in LED measurement, plans to roughly double the division's sales in fiscal 2018 to 50 billion yen.