Taking stock of 2010, and preparing your business for 2011 and beyond.
Marx: Our recent surveys have shown that imaging companies are making a wide variety of efforts in order to “gain the upper hand” on their competitors. More than 58 percent of companies responding to our recent SGIA Market Trends Survey Report said they added new product lines, and more than 45 percent added either additional imaging capacity or finishing capacity. It’s apparent that numerous companies are working to be “one-stop shops” for their customers.
Question: What have been some of the most intriguing technologies and products introduced to the marketplace in the past 12 months?
Chesterman: UV-curable inkjet is without a doubt one of the growth areas, and we’ve seen a definite increase in interest for technologies such as eco-solvent and latex inkjet as opposed to more established solutions such as aqueous and solvent inkjet. There has also been an increase in interest in workflow software among wide-format print providers; businesses are looking to maximize productivity and improve profit margins and workflow software is one way to achieve this.
Greene: Wide format is a dynamic market, so there are a bunch of tech¬nologies that are very intriguing to me right now. As a background, when we ask people why they plan to buy a new printer these days, the primary answer is about speed. I don’t think they mean running speed, although that is a part of it. I think they mean productivity, or the ability to turn jobs around faster. There are a few different ways this can be achieved. One of them is all the automated media-handling systems that we’ve seen from the leading suppliers at the high end of the market. The kitting/fulfillment software that was unveiled at SGIA from Fujifilm, for instance, is another good example of this kind of innovation. In terms of opening up new applications, I think the new ink formulations from Roland and Mimaki that utilize a metallic pigment are very interesting, and I have seen another new formulation from Inca Digital that appears to be a great fit for the cosmetics industry. I think that is the wave of the future: specific products for specific markets.