Day 8 of our annual Q&A.
BPIC: The 2012 edition of Drupa, which took place this spring in Dusseldorf, seemed to really energize the marketplace. What were some of the Drupa highlights? And which of the technology introductions made at the show will have an effect on the wide-format side of things in 2013 (and beyond)?
Marco Boer, I.T. Strategies: A hardcore transition from analog to digital printing equipment occurred at Drupa 2012. The R&D investment numbers cited for digital printing by various manufacturers total in the billions of dollars since Drupa 2008. Much of this investment is targeted toward commercial print applications, but much of it will cross-pollinate with wide-format graphics printing. An example of this is Landa Corporation’s Nanoink technology and colorants. The technology remains at least 18 months away from a hand-off to OEM partners, so commercialization is probably heading toward Drupa 2016 or beyond, but the technology is an innovative approach to solving ink/substrate interaction, productivity, and running costs. Although no new digital printing technology has ever been taken from invention to successful commercialization in less than 10 years, if it succeeds, it will alter all application areas of print.
Peter Mayhew, LightWords Imaging: I’d say we’re in a somewhat evolutionary rather than revolutionary phase for the wide-format market, but there were some notable milestones achieved in the wide-format space. We are, for instance, looking forward to gauging the impact of Memjet’s OEM relationships, which will take the wide-format variants of technology into new markets. Also, with the wide-format market marching toward ever-“greener” products, we were interested to see the ink aftermarket demonstrating a latex ink compatible with several wide-format printers. Revolutions, however, were reserved for the commercial print market and I’d agree that Benny Landa certainly stole the show.
Tim Greene, InfoTrends:Certainly there were a lot of announcements, ranging from new latex and eco-solvent devices to high-end wide-format UV-curable inkjet printers. It’s really hard to say which will have the greatest effect because, in their segments, all of these are important. The launch of new Epson, Roland, and Mutoh eco-solvent units is really big in the lower end of the market. And the announcements on new capabilities from HP, Inca Digital, and Agfa, as well as new engines from EFI have a big impact at the market’s high end because they improve productivity at the highest levels.
This is Day 8 of our annual Industry Roundtable Q&A. For Day 7, click here.