Nov 2, 2016
Look around the industry. What do you see? Offset presses. Digital printers. Wide format inkjet printers. Offset litho was discovered in 1900, but did not gain traction until the 1950s. Digital color printing was introduced in 1993. Wide format inkjet came in 1995. Walk into any plant; they may have all three.
It took a while for all three printing technologies to find their place in print production. All three were challenged by a status quo. Offset was once described as “only for quick and dirty printing.” Ironically, they said the same for digital color. The president of Xerox was quoted in the Wall Street Journal saying almost the same about inkjet printing (2004). Now Xerox is becoming a force in inkjet.
Yet, all three processes make money for printers. What will be the next big thing? The technology is already here. We just have to find markets for it.
Flatbed UV inkjet can print on any substrate—plastics, wood, glass, board, metal, ceramics, textiles, carpeting, and more. Commercial printers print on paper. Where is the market for printing on all those other substrates? Read more »
Oct 18, 2016
How are some of the best known designer clothing brands in the world using digital textile printing? If you want to know, you need to go to Italy, where last month about a hundred attendees met at the nHow hotel in Milan to exchange ideas, network, and hear about the latest in technologies and techniques at a conference sponsored by FESPA. FESPA, the driving force behind this event, has been promoting digital printing of textiles across the globe from Italy to Turkey and China.
Milan is one of the world centers for fashion with many brands headquartered in the city, including Armani, Etro, Dirk Bikkembergs, Dolce & Gabbana, Iceberg, Marni, Missoni, Moschino, Prada Trussardi, Valentino, Versace, and Zegna. About 50 kilometers to the north in the Como region, a large community of suppliers and manufacturers have been serving the fashion and décor industries in Europe and beyond for many decades. These companies as well as local associations helped to sponsor the event. These included Platinum partners EFI Reggiani, EPSON, MS Printing Solutions, and Mimaki as well as FESPA ITALIA Association, Sistema Moda Italia (SMI), and Associazione Italiana Disegnatori Tessili. Read more »
Sep 8, 2016
A week passed since the successful conclusion of the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta on August 27, 2016. With over 25 product categories such as custom wood working, veneers, flooring, doors, and accessories spread over more than 500,000 square feet. The show drew over 26,000 participants and 1,080 exhibitors some attended educational sessions and most walked the show in search for new product, innovations, as well as sourcing materials for their projects.
IWF 2016 – Home for digitally produced decorative surfaces
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Aug 4, 2016
Today, Cefla Finishing group announced that it had acquired a majority stake (60%) in JetSet Industrial S.r.l., a manufacturer and integrator of inkjet printing systems for a range of applications and industries. JetSet Industrial’s move into inkjet printing started in 2012 in Bergamo, Italy, which is also home of several other inkjet equipment suppliers.
Still a start-up in many ways, JetSet is a bespoke supplier of decorative printing systems for ceramic, glass, textiles, and woodworking materials. JetSet has the skill set to integrated technology as well as develop materials in support of their printing technologies. This makes the company a turn-key supplier to its customers. According to Hoovers.com, the company has eleven employees and generated $2.15 million in revenues in the past year. JetSet has also invested heavily in their core capabilities for inkjet system integration.
JetSet Wave Integrated Color Single-Pass Print Head Module
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James Hanlon and Ron Gilboa
Jun 27, 2016
Epson Group and Epson Italia S.p.A. announced that they agreed with the Robustelli family to acquire 100% of the capital of Fratelli Robustelli S.r.l. (“Robustelli”). This agreement aims to help Epson and Robustelli gain share in the fast-growing digital textile printing market.
Robustelli was one of the early innovators that used Epson’s printhead technology to develop the Monna Lisa product line. These products are considered the standard for high-quality digital textile printing. Located in Como, Italy, Robustelli had 25 employees and an annual turnover of over €12 million in 2015. The company’s heritage is in the textile machinery industry, developing, manufacturing, and selling Monna Lisa inkjet textile printers. Epson will deploy its worldwide sales and service network to sell Robustelli’s high-end printing systems in more countries and regions around the world, expanding its current footprint and reaching emerging digital markets.
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May 25, 2016
KBA-Sheetfed Solutions, a division of German press manufacturer KBA, announced recently it will offer a B1 sheet fed inkjet press called KBA VariJET 106 for printing folding cartons. The new press will be built on the platform of KBA Rapida 106, a sheet fed offset press, and on an inkjet print engine and DFE by Xerox Impika. According to KBA, KBA VariJET 106 will print 4,500 sheets per hour in B1 size (750 x 1060mm/29.5 x 41.7 inches) and will be modular in nature, allowing custom configurations to include Read more »
May 18, 2016
With drupa 2016 about to start, InfoTrends has written reports and blogs on key digital printing and finishing companies that will exhibit products for packaging and label converting there. With this report we will preview one more important drupa exhibitor, Xeikon.
A drupa-Sized Entrant Read more »
Apr 12, 2016
Scodix, the Israeli provider of digital enhancement systems for the graphic arts industry, announced on April 7 its introduction of Scodix E106, a B1-sized version of inkjet-based embellishment systems for which the company is now famous. Scodix will target the folding carton market with Scodix E106, where it says the new press will enhance up to 4,000 sheets per hour, speed that will allow it to finish short and medium print runs for both digital and analog presses. Scodix says it has already taken eight orders for E106, which will be the centerpiece in its booth at drupa; InfoTrends will report on that show (May 31 to June 10 in Düsseldorf ) for its package related consulting service.
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Frank Romano, Ron Gilboa and Jim Hamilton
Apr 7, 2016
Note: This blog is a result of an ongoing discussion about market definition that began with a conversation that Frank Romano and Ron Gilboa had at SGIA last November. Jim Hamilton joined the discussion later and after a few exchanges Frank suggested that we present this in point/counterpoint form. Frank will go first.
Frank: Separated by a Common Language
When you are on a ship in the South Pacific Ocean, thousands of miles from any land, and the satellite connection is down, you start to overthink things. Some people multi task; I multi think. And I started to think about all the new technology we will see at drupa for printing beyond the traditional. But as I read the releases, articles, and punditry, I wonder if we are all on the same page.
Take the three terms that are now bandied about: industrial and functional printing, and decoration.
- Industrial Printing: the product is produced using multiple technologies in an integrated manufacturing process. A prototype gear that becomes part of a mechanism is industrial. A container that has its identification printed at the factory where it is filled is industrial. Printed display screens are industrial. Most printed electronics is industrial.
- Functional Printing: the product is sellable in and of itself. A brochure is functional. A sign is functional. A 3-D printed model of a person is functional (your own personal mini-me). A package is functional. A printed T-shirt that changes color in the sun is functional. Products that change color due to external influences such as light (UV/black light), temperature (heat), pH changes, or water contact are primarily functional. “Smart” textiles and wearables are functional. Home decor wallpaper, fabric, and floor coverings are functional. The argument may be made that everything has a function, so why have two categories. But we must distinguish between products where commercial printing may be integrated at the point of manufacture, and products that may be produced by outside services.
- Decorative Printing: adding type, color, and imagery to existing products. This would include inkjet food decoration, printing on glass, wood, textiles, and other material. In the late 1800s they figured out how to print on metal, and beautiful tin boxes were produced for both home use and packaging. Embossing, coating, and die-cutting are decorative. This category may not be necessary, but Ron likes it.
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Mar 24, 2016
A select number of potential customers from all over the world were invited to visit the SPGPrints factory in Boxmeer, Holland on a day trip out during FESPA Digital 2016 to see the singlepass PIKE up close. In addition, previews of the new Javelin multipass device were also given inducing much interest from the international group of printing companies. The factory tour also showed how the company that is also largely an ink manufacturer, has now completed its third phase of expansion, doubling its production space.
PIKE’s Archer Ink Jetting Technology Extends to Multipass Javelin
Following its official launch at ITMA 2015 and announcements preceding, (SPGPrints Gives ‘Sneak Preview’ of New Single-Pass Printing Solution) SPGPrints’ 1.85m single pass textile machine and a preview of the multipass Javelin were shown in action, up close and personal to the group of printing customers from Brazil, Columbia, Greece, India, Israel, and Pakistan among others, enabling insightful questions to be asked about their ability to perform high speed textile printing cost effectively. The PIKE’s ‘Archer’ ink conditioning and delivery system used in conjunction with the Fujifilm Dimatix Samba printheads is also being used in the new multipass Javelin with the same jetting distance to fabric expected to be achieved by launch in the summer of 2016.
In the PIKE the Archer Printbar jets ink up to 4mm from the fabric (as opposed to the usual 1.5mm), which helps to reduce ‘headstrike’ with the fabric and reduce what is described as the ‘printhead headache’ of costly print head damage and machine downtime. Linked to this a 2.5 year printhead warranty is offered which could even extend beyond this timeframe once customer experience is gained. The Archer name is taken from the Archerfish found in estuaries and mangroves of Australasia that forms a narrow groove in its mouth to jet out a long spurt of water to capture insects some distance away.
SPGPrints’ PIKE Singlepass in action at the customer demo day
The PIKE, which is targeted Read more »