Category: Production

A New Entry in the Zone of Disruption: the Canon Océ VarioPrint i200

Jim Hamilton
Apr 20, 2017

Many of you will be familiar with the phrase “the Zone of Disruption.” InfoTrends has been using it to describe an interesting gap that has formed between two product classes: cut-sheet toner-based printers and roll-fed inkjet printing systems. The roll-fed inkjet models are extremely productive, but also carry with them a price tag of more than $1 million. The cut-sheet toner-based products are much more affordable, but typically don’t offer speeds much faster than 150 pages per minute. InfoTrends defined the Zone of Disruption as an opportunity for products with price points below $1 million, speed faster than most electrophotographic cut-sheet color printers, very competitive running costs, and production-oriented features (such as integrated finishing and advanced front ends). A handful of products have appeared in the Zone of Disruption over the past few years and this week a new one joined the fray: Canon’s Océ VarioPrint i200.

VarioPrint i-Series horizontal cropped

In most ways, the VarioPrint i200 is very much like the i300. It looks like it, has the same footprint, and virtually all of the same features. Two aspects differentiate the two products. The i200 runs at 194 letter size pages-per-minute (ppm) and the i300 runs at 294 ppm. There is also a significant price differential. Canon reports that the i200 is priced 20% below the i300. Although Canon did not announce pricing, InfoTrends expects that this would put the list price of the i200 at somewhere between $600,000 and $650,000. The i200 will be available in the U.S. in June through Canon Solutions America. The two products now form a product family that Canon is referring to as the Océ VarioPrint i-Series.

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Is it time for a Workflow Intervention?

Pat McGrew
Apr 17, 2017

Workflow ChaosBAs we come to the last few items in the Workflow Quiz it is time for some of the heavy lifting that comes with optimizing and right sizing tasks and processes in the workflow. Not everyone will be happy with the process because it uncovers their pet projects and sometimes lead to power plays that start with “this is how we have always done this job” and end with annoyed team members. Despite all of those risks, it is time to look at all of those places where it takes some type of manual intervention to get a job from start to finish.

Let’s start at the beginning. When you take on a job from a new customer, how much of the job setup requires a person talking to a person or a person talking with a group of people to get all of the specifications identified and coded into the system? Are there manual checklists sitting on a service representative’s desk in addition to what is in the system? Sticky notes on monitors in prepress and account management that detail what is missing in the job notes? If so, you have opportunities to optimise because all of those notes are taking time to manage!

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Geomarketing in your Workflow: Linking Seller to Buyer

Pat McGrew
Apr 13, 2017

When you look at the opportunities across the spectrum of marketing outlets the choices can be daunting. Which of the many channels should you use to communicate the value proposition of your product or service? There are hundreds of lines of blog content and millions of pages of guidance in books and magazine articles, and they all provide points to consider. What is missing in much of the guidance is a specific pointer to technologies that can help to change the marketing narrative.

One technology that is underused is geomarketing, the art and science of using location data in innovative ways. It can help to change the brand narrative by creating direct links between where the sellers of products and services can be found and the people who want to buy them. It can add valuable new revenue streams to the menu of services offered by marketing and print service providers. And while geomarketing techniques can work for any communication channel, marketing and  print service providers miss the opportunity to offer this valueable service.GeoServices - locr

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Key Take-Aways of Xploration 2017

David Stabel, Matt Swain and Pat McGrew

On March 28-30, Xplor International held its annual Xploration 2017 conference in Orlando, Florida, providing more than 60 educational sessions for vendors, service providers, enterprise attendees, and other industry experts from around the world.

xplor17

The educational sessions covered a broad range of customer communications management (CCM) and related topics including customer experience, workflow and automation, data management and compliance, e-presentment/payment technology and much more. This year, senior analysts from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends hosted multiple educational sessions, participated in several panel discussions, and hosted a special Industry Analyst Workshop. Here are our key takeaways from the conference.

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Dover Corporation rounding up portfolio of digital printing technologies

Ron Gilboa
Apr 12, 2017

Last week Dover [NYSE:DOV] bought Caldera for 35 million euros. This acquisition is the third such recent move for Dover and expands their digital print capabilities to include color management, web-to-print, production workflow and automation.

Dover corp

Dover Corporation was a $6.8 Billion company in 2016, with global holdings served by almost 29,000 employees. The company’s holdings are in four key areas: energy, engineering systems, fluids, and refrigeration & food equipment. Over the past few years Dover has set its sights on the digital printing market and its related growth opportunities. This strategy has resulted in several acquisitions of which Caldera is the latest one. Preceding this acquisition Dover acquired MS Printing, a manufacturer of textile printing solutions in February of 2014) and followed this with the acquisition of JK Group, a manufacturer of inks for the textile industry, in October of 2015. These acquisitions of inkjet printing and inks companies were key to developing a value chain in digital printing, but one aspect was missing;  workflow. The Caldera acquisition helps round out the solution set.

Calder aLogo

Caldera, under the leadership of CEO Joseph Mergui, has been developing digital front-end solutions for wide format printing for over 25 years. Caldera provides a high-end color management, production management tools, web-to-print, automation and connectivity to most wide format type printers in this industry segment.

Over the past few years the Caldera team has focused on the demands of the sign & display industry and has begun to embed tools for advanced workflow solutions beyond simple RIPping and color management. The company has added job management, accounting, and production dashboards that allow print service providers to evaluate their production environment from job timing to ink consumption. Caldera also has begun to add solutions for emerging opportunities in industrial print segments and now offers solutions for textile printers and mixed environments for digital displays are in use side by side with printed output.

This acquisition will benefit both companies. Dover now has a workflow solution that integrates well with its existing assets, and through Caldera’s industry network they gain access to other markets. Caldera now benefits from the strength and market development capabilities of a large organization that sees digital printing in the graphics, industrial, and decorative markets as strategically important for future growth.

This acquisition is reminiscent of several others in this space, most recently that of AVT by Danaher, as well as that of Reggiani and Optitex by EFI.  A generation of innovative, smaller companies, are uniting with larger organizations for growth in digital printing and related areas. We expect these mergers and acquisitions to continue as industrial markets turn to digital printing as a mean to address end user demand for mass customized products.

B2 digital: less hype – but a lot more placements

Ralf Schlozer
Apr 11, 2017

Visiting drupa 2012 the new breed of B2-format digital presses for commercial printing seemed to outshine everything else. Despite all the ensuing hype, placements remained low and hopes for growth were dashed in the years that followed. At drupa 2016 B2 digital was already eclipsed in the headlines by other technologies, namely B1 digital, industry 4.0, and packaging/industrial print. It started to look like B2 digital would be a disappointment.

And so it comes as a bit of a surprise that B2 digital really delivered in 2016 – with a steep increase in placements, surpassing our forecast noticeably. According to our recently published 2013-2016 U.S. Production Printing Placements report, U.S. placements jumped from 25 units in 2015 to 80 in 2016. Western Europe did very well too as installations almost doubled according to our 2013-2016 W. European Production Printing Placements report. And all these numbers exclude packaging and label presses, which had a record year as well.

US & WE B2 placements

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Kodak Decides to Keep Enterprise Inkjet

Jim Hamilton
Apr 7, 2017

After more than a year of public statements that Kodak’s Enterprise Inkjet division was for sale, the company has decided to keep it. According to the press release there was “strong interest” and they had “multiple offers” but Kodak concluded that these “did not reflect the value of the business.” And so they will keep it and reclassify it under continuing operations (it had been switched to “discontinued”). Randy Vandagriff has been named the new President of the Enterprise Inkjet Division. Phil Cullimore, the previous division head, is leaving Kodak.

Kodak Prosper logo

Last May in the months after Kodak’s decision to sell the division I wrote:

Kodak Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Clarke suggested that a company with a larger sales and distribution footprint in digital printing markets would be better suited to help Prosper achieve its economic potential.

Now the decision is being positioned as a “pragmatic decision” based on improvements in the business (balanced with the scale of the offers received). In other words, no one came up with a good enough offer. Clarke said that the Prosper group performed well in 2016 with a 40% increase in annuity sales and that expectations were high for this year. He’s also optimistic about the division’s next-generation UltraStream technology, which he expects will go to market in 2019. In related UltraStream news Kodak said that it will begin delivering evaluation kits to a total of 17 companies, including Fuji Kikai, GOSS China, Matti, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Printing & Packaging Machinery, and Uteco. The companies will use the kit to explore the integration of the technology into future printing solutions.

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Highlights from the Pitney Bowes 2017 Software Technology Analyst Summit

David Stabel and Matt Swain
Apr 6, 2017

Pitney Bowes held a Software Technology Analyst Summit in Half Moon Bay, California, on February 28 to March 1. It was the first dedicated technology analyst event in several years for the company. With 34 analysts from 19 firms in attendance from around the world, including senior executives from Pitney Bowes, the Software team was making a statement that they were ready to put their corporate wide go-to-market strategy center stage with the analyst community.

Marc Lautenbach

Pitney Bowes had put together a comprehensive and highly informative 1.5 day program to bring participants up-to-date on its software strategy, latest business developments, and latest software innovations. Next to the agenda and scheduled 1:1 meetings with senior management, participants had plenty of opportunities to network or to get live demonstrations on some of Pitney Bowes’ latest software innovations.

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Move Over Millennials… It’s Time to Think About Generation Z!

Eve Padula
Mar 13, 2017

Over the past several years, marketers across all industries and categories have become obsessed with Millennials—what are the best ways to reach them and help them form meaningful connections with brands? Because Millennials have a unique sense of self and a non-traditional approach to life stages, marketing to this captivating generation has been a challenge. Marketers are only just beginning to understand Millennials, but there’s a whole new game in town with the rise of Generation Z. This is the first generation of consumers that was born into a digital world, and these individuals don’t know life without the Internet, smartphones, tablets, and social media. What are the best ways to engage with this up-and-coming and always-on generation?

Although generational start and end dates are imprecise, Millennials—also called Generation Y—generally include those individuals born between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s. Meanwhile, Generation Z individuals—also called Post-Millennials or the iGeneration—were born after 1995. As yet, there is little consensus about ending birth years for this group. Millennials were coming into young adulthood at the turn of the century, and the oldest of this group are now about 35. Some have been in the workforce for quite some time and have already begun to reshape Corporate America. The oldest Gen Z individuals are only beginning to graduate from high school/college and enter the professional workforce, so only time will tell what changes this group will bring to the workforce of tomorrow. Gen Zers may be too young to have affected the workplace as yet, but they are already having a profound impact on family purchasing habits and the retail marketplace.

In January 2017, IBM and the National Retail Foundation released a report entitled Uniquely Generation Z: What Brands Should Know About Today’s Youngest Consumers. This report surveyed over 15,000 Gen Z individuals between the ages of 13 and 21 and also conducted interviews with 20 Senior Marketing Executives to determine how these consumers engage with brands. As this generation continues to come of age, they will have a major impact on future communication strategies. Read more »

Mal Baboyian and the New Canon Océ Colorado 1640

Jim Hamilton
Mar 10, 2017

Mal Baboyian has 45 years of industry experience, an extremely long job title, and a lot of responsibility at Canon. He’s the Senior Vice President of Canon U.S.A.’s Business Imaging Solutions Group for Océ Product Marketing and Support. This covers a wide range of Océ-branded products, including two exciting new devices: the ProStream continuous-feed color inkjet printer and the Colorado 1640 64″ wide format UVgel roll-to-roll printer. This week at the One Canon press/analyst event in Boca Raton, Florida was the worldwide unveiling of the Colorado 1640 and Baboyian thinks it is Océ’s most important wide format graphic arts product introduction in 25 years. To say that he’s excited about this product would be an understatement—and this is a man who has seen quite a few wide format products. For one, he has helped Canon Océ to reach 6,000 unit placements worldwide in the very successful Arizona product line.

Here’s a quick summary of why Baboyian is so excited about the 1640. First off, it is very fast and quite affordable (MSRP, $58,000). Ink consumption and overall running costs are projected to be at quite attractive levels. In addition, the new Canon-developed UVgel inks have a large color CMYK gamut, give off little or no odor, dry immediately, and use low-temperature LED curing. Some very innovative supply and quality control features (to be explained shortly) top off the list.

Canon Océ Colorado 1640

Canon Océ Colorado 1640

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