Category: Production

Konica Minolta Announces Next Generation High Resolution, High Speed MEMS Printheads

Ron Gilboa
Jul 27, 2015

Konica Minolta, a long time innovator in inkjet technology with over 30 years of experience, has released information on a new generation of print heads aimed at the evolving graphic arts, industrial, and functional printing markets. These printheads have resolution as high as 1,200 nozzles per inch (npi), drop size as low as 3 picoliters, jetting frequency of up to 100 kHz, and a physical size that is significantly smaller than the previous generation of Konica Minolta heads. As with many print head manufacturers Konica Minolta is manufacturing these printhead using Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) fabrication. Konica Minolta’s high precision printhead is capable of jetting of a range of inks and functional materials such as resins. These new capabilities will enable innovative new products in a range of industries. Konica Minolta expects to begin mass production of these heads in the spring of 2016. Read more »

HP Indigo: Gearing Up for LabelExpo

Ralf Schlozer
Jul 21, 2015

In July HP hosted a worldwide HP Indigo VIP event in Israel. More than 250 customers and prospects visited from dozens of countries from all over the world – including USA, about 10 different European countries, China, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand, Mexico, USA, Brazil, South Africa, and more. There were dozens of sessions presented in each of the four tracks: Flexible Packaging, Labels, Folding Cartons and Commercial Printing. In addition to visiting HP Indigo labs and manufacturing facilities, attendees also visited local HP Indigo customers according to their tracks.

The event provided a great opportunity to present some news ahead of LabelExpo Europe, which is taking place end of September in Brussels. Packaging, and especially label printing, is now a major business for HP Indigo. According to HP label volumes are growing by 25% every year. With a forecast of more than 600 million square meters of labels to be printed in 2015 HP claims to represent nearly 10% of the global label market value and has established itself as major player not only in digital print, but in the whole label print market.

However HP Indigo is extending its coverage beyond label markets. While the ws 4000 and 6000 series are firmly rooted in the label market with only occasional installs in folding carton, shrink sleeves and in-mould labels, the HP Indigo 20000 marks a distinctive move into adjacent packaging markets. Of the roughly 30 installations of the 20000 so far most are used for flexible packaging, followed by shrink sleeves, with only a minority used purely in label printing. Meanwhile, HP Indigo has 20 or more installations of the 30000, the B2 sheet fed press that mainly prints folding cartons. Read more »

Print Samples Are Important

Jim Hamilton
Jul 15, 2015

In a nutshell, here’s why I think print samples are important. As new printing systems enter the market you can assess their market readiness by the vendor’s ability to provide print samples. Early on in a product’s development, vendors are very cautious with print samples. They don’t hand them out freely, sometimes even showing them under glass or in sample books that are chained to display cases. Once a product gets close to release, the system vendors begin to hand out prepared print samples and they also offer to produce output from files provided by existing customers and sales prospects. This stage is symbolic because it signifies that the vendor believes that the product is ready for market.

To underscore my point I have recorded dozens of print sample videos for a broad range of production digital print products. A couple of my recently recorded print sample videos are Read more »

The Relevant’s Graveyard

Frank Romano
Jul 8, 2015

Dig deep into any printing company, beyond the presses and paper storage, beyond the shredder and bundler, and somewhere in a dark corner you will probably find a junkyard of old computers, copiers, printers, and other machines. It is like a mothballed fleet that will never fly again.

Since the dawn of the electronic era, technology change has been rapid and relentless. Accelerated depreciation is now a fact of life. Yet, for hundreds of years, the technology of printing rarely changed. The other day I had a pack of cub scouts printing on an 1888 letterpress hand press. No electronics and no battery.

That brings me to preserving the past of the printing industry.

The Smithsonian replaced its printing exhibit with Julia Child’s kitchen, which left only three museums of printing in America: Carson, CA, Houston, TX, and The Museum of Printing in Haverhill, MA. The latter will soon move from North Andover, MA to its own building.

Haverill, MA: Future site of the Museum of Printing (Spring 2016)

For 37 years, The Friends of the Museum of Printing has Read more »

EFI Extends its Reach into Textile and Grand Format Segments via the Acquisitions of Reggiani and Matan

Catherine Cresswell, Steve Urmano and Ron Gilboa
Jul 7, 2015

On July 1st EFI made two announcements: One was the acquisition of the Israeli Matan Digital Printer, a supplier of grand format printing solutions and the second was the acquisition of Reggiani Macchine a supplier of high end textile printing equipment.

Both acquisitions are part of EFI’s stated strategy to invest and grow its product portfolio in adjacent markets and technologies. Workflow and inkjet have been at the forefront of acquisitions by EFI in the past and is likely to continue in the future as this strategy evolves. This strategy enables EFI to leapfrog some graphic arts suppliers and enter into industrial segments that are emerging as adopters of digital technology as a means to dramatically change their respective industry segments’ supply chains and transition mass production markets into mass customization digitally enabled segments. Read more »

New Xerox iGen 5 150 Press Adds Fifth Station for Expanded Gamut Effects

Jim Hamilton

Today Xerox announced the availability of a new member of the iGen family: the Xerox iGen 5 150 Press. The iGen 5 150 model is the first of multiple offerings in a family that provides a choice of speeds, a range of feeding & finishing options, and an optional fifth imaging station. It’s the imaging station that is the biggest differentiator between the new iGen 5 150 and earlier iGen models. The fifth station is an LED-based, customer-changeable unit (CCU) that sits opposite the CMYK vector imaging systems within the main print tower cabinetry. Important to note is that the device runs the same speed in five-color and four-color mode.

Xerox first implementation of the fifth station is for color gamut extension Read more »

In-Plants: All Jazzed Up!

Barb Pellow
Jul 2, 2015

The 14th Edition of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival (XRIJF) wrapped up on Saturday, June 27 after nine days of 320+ shows, including 90+ free concerts at 19 venues with 1,500+ artists. In addition to listening to some great music, the in-plant executives in attendance had the opportunity to attend a Xerox educational session where they could learn how to “Amp Up their In-Plant.”

The session opened with a keynote speech from Barb Pellow, Group Director at InfoTrends. She shared her perspective on what it will take to reinvent in-plant operations in today’s environment. Pellow stated, “Nearly every industry is undergoing a major transformation that is being driven by new and emerging technologies. None has been more heavily impacted than the printing industry, and this is only exacerbating the challenges that in-plant managers face today. The key is to disrupt the status quo long before there is a need to do so.” According to Pellow, successful in-plants must build a vision, retool their services, reinvent their customer bases, expand their sphere of influence, properly position their new offerings, invest in operational excellence, and instill a culture of innovation. Read more »

Making a Strong Case for Inkjet

Jim Hamilton
Jul 1, 2015

Last week Canon Solutions America held a special inkjet event at one of its best customers, IWCO Direct in Chanhassen, Minnesota. IWCO Direct produces millions of letters a month as part of direct mail campaigns for many major brands. The variable component of these campaigns is printed and finished on a range of equipment including Canon Océ monochrome toner and color inkjet offerings. IWCO Direct is also active in Canon’s customer advisory councils and so they were a logical choice as the first site in the United States to have two of the latest inkjet products to come out of Canon: the cut-sheet Océ VarioPrint i300 and the continuous-feed Océ ImageStream 3500.

Both of these new products have strong potential, and Read more »

Mint Bills Changes Its Business Model for Billers

Matt Swain
Jun 23, 2015

Mint Bills has a new business model for billers who want to offer customers mobile bill pay.

We have been following Mint Bills since it was a fast-growing startup named Pageonce, when it rebranded to Check, and when Intuit acquired the company and later rebranded it to Mint Bills. We recently caught up with Steve Schultz, General Manager of the Biller Network for Mint Bills, to discuss how the company is doing with its new identity and expanded support structure, as well as to discuss its new business model for billers.

First off, tell us how things have been going since the acquisition and rebranding last year?

Check was already growing fast ahead of the acquisition by Intuit and rebranding to Mint Bills. It’s been about a year now and our metrics have doubled in most categories, including payment volume, payments, payers, and accounts. This is only partially from biller growth. We also have Read more »

Print Service Provider Concerns about the ‘Cloud’

Jim Hamilton
Jun 11, 2015

I spoke recently at a user group meeting composed largely of commercial printers when the topic of the ‘Cloud’ came up. I was a bit surprised to hear a very high level of suspicion. I asked the audience: “Who is excited about the opportunities presented by the Cloud.” Two hands went up. “Who’s not?” About half the audience raised their hands. Multiple questions were put forward about data security, possible integration issues, and overall viability. The bad vibes were much stronger than I anticipated.

It continued. The ‘Cloud’ was dismissed as a marketing buzzword. “It’s just a question of where the server resides,” said one attendee. Others were very skeptical about turning over their production data or any client data to a third party. Some said that their agreements with clients would not allow it. Another attendee told a horror story of a cloud service that became unavailable for two days because of a snowstorm and power outage on the East Coast. There was also concern that integrations that their companies had built on top of workflow software could stop working if software revisions were made to the cloud offering. Loss of control, concerns about expense, and cloud-based licensing issues were also key themes. One attendee described the cloud today as a “royal cluster of inconsistent services.” Wow.

Read more »

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