Category: Print

Moms Provide Insight Into Print’s Advantages

Christine Dunne
Feb 22, 2018

My local online moms group recently got into a discussion about whether paper or digital invitations are preferable for kids’ party invites. While they were discussing consumer printing (and in many instances production printing for consumers), it got me thinking about how many of their comments are also relevant to the world of business printing.

First, let me show you the main points addressed by these moms. In summary, they cited the following advantages of printed versus digital invitations.

Advantages of printed vs. digital invitations cited by local moms

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HP Indigo Lands Big Deal for HP Indigo 20000

India Tatro and Bob Leahey
Feb 21, 2018

HP Indigo announced this month that a current user of HP Indigo 20000, ePac Flexible Packaging, has agreed to purchase 10 additional HP Indigo 20000s. ePac, based in Madison, Wisconsin, is a young, all-digital converter of flexible packaging and is already operating three HP Indigo 20000s sited in Madison and in Boulder, Colorado. The company, which started operations only in 2016, working with just one HP Indigo 20000, will add the new units to its existing sites this year and next at new facilities in Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, and Miami.

HP Indigo 20000 30″ digital web press

Among color digital printers for packaging and labels, HP Indigo 20000 is rare indeed. As of today, it is the only fully commercialized production level digital printer designed to print flexible packaging. Meanwhile, it was only in 2014 that HP Indigo launched the printer, so this seven color, 30” (760 mm) EP web is off to a fast start. At the time of the recent ePac announcement, HP Indigo also revealed that the current global installed base of this printer is 115 units. Given this model’s high purchase price, HP Indigo has likely achieved nearly $200 million in sales of HP Indigo 20000, not including the recent ePac deal.

A Brief History of the HP Indigo 20000

HP Indigo 20000 has predecessors, but they are all HP Indigo printers, namely the HP Indigo ‘Series 3’ label webs, especially HP Indigo WS6000 and WS6800. Starting around 2009, HP Indigo began developing flexible packaging as an extra application of WS6000, enlisting partners such as Karlville and Avery Dennison for finishing and media. As HP Indigo expanded further into flexible packaging, the company began to work with narrow-web label converters to help them start printing this application. In addition, HP Indigo even equipped rare flexible packaging converters with the Series 3 printers. Today, the HP Indigo 20000, an HP Indigo ‘Series 4’ printer, is the pinnacle of the HP Indigo’s efforts to develop digital printing for flexible packaging. With a web width equal to that of many flexo presses, and a powerful print engine based on the HP Indigo 10000, the Indigo 20000 is a practical digital option for flexible packaging.

Labels, Other Applications Also

Since HP Indigo 20000 is a roll-fed printer with a substantial web width, it is well suited for the production of both flexible packaging and labels. About 75% of the printing done on the Indigo 20000 is flexible packaging, with the remaining 25% being labels, or a mix of label and flexible packaging, or other applications. Keypoint Intelligence estimates that gross billings from the current base of HP Indigo 20000s for all uses is over $300 million annually. Those billings will grow as the base does, and as converters gain skill both in using the printer and in selling its services.

HP Pack Ready

While there are no new HP Indigo flexible packaging printers in sight at this point, a key finishing addition to the Indigo 20000 will be commercialized this year. This is HP’s new Pack Ready Lamination system which will dramatically decrease the time spent waiting for printed and laminated rolls to cure. While flexo converters must wait up to a week for their laminated rolls to cure, users of Pack Ready can expect curing to be almost immediate.

HP Pack Ready system with specially designed hardware form Karlville

The first component of Pack Ready is proprietary chemistry: HP Indigo licenses film manufacturers to use its patented coating technology to coat film for use in HP Indigo 20000 (several film companies in different regions have been licensed). After printing in HP Indigo 20000, that pre-coated film goes into a specially designed laminator by Karlville, HP’s partner for FP finishing. The laminator uses thermal energy to join the printed film with another film layers, and the lamination is fully cured in only a few minutes.

Pack Ready coating structure with HP’s proprietary heat-activated coating (in yellow)

Not Alone Forever

While the Indigo 20000 continues to be the industry leader for digital printing of flexible packaging, there are at least a few new digital entrants. These new machines are from Japanese companies Think Lab and Fujifilm, as well as Uteco Converting from Italy; Think Lab and Uteco are experienced suppliers for gravure and flexo in the flexible packaging industry, and Fujifilm is a giant in industrial inkjet. The new machines from these companies have only a handful of beta installations, mostly in Japan, but more will come, possibly also from competitors that are not evident today. As in all industrial printing, inkjet has high potential to contribute to flexible packaging printing. That said, EP printing from HP Indigo 20000 has a big lead, as exemplified by the recent deal with ePac.

My Experience @LegalweekShow

Sheryne Glicksman
Feb 9, 2018

I kicked off my travel for the year by attending LegalTech in Manhattan on January 29th 2018. LegalTech has been one of the largest legal technology events in the United States for several years now. LegalTech provides an in-depth look at what the technological world has in store for legal firms today. 170 vendors were onsite to highlight their expertise. In chatting with these vendors, I heard that eDiscovery, legal research and contracts management, cloud, cyber security, and legal marketing are trends that are redefining the legal industry.
Did you know that eDiscovery started due to the amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure? These amendments make electronically stored information such as emails, instant messages, voicemails, e-calendars, graphics and data on handheld devices discoverable in litigation. According to The Radicati Group, Inc (a technology market research firm), eDiscovery was already a $2B dollar industry in 2017 with revenues expected to grow 24% to reach $3.8B by 2018. eDiscovery and analytics are at the center of how the business and practice of law using technology is changing.

New services for EDiscovery & Legal Research
Ricoh announced its Remlox™ Cloud service as the latest piece in their digital forensics services offerings. We spoke to Ricoh executives Eric Mandel (Domain Strategist & Information Governance) and David Greetham (VP eDiscovery, Sales & Operations) to get their expert feedback. According to Eric & David, changes to federal law are transforming how we collect forensic data and introduce and validate the evidence. They said that lawyers, not just the courts, are responsible for presenting evidence that is relative and discoverable specific to the requirements of the case. There is a need to get the data quickly and for it to be forensically sound.

With that in mind, Ricoh has developed a number of secure, user-friendly eDiscovery solutions including:

Remlox™ Cloud is a user-friendly, cloud-based software solution that enables proportionality through a forensic targeted collection. It automates the collection process by allowing users to efficiently gather only the most potentially relevant information needed for their case. Users can request a collection in the morning, using Ricoh’s same-day email deployment, and can be reviewing their data that same evening, utilizing one of Ricoh’s industry-leading document review solutions. And it’s all hosted in Ricoh’s Microsoft® Azure™ environment with enhanced security.

RICOH eDiscovery On Demand is a self-service, on-demand, cloud-based software solution with a customizable, easy-to-navigate user-interface. It puts the eDiscovery process at a user’s fingertips with no long-term commitment. Users can process, interact with, review and produce their Electronically Stored Information (ESI) from their eDiscovery projects 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Cloud, Security & Marketing
Back in 2016, Oracle CEO Mark V Hurd told reporters that by 2025, 80% of all IT budgets will be spent on cloud, and that almost all new applications will be on SaaS (Software as a Service) platforms. Vendors at #LegalTech2018 are already embracing the cloud today showcasing user friendly and secure cloud-based platforms for records management, legal operations and contracts management including the writing and management of the contracts.  Relativity announced new features of transcript support and active learning workflow available in their SaaS eDiscovery platform showing that there is an uptick in the use of artificial intelligence. What are you doing to embrace the cloud?
Sessions were available for marketing teams and executives to learn more about promoting and marketing their firm with focus discussion on finding your niche, taking a diversified approach to search engine marketing strategies to improve search rankings and how to have a better understanding of your target market. It was recommended to keep your website simple and clean with high quality interesting content and to follow the data!

Organizing data, discovering the truth and the pursuit of just outcomes are core to the business of law. Technology is driving changes as to how quickly and efficiently this can be accomplished. What technology are you implementing today to help?

#icanhelpbringyourdatatolife

Fujifilm Acquires Control of Xerox

Jeff Hayes
Jan 31, 2018

The grapevine has been ripe the past weeks, but now the news is finally out. Fujifilm has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase the majority holding of Xerox Corporation and will merge Fuji Xerox with Xerox.

The two companies said that Fuji Xerox, a joint venture between Fujifilm and Xerox formed in 1962, will use bank debt to buy back Fujifilm’s 75% stake for around $6.1 billion. Fujifilm will use those proceeds to purchase 50.1% of new Xerox shares. Plans are to complete the deal around July-August of this year.

The new entity, to be called Fuji Xerox, will become a subsidiary of Fujifilm, with dual headquarters in the United States and Japan. It will keep Xerox’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange and will be led by Xerox CEO Jeff Jacobson and Fujifilm Chairman Shigetaka Komori.

Why Now?

Xerox has struggled to grow its document technology and related business over the last four years with 2017 revenue ($10.3B) down 19% compared with 2014 ($12.7B). Spurred by activist shareholder Carl Icahn, who owns approximately 9.7% of Xerox shares, Xerox spun off its business process outsourcing business in 2016 to focus on its core. Mr. Icahn has been vocal recently about seeking significant changes to Xerox’ board of directors, senior management, and the Fuji Xerox joint venture with an eye on a potential sale of Xerox in the future.

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Xerox Hosts Security Summit at New York Stock Exchange

Rebecca Schiffenhaus
Jan 24, 2018

CNBC Bell Ringing

On January 23rd, 2018, Xerox hosted the Xerox Security Summit at the New York Stock Exchange. Understanding that cybersecurity has become essential for MFPs and printers as “always on end-points”, Xerox brought together thought leaders and partners in this field to join Xerox for the bell ringing and an afternoon of cybersecurity conversations. Mike Feldman, Executive VP and President, NAO, Xerox Corporation, opened the event by reflecting on the rebirth of Xerox one year ago, when Conduent became a separate company and Xerox was able to center itself.  In this past year Xerox has had many accomplishments, including a huge launch of 29 new devices, growth in ConnectKey and apps, and new devices and inks for production print.

Alissa Johnson, Chief Information Security Officer and former Deputy CIO for the White House opened the sessions by emphasizing awareness. Johnson said that breaches can usually be traced to a visible IP, an open port, or a vulnerable service. To protect these areas, Johnson had three tips, 1. Hunt- always assume there is a compromise, 2. Zero trust- whitelist instead of allowing, and 3. Cognitive security- develop advanced AI. Candace Worley, Vice President and Chief Technical Strategist for McAfee, discussed cybersecurity fears around automation. Namely, individuals fear that the system will malfunction, and they will be held accountable. Worley shared some important developments in this field, like the shift from prior work environments, with only a few operating systems and devices, to the current, complex network ecosystems with virtual desktops, countless devices, cloud services and more. Worley also discussed the anticipated labor shortage in cybersecurity, as there is a lack of talent to fill the jobs necessitated by cybersecurity. It is anticipated that by 2022 over 70% of jobs will go unfilled, and 9 out of 10 cybersecurity workers believe that they will need technology to fill that talent gap. Worley emphasized the need for more open culture, with sharing across vendors, to develop the technology to handle this.

Sergio Caltagirone, Director of Threat Intelligence and Analytics at Dragos, discussed the offensive and defensive sides of hacking. Encouraging everyone to be realistic about security, he stated that there are hunters and hunted. Caltagirone shared the Defender’s dilemma, “the adversary needs to be right once, the defender needs to be right every time,” but Caltagirone emphasized that the defender has the power, “the defender controls the space”. By shaping and controlling the environment, security experts have the upper hand so long as they maintain it. Dov Yoran, Sr. Director, Strategy and Business Development Security Group for Cisco, shocked and awed sharing this video, discussing the industrialization of cybercrime and how prevalent and intelligent it has become. Steve Hoover, CTP, Xerox, and Ersin Uzun, Vice President, Director of System Sciences Laboratory, PARC, discussed how approaching cybersecurity can emulate the way we approach parenting. Teaching security programs how to “think” by interrupting processes and asking it to explain why it made choices and having teaching moments for the next event. This leads to greater trust and faith in the program and helps preserve the human role in cybersecurity.

Over lunch, famed hacker Kevin Mitnick, showed us all how easy it was to fall victim to an intelligent cyber-scheme and made everyone feel like throwing their devices into the Hudson. He shared tips and tricks about phishing, ransomware, malware, cloning HID cards, and proved just how simple it would be to be targeted through a great number of innocuous daily business processes. During the final panel, the panelists were asked which they would prioritize: protection, detection, or prevention and the unanimous winner was detection. Detection was emphasized as necessary for expedient handling, as well as integral as a learning opportunity. To end the event, the panelists  shared what would be the one piece of advice they’d give for the day:

  • The most important things are integration and automation, this allows you to react faster and technology to work together.”- Dov Yoran
  • Patch quickly! It’s old school advice but do it. Patch rapidly because people hack rapidly.” – Candace Worley
  • Be proactive about insecurities- if your day to day is just monitoring, you’ve already lost.”- Sergio Caltagirone
  • Stay current.” – Steve Hoover
  • Educate your people about security, people are still a major source of access.”- Ersin Uzun

Xerox introduced the personified tenants of its security approach as characters of a “Super Cyber Squad”- the Protector, the Detector, the Preventer, and the Partner. It’s abundantly clear that conversations about cybersecurity are vital, and the more our industry collaborates and brings together different players, the better we will become achieving those tenants. This summit, and ongoing opportunities for sharing and learning among vendors, customers, partners, dealers, and subject matter experts, help to shape the future of cybersecurity.

 

Kevin Mitnick cloning an HID card 3 different ways in under two minutes.

Panel: Alissa Johnson, Ersin Uzun, Steve Hoover, Sergio Caltagirone, Candace Worley, and Dov Yoran 

 

 

Sharp #Pulse17. The Next Revolution

Sheryne Glicksman
Dec 6, 2017

Did you know that the S-Curve is used to determine performance regarding time and effort?  It assists in determining the level of maturity of an industry or a product. We have moved from an evolution of people following processes supported by technology to technology driving processes supported by people.

This is where we need to carve out our next S-Curve. After attending Sharp’s National Dealer meeting in Phoenix last week, I can see where Sharp is nicely positioned with their view of the Smart Ecosystem and the Evolution of Work.

Said Doug Albregts, President and CEO, “Foxconn closely partners with the world’s leading IT tech organizations such as Apple, Amazon, Intel, Google, and Microsoft, and in aggregate knows very intimately, the direction and future of the IT industry. With Foxconn being Sharp’s parent company, we now have a seat at the big table and has access to technology and a stronger “pulse” of IT.”

Starting today, Sharp has 20+ new MFP’s  that provide the customer with the same user experience regardless of the make and model of the product. This uniformity of design, common user interface, common accessories and supplies with same toner, developer and drum provides significant benefits when it comes to streamlining operations and stabilizing cost per copy for managed print services programs. It was stated that the multi-functional copier is still important to the ecosystem today and into the future. Sharp’s core business products start with the multi-functional copier and display because of the synergy of both products sitting on the network which is perfect for the SMB space.
The bridge of investments into the future consist of robotics, water generation, 8K, monitors and NAS. The access to this technology will drive the future of the Smart Home & Smart Office giving us more flexibility, collaboration in the workspace and ability to work anywhere. This equates to the Smart Life concept that Sharp has its pulse on since Foxconn makes almost 50% of the world’s electronic devices.

Products such as the world’s largest 70” wall monitor state of the art Aquos Board that you have to experience to understand it, Thecus networked attached storage device, Skywell water generation, smart signage and the security robot drew much attention in the product showcase. There were 10 new smart signage boards introduced that are simple and easy to use.
Sharp’s branding of AIoT combining artificial intelligence and internet of things together realizing a smart society with people oriented IOT with the product, platform and service at its core showed us examples of how 5G will allow us to connect our things at a faster speed soon. 5G will provide us with 10 times the download speed needed to use all the things we connect to the internet.

The future ecosystem will focus on 8k (the highest ultra-high definition television resolution) which is driving the need for 5G. Data collection analysis will spark new ideas for new business opportunities. With Sharp’s history of creativity of over 100 years, you can clearly see how committed they are to innovation with a new business vision that will change the world by creating the seeds for new industry advancements.

Sharps vision of the smart office was highlighted with the announcement of Alexaforbusiness with the concept of voice being the way people want to interact with a device. The Smart Office combines mobility, cloud and 5G starting with authenticating when you walk into a meeting room to connect to the devices you need that day wherever you go leveraging your existing infrastructure. It provides us all with seamless integration across our lifestyles again showing Sharp’s Smart ecosystem innovation.

There were 939 total participants with 605 dealership participants and 166 dealerships represented.

Today, it is apparent that Sharp has their pulse on the technology needed to win in business now and into the future. #Pulse17 was a fabulous event!

#icanhelpbringyourdatatolife

Let’s Talk About IPEX 2017

Pat McGrew
Nov 9, 2017

We know it wasn’t the 11-hall extravaganza of shiny hardware we have seen in the Birmingham National Exhibition Center in the past. It wasn’t even the show we saw mounted at the ExCel center in London. The return of the IPEX brand to the print industry trade show market was half of hall 5 at the Birmingham NEC. And that is OK. It’s a new start on a rebuilding campaign for one of the oldest Print trade shows, so why not give it a fair shake?
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Labelexpo 2017: Quick Takes From Brussels Show

Bob Leahey
Oct 4, 2017

Labelexpo, the biannual tradeshow of the label industry, took place September 25 to 28 in Brussels and, thirty years after its start, it retains its momentum and “giant” status, with over 650 exhibitors and 30,000 visitors, most from Europe but many from Asia, the USA, and Latin America. Digital printing was at the core of the show, in big booths of all the top EP and inkjet printer vendors (HP Indigo, Xeikon, Domino, Durst, Screen, and others) and at the stands of many others, including a few entrants that are both new and significant. Before producing a detailed report for consulting clients, the InfoTrends division of Keypoint Intelligence offers the following conclusions from the 2017 Labelexpo:

In-line digital embellishment is hot. The two EP leaders, HP Indigo and Xeikon, are both developing proprietary, in-line jetting modules to add white, spot varnish, tactile effects and even metallic decoration to their toner-based label print webs. Meanwhile, other vendors contribute their own products to the trend, such as printer suppliers Domino, Gallus, and Konica Minolta, and head supplier Xaar.

HP Indigo GEM Embellishment Example

EP is still vital and growing. While inkjet is growing and has many more vendors, electrophotographic technology showed dynamic additions in high production systems, such as Xeikon CX500 (new at the show) and HP Indigo 8000 (2016). At that same time, Konica Minolta announced its 100th global placement of KM C71cf after less than two years of availability, and then announced a successor to it, Accurio 190.

Accurio 190 Replacement for Konica Minolta C71cf

Hybrid printing is a focus for key suppliers. The top three vendors of narrow web label presses—Gallus, Mark Andy, and Nilpeter—all market hybrid flexo/inkjet systems as key parts of their product lines. Meanwhile multiple other vendors also contribute, such as Colordyne, IPT, MPS, Omet, and Prototype and Production Systems. We note especially the focus on hybrids by Gallus, Mark Andy, and Nilpeter, each of which has hundreds of established press customers worldwide.

Gallus Labelfire 340, Based on Flexo Plus Fujifilm Samba Inkjet

UV inkjet is adding low migration options. UV inkjet, which powers most inkjet label printers, is handicapped by concern about possible migration of uncured photoinitiators. In food packaging. “Low migration” UV inks designed to address these concern were evident at multiple booths (printer vendors Durst, EFI Jetrion, Epson, and ink makers Siegwerk and Sun Chemical) at Labelexpo 2017. New, or nearly so: the use of a “nitrogen purge”, to enhance polymerization of toxic monomers, as seen at Screen and Durst booths.

Aqueous inkjet is gaining momentum. Production digital label webs using aqueous inks have been limited to the Epson Surepress, plus Colordyne and a few others based on Memjet. A key merit of aqueous inks have been their safety for food labels, but the main options have limitions, Epson SurePress print speed (15 fpm), and Memjet dye-based inks, CMYK only. From Labelexpo 2017, though: Epson and the Memjet OEMs are have had good success; Mouvent’s aqueous future printer could be influential; miniature production printers from Afinia, Trojan, and New Solution all use aqueous inks; last, Memjet will upgrade to pigmented inks in 2018; Kodak will add aqueous CIJ printing via Uteco Sapphire.

Mouvent Label Printer Example

Label converting is now “cyber” oriented. The label industry likes the idea that manufacturing will be automated and driven by data exchange, through The Cloud and the “Industrial Internet of Things,” and Labelexpo had lots of evidence to that effect, notably Labelexpo’s first “Automation Arena” in Hall 11. There a collaboration by AVT, Cerm, Esko, Kocher + Beck Matho, MPS, Rotocontrol, Wasberger, and Xeikon,  yielded two automated press lines, one for digital and one for conventional label production, with automation of everything from job creation through prepress, printing, finishing and invoicing.

Package printing is strategic at Labelexpo. Digital printing for folding cartons and flexible packaging has been a side focus of Labelexpo since at least the 2011 show; in 2017, both applications are well established, whether for printing unsupported film on webs or 18 point folding carton board, on both roll-to-sheet and sheet fed systems. HP Indigo and Xeikon have both spurred folding carton printing; in flexible packaging, HP Indigo is alone so far as an established solutions provider. At Labelexpo, others showed they will join that drive, with Uteco & partners INX and Kodak, as examples.

Xeikon Carton Print Example

A summary conclusion to all of the above: The world’s label industry is now full of digital technologies, for printing and for all its ancillary processes and needs; the 2017 Labelexpo showed the growth of those technologies, and the strong prospect for more in years to come.

At LabelExpo 2017 Workflow is Automated!

Pat McGrew
Oct 3, 2017

Underpinning a very successful LabelExpo 2017 was talk workflow and talk of speed. This year in Brussels we saw not only new technology for label production and finishing running at higher speeds, but we saw a growing emphasis on the workflow that drives production, with echos of Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things in the subtext of every press conference and every workflow demonstration.

Across the 9 halls and 679 exhibitors there was workflow specified on the signage, in the demonstrations, and most notably, in the Automation Arena, where the emphasis was on live demonstrations of automated conventional and digital label and packaging solutions from Cerm, Esko, Xeikon, MPS, Kocher + Beck, grafotronic, AVT, WLE and Matho. The Automation Arena demonstrations were supported by Avery Dennison, FlintGroup and Zeller + Gmelin for inks and substrates. As a bonus, the LabelExpo team took the time to build a great YouTube video which you can find here and should be on your playlist if you work in label production.

The AVT Booth at LabelExpo 2017

Across all of the halls it was clear that the equipment manufacturers of flexo and digital solutions recognize that the key to a successful customer is not only reliable, flexible production equipment, but a solid set of workflow solutions to guide their clients towards the fullest possible automation. Many hardware suppliers have partnered with CERM, which bills itself as the business management software for narrow web printers. Their solution, which begins at quoting and touches the required stops through to warehousing, shipping and invoicing has components for costing, data collection and a Web to print solution called Web4Labels.

As common as the speed story prevalent among the hardware vendors was a new emphasis on job acquisition. The web-to-print story was everywhere, on signage and in booth demonstrations, and not just for digital solutions. Many of the flexo solution vendors also have web-to-workflow solutions that open new product options for their customers.

Durst featured Workflow and Web-to-Print on their signage.

Many vendors were emphasizing their options for variable data and variable imaging as digital print solutions and hybrid solutions vocalize their value propositions that include making output personal or at least customized. The team from Chili Publish, seen below, fresh from their successful Print 17 stand in Chicago, indicated that they were having vibrant conversations with both existing clients and prospects as they look for solutions to create value in the print chain. In Chicago next year and Brussels in two years from now it is likely that more software solutions providers will set up stands to engage in this growing market opportunity.

The team from Chili Publish at Label Expo 2017!

Worthy of note was a kiosk (seen below) in the FlintGroup/Xeikon booth touching on a topic that needs more focus across the industry: how to sell these great digital solutions. The Xeikon aXelerate program is one of several seen on the floor that put the spotlight on helping label producers sell the value proposition of digitally-produced labels. There are myriad product offerings that leverage what digital can do easily, such as adding targeted messages, QR codes, and other technologies.

Xeikon had a great story around helping to sell digital!

One of those technologies is Augmented Reality, which was available in the SCREEN booth in partnership with Solimar Systems. SCREEN Europe worked with Solimar to enable a set of labels (seen below) that, when viewed with the Solimar App, runs a video showing the SCREEN workflow and print story for labels. It was a great way to allow an attendee to carry a demo with them, though the signage in the booth missed the opportunity to spotlight this unique demonstration.

From productivity suites to job journeys, the emphasis on using workflow to a competitive advantage was clear in every hall. For any label producer who has not yet investigate web-to-print options and automated workflow options, this show is the clear indicator that this is the time to invest to stay competitive.

If you are wondering how you can stay competitive, consider spending some time in our report store (http://store.infotrendsresearch.com/ ) or engaging with us in the Production Workflow Service. We go to the shows and conferences, study the market, and do deep dives into the technology so that we can provide the best advice and guidance to our clients. We are standing by to help you on your path to automation.

 

 

If you have stories to share reach out to me! @PatMcGrew on Twitter, on LinkedIn, or Pat.McGrew@KeypointIntelligence.com all reach me. For more information on how to gain access to our research, market sizing & forecasts, or how to subscribe to our Production Workflow or other services, contact Deanna Flanick today at deanna.flanick@buyerslab.com!

Romano’s Ramblings: New Print Will Prevail!

Pat McGrew

by Frank Romano

Where will printers make money in the future? Some say it will be from digital printing? But digital printing is usurping analog volumes, and analog volumes are not growing. To grow, the printing industry must find new products and new services.

The best example of “new print” is wide-format inkjet printing. Go back to 1995. The first wide-format inkjets were seen as proofers for color printing. Suddenly, signage became a hot market. Not just signage, but color signage. Signage was done by screen printing, but full-color reproduction was not typical. The wide-format machines got bigger and bigger. Commercial printing companies added them to their fleet of production devices. Today, well over half of all printing firms have wide-format inkjet. They make money with a technology that was never predicted.

Predictions are hard. Back in the late 1990s, I gave a talk at RIT and said that there would be half as many printers in ten years. I was booed, and that was by the faculty. I remember when offset was said to be only for “quick and dirty printing” and when PostScript was just another printing driver.

 

 

There are no leading indicators for the future of technology. Not only did no one expect the Spanish Inquisition (sorry Monty Python), but no one expected Facebook and Twitter, etc. etc. In fact, no one ever predicted the Internet.

So, we come back to the original question. If printing services are to prosper, they must find new products and services. Paper-based volumes are declining. Therefore, printers must print on something besides paper. Some already do. Those printers invested in flatbed inkjet printing. They can print on foamcore, glass, plastic, ceramics, textiles, wood, metal, and more.

It is true that there are industrial plants that print on these materials right now. Of course, the quantities are in the millions, and there is little customization. But new print markets are evolving, like industrial design, home décor, specialty signage, promotional items, unique packaging, and other decorated items.

 

 

2016 InfoTrends, Inc.

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