Prepare for the Fourth Imaging Wave

Ed Lee
Sep 14, 2017

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Excerpt from Digital Imaging Reporter’s State of the Industry 2017

Analog film, the first wave of photography, lasted more than 150 years, with over 1.5 trillion photos captured worldwide during this timeframe. In the 1990s, digital cameras kicked off the second wave: digital photography. Smartphones were introduced in the late 2000s, marking the third wave: mobile imaging.

Always-connected smartphones and social networks have changed how people take and share photos and videos. Mobile imaging is led by companies with no background in photography, such as Apple, Samsung, Facebook, Instagram and Snap.

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The Landa Digital Press – It Is Here and Printing

Ralf Schlozer
Sep 13, 2017

September the 12th and coinciding with Print 17 Landa Digital Printing invited selected prospects and press/analysts to their VIP event in Israel, to witness the first Landa Press to go into operation at the Israeli packaging printer Graphica Bezalel.

Landa made a big splash by announcing their nanography technology at drupa 2012. Almost everybody in the printing industry eagerly awaited to see the first installation. Without doubts, the start has been bumpy and the date of the first install has been moved several times, but that can be said about almost every piece of truly new technology in the graphic arts industry. Finally, the day arrived by shipping the first Landa S10 press to Grapica Bezalel in July 2017. After a month of installation, the press has been in operation for two weeks at the date of this event.

Landa S10 at Graphica Bezalel

Landa S10 at Graphica Bezalel

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The Rise of Workflow Automation in Wide Format Graphics: Managing the Work

Ryan McAbee

Managing the diversity of work possible within a wide format shop is challenging. Quotes must be created for customers from estimates based on as-accurate-as-possible costs. Once the order is placed, materials need to be ordered and/or staged for production. The job needs to be scheduled, costs tracked, and deadlines met. Oh, let’s not forget these tasks are multiplied by every job received which is enough to cause panic in the most stoic of managers.

With so much to manage, one would expect that every wide format shop would own a print management software solution. According to the FESPA 2015 Census, only 17.7% of shops owned a print MIS compared with 72.7%% of general commercial printers from that year’s InfoTrends US Software Investment Outlook. While adoption rates have likely increased over the past couple of years and will be reflected in the upcoming FESPA Census, it is unlikely that wide format shops have closed the gap. One reason most print providers avoid changing their existing or adopting a new print MIS solution is the complexity involved which equates to time and cost. Most print MIS solutions need over 6 months to fully implement but the core system of estimating, quoting, and job ticketing can go much faster, so view it as a journey not a sprint.

Print MIS Adoption for Wide Format and General Commercial Printer

Sources: FESPA 2015 Census, 2015 InfoTrends US Software Investment Outlook

Print MIS solutions can also act a central record of truth for the work. If all jobs are entered in the system, then the order’s production status can be tracked, production costs assigned, service level agreements met, and data captured to provide real-time insights or post mortem analysis, i.e. estimate versus actual costs reporting. Having the data in one system unlocks the potential for customizable dashboards to track performance indicators for true business intelligence.

There are many types of solutions that can be used depending upon your situation:

  • Wide format-specific print MIS solutions like Clarity and ShopVox are browser-based solutions that were specifically designed for the needs of sign and graphics.
  • General print MIS solutions, that often started in commercial printing, have subsequently added capabilities for wide format production. Examples include, but are not limited to, solutions from Avanti, EFI, IQ, Optimus, and Tharstern.

The pressure to manage more jobs and increase efficiency is increasing due to customer demands. Shops responding to the FESPA 2015 Census cited shorter turnaround, just-in-time requirements, and shorter runs as the top three trends from customers. The speed of business has changed and seems to get faster each passing year. What might have been possible to manage through manual processes, like creating estimates in a spreadsheet, won’t suffice going forward.

Read more in the Rise of Workflow Automation in Wide Format Graphics blog series.

Have stories to share or questions to ask, then reach out to @mbossed on Twitter, or LinkedIn, or good ole e-mail.

Quadient: A New Ecosystem for Customer Experience

David Stabel and Pat McGrew
Sep 12, 2017

Today, Neopost announced the introduction of a newly created business division: Quadient, replacing its Enterprise Digital Solutions (EDS) business division. With Quadient, Neopost combines three companies that operated independently under EDS into a new division focused on digital communications and customer experience solutions:

  • Satori Software. Acquired in 2009 and a provider of mailing and data quality solutions. Satori software allows mail senders to validate addresses, correct them, update them in real time and remove duplicates.
  • GMC Software. Acquired in 2012. Today, GMC Software is considered a leader and innovator in the customer communications management (CCM) solutions space.
  • Human Inference. A data quality solution provider focused on master data quality improvement. Neopost acquired this Dutch based company in 2012.
The New Quadient Logo

The New Quadient Logo

These past acquisitions fitted into a bigger strategy. To leverage the power of that strategy, it makes sense to reorganizing into Quadient. By doing so, Neopost is repositioned to focus on offering enterprise solutions for customer experience management (including CCM), mobile application development/digital experiences, and data management. The logic is simple: as customer experience becomes a strategic component for businesses, businesses need ways to quickly implement and personalized these experiences along the customer journey. Tools for managing this process as well as the data (quality) required for personalization are key.

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HP Announces New PageWide Devices, Workflow Scanners & Solution Services @ Reinvent – World Partner Forum 2017

Barbara Richards
Sep 11, 2017

HP Reinvent World Partner Forum is a reinvention of their annual global partner conference bringing together 1400+ global partners, including channel partners and system integrators. At the event, HP announced several new products and solution services.

New PageWide Devices

HP announced several new contractual and transactional PageWide printers and MFPs rounding up their 2017 spring product launch portfolio. The new products range in speeds from 45ppm up to 80ppm in general office mode and will feature the same low cost per page, best in class energy efficiency and full enterprise capabilities as the Spring launch  of LaserJet products. http://client.keypointintelligence.com/bliQ/InfoCenter/Document/Item/b275b875-af12-461a-b78b-adeb4737eac6

The A3 launch will be supported by the Smart Device Services Ecosystem (SDS), an “Internet of Things” (IoT) solutions toolset that funnels information via the cloud from devices to service partners aiming to lower service cost and provide more device up-time. Product availability is scheduled for this fall.

Figure 1 – New HP PageWide Printers & MFPs

pagewidedifference

Workflow Scanners

HP also announced the latest ScanJet portfolio of single function scanners, comprised of a wide range of products. The device groupings consist of Small Work Team, Document Management (Workgroup), and Document Management (Departmental). The newly announced Flow 8500fn2 Digital Sender boasts a fast 100ppm scan speed; 10,000 page a day duty cycle and HP technology such as WebJetAdmin, FutureSmart, EveryPage and HP scan software.  In addition to the 8500 fn2 Digital Sender, HP announces the new Flow N9120 fn2 A3 scanner.  At 120ppm scanning speeds, this device is suited towards sophisticated departmental scan and capture environments with needs for more volume and large page/document sizes.

HP Solution Services

In addition to the new product announcements, HP is introducing new compatible solutions to capitalize on the trends of “mobile,” everything as a service, “smart” devices, and security.   According to HP, their portfolio of new solution services will “reinvent the power of print” aimed at addressing customer’s path of work. With this in mind, HP announced several new innovations at Reinvent World Partner Forum 2017.

Figure 2 – New HP Solution Services

HPSolutionServices

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The Rise of Workflow Automation in Wide Format Graphics

Ryan McAbee
Sep 7, 2017

Today’s print service providers know that their bottom line is less about the equipment and more about how fast they can get work to the equipment and on to delivery. That is why automation and efficiency have been at the top of strategic initiatives for commercial printers in our annual software investment surveys for the past several years. Leading commercial printers view the intellectual property around their workflow processes as a distinct competitive differentiator and make investments in software and staff to grow that advantage. In general, wide format sign and graphics isn’t there yet.

The wide format sign and graphics market has some distinct workflow challenges. First, equipment choice still has great influence on what types of applications can be produced and so carries more mindshare. Second, there can be more finishing variables, such as lamination, mounting, stitching, and adding grommets. Then there is still the last mile of installation. Last, sign and graphics is rooted in a RIP-and-print type workflow where the operator still performs many tasks using the RIP software attached to the printer. Here’s a typical workflow for sign and graphics (not all steps are required for every type of product):

InfoTrends-WideFormat-Graphics-Workflow

Source: InfoTrends

A good place to start is to audit your workflow and identify all your current processes. How many of your workflow steps require an operator? Do those steps have options for automation? The good news is that several of the workflow steps for sign and graphics have many paths to automation because those steps are common to other types of print production. For now, let’s start by looking at ways to automate customers submitting files.

Unless you design all work in-house, most jobs start with receiving the customer’s file. Solutions to automate this process range from simple online file transfer to more complex web-to-print. The advantage of online file transfer is that almost everyone knows how to use it without explanation but the downsides are that files usually require an operator to push the file into the next step in the workflow and the job specifications are unknown. There are solutions, such as HP’s PrintOS and Enfocus Switch, that can take files from online transfer and route them into the next step of production, normally preflight. Talk to your preferred vendor to see what similar solutions they may offer.

If you have already been using online file transfer services or simply want to enhance the automation, web-to-print is the next logical step. The advantage of web-to-print solutions, such as Caldera’s Webshop or EFI’s Digital StoreFront (just to name a few), is that the customer’s intent is captured during the order process which can enhance the downstream automation. Getting customer’s trained to use the site and integrating it with the rest of your workflow require time and effort to get in place.

If you are still using FTP, e-mail, and hard media to receive files, there’s opportunity to improve!

Read more in the Rise of Workflow Automation in Wide Format Graphics blog series.

Have stories to share or questions to ask, then reach out to @mbossed on Twitter, or LinkedIn, or good ole e-mail.

Bright New Horizons for Memjet DuraLink Integrators

Pat McGrew
Sep 6, 2017

Pat McGrew & Bob Leahey

It’s here! We’ve been waiting for it and now it’s here – Memjet pigment ink and second generation print heads. This introduction starts the path to new generations of Memjet-enabled devices arriving in the market.

There were some interesting changes to the Memjet go-to-market that emerged from the announcement of DuraLink technology at the Memjet Analyst Day in August. DuraLink, the second-generation print platform from Memjet, supports aqueous pigment inks through newly designed print bars that form part of an integration kit. Memjet General Manager for Commercial Presses Eric Owen compared the new platform to a Blue Apron Box, where integrators take the modules they need to integrate the technology into their platform, as opposed to the first generation VersaPass which was delivered as a self-contained print engine supporting dye-based inks. The new technology uses pigmented inks, new heating technology, and 70,400 nozzles that enable up to 1600 x 1585dpi printing up to 2.5 meters wide. DuraLink joins the first generation dye-based technology which is now branded as VersaPass. The addition of the DuraLink solutions gives existing and future OEMs an important new option for print engines.


DuraLink Technical Specs

  • Configurable up to 100.9 in / 2.5 m wide
  • Up to 1600 x 1585 dpi resolution
  • Up to 668 fpm / 203 mpm
  • Print heads 8.77in/222.8mm width
  • Aqueous pigment inks
  • Sold as components to be integrated

For existing OEMs that want to replace VersaPass heads with DuraLink heads, Duralink is expected to take nine to 12 months to integrate. For new OEMs the Memjet team expects it to take 1-2 years to do the needed Mechanical Engineering. Memjet expects the first DuraLink-based products to enter the market in 2019.

DuraLink - Images

Printhead Maintenance Module Ink Supply Waste Ink Management Aerosol Management Print Engine Supervisor Print Bar Interface Dongle Dock

An important claim for Duralink is the reliability of the print heads. According to Memjet, with Duralink printheads and inks, nozzle-out conditions will go unnoticed due to the 5X nozzle redundancy of the new head design. The new 2.2 pl drop weight aqueous pigmented ink with its more limited dot gain is also expected to provide crisper images. Memjet also makes important assertions about the DuraLink’s pigmented inks, that they are water-fast, fade resistant and environmentally friendly.

The inks’ gamut is broader than GRACoL for coated papers, compared to Memjet’s dye based inks, with noticeably smaller ranges on plain papers. There is still testing to do on a broader range of substrates to codify the best substrates for the new technology, but over time OEMs should have the tools they need to target a broad base of applications, from transaction and commercial to labels and packaging.


Resolution Meters per Minute Feet per Minute Inches per Second

1600 x 1585 74.5 m/min 244.5 fpm 48.9 ips

1600 x 1260 93.7 m/min 307.5 fpm 61.5 ips

1600 x 790 149.5 m/min 490.5 fpm 98.1 ips

1600 x 580 203.6 m/min 668.1 fpm 133.6 ips


What does it mean?

While the technical details of the technology are interesting, the challenges that face Memjet and their integrators are also worth mentioning. The first generation of Memjet heads, VersaPass, was dye-based and found acceptance in transaction printing, office products, tabletop and high-speed label printers, and some wide format applications. With the pigmented inks and the new head technology, Memjet says that DuraLink is designed both for simplicity and for greater utility. Memjet’s management expects OEMs to take the new DuraLink technology into a wider range of applications, expanding in wide format, growing in transaction and commercial printing, and adding packaging applications over time. Much of where the technology goes will depend on Memjet’s OEMs. In the Memjet business model, the OEMs are responsible for all warranties, head life claims, and customer engagement, not to mention their marketing skill and overall support.

We know from watching other inkjet manufacturers that there is often a disconnect between the capabilities of the technology and the training provided by the vendor who directly engages with the end customer. The Memjet DuraLink technology will be capable of excellent print quality under the right circumstances with the right preparation, right substrate selection, and right decisions about print speeds and drying methods. The burden is on the OEMs to build a value proposition, match capabilities to markets, and deliver on the promise of a new generation of Memjet technology.

If you have stories to share reach out to me! @PatMcGrew on Twitter, on LinkedIn, or Pat.McGrew@KeypointIntelligence.com all reach me.

 

 

 

 

Using the Mopria Print Service in a Home Office

Christine Dunne
Aug 31, 2017

We write a fair amount about mobile printing at Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends, but sometimes the best way to assess it is to try it ourselves. I was motivated to do so after I learned that the next version of Android (8.0) will integrate the Mopria Print Service from the get-go. No additional download will be required.

I wanted to see how things stand as is. I recently switched from an iPhone to a Samsung Galaxy, so figured it made sense to try printing from my new device. I still have Android version 7.0, and may not have access to 8.0 for another month or so.

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A New Development in the Cut-sheet Monochrome Digital Printing Market

Jim Hamilton
Aug 30, 2017

With Canon’s announcement this week of the Océ VarioPrint 6000 Titan it is a good time to revisit the size and scope of the cut-sheet monochrome digital printing market. Despite competition from electronic delivery methods, monochrome digital print volume will remain large for the foreseeable future. Black & white documents are the workhorses of the production world because they provide the needed information without requiring the full marketing push of color print. InfoTrends estimates that monochrome documents produced in cut-sheet production environments will account for nearly 360 billion A4/letter page images in 2017 in the US and Western Europe. This is about 63% of all cut-sheet production digital print volume (color and monochrome) so of course it remains an area of vital importance. A cut-sheet monochrome breakout combining US and Western European data is shown below.

Cut-sheet Monochrome Application Volume by Major Category (U.S. and Western Europe)

Cut-sheet Monochrome Application Volume by Major Category (U.S. and Western Europe)

The monochrome production digital copier and printer market drives large volumes of print for applications like books & manuals, transactional documents (bills & statements), direct mail, reports, forms, and sell sheets. Though the production color digital print market will see higher page growth, and in some cases monochrome applications will move to color, not all applications require color. Therefore, the user requirements of the monochrome market remain important and Read more »

According to recent InfoTrends U.S. Enterprise Office Primary Research study, 40% of IT decision-makers indicated the #1 hurdle for digital conversion is cost.

Barbara Richards
Aug 29, 2017

Recent survey results from InfoTrends U.S. Enterprise primary research study of IT decision makers found that Enterprise customers see the cost associated with converting to digital processes as the greatest hurdle to conversion and this was most prevalent in the manufacturing (47%) and prof. services sectors (44%). Furthermore, they are also worried about the IT resources and the preference for paper—whether these are perceived or actual.

As far as initiatives or policies to reduce paper are concerned, the enterprise customers surveyed have mostly shifted to simple digital processes, such as sharing document more via e-mail (62%) or default printing on both sides of a document (53%). While more complex digital processes, such as document collaboration via cloud or Dropbox, are beginning to take on a more dominate role within these larger workgroups (51%).

What are the major hurdles to converting paper processes to digital?

Digital Conversion Hurdles by Vertical in Enterprise

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2016 InfoTrends, Inc.

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