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.
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Oct 18, 2016
In honor of International Print Day, InfoTrends is releasing ten new print sample videos. This brings to 100 the number of print sample videos I’ve recorded since 2012. Here are the new ones:
- HP Indigo books and output on canvas
- Kodak Flexible Film technology demonstration
- Touch7 and the Ricoh C5110
- Xeikon Trillium and 9800 samples
- OKI C942 CMYK plus white on colored sheets
- Selected dimensional and foil print samples (included are examples from Duplo, Eagle Systems/Kurz, Intec, Konica Minolta, MGI, and Scodix)
- Envelope printing (included are examples from Bell+Howell, Pitney Bowes, Sensible Technologies, and Spiral Binding)
- Canon imagePRESS 850 direct mail and photo book samples (finished on a Duplo DC-646 and a Plockmatic BLM50)
- An International Paper substrate comparison on the Canon Océ VarioPrint i300
- Why I Record Print Sample Videos
For the previous ninety videos, go to the Print Sample channel on the Jim Hamilton YouTube page.
For those who are not familiar with International Print Day, it is “24-hour celebration without borders” for “anyone with an interest in the original communication delivery device…to join the planet’s largest conversation about print in all its forms.” International Print Day starts at 6 pm ET on October 18th (11 pm GMT, 9 am AEST) and will finish 24 hours later. Those wishing to participate on social media should use the hashtag #IPD16.
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Sep 7, 2016
Graph Expo’s greatest strength this year could also be its greatest weakness. Coming on the heels of drupa, Graph Expo (Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, September 25-28) will be a great opportunity to see some of the latest product announcements made at drupa. That said, many exhibitors maxed out their marketing budgets at drupa, and the impact on Graph Expo will mean smaller booths and fewer support staff. The move to Orlando is likely to have an impact as well. It is yet to be seen whether the draw from southeastern states plus South and Latin America will balance off the commercial printers from the heartland who drove to Chicago for previous shows (and who may skip the show this year). Graph Expo 2016 will be a smaller, more compact version of the show, and yet that’s no reason to stay away. There will still be a lot to see.
Who Are the Largest Exhibitors?
InfoTrends has been measuring and comparing the booth sizes of trade show exhibitors at trade shows for many years now, most recently at drupa 2016 but also at Graph Expo in 2015. We believe it provides an important metric to assess the level of marketing spend that an exhibitor makes at a trade show.
The biggest Graph Expo 2016 exhibitors (by square foot of exhibit space as measured from the publicly available show floor map) are shown below.
Canon and Konica Minolta tie for the top spot. In fact, Read more »
Jul 11, 2016
The show is over. The exhibitors have left the buildings. The pundits have chimed in. drupa 2016 is now history.
The every-3-year cycle idea was quashed and we are back to the 4-year cycle. I remember when it was every 5 years. So, we will all meet in 2020. Well, maybe all of you. I may be 79.
Frank was one of six journalists honored for attending 10 or more drupas
Sales statistics were impressive—big orders, big bucks. Every exhibitor sold something. No one does a total, but my guess is that there was over half a billion dollars in business.
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Jul 1, 2016
Last week HP Inc. brought a sizeable group of industry analysts to Boston for the first time since splitting from Hewlett Packard Enterprise. The goal was to discuss its priorities and outline how it intends to grow. The company’s bold vision and mission statements set the tone for the details that followed:
- Vision: Create technology that makes life better for everyone everywhere
- Mission: Engineer experiences that amaze
Dion Weisler kicked off the event by outlining the company’s strategy and describing four major trends that impact the company’s decisions: Read more »
Jun 20, 2016
I’d already been briefed on a lot of drupa 2016 news before I left home so I wasn’t really expecting much to surprise me when I arrived in Germany. I was wrong. I’ll name four announcements or technology demonstrations that truly surprised me. I’d argue that each of these was strategically designed to make a simple statement to the effect of: “Hey everybody, we can do this.” These types of developments are what make a mega-show like drupa so special.
These are the items that caught me off guard: Read more »
Jun 14, 2016
After digesting a week of meetings at drupa 2016 (May 31st to June 10th, Düsseldorf, Germany) along with plenty of good German food and beer, the InfoTrends analyst team believes the show can be characterized by five major themes:
- Inkjet 3.0 –After important advances in production inkjet printing at drupa 2008 and 2012, this drupa can be considered “inkjet drupa 3.0” because of new and improved print heads, higher quality levels, wide printhead arrays, improved performance on a range of substrates, and expansion across a range of document, packaging, and decorative applications. These developments have brought digital printing into the mainstream. All of the leading offset press manufacturers are now committed to a digital print strategy, and though for some there is an important component that is based on electrophotography, it is the high productivity levels of inkjet that have convinced them that there is a place for digital print in production environments.
- Digital printing of packaging – Though digital printing of packaging is certainly being influenced by inkjet, the major theme in this area is process automation. Digital printing, digital embellishment, and digital die-cutting were seen integrated across many production lines for labels, folding cartons, corrugated packaging, and even some direct-to-shape applications. Despite its commercial print heritage, drupa is morphing into a show with a significant package printing component. Meeting the needs of different segments of the packaging market is a challenge that requires effective software, workflow, and finishing if the true advantages of digital print for the entire supply chain are to be gained. It’s not clear today that digital printing system vendors have fully grasped the magnitude of this.
- B1 digital – Many commercial printers have an almost emotional attachment to the B1-format press platform that has served them so well for offset printing. The new generation of B1-format digital printing devices appeals to them because they can see how they would fit easily into their production lines with minimal disruption (despite the fact that smaller digital devices might be just as efficient and/or cost effective). drupa 2016 saw the arrival of larger format digital cut-sheet color printing systems as well as off-line systems for special effects such as spot gloss, dimensional effects, and metallic foils. The progress in B1 sheet-fed design is facilitated by wider inkjet arrays that benefit from the latest advances in inkjet head technology. The challenge for any of these larger format digital printing devices is to meet the production requirements for quality, consistency, substrate support, and color registration while performing at high speed. Also important is integration of finishing technologies that leverage the benefits of digital print. Therefore laser cutting and creasing, particularly for folding carton applications, is also advancing, and for some of these devices the focus is on a B1 sheet size. For the off-line digital devices used for special effects, the B1 sheet size opens up sizeable opportunities because these systems are capable of supporting conventional presses as well as digital printers.
- Special effects – Offset print processes have typically excelled at special effects beyond process color such as spot gloss, flood coats, foils, and corporate color matching. This kind of embellishment is now accelerating for digital print. Electrophotographic devices are using effects like printed metallic, dimensional, clear gloss, spot colors, fluorescent, security and other embellishments to differentiate the printed products and provide added value. Inkjet, particularly with ultraviolet (UV) curing inks, is extending this with some eye-popping results that leverage dimensional clear and metallic foil. The use of hybrid configurations, including those that leverage electrophotography and inkjet together, will have compelling applications in commercial and packaging markets. Many of the off-line special effect solutions, as noted above, are able to support larger format conventional sheet sizes, which opens their market impact significantly.
- Industry 4.0 – For many years, system providers have talked about how production data can be used to drive operational excellence and even facilitate predictive service calls. Cloud-enabled production data tracking is now making this type of data-driven production a reality, not only for commercial and packaging applications, but for decorative and industrial ones as well. Today these tend to focus on a single vendor platform (rather than a true heterogeneous ecosystem). Despite these limitations there are still many benefits, such as performance benchmarking across peers with similar equipment. This also elevates the importance of automated workflows that make it easy for production managers to assess and react to their production site(s) based on real-time data. Taking this even further, InfoTrends expects to see semi-autonomous print production and robotic automation culminate in what has been described as “Industry 4.0,” in other words the foundation of a fourth industrial revolution that is based upon automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies, similar as what has happened in the car industry.
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May 27, 2016
drupa is the largest printing equipment and supplies manufacturer exhibition in the world. This year’s event will feature over 1,800 exhibitors and a projected 300,000 visitors (40%+ German, 8% Indian, 7% Belgian, 7% French, 6% Dutch, 5% British, and <5% North American), all in the span of 11 days (May 31 – June 10, 2016). Our industry has changed dramatically since The Great Recession, but marketers and business executives continue to watch their pennies and scrutinize every decision while exploring new and different ways to do business in today’s economy. As drupa looms, business owners, decision-makers, and participants alike may question the value of exhibiting at and attending trade events when information is so readily available on personal computers and mobile devices.
Why Exhibit at drupa?
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May 26, 2016
RISO has had high-speed inkjet in its ComColor line since 2005. At its recent Americas dealer event (May 18-19 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas) it announced product line updates as well as some production-oriented news for the upcoming drupa trade show (May 31 to June 10 in Dusseldorf, Germany). RISO’s ComColor products have always straddled the line between office use and light production. With the announcement of these two new offerings the company is differentiating the product family to target the products to the right customers.
The new inkjet products are the GD9630 and the FW5230. RISO calls the GD9630 “Professional Inkjet” or “Pro-Jet” while it uses the term “Business Inkjet” or “Biz-Jet” for the FW5230:
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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 »