Jun 18, 2014
The announcement of annual results is always a good opportunity to provide an update on company strategy or present a new organisational alignment. The latest Heidelberger Druckmaschinen annual press conference, however, had far deeper implications than that.
A main message to investors, debtors, and the whole graphic arts community was that Heidelberg delivered on its promise of returning to profitability. Although the net revenue of â‚¬4 million was not particularly impressive, it is nevertheless an encouraging sign because it implies a turnaround. In the last five years Heidelberg has accrued a net loss of almost one billion Euros. While financial analysis will certainly have a feast on the numbers, the announced strategic reorganisation and several other organisational moves have important implications for the future of the company.
In the last year Heidelberg has conducted an in-depth analysis of the business areas the company is active in. They have been clustered into four strategic fields of action:
â€¢ Digital printing
â€¢ Service and consumables
â€¢ Sheet-fed Offset
â€¢ Weak margin operations Read more »
Jun 12, 2014
I’ve spoken at two recent graphic arts events where something unusual happened. Chief Executive Officers of billion-plus dollar companies were in attendance speaking to customers and prospects. This is not only unusual, it’s also very symbolic, and it underscores the importance of a kind of event that is happening more and more frequently: invitation-only customer/prospect events held at a company-owned or partner facility. Customers and prospects are flown in, wined & dined, shown the latest product updates, and given a strategy update by senior executives. And in case you were wondering, the marketing dollars spent at these events are very likely those that were saved by not participating at IPEX or other graphic arts trade shows.
At left, Xerox's Ursula Burns cuts the ribbon while Jeff Jacobson and Paul Morgavi look on; at right, Kodak's new CEO Jeff Clarke (in tie) with ImageMark's Walter Payne
- Xerox’s Inkjet Summit “The first of the events I spoke at was a Xerox Inkjet Summit at the Impika headquarters in Aubagne, France (near Marseille). Read more »
May 30, 2014
Continuous feed colour inkjet printing has been a big success story over the past seven years especially in transaction print and with some book and direct mail printers. However the market lost a bit of momentum recently. While the move to inkjet in the transaction market is in full swing a lot more opportunities rest in short run publishing and promotional applications, especially when some degree of customisation, personalisation, and just-in-time manufacturing. Inkjet has had limited success so far in areas requiring higher print quality, particularly on coated papers. Canonâ€™s launch of the ImageStream 3500 is intended to address that challenge.
On the 22nd of May Canon invited a small group of analysts to the Miyakoshi Akita plant in northern Japan, where all of Miyakoshiâ€™s digital print engines are manufactured. At the manufacturing site Canon presented the latest launch in its inkjet portfolio, the ImageStream 3500. At first sight the ImageStream 3500 looks like a JetStream 3300 â€“ part of Océ’s Wide series. In fact, both products share the same press base. Accordingly the maximum print speed is set with 160 meters per minute and the paper width is 30 inch.
The differences between a JetStream and the new ImageStream lie in the inkjet heads and the ink. The printer uses the latest Kyocera printheads with a native resolution of 1,200 dpi and three drop size levels. The printer can print with 1,200 x 600 dpi resolution at full speed, or 1,200 x 1,200 resolution at half speed, which is still an impressive 1,600 A4 pages/minute. The high resolution results in tiny droplet sizes with 1.3, 2, and 2.8 picolitre. Canon is using a new, waterbasedÂ ink as well, not only optimised for the tiny droplet size, but also engineered to stick on the surface of the paper â€“ any paper. Read more »
May 29, 2014
At the Canon for Business 2014 event in Poing, Germany and at the FESPA trade show in Munich last week, Canon Océ showed strong signs of progress in a variety of areas related to digital color printing through a series of announcements:
- High-speed color inkjet printing on standard coated offset papers’ Announced but not shown in Poing was a new inkjet system that Canon Océ representatives say can print on a range of offset paper stocks, including coated ones, without the use of bonding agents or primers. The solution, according to Canon, can accomplish this due to its high resolution, small ink droplets, dryers, and a special aqueous pigment ink formulation. The Canon Océ ImageStream 3500 runs at up to 160 meters per minute (525 feet per minute) at 1,200 x 600 dot per inch resolution on a 750-millimeter (30-inch) web. (The device can also run at 1,200 x 1,200 dpi, though at half the speed of 1,200 x 600.) Canon expects the product to be available at the beginning of 2015. InfoTrends will learn more about this product soon (Canon hosted analysts, including InfoTrends’ Ralf SchlÅ‘zer, in Tokyo last week), but for now, it’s intriguing to consider that a vendor has come up with a solution to address standard coated offset papers without inkjet treatments of any kind. (See Ralf Schlozer’s blog on the ImageStream 3500.)
Read more »
May 20, 2014
Hewlett Packard had a big stand at the May 2014 Interpack show in Germany, and used this once-every-three-years trade fair to highlight its far-ranging approach to the packaging market. HP’s exhibit had lots to offer, from production level color printing of flexible packaging, to corrugated displays and cartons, and even to monochrome inkjet package coding.
All this came in the midst of a German show where HP Indigo was something of an outlier exhibitor. Read more »
Christine Dunne Dunne
Apr 30, 2014
One of the most compelling aspects of HPâ€™s new enterprise inkjet printer series is the devicesâ€™ pricing, running costs, and total cost of ownership. The Officejet Enterprise X page-wide series offers significant cost savings compared to color lasers with similar features and functionality. This is particularly important, given that cost concerns play a key role in customer decision making. This post looks at the benefits of the series from a pricing, cost per page, and total cost of ownership perspective.
The new single function printers are priced at $749 and $1,199 (base models), while the MFPs range in price from $1,999 to $2,799 (base models). These are very attractive price points given the devicesâ€™ fast speeds, robust engines, networking capabilities, and other business-level features.
Key specs and pricing of HP’s new Officejet Enterprise X series
Read more »
Apr 15, 2014
Recently, Barb Pellow and I participated in a Canon-sponsored Book Business/Printing Impressions webinar on the topic of books and inkjet. (The replay is available at this link if you are interested.) As is typical of most webinars, listeners were encouraged to submit questions, and in this case we received a lot of them. This blog is comprised of those questions and my brief response to each. While not intended to be comprehensive, I believe these questions and answers are a reflection of what is on the minds of the publishing community in regard to inkjet and books today.
Question and Answer
Q: What would be the cost per book difference to print offset vs. ink jet based upon specs such as Read more »
Christine Dunne Dunne
Apr 14, 2014
HP is targeting its new page-wide business inkjet series towards the â€œenterprise,â€ which the company defines as â€œlargeâ€ organizations with solutions needs around manageability, security, extensibility, etc. In addition, HP suggests the devices are intended for groups of 5 to 15 users who print up to 6,000 pages per month.
Positioning of new HP Officejet Enterprise X series
The new Officejet Enterprise X line incorporates features and functionality that go beyond the capabilities of the Officejet Pro X series, including more robust scanning, embedded OCR, a pull-out keyboard, a larger touchscreen, customizable job shortcuts, full solutions capability, and a secure hard disk. It is clear these features were included with the needs of larger businesses in mind.
However, the positioning of these devices as â€œenterpriseâ€ is likely something that is going to prove subjective, especially as the definition of â€œenterpriseâ€ often varies from one vendor to another. Read more »
Apr 11, 2014
nGageâ€™s Inkjet Summit is in its second year and it has grown to around 90 end-user attendees and 39 sponsor companies. The concept is relatively simple: find prospective buyers of high-speed inkjet equipment, pay their way to a resort location, and sit them down in front of the sponsors for case study presentations and one-on-one meetings. This assures that the level of knowledge and experience of the average attendee is very impressive. They have done their research and have a good idea of what they need. Not all of the attendees, though, are first-time buyers. Those looking to purchase a second (or third, or fourth) device were also in attendance. They make up a significant portion of the audience and have hands-on familiarity with inkjet technology.
Similar to the first-time buyer/experienced user split, another split was particularly noticeable Read more »
Apr 4, 2014
Heidelberg is the undisputed heavyweight champion of offset press manufacturing. Yet even a market leader has to acknowledge that offset press revenues are declining. Naturally, companies look for growing or new markets where they can create additional revenue streams, which is one big reason why all offset press manufacturers are exploring the possibilities of digital print.
On the 2nd of April, Heidelberg invited trade press and analysts to a â€œDigital Sneak Peekâ€ event to talk about strategy and upcoming products for the newly constituted â€œBusiness Area Digital.â€ A new digital approach for Heidelberg is significant, since it echoes earlier Heidelberg initiatives such as Quickmaster DI, NexPress, and (most recently) Linoprint L, which was sold to Markem Imaje.
Read more »