Mar 8, 2017
At this time of year vendors and users of digital print technology have a spate of events that qualify as vendor-specific tradeshows, ones hosted or sponsored by individual equipment suppliers. Among the best known are two that just took place, namely Hunkeler Innovation Days (February 20-23 in Lucerne) and Dscoop (March 1-4 in Phoenix, Arizona, for HP users). A third event, coming soon, is a pure play in digitally printed packaging and well worth visiting—the Xeikon Café that will take place in Belgium on March 27-30.
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Apr 7, 2016
Note: This blog is a result of an ongoing discussion about market definition that began with a conversation that Frank Romano and Ron Gilboa had at SGIA last November. Jim Hamilton joined the discussion later and after a few exchanges Frank suggested that we present this in point/counterpoint form. Frank will go first.
Frank: Separated by a Common Language
When you are on a ship in the South Pacific Ocean, thousands of miles from any land, and the satellite connection is down, you start to overthink things. Some people multi task; I multi think. And I started to think about all the new technology we will see at drupa for printing beyond the traditional. But as I read the releases, articles, and punditry, I wonder if we are all on the same page.
Take the three terms that are now bandied about: industrial and functional printing, and decoration.
- Industrial Printing: the product is produced using multiple technologies in an integrated manufacturing process. A prototype gear that becomes part of a mechanism is industrial. A container that has its identification printed at the factory where it is filled is industrial. Printed display screens are industrial. Most printed electronics is industrial.
- Functional Printing: the product is sellable in and of itself. A brochure is functional. A sign is functional. A 3-D printed model of a person is functional (your own personal mini-me). A package is functional. A printed T-shirt that changes color in the sun is functional. Products that change color due to external influences such as light (UV/black light), temperature (heat), pH changes, or water contact are primarily functional. “Smart” textiles and wearables are functional. Home decor wallpaper, fabric, and floor coverings are functional. The argument may be made that everything has a function, so why have two categories. But we must distinguish between products where commercial printing may be integrated at the point of manufacture, and products that may be produced by outside services.
- Decorative Printing: adding type, color, and imagery to existing products. This would include inkjet food decoration, printing on glass, wood, textiles, and other material. In the late 1800s they figured out how to print on metal, and beautiful tin boxes were produced for both home use and packaging. Embossing, coating, and die-cutting are decorative. This category may not be necessary, but Ron likes it.
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Mar 23, 2016
Highcon, the digital finishing system supplier, recently held a three day event at its headquarters in Israel to show technology developments that it will soon unveil at drupa 2016 in Germany. The short version of our report on this “pre-drupa” gathering:
- Since its debut at drupa 2012, Highcon has placed 25 of its “Euclid” and “Euclid II” devices globally
- In 2016 it will add a new portfolio of digital cutting and creasing systems and related tools, the Highcon Beam, Highcon Euclid III and the Highcon Pulse.
- These products will give carton converters and other printers new access to Highcon’s unique finishing, and also to two applications new at Highcon, 3D printing and variable data cutting.
Why Highcon Matters Read more »
Oct 15, 2015
To paraphrase the legendary Yankees catcher, Yogi Berra,
“If you come to a 4K in the road, take it.”
September and October have been busy with product announcements from leading manufacturers of streaming digital media players. But despite the surging popularity of 4K Ultra HD video, there is a mixed bag of support for the new high-resolution format. Some of the new streamers support it, but others conspicuously do not. Read more »
Sep 23, 2015
Label Expo, the premier tradeshow for the label industry, will take place September 29 to October 2 in Brussels. Now decades old, this is the show that never seems to fade, and also one where the role of digital printing technologies always seems to grow. InfoTrends will attend and make a detailed report about it to clients but for now we offer a quick preview of what we expect to see:
A huge HP booth: The stand’s core equipment will be HP Indigo WS6800 (labels and other applications) and 20000 (a 30” web, for flexible packaging and for labels also), but there will be many other products. Ones particular to HP Indigo presses will include a white ink specifically for shrink sleeves and new yellow and magenta inks with enhanced lightfastness, also software upgrades, including a VDP tool for Adobe Illustrator, within HP SmartStream Designer prepress. Some exhibits will be from partners to HP Indigo (finishing Read more »
Sep 3, 2014
HP announced on August 27 that a Czech corrugated converter, Obaly Morava, has recently installed the first HP T400 Simplex Color Inkjet Web Press to print corrugated liner stock in process colors. The news has two important features: (1) Obaly Morava will be the first to use HP’s thermal inkjet T-Series presses for packaging; (2) the corrugated market gains a major new entrant in the Read more »
Nov 21, 2013
I didn’t expect to learn how to become a futurist at AdTech New York (November 6-7, Javits Center, New York City), but it’s one of the many lessons I learned from a day on the show floor and at the conference.
How to Become a Futurist — Sheryl Connelly, a futurist at Ford, gave the Thursday morning keynote and it was a sobering ten point summary of the challenges facing the world. Here are those challenges in short form Read more »
Oct 25, 2013
Screen USA hosted a two-day open house in its facilities in Rolling Meadows, IL. (Near Chicago) this past week and provided an update on three key digital printing products: the Truepress JetSX, the Truepress Jet L350UV, and the Truepress Jet3200UV.
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May 22, 2013
This month consumers in Europe are beginning to see Coca Cola bottles on retail shelves labeled in a new way. Each bottle has the brand’s familiar swoosh graphic and red and white colors, but with iconic brand name reduced or cut out entirely. Instead, the words “Coca Cola” on the bottle have been mostly replaced by one of 150 most popularÂ firstÂ namesÂ in the country where the drink is sold. HP Indigo WS6600s are printing all the names, essentially a giant exercise in versioning–overÂ 800 millionÂ labels will be used between now and the end of Q3. Special kiosks will be on tour in the region so consumers can personalize their own Coca-Cola bottles. Coca Cola is also enlisting social media, first by encouraging Facebook users to create aÂ virtual personalized Coke can to share with someone, and then look for their own names on bottles in stores. The deal is historic, not just because it’s for Coca Cola, but because it likely is, in effect, the biggest color digital label print job ever.
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Feb 16, 2011
On February 14, at the Hunkeler “Innovationdays” tradeshow in Switzerland, Xerox announced a high speed process color printing system based on phase change inkjet. While there is no indication that the new press will target packaging applications–stated targets are transactional printing, direct mail, books, manuals, catalogs and newsprint–the news highlights Xerox’s potential as an inkjet press supplier. We focus on that here, because of the high potential for inkjet presses in packaging generally, and because Xerox has already made packaging part of its overall strategy. In that regard, since 2009, Xerox has offered its Xerox Automated Packaging Solution (APS) the folding carton printing and converting system based on the Xerox iGen, and electrophotographic device.
With the above as a caution–Xerox has a color inkjet press, but it’s not for packaging–we recommend the news story from Xerox for study by alert clients. Xerox has a lot under the hood in terms of inkjet technology and the company could someday bring that technology to bear in the packaging world. In the long term, we think that an inkjet press from Xerox could be used in packaging converting. Read more »