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That is certainly a question many PSPs are asking themselves these days, as the technology’s potential for extending promotional graphics services hits home. Here we see what amazing things US company Carisma has been achieving with its 3D printer, and in the new issue of Image Reports Simon Olley, MD of Stylographics outlines the company’s strategy for investing in the Massivit 1800 system. Is a 3D printer on your wish list – let me know.

I’m looking for pictures of unusual large-format inkjet printed jobs for the Think Bigger gallery of work. So if you have something that fits the bill, please pop it over to me – with a few lines just outlining the project.

Thanks in anticipation.

The latest report from Santander reveals that only 8% of 15-16 year olds consider apprenticeships a viable alternative to university - largely due to salary expectations. Those opting for university expect to earn £113,000 a year, compared to £46,000 for those undertaking an apprenticeship. The report goes on to say that in reality this is not the case - and points out that many small companies now receive tax benefits if they hire an apprentice and the national living wage is applicable to apprenticeship roles “so they can truly receive a healthy salary”. I consider £46,000 a year pretty healthy myself! Perhaps I’m just out of touch. What’s your take on apprentice/graduate recruitment and salary expectations?

It’s good to see Xaar shortlisted for The Manufacturer MX Awards (TMMX Awards) in the people and skills category. But I was wondering if any of you had nominated your own operations for the Smart Factory category at those awards. If you think you are smart let me know – I’d love to come and see ‘Industry 4.0’ in action. Meanwhile, you might want to have a look at a new website recently launched by the publisher of Image Reports. Smart Cities World is edited by former Image Reports editor Melony Rocque and can be found at: https://smartcitiesworld.net

It’s sad but unfortunately true that The Printing Charity is little recognised these days, though it’s been helping people associated with printing, packaging and publishing since 1827. Via its Print Futures Awards it continues to provide training funding, and still gives retirees the chance to live in its sheltered accommodation at Beaverbrook House in Bletchley or Southwood Court in Basildon. Perhaps we can all help in promoting the charity to those around us, if not attend its Annual Luncheon on 3 November.

I’m about to start working on the discussion specifics for this year’s Widthwise Round Table of the state of the UK and Ireland’s large-format print market. If there’s an area/topic that you would like raised please drop me a line and I’ll do my best to raise the subject – coverage of the debate will appear in the December issue of Image Reports as usual.

Is your company involved in designjunction London 2016? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Being held near King’s Cross on 22 - 25 September, the intention is for this multi-faceted event to showcase creativity during London Design Festival 2016. Specially commissioned features include ten Monopoly-style houses on Granary Square, and a super façade structure by Satellite Architects built around Cubitt House on Lewis Cubitt Square. I’m just thinking there must be wide-format print in there somewhere!

Just taking this chance to say farewell to Brian Filler who has announced his upcoming retirement from Screen having 50 years service to the print industry under his belt. Any ideas what the industry will look like in another 50 years?

I’m not talking US history. Nor anything to do with Brexit! Clothing design operation Miss Look says that fed-up of slow turnaround by print companies it took the decision to buy a sublimation printer and bring sampling in-house. Fair enough. But it poses the question - as printer manufacturers seek to sell their wares into operations that might be your customers but see the value of going it alone - what do you do to retain their business?

Without wanting to sound like I’ve morphed into a Spice Girl, I’m asking large-format PSPs what they really want from technical coverage in Image Reports? I’m continually evolving the editorial content of the magazine to ensure it delivers the kind of information you want, and on the technical front the aim is to keep you abreast of trends and developments in the large-format space, and in areas that look like impacting upon it. If there are other technically skewed pieces that you’d like me to include - or not! - let me know.

This is the first Image Reports newsletter since the Brexit vote, so the question has to be asked - how do you think the decision will impact your business? I’d like to hear your take on the issue.

It seems Pixartprinting has coined the term ‘Upload&Print’ to make it clear to non-techies and non-print-savvy would-be customers exactly what it does – Web-to-print. Good on ’em. In speaking to creatives and designers over the last few years as part of the Image Reports’ Think Bigger campaign (to educate the wider market about the possibilities of large-format digital print) it is patently clear that we must adjust our language to one they better understand. ‘Upload&Print’ seems a sensible move. What other terminologies should we be evolving?

That a global mix of print company chiefs recently met and discussed industry topics at Callprint brings to mind the messaging that strategic innovation guru Frans Johansson – he that authored the ‘The Medici Effect’ - delivered in his keynote presentation at the Drupa Cube recently. The key takeaway - find intersections where you can create new ideas. Sounds a bit woolly, but he was really telling PSPs to get out, network and brainstorm. Simples! (More will be revealed in the July issue of Image Reports…)

Is your flatbed printer running to its full capability? I don’t just mean full capacity, but rather are you getting the ROI you think you could? If you think you are yet to get the optimum return on your investment I’d be interested to hear what you think needs to change for that to happen.