How are kit manufacturers ‘selling’ such technologies to the show’s vast and varied range of visitors?
Drupa is the shopfront for suppliers to the print trade so it goes without saying that wide-format is going to be represented. But how will kit manufacturers in this space represent themselves and their wide-format solutions at this giant of a show, where digital print - and inkjet in particular - promises to be a focus yet must rub shoulders with all the other print technologies and vie for attention with the enormous cross-section of visitors the show attracts? We asked a random selection of Drupa exhibitors with wide-format offerings, for their take on the issue…
What is your main objective in showing wide-format digital inkjet solutions at Drupa?
Agfa: It is to create customer interest in the Agfa’s wide-format business solutions to create business opportunities.
Canon: At Canon we help customers identify opportunities for growth and to make the most of these, and this is what our Drupa theme ‘See the Bigger Picture’ is all about. For companies that already offer large-format printing there are services they can add to their offering, but it can also be a great add-on for printers who want to add a profitable new revenue source to their business.
Fujifilm: One of our four key strategies for Drupa is to provide comprehensive solutions to the sign and display market.
HP: It’s appropriate that the breadth of our GSB portfolio is showcased as print businesses look to broaden their offering due to customers seeking a wider range of applications from fewer suppliers. But also, large-format devices can offer good potential to those companies hitherto focussed on high-speed narrow web commercial printing incorporating VDP, and vice-versa.
KIP: Drupa is ideal for introducing the KIP C7800 dry toner system for black and white and colour print runs (up to 390m2/hr B&W and up to 325m2/hr colour). It produces 100% waterproof prints that are suitable for outdoor applications even in inclement weather.
Xanté: Xanté’s main objective is to challenge the expectations of Drupa attendees regarding high speed, wide-format printing. Making its first, large-scale European debut will be Xanté’s Excelagraphix 4200 Inkjet Print System featuring Memjet Waterfall printhead technology that delivers more than three billion drops of ink per second for really fast print speeds.
From which print sectors do you now expect to see the biggest migration into digital wide-format and how big a focus is that for you?
Agfa: Commercial printers are looking for ways to complete their offering and are excited with the low set-up time and versatility of the Anapurna and Jeti series. Screenprinters are looking for true digital replacement of some of their existing conventional equipment via Jeti or M-Press solutions. However, the M-Press Leopard gets a lot of interest for industrial applications, which attracts new customers too.
Canon: We’re seeing growing numbers of businesses and public sector organisations choosing to bring their large-format work in-house. The main sectors include retail, hospitality and leisure, but we’re even seeing increasing numbers of healthcare and transport organisations doing so.
Fujifilm: Printers who have invested in UV inkjet technology and have subsequently promoted themselves as ‘digital providers’ are are looking to reinvest to improve their productivity, reduce costs and enhance quality to maintain and win work.
HP: In the packaging sector devices like the HP Scitex FB7600 mean companies can combine digital printing with offset and flexo production. We have customers who traditionally might offer packaging applications now expanding their service capability to fulfil larger-format POS/POP applications. Additionally, our HP latex technology continues to open up interior design applications.
KIP: There is definite demand from the technical printing sector. In the graphic sector we think the productivity of the KIP C7800 addresses the reality of demanding print runs and compressed delivery times coupled with the highest quality expectations.
Xanté: We expect that the Excelagraphix will make it affordable for mid-sized commercial printers to print on-demand, short run, large-format work in-house to provide the likes of short run posters, personalised POP or other signage, adding variable data to offset printed materials, etc.
Will you be launching anything for the wide-format sector at Drupa?
Agfa: For M-Press Leopard there will be some new features. Also new will be two Jeti UV printing systems. The Jeti 3020 Titan will be in 36-head configuration, demonstrating productive CMYK printing in combination with a white-ink application. The Jeti 3020 Titan, with a 48-head configuration, will demonstrate high-productivity printing that uses eight heads for each color (CMYKLcLm).
Canon: Our focus at Drupa is on customer relationships rather than on new technology.
Fujifilm: Fujifilm will be making a couple of announcements.
HP: We will be unveiling the HP SmartStream Production Analyzer for HP Scitex - a data analysis and operations monitoring software for large-format PSPs. We will also be introducing the Hostert Automatic Loader for the HP Scitex FB7600 and FB7500. HP will also be launching the HP FB225 White Scitex Ink and the HP Scitex FB7500/FB7600 White Ink Kit. Plus, HP now offers HP Hiflex cloud-based software solutions, including MIS and web-to-print solutions.
KIP: We’ll introduce the KIP C7800 colour print system.
Xanté: Drupa will be the first large-scale European launch of the Excelagraphix 4200. Also new at Drupa is Xanté’s iQueue 6 digital workflow technology which is optimised for the Excelagraphix 4200.
Where do you think we’ll see the greatest advances in terms of how wide-format print is produced over the next 12 months
Agfa: The jettability of inks, print resolutions and imaging speed will most likely challenge equipment designs. But sustainability will become an important investment factor and ‘green’ alternatives to solvent inks will become more popular. Automation and workflow will become more of a focus and with this we will see wide-format evolve into markets like industrial print.
Canon: The development of 3D software for the AEC sector will drive the requirement for large-format printed output. We’re also likely to see more environmentally friendly technologies, as well as developments in ensuring consistency of colour reproduction in large-format devices used to print covers for photobooks.
Fujifilm: The traditional digital print market is close to saturation. I expect to see a big emphasis on colour management, VDP, Web-to-print and greater significance given to the ink systems inside the printer to demonstrate new more profitable print applications.
HP: I think we’ll see the growth of Web-to-print in the large-format market, and with it a growing awareness by brands and agencies of the possibilities for localisation and greater targeting. I think we’ll also see the expansion of W2P into such areas as interior design following a B2B2C model. For example, a consumer goes onto the website of a large household store, selects patterns, materials, wallpapers, matches them with paints and then collects them or has them delivered. Soft furnishings like curtains and pillows could be either readymade, or supplied as material for consumers or other designer/decorators.
KIP: Over the next year we expect the global focus on green technologies to sharpen. Our goal is to consistently improve and refine the technologies in KIP products that keep our planet green.
Xanté: As this is our first venture into the wide-format market, we can’t be sure where the next advancement will be. However, from the comments from potential Excelagraphix customers so far, we hear that flexibility and price are major issues.
What is your key message on digital
wide-format as we move forward?
Agfa: Agfa is a supplier to offset printing, which represents the backbone of the printing industry in a wide variety of applications, but Agfa Graphics is equally known to the industrial print and sign and display markets. At Drupa we will demonstrate our commitment to these markets with new high-volume system solutions built with the latest technology and taking into account the importance of sustainability.
Canon: The key message regarding digital large-format print is that it’s full of opportunity! For businesses ranging from commercial printers to photographic studios, large-format print can be a great add-on service. For businesses where large-format printing is core, we believe that the opportunities in innovative applications of digital wide-format print are excellent.
Fujifilm: Fujifilm is continuously widening its digital wide-format offering. This includes devices that focus on reducing the cost per print, not only by increasing the output speeds of the equipment but by improving handling time and ease of use, to mid-range platforms the allows printers to increase their versatility by opening up new application areas.
HP: It’s advisable to look at versatile print solutions that can undertake a broad array of applications. I think print business owners looking to invest in new equipment in 2012 should consider established, reputable suppliers that work with them as a genuine partner and who will support their own marketing efforts to ensure their creative ideas are brought to reality.
KIP: Use imaging technologies to work smarter, faster and more cost efficiently.
Xanté: We think the Excelagraphix 4200 opens up previously unavailable opportunities and we are committed to finding areas in which the small to mid-sized print shops are underserved, and develop ways to help them remain profitable and competitive.