Wed, Aug

What are your thoughts on Canon’s attempt to fill the gap in the roll-to-roll market with its new UVgel print technology? Must say it was looking good when I saw the first printer to incorporate the technology at its press launch yesterday. No white or clear ink/varnish though which surprised me somewhat, but apparently the market is not calling for it. Canon said it would consider development if required. What’s your thinking?

If you’re thinking of moving into textiles you’re going to love this issue - the ‘What To Watch’ feature gives you a heads-up on all the latest developments in terms of digital print production, while the Zeitgeist piece points out that you can get involved without shelling out for new kit at all!

Peter Kiddell of the Fespa Association UK has asked me to pass on his thanks to those who have already taken part in its Print Training Needs Survey, and to ask those of you who haven’t to please do so. You can find the poll at: Fespa UK Association Print Training Needs Survey

With trade shows like Sign and Digital UK and Fespa 2017 within our sights I’m wondering whether many PSPs will be actually exhibiting at any fairs this year - here or abroad. I know of a few that are as they attempt to get new offerings and possibilities in front of new customers. If you, are please get in touch – I’m very interested to find out which companies are helping make noise and get a broader swath of potential customers to ‘wake up to wide-format’.

In the news today we have the key findings from the Fourth Drupa Global Trends Report and the announcement of Fespa’s second global Print Census, both of which provide a valuable global view. Meanwhile, here at Image Reports, we’re in the throws of analysing the data from our annual Widthwise survey, which closed a week ago – and I want to take this opportunity to say a really heartfelt thank you to the 243 UK/ Ireland-based large-format PSP who took part. Such a fabulous response will enable us to deliver a really insightful, process/regional specific report in May. Better get my nose back to the grindstone…

What are your thoughts on Fespa dropping its dedicated digital show and making its main show a wider reaching annual event? You can see more on what CEO Neil Felton has to say on that topic - and others - in the March issue ‘Talking Point’ interview that will be published/online next week.

I’m loving the ‘Conference in a Case’ graphics package just brought out by Insite Graphics. The idea of being able to shove all your seminar/exhibition graphics in the overhead locker on the plane and cut down on the hanging around at luggage reclaim is a winner with me. What innovative solutions are you coming up with to ease your customers’ pain?

One last shout-out to all large-format PSPs to take part in our annual Widthwise Survey on the state of the sector. Click here to take part (make link live please), and in May you’ll be glad you joined your colleagues in providing stats that you’ll not find anywhere else! Thank you.

Right, the 2017 Widthwise Survey ends this Friday. We want your input to ensure that this tenth annual poll captures as much information on the state of the UK/Ireland wide-format digital print sector as possible. So join in. You’ll benefit from the data analysis that will be provided in the free Widthwise report in May. To take part click here

I met with BPIF CEO Charles Jarrold at the end of January where we discussed the need for a cohesive and fully representative print industry voice to government – and elsewhere. But does large-format really make enough noise about its requirements to ensure they are on the agenda? Jarrold said he’d welcome input from the sector - BPIF members or otherwise - so maybe it’s time to bend his ear as the GPMA ramps up its lobbying.

Just thought it worth mentioning a new research project between inline digital printing company DataLase and Manchester University to develop a diverse portfolio of colour-change ink pigments for multi-colour printing of products and packaging. OK, it’s not aimed at large-format inkjet printing, but perhaps it’s worth keeping an eye on.

The project will form part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), a programme helping businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills. Marion Wrackmeyer, a member of the School of Chemistry at Manchester University, will work on the project for the next two years. 

The announcement of the Fespa 2017 marketing strapline ‘Dare to Print Different’ prompts me to ask if technological advancement and new products/market opportunities have significantly changed your customer base over the last few years. If so, please drop me a line – I’d like to talk to you in relation to an editorial project I’m running.

Are digital print companies part of the digital community? Would it be helpful if they were seen as such? If so, perhaps it would make sense to be taking part in events like the upcoming ‘Digital Skills Festival’ in Manchester next month? Just a thought given print’s image issues as an outdated industry.

Could your ‘solutions’ people help brands reach the customers they are struggling to attract? If that’s a key area for you it might be worth having a look at the 2017 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI) from research consultancy Brand Keys.  It shows that changing customer expectations are making life harder for retailers seeking to improve brand engagement levels – maybe they could do with your input?