Thu, Sep

When you receive this I’ll be gearing up to host a debate among printers and print buyers at the new EcoPrint event in Berlin this afternoon on the question: Can you sell your sustainability USP as a printer? From a Round Table panel discussion on sustainability run by Image Reports in London a few weeks ago (see Aug/Sept issue) the feeling was ‘no’. It will be interesting to see what kind of response we get from a broader European panel …

According to one printer I spoke to recently, software developers are considered the really influential players in today’s marketplace. Software’s certainly where we’re seeing oodles of development as vendors recognise they can strike it rich by providing printers with the efficiency and flexibility tools they crave to get the most out of their capital investments. Given one wish, what software development would you ask for?

We know from the Widthwise 2012 survey and soon to be published EDP survey of the European digital print market that latex printers are top of the investment priority list. So has HP got it right by running mini-events like the Latex Application Tour this October – events brought closer to you and with a focus on applications rather than the actual kit that produces them (though one necessarily requires the other)?

What should be top of printer manufacturers’ R&D lists these days? News of the speedy SolJet Pro4 XR-640 Roland machine has made me ponder the question given my visits to various other machine makers, where much is still being been made of developing faster printers. But should that be their priority. In the Widthwise Survey conducted by Image Reports in the spring, lower machine running costs came out top of the innovation wish list  – and in terms of the biggest technical issue being faced, it was machine reliability! So is there a better way for the grassroots to feed back to the manufacturers?

Are we all going soft? The amount of news coming in to me in regards to printed textiles would have me believe so if I didn’t know otherwise. Last month I asked why you thought the UK wide-format market was still dragging its feet in a sector that must surely provide some decent return on investment. So far, I’ve not heard any really weighty argument. Is that because, finally, there isn’t one?

It works with bells on for Pixartprint - Web-to-print that is. But does it work for you? Have you even considered it as part of your wide-format offering? In a post-presentation chat with a printer at Cross Media last week one of the speakers – himself a print buyer – mentioned that W2P was core to cross channel development for any print business. I’d love to hear what you think about that…

Ipex organiser Informa Exhibitions is doing all in its power to bolster confidence in the 2014 event following news that some high profile companies will not be exhibiting. Speaking at another of its shows this this week – the new Cross Media – Trevor Crawford made the comment that Ipex “is an experience, and event, not just a big exhibition”. And to my mind there’s the key to its future success – ensuring that visitors have some real reason to attend other than to see companies and solutions. Cross Media proved that really timely, well-targeted and well-positioned seminar content can draw the crowds. We already know that Cross Media will be incorporated into Ipex 2014 so I wait with some eagerness to see what the organisers will have drawn from this new event and how they marry that with all Ipex has grown to be.

According to Chris Palmer, MD of expanding Carrick Signs, what’s a terrible economy for some is great for others – his attitude being that if you are cost effective enough you can get people to talk to you who may not have bothered before! What’s your take on that viewpoint? 

Now the summer is drawing to a close are you in the market for buying new kit? Has the Olympics given you a new sense of optimism. Suppliers and manufacturers are doing their best to seduce you into new way? Holding out or going with the flow? How do you see the next 12 months? We'd be interested to know. Drop us a line with your thoughts.

It’s interesting to see that new companies like Your Print Partner are coming into the large-format textile print market which, lets face it, still lags somewhat behind mainstream Europe despite the oft discussed opportunities therein. Why do you think this is the case, despite all the technical advances we’ve seen in this space over the last couple of years?

In an e-missal last week I asked whether all the changes to the UK trade show calendar had reinvigorated what I understand to be a flagging appetite among UK printers for trade shows? Now that Heidelberg has joined HP in deciding not to exhibit at the next Ipex, I have to ask what role you see future trade shows playing if they are no longer considered a cost-effective sales/purchasing platform? Are vertical market events more useful?

What are your thoughts on the print trade exhibition offering? We’ve heard of various changes/additions to the show calendar and event make-up over the course of the last year or so, Informa Exhibitions’ decision to relaunch Northprint as North Print and Pack 2013 being just the latest. Have the moves reinvigorated what I understand to be a flagging appetite among UK wide-format printers for trade shows per se?

Warning: I’ve been asked to point out to you that if you haven’t re-registered to receive the printed format Image Reports in the last year then your subscription could be about to expire. Wide- and grand-format printers in the UK and Ireland are eligible for a free annual subscription - just visit www.imagereportsmag.co.uk/subscribe and complete a registration form to make sure you don’t miss out on any of our upcoming issues.

News of Paul French’s move to Metamark got me thinking about recruitment in the print sector, and how the same well-known faces move around from one company to another. So how do you manage to land the big catch – that person you know all your competitors would like to have. Money talks, no doubt. But what else do you use as bait? And once you’ve reeled in your prize how do you keep it?

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