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Sat, Aug

As you’d expect there’s been a rush of news given that Drupa is in full swing, and despite it being far from a wide-format orientated event it is being hailed as an ‘inkjet show’ for the second time running. In the four years since the last show the technology has embedded itself as a core printing method, which is being witnessed by the breadth of its adoption across the mainstream as well as niche sectors as highlighted at this year’s Drupa. If you’ve not made the trip to Dusseldorf there’s still time…

 

Well, Drupa has opened its doors and my senses are already being bombarded by all things print. Wide-format inkjet has its place here of course and I’ll keep you abreast of interesting developments as the show – and my journey around it – progresses. In the meantime, drop me a line if you see anything that catches your imagination so I can go and investigate…

As the UK member of the EDP it’s great to be able to announce the winners of the association’s annual awards and to applaud all those manufacturers who continue to push the envelope. No doubt Drupa will bring contenders for the next EDP awards!

Do any printers still take their partners with them when they go to trade shows abroad? Details of the scope of this year’s drupacity have left me wondering because it seems other halves could have a fab time indulging themselves in Dusseldorf while the rest of us slog it out in the Drupa halls. Otherwise, who’s going to benefit from all this?

It’s great to see companies involved in this sector winning Queen’s Awards, proving that there is plenty of innovation both in terms of product and strategic development. This year’s Widthwise Report focuses on innovation and what that means in business. You’ll find an overview in the soon to be published May issue of Image Reports magazine, with the full report available online in early June. If you think your company is highly innovative please get in touch.

What do you understand ‘sustainability’ to mean in terms of your company ethos? For so many printers it seems to mean little more than offering print using greener inks and materials, and perhaps offering a waste collection scheme. It may even stretch to monitoring and trying to reduce energy use in-house but that’s about as far as it goes. If you’re one of the still relatively small number of companies being more proactive than that please get in touch.

With little over a fortnight to go before Drupa I’m wondering whether the spurt of investment we’ve seen in finishing equipment for the wide-format arena in the last couple of years has slowed with a bigger injection of cash now stimulating high levels of pre-press/design product take-up? Let me know your thoughts.

Are we about to see a price war? Noting Graphtec GB’s move to cut the costs of its FC8000 and CE5000 plotter/cutters by up to 30% one wonders if it’s a sign of things to come among other manufacturers and suppliers - or just a lucky break for those that want one of the Graphtec machines!

Textile is still way down the list of capabilities offered by UK wide-format print companies according to data collected in the new Widthwise 2012 poll. And textile printers are way down the new kit wish list of the sector too – so what’s holding us back? You can read the full report when it’s published just in time for Drupa on 3 May. A downloadable PDF will be available at: http://www.imagereportsmag.co.uk/widthwise2012

It’s always great to see companies awarded for outstanding work, so well done to those who clinched a Sign and Digital UK Award last week. Please remember that we run a gallery of unusual and thought provoking wide-format print in Image Reports each month. If you have recent jobs that you are particularly proud of, please send me a 300dpi JPG of the print ‘in-situ’ and a few lines explaining what was so unusual about it and the chances are it will make it into the gallery.

What do you think to this anti-bacterial printing service being introduced by Quantum-UV Technologies then? The general consensus seems to be that we’ve just seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what is possible with inkjet technologies - with huge potential beyond print. It’s great to see that here’s a really unusual inkjet development that is print based.

Will you be taking your in-house designers with you to Sign and Digital UK? It may be worth it because increasingly it’s their creative juices and technical capabilities that can make the difference between your company becoming a front runner or remaining an also ran. If you don’t have the time to make such arrangements now for Sign and Digital, perhaps think about Drupa.

Are the Budget announcements likely to help or hinder your business do you think? Both the Forum of Private Business and BPIF have mixed feelings on the issue, which I guess will be pretty representative of those running the businesses they champion. But perhaps you have a different view. If so let me hear it.

Have you turned your hand to textile printing yet? I’m trying to get a measure of how far this option has permeated the wide-format digital inkjet print sector’s consciousness given the length of time it’s been mooted as the great next thing. All the signs are good (no pun intended!), but there still seems to be a reticence when it comes to really embracing the idea. Let me know your thoughts.

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