The Inkjet Integrator Series

For Inkjet Insight I am preparing an Inkjet Integrator Series, profiling companies and their services offered. Some basic considerations on which companies are going to be covered are laid out in a kick-off article on Inkjet Insight. In short, we cover companies buying in inkjet heads and designing inks, transport, and handling for bespoke print solutions. This can stretch from commercial to packaging, industrial, and even 3D-print and electronics. Often companies develop a set of modules to pick and combine with a lot of leeway to include custom components.

I am impressed with how integrators come up with efficient solutions for complex problems, considering the typical company size of about 30 employees. And how they compete against inkjet behemoths often 100 times the size is fascinating as well. There is one area integrators often fall behind and that is talking to the market. The Inkjet Integrator Series is hopefully changing this a bit.

The series kicked off with an article on NEOS, a company I have known for some years now. I already completed three more interviews to turn into written articles and the series will be continued shortly. The plan is to add one or two profiles per month. Inkjet Insight decided to have the articles outside of the paywall so users can get informed on the capabilities of the players for free. Please keep in mind that the articles are not sponsored and reflect the view of the author.

NEOS Bombardier module
Inkjet Integrator module – custom configurable

If you think your company should be considered as well, please contact me at ralf@digitalprintexpert.de

Xerox reorganises (again)

There is no other brand name connected as much to digital print as Xerox. Accordingly, there is considerable attention when an announcement is made that Xerox reorganises (again).

To be honest, Xerox reinvented itself a couple of times. More recently Xerox acquired ACS in 2010 to diversify into services. After some years of little growth and synergies between the two business units, Xerox spun off the service business in 2016 as Conduent. In 2018 a new leadership team under John Visentin was installed by “activist investors” Icahn and Dyson, after terminating the Fujifilm merger and the ensuing divorce from Fuji Xerox. 2019/2020 saw the failed bid for HP takeover. This was followed by donating the PARC research centre, selling off portions of the software business, shuttering the former Impika inkjet activities in France, and terminating the liquid metal 3D print project.

Evidence is rushing in – printed is better

There has been some confirmations before that printed is better for learning, now governments are taking action. In September 2023 the Swedish government reversed its decision by the National Agency for Education to make digital devices mandatory in preschools and instead focus more on printed materials. It plans to go further and to completely end digital learning for children under the age 6. It follows a drop in the reading scores of pupils since 2016. The government even set 60 million euros aside for book purchases for the country’s schools this year.

The decision follows expert advice from the renowned Karolinska Institute that highlighted the lack of substantiated positive findings and emphasized the significant negative effects of digitizing schools on students’ knowledge acquisition. “There’s clear scientific evidence that digital tools impair rather than enhance student learning,”

Booktok – influencing the book market

You might have heard of Booktok, even not being a regular (or at all) on Tiktok. Booktok is influencing the book market and the contributors are the modern book bloggers who reach millions of users with their short videos. The Booktok hashtag is now closing in on 200 billion views. Of course, it is unclear what portion of views ended up in real sales. The general consensus is that Booktok contributed to an uptick in book sales since 2021. Nielsen in the UK did some consumer research and found that the share of Booktok among all sales accounted for 3% of all book revenues in 2022.

Who and how Booktok is used is a bit better researched. According to one study in the UK, 38% of young people rely on Booktok for recommendations ahead of family and friends. At the same time, 68% said Booktok inspired them to read books they wouldn’t have considered otherwise.

Where are paper prices heading

Paper used to be a major consideration in print all along. The importance increased considerably in recent years, however. Not only did the printing industry experience supply shortages, also the prices increased drastically. This has a major impact on what media executives are ordering – specifically print or an electronic alternative. These shifts are usually not done on short notice, rather they need to filter through a marketing or corporate strategy. Accordingly, it is important to see where are paper prices heading in the mid term to gauge the impact.