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.
If you think your company should be considered as well, please contact me at email@example.com
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.
My career in print started almost 30 years ago at MAN Roland, the largest web offset manufacturer at that time. In 2001 I left the company to focus on digital print, also expecting that the market for ever-faster conventional presses would eventually dry up. MAN Roland eventually had to declare bankruptcy and was split into two companies. The web press portion later merged with Goss, one of its largest competitors. Still, sales declined and it seems that we are now at the end of the road for heatset offset.
At the recent Intergraf “Print Matters for the Future“ conference, I listened to a remarkable presentation on high volume flyer/door drop printing. On the background of major advertisers pulling out of printed door-drops and impeding governmental regulations that could essentially stop door drops the presentation was already quite interesting. The good news is that proposed regulations are still being reviewed and most retailers still stick with door drops (more on the preference of consumers for door drops here).
It was good to be at the Hunkeler innovationdays 2023 again, with next level automation as its motto. This certainly held true. 50 print application lines were shown live with many in-line or highly integration solutions.
Hunkeler launched several interesting new pieces of equipment like a B2 cut-sheet finisher moving into a new level of productivity. In the traditional web finishing space a high volume, yet variable book block production line (the Starbook) with added Book Sorting Module was presented. Adding to flexibility and automation was a new autosplicer for fast and easy roll change – either in front of a press or for near-line web finishing lines.
Finally, the Hunkeler innovationdays are back, not only bringing more inkjet devices, but also a lot of technology around the presses – of course with finishing being very prominent. If you have not been to the Hunkeler innovationdays: it is the event to get the best possible overview on continuous feed production presses. Not only will all important vendors for digital commercial, publishing and document printing presses be there, the event also allows seeing the latest presses printing side-by-side.