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.
The innovationdays are always a great opportunity to showcase new printers as well. Canon introduced a revamped ProStream. On the spec sheet the improvements are mainly in substrate handling for heavier papers but the improvements in set-up, energy consumption, print quality and footprint will be important for many users. Equally the first European showing of the HP PageWide Advantage 2200 brought limited changes on the spec sheet (a faster high quality print speed of 152 m/min) but lots of interesting features in automation, an impressively small footprint and innovative engine design. Being the first big event for high-speed digital print for years the 2023 innovationdays saw the first live presentations of the Kodak Prosper Ultra 520, the Ricoh Pro VC 70000e, RISO Valezus 2200 and the Xeikon Sirius SX30000. Screen showed the TruePress PAC520P for paper-based flexible packaging – not a core application for the Hunkeler innovationdays, but nevertheless a very interesting product.
A full article on press launches has already been published at Inkjet Insight. More insight on cut-sheet and web finishing will follow in a WhatTheyThink.com article, while a deep-dive on auto-splicers for digital web presses will follow in April.
Yet, first and foremost the innovationdays are a place to meet and talk to other people. Thanks for all the conversations I had – they offered me incredible insights. And it was great fun to catch up with so many people again. The live trade show is back again!
For me it was the 10th visit at a Hunkeler innovationdays with my first visit dating back 2003. The Hunkeler innovationdays 2023 confirmed the ongoing importance of live trade shows with at least as many visitors as before the pandemic. The “next level automation” for print production will mean less human staffing on the production floor. However, the event also confirmed that human interaction is what keeps our industry alive by exchanging ideas, getting information and giving feedback.
2022 started fairly well in terms of inkjet press activities. It was supposed to be a decent year after the pandemic weighed down on businesses in 2020 and 2021. However, sales/placement announcements dropped off in Q2 and Q3. Finally, Q4 2022 sees inkjet press placements picking up finally. It ties in with printing companies having a more positive outlook again, e.g. in Germany.
For years I keep on collecting sales and placement announcements for production inkjet devices and use those to analyse trends and data. Placements and sales numbers for 2022 show a good start into the year with a decisive drop in activity in Q2 and Q3. However, Q4 showed a significant rise in numbers, easily surpassing even Q1 2022. Keep in mind that Q4 has not even ended, so there might be a few more units to add.
The lower activity in the mid of 2022 could be caused by a lack of components and supply chain issues mounting in 2022. This has been confirmed by industry analysts and vendor information. It seems that companies are getting a better handle on it now.
Continuous feed (CF) inkjet remains the main driver in the market and accounted for the largest number of installations again. B1 and B2 cut-sheet presses had a good year, with a bit more even distribution across the year. B3 inkjet presses had a very strong second half of the year, although these devices, not being as expensive as the two other categories, are more likely to fall through the grid.
The German Federation of the Printing Industry (BVDM) is publishing a monthly overview of the current state and business outlook of the printing industry. November 2022 survey data has just been published and it shows that the printing industry seems to be finally pulling out of the depression that started in early 2022.
The survey data covers the current situation, a short term and a long term outlook. Especially the long term outlook for the next six months (Geschäftserwartungen – grey line) showed a strong recovery. Also, the short term outlook (Geschäftsklima – red line) had a 6% upswing, indicating that conditions already start to improve. On the current business situation (Geschäftslage – blue line) remains almost unchanged. All indicators remain in the negative, however.
Starting into the new year is a good time to have a look at the European print production developments in 2021. For the full revenue data to trickle in we have to wait several months – even for the first countries to report. The full data on Eurostat might be even two years out as Eurostat just about managed to publish 2019 revenues now.
The next best thing is to look at the monthly production index data published by Eurostat. Data is now available until October 2021. The best fitting category in the database is “print and reproduction of media” – with print production making up the lions share in that category. The data is based on the average 2015 volumes as being 100 index points. Starting values in the 90s for 2019 shows that print production volumes already declined before the pandemic hit in early 2020.
Some Facebook posts might stay in your mind but how about the ads found next to them? Are newsbrands more memorable than Facebook or vice versa?
Australian ThinkNewsBrands wanted to find out and commissioned the audience research lab MediaScience to get details on how recall, brand recognition and brand image compare in newspaper versus electronic media. The study included more than 5,350 participants and ran across 42 print runs and 252 websites which together created 6,037 unique brand exposures.
According to the findings, ads in printed newspapers outperform Facebook ads of all types by up to four times. When looking at printed ads, including quarter, half and full-page ads, compared with display, 6, or 15-second Facebook ads, news offers a superior level of unprompted recall.