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Travelling to tomorrowland?

Go to Drupa 2016 and you’ll ‘touch the future’ according to the official show tagline. For ‘touch the future’ read ‘Print 4.0’ – meaning end-to-end digital workflows made possible by the intelligent networking of machines and systems, allowing for more individualisation and personalisation. And digital inkjet is key part of all that.

Catching the conmen

Scams affect every industry, but there are a couple of nasty ones targeting the large-format print sector right now. Scott Conway of Venture Banners highlights those he’s come across.

We’ve all laughed at the email from the wealthy African Prince offering a cut of his millions in return for help to get those millions out of the country. ‘Who on Earth would fall for that?’ we
A 5625snigger as we hit the delete key. Unfortunately that is the easily spottable tip of a very large iceberg of cons, and worryingly there are a number of scammers out there that seem to be targeting printers in general - and large-format printers in particular. Out of interest and for research purposes we at Venture Banners followed several scams through and although most are shallow and easily identified some are quite ingenious….

Over to you...James Kemp, Group print manager, AB Print Group

What’s having the greatest impact on your business at the moment?

I think the greatest impact on our business is yet to come, we have made a lot of investment in equipment recently which will keep us at the forefront of digital wide format printing, but with the European Referendum in the summer, and having over 800 customers from all business sectors, this has the potential to put the brakes on our continued growth, but hopefully not.

Small is beautiful

Walter Hale takes a look at how nontechnology is likely to impact the world at large, and the word of print in particular.

Small is Beautiful’ - that was the title of British economist EF Schumacher’s groundbreaking book, published in 1973, in which he argued that bigger was not necessarily better, that the modern economy was unsustainable and that small, appropriate technologies that empowered people - as opposed to organisations - were the wave of the future. Schumacher’s book was prophetic in its concerns and he has been partially proved right, albeit not quite in the way he imagined. Today, if you read a headline containing the phrase ‘small is beautiful’, it’s more likely to preface an article on nanotechnology than Schumacher’s thesis.
A Reliable power on the go

ON TEST: Epson SC-S60600

Epson has updated its solvent signage printers but how much of an improvement are they? Nessan Cleary went to find out.
E - S60600 Side DC23070 PQ

Work in progress

At first glance there appeared to be a distinct lack of new large-format inkjet hardware at this year’s Fespa Digital show… but there were a few surprises tucked away. Nessan Cleary reports.

This year’s Fespa event in Amsterdam was the digital-only version rather than the full-fat flavour - which means there was no screenprinting. Rather the event was made up of a collection of different exhibitions that together showcased textile and garment printing alongside printed interior decor and home furnishings as well as actual digital printers. The overall impression was a focus on applications rather than hardware, which most visitors seemed happy with. But it meant that on a first show walkthrough there was a noticeable lack of inkjet hardware, particularly the big flatbeds that we’d normally expect to see at a Fespa show, with many vendors presumably holding back for the European print trade show calendar’s big daddy, Drupa, which takes place in Dusseldorf in a few weeks.

I - Fespa2016 Mimaki DC23204 PQ

The circular economy it’s not just trash

“The West has reached the age of ‘peak stuff’.” That remark by Steve Howard, chief sustainability officer at IKEA, has been much quoted and often misinterpreted. What Howard meant, as he explained in an interview with America’s National Public Radio, is that “If you take the total material impact of society in the West, it’s just about peaked.” Sales of oil, sugar, beef and cars - and possibly even furnishings - Howard suggested, have peaked - or will soon do so - and customers are so worried about how to dispose of their possessions they’re looking for a secondary market for them.

Build yourself a growth engine

1. The route to growth

Targets can be very helpful, of course, but directors too often encourage their people to commit to a number - say, annual revenue growth of 7% - even though the path to achieving it isn’t clear. This can lead companies to chase growth in too many directions.

Seeking a cure

SMP is working with a number of manufacturers to find water-based UV-curable inks for the billboard sector. It’s just one of a number of innovative moves being made by the company as Mark Turner, director of digital print, and sales director Nick Stagg explain.

talks to... Derek Churchill...

In January we received news that the purchase of two Mimaki flatbeds from CMYUK had set SCG on a new path - that the new technical digital print capability had prompted the company to team up with photographic artist Richard Osbourne to provide bespoke glass installations for interiors. Can you remind us of the key points in that diversification?B Derek Churchill 2607

Widthwise 2016: an overview

The full Widthwise Report 2016 will be posted out with the next issue of Image Reports. But here’s a head’s up on the scope and main findings of this year’s poll of domestic large-format PSPs.

For nine consecutive years Image Reports had undertaken an independent annual survey of the UK and Ireland’s wide-format digital inkjet printing PSPs in a bid to provide a statistical-based report on the state of the domestic sector using grassroots information. This year 238 print companies involved in large-format print responded to the Widthwise poll, which went live online at the start of 2016 and closed at the end of February. Telephone interviews were conducted over the same time period.

As one door closes...

…another opens. Fast on the heels of Fespa Digital comes Sign and Digital UK 2016. Here’s what you’ll find beyond the exhibition stands.

Over to You... Carl Webster, Director, Impression

What’s having the greatest impact on your business at the moment?
Our recent purchase - the Dyss 7 cutter has increased our manufacturing capabilities.

At home with digital textile printing

Heimtextil is something of a pull for anyone involved in textiles. So can PSPs learn much from the trends and developments highlighted at the recent 2016 event? Duncan Ferguson, director of Professional Printings Solutions for exhibitor Epson Europe, gives his view.

The digital print technology hall at Heimtextil in Frankfurt in January was really inspiring this year in terms of the high level of interest from textile designers and all sizes of textile and decor product manufacturers and print service providers (PSPs) that we experienced on our booth.
A - Furnishings and wallpaper printed using Epson inkjet printers

Preparing for a different reality

As we experience huge leaps forward in augmented and virtual reality technology, Walter Hale scopes out the possible impact on the digital print market.

“Mankind cannot bear too much reality”, TS Eliot once remarked. Yet we are set to get more reality than ever. On top of the original reality, we can experience an augmented version or a virtual alternative. How will we cope? Will they be of any use? And how will they impinge upon digital printing?
J -14715817

ON TEST: Roland SolJet EJ640

The SolJet EJ640 is the latest in a long line of solvent printers from Roland but does it have anything new to offer? Nessan Cleary put it to the test.
B - RolandEJ640 Front DC22848 PQ