As we speak, I am finishing a round-up of six installations (all but one of which were in 2012) of the current generation of high-resolution, high-speed inkjet devices for the February 2013 issue of Printing Impressions. It’s a follow-up to the one I wrote in the March 2012 issue. It’s always fun to do these sorts of things in back-to-back years to compare how things have changed.
I don’t want to spoil the fun by giving anything away, but here are the top three observations I made while doing the interviews and writing up the article.
- The companies profiled this year had significant pain points that were solved by high-speed inkjet, but I didn’t sense the level of urgency I heard from last year’s interviewees (which made their installations in late 2010/2011). This year’s crop had pain points that justified early investment, but those pain points weren’t so acute that they couldn’t wait the extra 12 months or so to let the bleeding edge adopters be the guinea pigs.
- Last year, the installations and integrations had enough challenges and created enough frustration that a number of interviewees were willing to share some of them with me. Those comments weren’t always on the record, but I heard quite a few of them. This year, the overriding answer to, “What surprises did you encounter?” was, “How few surprises there were.”
- Substrate challenges, including lack of available substrates, was not a significant factor. One interviewee indicated that, at the very high end, the options were still limited, but he expected that to change rapidly enough that he didn’t think it was really worth mentioning.
Overall, these companies found that the biggest challenges were in adjusting to the speed of these presses and the rollfed environment. One company had to make some adjustments just to fit the press into its production facility at all. With the inline finishing, the press was 75 feet long.
Who are these companies, why did they choose the presses they did, and what are the specifics of those installations? Check out Printing Impressions‘ February 2013 issue to find out.