With ink, we think the best economics are achieved with an “ink out” model where customers buy it by the pallet at the deepest discounts. Then there are metered plans where some customers like being billed different rates for black-only and another rate for color, process black, or light color. But if they like the offset press model, we offer a plan without any metered rate and you just have the cost of heads and ink plus a base maintenance charge.
QP: What do you see as the growth areas of inkjet in the graphic communications industry as a whole?
HOLDO: The standard growth areas of book publishing, transactional/transpromotional, and direct mail will continue their increases in market share, while new inks and technologies such as marketing collateral, light packaging, and short-run catalogs/newsprint will also benefit.
FOX: Growth is in transactional, transpromotional, trans-informational, direct mail, business forms, books, and some specialized general commercial applications.
WAGNER: We see growth in customers moving from being printers to becoming full marketing services providers. That means knowing how to manage and mine data, assuming you own or have access to the data. This means unprecedented levels of personalization are possible on all kinds of printed substrates. So we see marketing evolving from the basic pre-printed forms to white paper, along with personalized retail catalogs and up to sophisticated multi-channel marketing campaigns with multiple versions and touch points where the printed piece is just a part of the total strategy.
The challenge for print manufacturers is to offer turnkey workflow systems and solutions that can complement, enable, and drive the printed pieces. Also needed are solid business development tools to help the customers make the journey from printer to market services provider and train and educate their sales forces along the way.
QP: Any comments on Landa’s Nanography, which, in effect, is really a modified inkjet process?
HOLDO: Nanography is essentially a revamped electro-ink approach and is more marketing than innovation. A liquid-based application to paper fibers, which does not require water, will always yield promise over the existing technologies. However, the current examples that I have seen show this to be in its infancy. I would expect UV inks and Nanography will both become the future high-quality/substrate independent approach for inkjet in the future.
FOX: It’s a modified inkjet process and not capable of reaching the full potential advantages of pure inkjet technology. By the time it ever reaches the market—if it ever does—pure inkjet technology will have already surpassed it.
WAGNER: Part of the value we see in Nanography is the elimination or reduction of water in the ink and the print process. This is partly why we developed waterless inkjet with the CiPress 500 Production Inkjet System.