New In-plant Track Helps Make Canon's thINK Ahead 2019 a Success
From its inspiring keynotes to its plentiful networking opportunities, thINK Ahead 2019 — which took place last week at the Waldorf Astoria Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton, Fla. — was a resounding success. More than 600 people attended the annual inkjet user conference, now in its fifth year.
One exciting new feature was the addition of a full track of sessions for in-plants. Numerous in-plant inkjet users served as speakers and panelists, sharing their inkjet experiences.
"I really liked the dedicated in-plant track program," remarked Chuck Werninger, senior manager & records management officer at Houston Independent School District Printing Services. "It's becoming more significant that in-plants come to an event like this. Inkjet is a mature platform, not an experiment."
Werninger was joined by in-plant managers from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Sanford Health, Cincinnati Insurance, the U.S. Government Publishing Office, Kentucky Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co., and several other operations. They shared how inkjet enabled them to replace multiple toner and offset devices, transition monochrome documents into full-color pieces, bring outsourced work in-house, eliminate the expense of printing and storing shells, and many other advantages.
During the three-day event — which was bookended with tours of Canon's Customer Experience Center, along with two thought-provoking keynotes — attendees made new friends with fellow inkjet users and talked about their businesses. Audience participation at the sessions was excellent, with people asking specific questions about equipment mechanics or finishing. Often, audience members chimed in with their own solutions to help their peers solve problems.
One topic that came up repeatedly — and never failed to elicit surprise from those still considering inkjet — was the impressive uptime of inkjet presses: more than 95% according to many. Though some who are investigating inkjet expressed concern about replacing all existing digital presses with a single inkjet press, those who have successfully done this assured them that despite similar fears at the onset, their inkjet presses almost never go down; in fact they run best when they never stop running, they said.
During thINK Ahead 2019, Canon Solutions America executives made several interesting announcements. Francis McMahon, executive VP, and Erik Hawkinson, VP of marketing, unveiled the next iteration of the Océ VarioPrint i-series inkjet technology: the Océ VarioPrint i-series+. The new Canon U.S.A. sheetfed inkjet press will empower customers to print high-quality graphic arts applications with a large color gamut on a wide range of standard offset coated media.
They also revealed that Canon has outgrown its Customer Experience Center and plans to open a new, larger version in March, where even more Canon technology will be on display.
Next year, thINK Ahead will get an earlier start, taking place Aug. 31-Sept. 2, 2020, once again at the Boca Raton Resort & Club.
Related story: Canon Unveils New Sheetfed Inkjet Device
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited nearly 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.