Luncheon Ponders Next Generation of Production Inkjet
The next eight years could represent a highly transformative period for high-speed production inkjet printing, but printers in 2015 are still finding themselves blown away by its rate of growth and continued improvement in quality. Those were just two of the conclusions reached during the Production Inkjet Luncheon held Sept. 14 during GRAPH EXPO 15. The event was presented by Printing Impressions magazine and sponsored by Mitsubishi Imaging, Ricoh and Tecnau.
About 75 printers—all either avid production inkjet users or firms seriously pondering its adoption—gathered to break bread and listen to Marco Boer, vice president at Hanover, Massachusetts-based I.T. Strategies and an inkjet evangelist. He noted that users are improving full leverage of high-speed inkjet technology capabilities, and new applications continue to be a key to success.
As the technology enters its next phase, high resolution and coated stocks will translate into superior output quality. This should stretch the production inkjet spectrum well beyond the initial spaces of books, direct mail and transactional/transpromo work.
Following Boer’s presentation, a panel of users representing a far-ranging sample of the printing industry, took part in a Q&A discussion. The panelists included Jim Renella, senior vice president of quality operations at Diamond Marketing Solutions in Carol Stream, Illinois; Nate Milliken, vice president of Epsilon, headquartered in Dallas; and Frank Horning, vice president of operations for Liturgical Publications, New Berlin, Wisconsin.
Substrates, according to Milliken, are a critical part of the equation. When trying to achieve candy-apple red colors for an automotive piece, print quality is essential. Milliken stressed to the audience the importance of conveying your needs to paper and finishing vendors. “Find out who’s achieving the best quality,” he said.
Based on his experiences, Renella’s advice to fellow printers centered on bringing aboard or developing a prepress person who is a color expert. That enables the printer and customer to get on the same page in terms of inkjet output expectations, particularly those clients who value color accuracy.
Horning suggested printers partner with vendors whom they can rely upon to provide training and support. “There are always going to be bugs and you need that support to ensure machines are running optimally,” he said.