Sixth Inkjet Summit a Big Success
It's safe to say that no one left the Inkjet Summit this week with a lack of information on inkjet. The summit's dozens of speakers and case study presenters did an excellent job getting out the message that production inkjet is a proven, profitable technology that can bring great opportunities to any print operation willing to implement it.
"For us, inkjet is a game changer," proclaimed Brett Coltman, COO of Direct Technologies, in a panel discussion on Monday evening. "It puts us at a whole new level."
He was one of many inkjet users at the Inkjet Summit who shared their knowledge and experiences with the audience of more than 120 commercial, in-plant, transactional and direct mail printers and publishers during the three-day event. About two dozen in-plant managers participated in the in-plant track, led by IPG Editor Bob Neubauer. On Wednesday he moderated a panel of in-plants that have inkjet to learn more about their experiences.
Inkjet’s increasing acceptance is demonstrated by the fact that last year, the process was responsible for producing 300 billion pages, noted Conference Chair Marco Boer, of I.T. Strategies, in his opening keynote. Technical advancements in productivity and substrate compatibility are helping inkjet stay ahead.
To help others understand how to prepare for adding an inkjet press, presentations covered many ancillary aspects of the process, such as paper selection, selling inkjet output, the business justification process and workflow.
This last topic was tackled by Elizabeth Gooding, president of Insight Forums and co-founder of InkjetInsight.com, on Wednesday afternoon.
"Software is not workflow," she insisted; it's just one component of a larger set of resources for getting jobs into production quickly, economically and securely.
Selecting a workflow solution should be a square-one decision, said Gooding, who called upon inkjet adopters to make their selections “before, or at least in tandem with, the hardware purchase.” Part of the urgency lies in the fact that workflow does more than just get jobs into production: properly implemented, it can save inkjet printers considerable amounts of money as well.
On a high-speed inkjet press creating thousands of images per minute, said Gooding, “every second counts.” An efficient workflow can boost performance by reducing the frequency of paper changes and other steps that eat into uptime. The payoff of gaining just 10 minutes of productivity per day, she said, can be anywhere from $75,000 to $1.5 million, depending on the speed of the press.
Throughout the event, attendees talked with one another about their inkjet plans, concerns and experiences. All came away with the realization that there is more to getting a production inkjet press than just installing the press; workflow, finishing, paper selection and training will all require significant attention. To help, attendees met individually with sponsors in scheduled 1:1 meetings which allowed them to discuss their concerns, get answers and make important contacts.
As Boer noted in his closing remarks, inkjet technology has advanced to a point where “there are no bad products”: just solutions that suit some applications better than others. The task before prospective adopters is to find the combination of printing, paper, software and finishing that lets inkjet be everything it can be — and, he added, to make sure the culture of the supplier is the right fit for your operation.
Related story: Inkjet Summit Off to a Great Start
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Graphics 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 more than 130 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 Graphics.