Digital: A 2012 retrospective
Monday, 31 December 2012
2012 was for many the year that digital print technology came of age and began to challenge offset across the board and not just on short run, fast turnaround jobs.
Companies like Communisis, CPI Books, DST, MPG Books, Howard Hunt and St Ives invested heavily in the current generation of high-speed digital and hybrid web presses.
While, at Drupa, seemingly everyone was either demonstrating or previewing B2 digital presses, including HP Indigo, Fujifilm, Jadason, Miyakoshi and Screen, to name a few. And it didn’t take long for the likes of HP and Screen at least to record UK sales of said presses.
However, it was Benny Landa with his Nanographic stardust who stole the Drupa show, sealing an incredible 400 orders on the back of an (albeit impressive) smoke and light show, a few well place touchscreens and some far from faultless print samples. Such was the buzz around the Landa stand that other digital launches, such as KBA’s first inkjet web press, the RotaJet, flew under the radar.
Meanwhile Kodak, never far from the headlines in a year that started with it filing for Chapter 11 and ended with it selling the crown jewels of its digital imaging patents – once valued at more than $2bn – for just over $500m, stressed to all and sundry that it was "business as usual".
For 2013, all eyes will remain glued to Kodak’s SEC filings and Landa’s meticulously planned PR campaign and perhaps a first UK install for Fujifilm’s Jetpress?
Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after the digital print giant ran out of money to finance its stuttering transformation... EFI closed a $31m (£20.25m) cash deal to acquire ceramic printing system maker Cretaprint... HP's 4,952sqm stand booking for May's Drupa 2012 made it the second biggest exhibitor at the show... Digital printing visionary and Indigo founder Benny Landa burst back on to the print scene with the announcement that he would unveil a new nano printing technology at Drupa... Xaar recorded a 25% uplift in sales over 2010 to £69m in its 2011 results...
Delphax Technologies announced the launch of the memjet-powered Elan print system at May's Drupa 2012 in Germany... Océ said it would unveil a new full colour inkjet printer, the Colorstream 3700, at Drupa... The University of Cambridge published research into droplet formation that could help solve the so-called inkjet paradox of creating tiny droplets from viscous fluids... Industrial Inkjet's (IIJ) i-series high-speed printhead was given its world premiere at Fespa Digital... Komori entered the digital print production market after signing a global sales agreement with digital manufacturer Konica Minolta...
Communisis spent £10m on two HP T400 high-speed inkjet web presses for its Speke statementing facility... Océ's Rokus van Iperen was appointed to lead Canon Europe... Kodak announced 10 product launches for Drupa, including its next-generation Prosper high-speed inkjet web press, the 6000XL... HP resurrected its B2 digital press plans with the announcement of the 3,450sph Indigo 10000, almost a decade after it mothballed the concept... MGI joined the B2 digital brigade with the announcement of the 3,000sph Alphajet press...
Offset press manufacturers Miyakoshi and Ryobi joined forces to develop an 8,000sph B2 digital press, with a prototype due to be shown at Drupa… Digital press manufacturer Scodix announced the new S Series of digital embossing presses, capable of supporting B2+ and B3+ size applications… Kyocera unveiled what it claimed was "the world's fastest" 1,200dpi inkjet printhead with the launch of the KJ4B-Z series… Landa Corporation announced partnerships with Komori and Manroland Sheetfed after chairman Benny Landa revealed further details of the company’s "game-changing" Nanography…
Drupa 2012 kicked off with Landa and HP two of digital’s biggest draws. The former announced plans to "challenge offset" by turning Nanography into a new industry standard as it revealed yet another partnership, this time with offset giant Heidelberg. But, while Landa’s technology was said to be 18 months away from commercial release, HP’s B2 Indigo 10000 was the here and now and Hong Kong-based Wing Hung Group became its first customer… Also at the show, Screen expanded its Truepress portfolio with the launch of the Jet L350 UV and the Jet W1632 UV, the first of which was sold to UK-based Best Digital… Xerox announced twin high-performance digital press launches with the iGen 150 and Ci Press 325… Memjet’s high-speed inkjet printheads were seen powering a range of devices including printers from Delphax, Fuji Xerox, and Oce… CPI Books unveiled its HP T350-powered Quantum book line… Xaar unveiled the GS12, a new addition to its 1001 series inkjet printheads, for ceramic tile printing…
HP confirmed that it would not be exhibiting at Ipex 2014 a month after it announced a substantial drop in income and 27,000 job cuts… Domino acquired the outstanding 81% shareholding in Swiss inkjet developer Graph-Tech in a deal worth up to £19.1m… Three weeks later the Cambridge-based manufacturer bought inkjet mailing equipment manufacturer PostJet for an initial £6.5m…
Kodak got the all-clear to auction a portfolio of digital imaging patents to raise money to help fund its restructure and exit from Chapter 11… Pureprint Group became the second UK beta site for the HP Indigo 10000 after Precision Printing… While troubled printer Bluepoint Cambridge sold its digital division to commercial and book specialist Berforts Information Press…
Kodak revealed total creditor claims had reached $20.5bn in its second quarter results… Real Digital International (RDI) recorded a near 300% increase in pre-tax profits, to £3.1m, for the year to 31 December 2011… Ricoh bought web-to-print and marketing personalisation software developer PTI Marketing Technologies…
Precision was preparing for the arrival of the UK’s first HP Indigo 10000… As the BPIF launched a digital membership group to help printers better understand digital print technology and how it can help develop new business… Kodak axed the role of president and chief operating officer Phil Faraci ahead of a further 1,000 job cuts… Before asking for a Chapter 11 extension and announcing the wind down of its commercial inkjet printer sales from 2013… Meanwhile, a new sub-£2,000 OKI laser printer with white toner option was unveiled by UK distributor TheMagicTouch…
DST kicked off a multi-site upgrade with its first Kodak Prosper order… Landa took orders for 400 Nanographic presses at Drupa it was revealed, as chairman Benny Landa set out on a fundraising round for the venture, valuing it at up to $1bn… Memjet aimed to increase the life of its high-speed Waterfall inkjet printheads in order to take advantage of "huge" opportunities in the commercial print market… Tangent Communications bought web-to-print rival Goodprint for £10m…
Konica Minolta announced its acquisition of UK print manager Charterhouse PM… UK-based trade and commercial printer RCS secured a B2 sheetfed inkjet world first after bought the Screen Truepress Jet SX… HP called in the Serious Fraud Office after it was forced to announced an $8.8bn writedown of its $11bn Autonomy acquisition… Oce and Manroland Web Systems teamed up to develop a digital printing and finishing system for newspaper and book production…
Howard Hunt ordered eight Kodak Versamark DH9100 printheads to wrap up a £3.5m 12-month spend… EFI launched a digital workflow to allow large single and multi-site printers to manage job submission, prepress, colour management and output across multiple digital print engines… Kodak ended months of speculation by announcing it had completed a series of agreements to sell more than 1,000 digital imaging patents to a consortium for $525m…
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