Ipex debutant Lumejet (S2-F175) has announced the second and third customers for its revolutionary S200 photonic printer as well as new partnerships with Duplo and Taopix.
The Coventry-based firm has taken its first ever stand at a trade show at the Excel to showcase its technology, which is best described as “inkjet with light” according to CEO Paul Anson.
Anson, who co-founded Inca Digital Printers in 2000, spoke of Lumejet's "global ambitions" at Ipex as he announced the second and third customers for the S200 printer, following last year's successful beta and sale to Docklands-based Altaimage.
The two new customers are Darlington-based photo product printer Sense Creative, which will take delivery of its S200 next month, and Woolwich Arsenal-based point of sale printer TG Print & Design, which will install its machine in May.
Sense Creative managing director Tim Thompson said: "We saw a couple of reviews of the LumeJet S200 in the trade press which, as we were looking at the photographic market, were really interesting.
"We followed up with LumeJet and when we finally saw the quality of the samples they blew us away. We think that photographers are a key market for us but, to service the sector adequately, we need the highest quality print possible.
"The output from the LumeJet means that we can happily reach into the photographic market. There is no other machine on the market where we can approach photographers and be confident that we can exceed their expectations."
Anson said that Lumejet would shortly expand into Germany and Northern Europe before moving into the North American market in 2015, while a "simple evolution" of the current S200 product will enable printing on transparent media for applications like backlit displays and colour filters. Longer term, the Lumebar is being developed for packaging applications.
TG Print & Design managing director Dave Duhig said that the company had already made a number of investments in specialised kit in recent years, to allow it to offer products like secure tickets, banners and canvas prints, and that it was therefore not looking to make any more investments at the present time.
"However, when we saw the quality of the LumeJet S200’s output we felt that there was a real opportunity to take our diversification further," he added. “While it may seem like a huge step away from our existing customer base, it actually isn’t quite as big as it first appears.
"We already deal with customers who want high quality products, as we produce flyers for galleries, photographers, artists, and jewellers. To be able to offer them the ultra-high quality output from the LumeJet in other formats just allows us to keep those customers in house.
“We see the early adoption of technology, like the LumeJet, as an opportunity to diversify and, above all, offer a service which will return a profit. The S200 will dovetail with our existing technology giving our clients really high end products, and at the same time providing us with a profitable revenue stream."
US print maven Frank Romano, who chaired a panel discussion at the World Print Summit at Ipex on Tuesday, is among Lumejet’s growing band of fans and described its output as “the highest quality printing I have ever seen”.
Anson said that the company, which expects to sell 15-20 units in the UK and Germany this year, aimed to be “disruptive and different” but that it was not trying to displace other digital technologies.
“Our technology is targeted at high value short-run applications. We see it as a bridge product between the commercial print and photo print markets,” he said. “It gives printers an opportunity to upsell to a premium product, which – as long as it’s priced right – will generate fantastic margins and very fast ROI.”
Lumejet commercial director Miles Bentley gave a total cost of ownership (including media, click charge and equipment cost) of £2/linear metre for the S200 versus a price/metre for the high quality lay-flat books the S200 can produce of £8-10/metre.
Meanwhile, Lumejet has signed a co-marketing partnership with finishing equipment manufacturer Duplo (S3-E270) and web-to-print software developer Taopix (N1-D095).
The S200 has a list price of £150,000 and finance is available through Lumejet Finance Ltd, which has a consortium of finance providers including Close Brothers and GE.