#HID2015 is a Wrap! So What’s Next?


To say that Hunkeler innovationdays 2015 was a success for Ricoh would be a big understatement. As we continue to take our message of the power digital print technologies brings to print service providers who are seeking new ways to communicate with their clients around the world, this latest event in picturesque Lucerne was a high point for us.

Always known to be a show that “gets right down to business,” HID 2015 did not disappoint.  With its no frills approach, HID 2015 brings together serious print buyers who want to roll up their sleeves and really get into the ins and outs of the technology and solutions.  This show is exciting and helps the adrenaline to start pumping.  This year was a non-stop rush from beginning to end – and we enjoyed every second of it.

The buzz around Ricoh and on our booth was unavoidable.  It was as if you could feel the energy under your skin – and it wasn’t just the speed of our machines! With the recent launches of our Ricoh Pro VC60000 and the Ricoh Pro C9100 series, and also the Ricoh Pro C7100X (which wasn’t even on the floor, yet still caused a stir!),  the Ricoh booth was clearly a must-see for attendees.  This year we talked with commercial printers looking to take their first step into digital, publishers who sought proven inkjet colour and monochrome offerings, service bureaux in need of better batching solutions, and so much more.  It was non-stop, but it was a great experience.

Not only were our technology demonstrations a hit, but one could argue the range and quality of our samples made its way around the floor even faster.

In fact many people – including some members of the press – commented that Ricoh has set a new bar for quality in colour inkjet.

Visitors to the stand could not only see the technology, but there were also plentiful samples from the Ricoh portfolio. This included samples from the Ricoh Pro VC60000 printed on offset-coated stock, the market-leading InfoPrint 5000, the Ricoh Pro C9100 series and the Ricoh Pro C7100X.  From trade books and marketing collateral to coffee table books, there was something for everyone to touch, feel and take home.

Benoit Chaterlard

Benoit Chatelard General Manager Solutions, Production Printing Group, EMEA

If you were unable to join us in Lucerne, or even if your schedule did not allow the time to explore in depth how Ricoh might support your businesses evolution, you might consider visiting our new European centre of excellence, the Customer Experience Centre, in Telford, UK.

If you missed what we had to share at HID 2015, visit this blog to hear more about our technologies and applications.  You can also visit us on Facebook to see pictures from the show or follow our @RicohEUBDriver Twitter feed for flashbacks.

Danke, Switzerland.  Looking forward to 2017!

A new dawn; a new future

Eef De Ridder Head of Commercial Printing Operations, Ricoh Europe

Eef De Ridder
Head of Commercial Printing Operations, Ricoh Europe

Last November, when we held the grand opening of our new Customer Experience Centre in Telford, UK, we emphasised to visitors how digital printing technologies can help print service providers find new ways of communicating with their customers and in turn, end users, especially when social and cross media are added to the mix.

At Hunkeler Innovationdays, we are continuing with this message and showing the solutions that can help organisations future-proof their businesses.
There is no question that the printing industry—whether you are a commercial or transactional printer—is still turbulent and facing significant challenges. At Ricoh, we also believe these times bring significant opportunities.

With today’s technologies, it is easier than ever before to:
• Unlock the power of data
• Increase the relevance of customer communications
• Seamlessly migrate communications from paper to digital and back again
• Optimise print and postage costs
And adapting to this new technology-oriented world requires thinking differently about the way we work.

Many offset printing companies go to market in a traditional manner—the way we have always done things. Often they have not invested in developing IT skills internally. And print sales people are still focused on selling to selling to Chief Purchasing Officers. These are areas that must be addressed to future-proof printing operations. For example, it is increasingly important for printing companies to develop new relationships with contacts like the Chief Marketing Officer or Chief Information Officer. With traditional contacts, it can be very difficult to grow the business except by lowering the price, and long term that is not a sustainable model. But building these relationships requires the development of new skills and the ability to speak their language.

Service bureaus have their own unique set of challenges, particularly those operating primarily in the transactional market. They have the IT skills, and sometimes the sales skills, but lack graphic arts, commercial print and technical skills. They often have relationships at some level with the CIO and even the CMO, but may not have access to the opportunity to expand beyond transactional printing opportunities in new markets such as books and direct mail to offset the decline in transactional volumes.

So different type of challenges for different type of Print Service Providers, but we are convinced in the next couple of years they will be fighting for the same volume/applications.

So who will win? As Darwin said it is not the strongest or most intelligent who will survive but the ones who are most adaptable to change.

At Ricoh we understand this need for change and are helping customers take the necessary steps to get fit for the future. We also understand that this type of transformation does not happen overnight. First, companies need to recognise the need to adapt; then they must determine the best way to do that while continuing to run a successful business, building new businesses on the back of legacy revenue streams. And we are here to help.
In addition to the benefits of our broad range of hardware and software solutions and expert technical team, customers also can have free, round-the-clock access to our Business Driver Programme. More than 2,500 customers are already using this resource daily to help them make operational improvements. If you continue to do what you did before you will also continue get the same results. Those operations that are adapting to survive will be the ones that will go farther in the future.

If you will be joining us at Hunkeler Innovationdays, we will be pleased to share more details with you. If not, we welcome the opportunity to talk to you about your specific business needs and be your partner on the path to transformation.

The time is now to prepare your business for the future, and Ricoh is the partner that can help you do that.

Colour Inkjet Users Are Turning To Monochrome

As another Hunkeler Innovationdays is almost upon us, we at Ricoh have been looking at the past year’s technology trends and how they’re impacting you.  One area where we’ve seen a lot of movement is the shift from colour to monochrome inkjet systems. While this step might be unintuitive, or even backward, as colour applications are dominating the conversation about where print is headed, this fact still remains: 85% of books printed are black and white (and this stat also applies to all print impressions beyond the book industry, including the insurance, transaction and regulatory industries).  Couple that with inkjet’s flexibility of accommodating different applications, the shift towards shorter runs, and the opportunities to take on more types of work, and you have the formula for monochrome inkjet being a quiet, but powerful tool in modern printing.

Rural Wit and Wisdom

Rural Wit and Wisdom

So why the shift, you ask? The book market as a whole, especially trade books, have transitioned to producing books in very short runs as part of moving to a weekly replacement model in an effort to reduce costs by avoiding keeping inventory on hand.  This trend has caused a shift from conventional toner-based printing presses to inkjet systems, which are designed to handle variable applications. There are thousands of toner machines in print shops that have been in use for ten or more years, becoming even more costly to operate as time goes on.  Printers are often adopting colour inkjet first to accommodate their more graphic applications, and after realising the significant efficiencies and cost savings they’ve gained in productivity, they want to match that productivity for their monochrome work, which isn’t as cost-effective to run on a colour system.

What awaits printers on the other side of their implementation of the InfoPrint 5000 MP monochrome inkjet system is a pleasant surprise: In addition to flexibility of being able to switch jobs on the fly without calibrating and the ability to do shorter runs, they retain the print quality of toner-based systems.  The InfoPrint 5000 is a rare specimen among digital inkjet systems for its affordability, and it’s the only machine that can match the optical density of blacks that the book market values.

The power of monochrome inkjet for the book market will be on display at Hunkeler Innovationdays in the form of an updated and expanded edition of “Rural Wit and Wisdom”, a timeless classic by best-selling author Jerry Apps.  The 154-page book melds black-and-white photographs by Steve Apps with a collection of common phrases, observations, comments, and conundrums celebrating the lighter side of life in the Midwest.  Printed on the InfoPrint 5000 MP Monochrome at 720 x 360dpi resolution on CVG LETSGO Silk 90gsm, the samples at the show bring the promise of high-quality monochrome inkjet to life.  (And the cover, printed on the RICOH Pro C9110X, showcases how colour cutsheet can complement monochrome inkjet.)

To learn more about the evolution of the book market and its relationship with print, read this white paper by IT Strategies’ Marco Boer.  And be sure to check out vivid monochrome output at our booth at Hunkeler Innovationdays, and learn more about the InfoPrint 5000 MP Mono here.


More Return On Marketing Investment? At Zalsman, we can …


Business Development Manager Zalsman Innovative Print

Business Development Manager Zalsman Innovative Print

Media expenses are shifting from print advertising to digital. This trend is mainly driven by the fact that today’s CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) is looking for more engagement and measurable results and that’s what is offered by different online marketing tools like Google AdWords (paid search advertising). Marketers communicate more and more online and interactively, so media expenses are also shifting.

Three questions determine the use of media:

  1.  Do I want to take the initiative, or do I want to leave that to the consumer?
  2. Is there any relevant (big) data available? Can we analyse it?
  3. Is the business case for Individual Mass Communication positive?

The trend is visible to everyone. Search engine marketing (SEM) has won ground rapidly. But the initiative will then lie at the consumer side. Those who search start a consumer journey. Those CMOs who want to keep the initiative, but do not have any data, will invest in traditional advertising. They will rely on radio, TV, newspapers and magazines. These traditional channels deliver a broad audience against predictable costs, but have a much less measurable ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment). That is why digital media, email and social media are so popular at the moment. All investments are measurable and traceable. However, their success has boundaries. Email is not always opened in time and online channels get clogged. This is where Individual Mass Communication, which enables what we call Precision Marketing, can make a significant impact. Consumers prefer personal and relevant information across all channels as well as positive omni-channel brand experience, rather than pushy marketing. Individual Mass Communication offers new chances and strengthens the relationship with today’s consumers, who want to be treated as individuals. Print then becomes accountable. Those who have the data and the right business case can start using new marketing recipes.

At Zalsman we are now able to deliver against this promise even more effectively now that our new Ricoh ProTM VC60000 is up and running. The first worldwide installation of this next-generation continous feed inkjet press from Ricoh, designed to excel in the production of direct mail, book printing and an array of marketing communication materials, is expanding our service portfolio and opening up exciting business opportunities. We believe that the  the Ricoh Pro VC60000 represents THE printing technology of the future for interactive marketing. It assures premium print quality thanks to Ricoh’s own print heads and multi-drop ink technology, at resolutions up to 1200×1200 dpi with dynamic variable drop size within each pixel.

Our clients have responded extremely positively to the print quality, which outshines even traditional offset.  The fact that the Ricoh press is able to handle Big Data and  to print at a dazzling speed on various substrates has ticked all boxes for us and allows us to offer creative and interactive personalised marketing applications.

Quality, flexibility and customisation are key to adding value to print and to helping our clients realise their goals in market reach, engaging in a meaningful manner with their target audiences.  We have only just started our journey but already we see many new opportunities in the retail and publishing markets.

Smart Marketing Cookbook being prepared for Hunkeler

Smart Marketing Cookbook being prepared for Hunkeler

For Hunkeler Innovationdays, we have jointly developed with Ricoh a ‘Smart Marketing Cook Book’ demonstrating showcases for relevance that precision marketing can bring to a printed product. Combining the ingredients of the Ricoh Pro VC60000, Ricoh Process Director and dynamic document composition software with Clickable Paper interactive print technology, we have a number of recipes for success that pair high quality digital print with online content.

From personalised catalogues to company brochures, tailored sales documents to clear and concise billing, the Smart Marketing Cook Book highlights many examples of how this type of printing can be used in every sector – the only limitation to the recipes you can cook up is your imagination!  Make sure to collect your personal copy from the Ricoh booth at Hunkeler Innovationdays.


A brighter future for print

Erwin Busselot Commercial Print Solutions Director Production Printing Ricoh Europe

Erwin Busselot
Commercial Print Solutions Director Production Printing
Ricoh Europe

Today’s print communications ecosystem is complex with a number of supply lines. Each one has weaknesses and strengths, but I see three main drivers of change – all of which are moving volumes away from offset to digital printing.

The first is the economic crisis. It was bad for some operations but good for others. Commercial printers found it hard to get loans to make capital equipment investments, and marketers spent less. Meanwhile, packaging specialists thrived for the simple reason people went to restaurants less, which meant they cooked at home more.

The second is the growing adoption of production inkjet printing for a broad range of applications previously produced using offset technology, driving the adoption life cycle of inkjet.  There has been a lot of generic talk about digital printing based on toner, but that technology has never replaced offset. Although the quality was good, digital toner-based printing was never able to offer the speed or reach the price point of offset over long runs. Full colour production inkjet is a relatively new entrant to the market. Ricoh announced the IP5000 in 2007 and had a first installation in the UK.  It is non-impact printing technology, so there is no need for a blanket or photo imaging plate. Inkjet uses heat, pressure or electrical impulses to push ink directly onto the substrate. It delivers speed, increasing quality and the ability to print on many substrates, helping it become a viable alternative to offset. Now we see production inkjet printing being adopted in book, newspaper and direct mail production and, increasingly, in general commercial applications.

The third is the change in media habits. Readership is going down. Last year in the U.S., more than a quarter of adults didn’t read a book – regardless of whether it was an ebook or printed book. However, there has been increased talk about the different penetration rates of various media including tablets and e-media. Many direct mail campaigns have been using digital for some time – either in a hybrid manufacturing model or, increasingly as full colour inkjet.  Another habit affecting print media is the use of smart phones or tablets to take advantage of interactive print capabilities using technologies such as a QR codes, Clickable Paper or page recognition in books, direct mail or newspapers. The Ikea catalogue is a very good example of this.

This is how today’s market is shaping up, and there is a further development on the way that will impact operations in the longer term – functional printing. This term encompasses an array of sectors from 3D to textiles and packaging. Frank Romano stated a few years ago that, in 20 years’ time, functional print could represent 40% of a printer’s business. It offers improved efficiencies in production for products such as solar cells and touch screens, which are labour intensive to produce with current processes. Some operations are already pioneering printed electronics with this end use in mind. This approach could be expanded so a book printer could be responsible for creating single-use electronic books, printed in short runs, on demand, by high volume inkjet presses. And for those concerned that this might create more waste, the end product is much easier to recycle than traditional electronic goods.

Currently inkjet presses are frequently replacing web fed presses for limited applications such as books, newspapers and direct mail. But I expect there to be a growing volume of true commercial print applications produced with production inkjet printing, such as catalogues, brochures, fliers, etc., as many of the big players look over the shoulders of pioneers. And those that doubted that inkjet could conquer the true playing field of commercial print can turn their attention to installations in operations such as Zalsman, in the Netherlands who have invested in a Ricoh ProTM VC60000.  Zalsman is a successful mid-sized commercial printer that believes production inkjet will help it continue to grow and thrive – for me that is proof that this is going to happen throughout the industry. Inkjet is not going to stay in its corner, and Zalsman is proof of that.

Some people have the view that the graphic arts sector is not an interesting business any more. I disagree with that and can see the transformation that is happening. Steve Jobs said it all comes down to innovation, and innovation is the difference between leaders and followers. There is a great deal of innovation happening in our industry, especially as it relates to production inkjet, and that makes it an exciting business.

I see two ways in which production inkjet is bringing innovation to the graphic arts industry – as a communications technology and as a functional printing technology. If you stick your head in the sand, these opportunities will pass you by; but if you go after them, there are tremendous opportunities for growth. I will be discussing all of this and more during the EBDA Seminar at Hunkleler Innovationdays, 26 February 2015, in Lucerne, Switzerland. Drop by and hear more about how Ricoh can help you investigate the best way to secure a brighter future.

Three Ways Inkjet Has Evolved

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” -Alan Kay, American computer scientist.

This is a great time to be a brand owner or a publisher. The latest innovations in digital print technology have created new opportunities to re-evaluate the role of print in customer communications, marketing and publishing.

Once focused on forms replacement for transactional documents, production inkjet has blossomed into a versatile and powerful tool that companies like yours are using to take advantage of cutting-edge applications – and even create new ones. The marketing landscape’s shift to digital is spurring new demands from brand owners, making it imperative for the industry to shape the future of print, rather than simply responding to the status quo. Here are three ways that production inkjet – and the printers who use it – are innovating print applications and technologies:

White paper in, full colour out

In today’s world of immediacy, companies are expecting what they want, when they want it, no questions asked. For a print shop, this requires digital technologies that are nimble enough to deliver a transactional production run just before one for direct mail, with minimal downtime.

Throughout the past ten years, production inkjet has evolved into an affordable and effective route to white paper in, full colour out applications. Whether it’s a full colour transactional document, glossy direct mail piece or graphics book, inkjet technology can meet the needs of each demand with precision and high quality.

Short runs

Being able to produce short runs of varied output is also a key advantage of inkjet. In the case of books for example, while offset is still the go-to technology for producing high quantity runs of books, inkjet is enabling book printers and publishers to produce shorter runs that are just the right amount for a given purpose. Review copies used during the editing process and marketing copies distributed during the promotional phase of a book launch are two such applications where low quantities are needed. What’s more, inkjet is enabling books to never truly go “out of print” by making it easier for printers and publishers to meet one-off demands for old and rare books from consumers. In the educational market, class-customised booklets that might be used only by one or a handful of professors, and versioned textbooks are yet other opportunities to put inkjet’s short run capabilities to use.

For example, we will be showing at the Hunkeler Innovationdays show this month in Lucerne a full colour book, The Cult of Porsche: In the Beginning. This is digitally printed on offset stock, delivering the impact and quality that, until now, has been associated only with offset printing. Originally produced in short runs and shown at last year’s London Book Fair, it will be inkjet printed for the first time for Hunkeler Innovationdays.

Personalisation /variable data

The opportunity to customise direct marketing output has never been greater. As more transactional communications transition to intangible, digital forms such as email and mobile apps, the value of printed communications is increasing. The clients of printers are demanding high quality output that grabs attention with relevant content and interactive elements such as QR codes and interactive print solutions like Ricoh’s Clickable Paper. By virtue of the sheer amount of customer data available to agencies and their brand clients, items like coupons can be customised with items that go beyond the usual name and gender information. Deeper demographic and psychographic information can be incorporated and reference the recipient’s recent purchases, buying habits, and other information that ensures the direct marketing content is being received at the right time, by the right people with the right message. Inkjet’s heritage in variable data, coupled with its continued evolution as a graphic communications tool that rivals the colours and print quality of offset, further empowers marketing agencies and brand owners to take advantage of this opportunity. Have a look out for the The Bianchi catalogue on our stand. With its challenging brand colours and high quality bike imagery it will demonstrate the results inkjet is capable of such as readily reproducing work previously the preserve of offset.

Graham Moore -business development director for Ricoh Europe

Graham Moore -Director Business Development, Ricoh Europe

All of these innovations will be on display in the Ricoh booth at Hunkeler Innovation Days. Stop by to learn more. We look forward to seeing you at the show.

This article is from European Printing Industry Coverage from WhatTheyThink


A Great Innovation Opportunity!

Peter Williams, Executive Vice President, Head of Production Printing Business Group, Ricoh Europe

Peter Williams, Executive Vice President, Head of Production Printing Business Group, Ricoh Europe

As its name suggests the unique Hunkeler Innovationdays, held every other year in Lucerne, Switzerland, showcases the latest innovations designed to meet the challenges of high volume production in today’s multichannel communications landscape.

This year it runs from February 23 to 26 and Ricoh will again be demonstrating its latest capabilities in document printing solutions for transactional print, publishing, commercial print and direct mail in end-to-end multi-vendor configurations.

Ricoh fully supports Hunkeler Innovationdays because it differs from traditional trade shows in a number of ways.  Highly focused, it gives you the opportunity to meet one-on-one with experts from Ricoh Europe, its partners, other key suppliers to the industry and your peers. As a result you can gain a broader perspective on your document printing needs and review and investigate innovative solutions that will enhance and future-proof your business.

We’re showing a number of exciting new innovations at the show.  For the first time ever, the brand-new, highly modular and scalable Ricoh Pro™ VC60000 production inkjet press will be on display in its full configuration, including undercoat and protector coat capabilities.

We will also be demonstrating how our solutions combine with the Hunkeler Signature, Booklet and Budget Binder to create a complete production system, including variable-sized booklets, and book blocks.

Alongside the Ricoh Pro VC60000 production inkjet press, we are excited to show the new Ricoh Pro™ C9110, our first digital colour press designed specifically for heavy production.

We’ll also be showing  a variety of workflow solutions designed to make your operation more efficient and competitive, including TotalFlow BatchBuilder, a new solution to help you become a super-efficient operation that enables you to accept more jobs, lower total cost of print and grow your business.

I am personally looking forward to Hunkeler Innovationdays as this year it promises to be the best and largest event, ever.  I am especially keen to greet Ricoh’s current and future clients from around the world. Our new range of products and solution means that Ricoh now even more to offer Print Services Providers . Not only do we have an opportunity to provide advice and guidance but we also have the opportunity to learn a great deal from attendees’ feedback, helping us to inform our future development plans.

You can register for the event on www.ricoh-europe.com/hid2015 and we also welcome you to contact your local Ricoh team to schedule one-on-one meetings in advance.  We’re looking forward to showing you how our New Dawn approach can help give your business a new lease of life.

See you in Lucerne!

See Ricoh’s solutions at Hunkeler Innovationdays 2015

Printing on offset paper with the Ricoh Pro VC60000

Printing on offset paper with the Ricoh Pro VC60000

Full-colour duplex printing on a paper web from roll-to-roll on the Ricoh Pro VC60000, using latest-generation Ricoh inkjet heads with a resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi.

Signature, Booklet and Budget Binding Solution

Signature, Booklet and Budget Binding Solution

The 4-colour printed paper web will be processed nearline on the Hunkeler UW6 unwinding module, FM6 folder merger, and the high-performance CS6-HS cross-cutter. The SD7 double star wheel delivery unit will be stacking the signatures into book blocks for budget binding, or producing variable booklets with 8-, 12-, 16- or 20-pages. Production speeds up to 180 meters per minute, and guaranteed gentle processing thanks to the “huncolor” seal of quality

More about Ricoh’s presence at Hunkeler Innovationdays 2015

Reflections of Hunkeler Innovationdays 2013 – Productivity, Performance, Opportunity

Software demos were a core part of the Ricoh stand at Hunkeler Innovationdays 2013

Software demos were a core part of the Ricoh stand at Hunkeler Innovationdays 2013

One of many reflections on what was a superb Hunkeler Innovationdays in beautiful, snow bound Lucerne, was how often visitors to the Ricoh stand would ask first about our workflow and software solutions (in fact a quarter of our leads were in relation to our software offerings). Whereas this show has traditionally always been first and foremost a platform for hardware displays, it seemed to me that this time, more than ever, how to optimise the performance of the printing systems – and even break into new applications and markets – through smart workflow solutions has become a top priority for the HID visitor. Who is typically a director-level executive.

Solutions are central
The solutions that Ricoh had at HID 2013 were prominently placed down the centre of our stand. To underline their central importance. But I am not sure that, overall, too many vendors are waking up to the need to demonstrate fully integrated solutions, software very much included, at this show. We all know that hardware does not operate in isolation, it depends on software absolutely.

For us though, HID 2013 was a great opportunity to highlight four, mostly very new, core solutions. With each designed to fulfil the full potential of Ricoh’s high speed printing systems, bringing new realms of profitability and productivity to professional production printing businesses, whether in commercial or book printing, or a service bureau or inhouse print operation.

We see our TotalFlow solutions as offering three key business benefits – those of Productivity, Performance and Opportunity. Which were vividly embodied by the strategic solutions we demonstrated at HID 2013.

For example, DocEnhancer, recently announced in Europe, enables printers to enter and edit PDF files, a great tool to mitigate delays caused by last minute content changes affecting a direct mail campaign. By deploying DocEnhancer, major productivity and performance gains can be achieved, with campaigns running in a smooth, timely manner.

TotalFlow Cadence for Publishing
Secondly, TotalFlow Cadence for Publishing, which will be coming to Europe soon, provides efficient, comprehensive management of the production process from start to finish. For example, by automatically batching and ganging books together based on specific criteria. Cadence opens up the opportunity to enter the short run digital book printing market. While boosting the productivity of printers already operating in this sector.

Ricoh ProcessDirector Express
Ricoh ProcessDirector Express offers clients an easy-to-use, end-to-end workflow solution to manage transactional datastreams in PDF format. This solution brings the power and modularity of Ricoh ProcessDirector software to mid-level clients who can now benefit from Ricoh’s decades of experience with larger commercial and transactional printers. A Graphical User Interface enables users to map workflow processes using drag and drop icons. They also can add conditions that automate business decisions about how to handle certain types of jobs. There is mailpiece tracking with the Mailroom Integrity solution integrated with scanning technology. Clients investing in Ricoh ProcessDirector Express with the workflow builder, when it is launched soon, will drive strong gains in both performance and productivity.

Lastly, InkSuite, already available in Europe, features InkSavvy, a powerful tool to optimise ink usage, allowing significant savings in ink costs. The estimating and monitoring modules complete the suite, which is designed to boost the financial performance of any IP5000-based colour system.

Benoit Chaterlard

Benoit Chatelard General Manager Solutions, Production Printing Group, EMEA

Productivity, Performance, Opportunity
So, Productivity, Performance, Opportunity. For me TotalFlow gives businesses a clear advantage. Which was recognised too by many of the visitors we greeted on our stand at HID this month, who came to talk to use about how Ricoh could help them build their businesses, in Print and Beyond. With superb workflow solutions at the heart of everything.

Digital book printing – a growing opportunity: observations from the Interquest Book Printing Forum

Books on showDigital book printing was a hot topic at Hunkeler Innovationdays 2013. Therefore it was timely that Market Research consultancy Interquest ran their Digital Book printing forum at the show. In Interquest’s quarterly forum, leading book printers and publishers, suppliers, influencers, and other major players of the book supply chain share their experiences, present their latest developments, discuss hot topics and challenges, and provide their vision of the future.

Ricoh‘s General Manager Solutions, Production Printing Business Group,  Europe Benoit Chatelard participated in the forum and provided an update on Ricoh company strategy, developments, and recent success stories in the book market.

What book applications are you demonstrating here on the show floor?

We are showing a range of real-life book applications, to show how the very latest technical advances in paper, inks, printheads and workflow have resulted in quite amazing enhancements in quality. Two great examples are:

  • Colorado’s Fourteeners –  a guide to climbs and hikes on the 14,000 feet peaks in Colorado USA. Colour cover with Mono inside.
  • The Undaunted Garden – a classic US gardening book. Full colour throughout.

To find out more, see: Digital Book Printing at Hunkeler Innovationdays

According to INTERQUEST research, digital book printing is growing at 20% or more annually, both in North America and Europe. There’s no doubt that digital book manufacturing has been successful, but in interviews and conversations with key industry players (book printers and equipment vendors) over the past 6-8 months we sense some disappointment. Some expected digital printing (and inkjet in particular) to grow even faster than it has. What’s your opinion?

I agree that all market studies show huge opportunity.  People understand the value of digital book printing and the technology is now available to be able to deliver.

However, at the same time, I find that moving from offset to digital is a radical change for many people. Sometimes there is still a too emotional analysis of print quality versus the value of new services, and a focus on the break even points instead of changing the value chain to reflect the new realities.  As a result the overall ecosystem can sometimes be resistant to change.

Overall, though the case for digital book printing is compelling.  So I am convinced that it’s adoption will gather pace.

What key differences do you see between regions in Europe in terms of the adoption of digital printing?

The adoption is now pretty much everywhere without exception.

Monochrome inkjet has been well adopted on both side of the Atlantic for book printing. Color inkjet, however, seems to be taking more time to take off—particularly in Europe. Do you see any change coming in this area any time soon?

Yes the first projects were more in the trade book segment and it is still where the highest volumes are in terms of printed digital books. But now new segments are developing such as Academic publishing, magazines for professionals , and collateral that requires colour.

What are, in your opinion, the best opportunities for printers to add value/distinguish themselves from competitors with digital printing in the book market ?

There can be too much focus on the economics, where in fact the printers need to focus as much on offering new services or enabling cross media communication.  More personalisation, versioning, and “Augmented Reality” solutions  like Clickable Paper from Ricoh are some potential new avenues that printers should be considering.

Substrates limitations seem to be a major challenge for a number book printers  who are currently using inkjet presses as well as for some looking into acquiring inkjet presses. Where do you stand in terms of developments/partnership in this area to resolve this issue?

Substrate support for new technologies is always a challenge. The paper manufacturers will support a new technology only when they see sufficient volumes. That’s why we at Ricoh work closely with leading paper suppliers to minimise these limitations.

When we launched our IP5000 Inkjet Platform in 2007 we supported just two paper substrates. Now, some six years later we support over 400 paper substrates – and we are adding new ones all the time.  A major reason for this is the success of the IP5000 family – we are very proud of the fact that our clients have now printed over 35 billion Colour Inkjet pages printed on the IP5000 platform. An incredible story of protection of investment and technological evolution.  

This week we also demonstrated on the show for the first time in Europe the High Capacity Dryer for the IP5000 GP which is designed to extend further media options by helping to run speciality and less expensive papers – with the added benefit of enhanced colour vibrancy and accuracy.

Where do you think we are in the adoption curve of digital book manufacturing overall? How far can it go and how fast do you think it will grow compared to what we have seen already?

Benoit Chaterlard

Benoit Chatelard General Manager Solutions, Production Printing Group, EMEA

We have just started to scratch the surface. It is just a fraction of the offset print output that could ultimately move to digital production.  The economic crisis across Europe will force change and, can generate an acceleration of the transformation of traditional print to digital book printing.

For me, it’s an exciting time.  You can see from the samples we have produced on our stand at Hunkeler Innovationdays that clearly the technology is ready. The question is no longer if the market will really take off, but when.

For more information about Ricoh’s solutions and initiatives see:  Ricoh-europe.com/printandbeyond