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DIGITAL digest

March 2003
Jetrion LLC Enters Digital Ink-jet Marketplace

ANN ARBOR, MI—Jetrion LLC is a new global company formed by Flint Ink. The organization is set to provide a full range of industrial ink-jet products, services and custom printing solutions to the printing and converting industries. The formation of Jetrion is a significant investment for Flint Ink and will result in a tripling of current dedicated digital staff in 2003.

Printing Impressions met with Ken Stack, former vice president/general manager of Flint Ink's Digital Div. and new president of Jetrion, to discuss the new organization's plans, capabilities and focus.

PI: What is Jetrion and why was this new business created?

Stack: Jetrion LLC is a newly created subsidiary of Flint Ink that will focus solely on digital ink-jet printing markets. It was created to fulfill Flint Ink's promise of providing complete solutions to the digital printing market. Jetrion will be the only company worldwide with the combination of products, services and resources to provide a full suite of ink-jet integration services, ink-jet enabling technologies and new, custom, high-performance inks.

By providing complete solutions Jetrion can focus on solving a customer's problems rather than just providing a piece of the puzzle. This new company represents a multimillion-dollar investment by Flint Ink, which has created an organization built around the digital marketplace and managed by a team with deep experience in ink-jet systems and consumables.

PI: What products does Jetrion offer and for what applications?

Stack: Our vision for Jetrion is one of broad participation: ink, off-the-shelf printing systems and custom integration. Jetrion provides continuous ink-jet (CIJ) and drop-on-demand (DOD) inks for applications that range from variable addressing to outdoor wide-format output.

Twenty-two different CIJ ink, makeup and wash products are currently available for addressing and coding applications, including solutions for Scitex, Videojet, Domino and Imaje technology. Black addressing inks and a variety of UV and other solvent inks are available for DOD applications.

Jetrion will sell and service printing systems for key application areas such as addressing and commercial printing. For those customers whose requirements exceed off-the-shelf solutions, Jetrion's custom integration services utilize the best of currently available components to build systems that meet specific user requirements. All of these product offerings are backed by Jetrion's service and support staff on a global basis.

PI: How will Jetrion set itself apart from other suppliers that provide ink-jet ink systems and services?

Stack: Other suppliers only provide components of a complete solution. Jetrion is different. This is a global company that provides the complete solution—inks, hardware, software and support. These core competencies are delivered with the full backing of the largest privately held ink company in the world.

Our customers will benefit from the synergy of both inks and printing systems knowledge. Our global presence allows us to work with our customers around the world, with local support and account management. And our backing by Flint Ink ensures that we are here to support our clients for the long haul.

PI: What emerging trends in digital printing do you see?

Stack: The digital printing markets are maturing and becoming mainstream. We see customers expecting system solutions rather than trying to integrate multiple components (ink, hardware, software, etc.) by themselves.

We see customers expecting a lot more from suppliers, including true application knowledge and local support. As expectation levels increase we believe the only way to effectively meet customer demands is to provide systems, not components.

"Hybrid" devices and processes, like digital printing to print only the variable data portion of a given piece, and using traditional processes to print the remainder, are beginning to emerge. The convergence of these technologies allows customers to fully utilize their installed base of equipment while taking advantage of new market opportunities that result from personalization. But to realize the full potential of these combined technologies, customers need partners that understand their business needs and can provide integration services to maximize device and process effectiveness. Increasingly, these are requirements that are needed on a global basis.

Economic dynamics are also forcing companies to more strategically identify profitable applications for digital technology. That creates an opportunity for Jetrion to provide a suite of ink-jet technologies that become profit centers for our customers.

PI: What is your vision for the future of digital printing?

Stack: Our vision for the future of digital printing is one of convergence. Analog and digital processes will run in tandem; it is no longer a question of one or the other. Both offer value propositions that make sense in different portions of the market. While some level of cannibalization will occur, we see digital printing creating new markets and value for customers that will far outweigh any potential downside.

Short-run, full-color printing will become a reality, if it hasn't already. Ease of use and running cost issues will continue to improve, making it easier to justify the installation of digital devices.

Finally, we see a world that requires digital product providers to do more than just sell a product. We see a world where a company like Jetrion will be deeply involved in solving customer applications problems, just like Flint Ink does today in traditional markets.



PODi Releases "Best Practices in Digital Print"

ROCHESTER, NY—The third edition of the acclaimed "Best Practices in Digital Print" study has been released by PODi, the Digital Printing initiative. The report features 42 new case studies, market analysis and "Best Practices" principles for how to use digital printing successfully. In addition, this year's report contains new information on how to understand market segments and details six trends that PODi believes will define the future of digital printing as a business.

According to PODi, this year's findings included a surprise: an increase in the number of projects that customers continue to execute from year to year. More than 50 percent of the case studies in the direct marketing segments are year-to-year repeats. Also, several are recursive programs, in which the customer relationship and dialog are repeatedly refined in subsequent mailings.

The report is available free to PODi members. Non-members can purchase it from the PODi Website. (www.podi.org/store)
 

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