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Mary Schilling

Inkjet Genie

By Mary Schilling

About Mary

Mary Schilling works with all the elements of the digital process-from conventional and inkjet technologies to fluids and substrates-and provides technical support to print providers on optimizing print quality while lowering total print cost.

Understanding the dynamics of the digital marketplace, and the incredible growth and advancements in inkjet technology, Mary provides customers with print quality, color gamut, fluid consumption, machine and print quality analysis, utilizing G7 methodology. She also works with inkjet fluid and machine developers to align paper development of new, innovative inkjet substrates.

As the owner of Schilling Inkjet Consulting, she consults with fluid and inkjet machinery suppliers and end users on how to improve color and print quality for paper, plastics, metal, fabric and glass with UV, solvent and aqueous inkjet fluids.

Mary received Innovator of the Year awards from the Flexographic Technical Association and from Xplor International for her efforts in closing the gap between document printing and digital packaging.

She is G7 certified and a member of the IDEAlliance Print Properties Committee.


I’m Ready to Smack Some Salespeople...

OK folks, as we have said before, “It is high-speed Inkjet, not Offset.” Inkjet inks are like Kool-Aid and absorb into the paper, whereas Offset inks are tacky and sit on the surface. Inkjet inks don’t use the same pigment colors to make their process CMYK like for Offset. It’s similar to the difference of painting in water colors vs. acrylic paints.

While we’re at it, let’s also point out that “high-speed inkjet is not wide-format.” The speed, colorant and ink chemistry, as well as compatible papers, are all different. We all understand this, right? Apparently not.

I mention this all because a customer called me last week and told me that a high-speed inkjet supplier salesperson stated, “high-speed inkjet will match your offset press’ and wide-format printer’s print quality, no matter what the paper.” Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have heard such crazy talk.

Now, anyone who knows me is quite aware that I am an inkjet evangelist. I firmly believe that how we, as an industry, communicate through print will increasingly become more dependent on inkjet technologies. Not just for billing, direct mail and commercial printing output, but also for packaging and industrial printing such as poly and plastics. It is changing the way we print, period.

So, when I hear of industry supplier sales reps—who are supposed to be educated about their products—stating things that are not true, I just want to smack them. When an industry supplier salesperson points a customer in the wrong direction, it impacts our entire industry, not just the product area in which they are selling.

I understand that the digital printing industry is evolving very quickly and that existing salespeople from the toner side of the business are migrating over to inkjet sales—some willingly, some being forced.

Believe me, I realize that the high-speed inkjet market has quickly become very competitive. And with that, high sales quotas have shifted to inkjet abruptly. So abruptly, that there has been a disconnect in training these toner-based sales folks—some whom have been in the printing market for decades—to now sell inkjet-related offerings.

They are not just missing the overall concept, they’re also not grasping all the nuances that come with this process. Because the industry moved so quickly, we left a lot of salespeople behind who are now trying to catch up. Unfortunately, though, these folks are confusing the market.

Merging high-speed inkjet into your existing print workflow is a task that takes time and lots of homework. Any confusion caused by receiving inaccurate information will delay your progress, as well as cost you more money as a result. And nobody’s got time for that...

So, for those of you who are investigating high-speed inkjet, when talking to your OEM, be sure you request your supplier’s best and brightest when discussing how to best integrate high-speed inkjet into your existing operations. Or align yourself with an industry expert who can help with the evaluation, qualification and justification process. Your production department will certainly thank you for it.

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