Inkjet Summit Reaches Peak in Debut
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL—The inaugural 2013 Inkjet Summit came to a successful conclusion here at the exclusive Ponte Vedra Inn & Club on April 11, leaving the roughly 65 printers who attended full of inspiration and ideas for implementing inkjet technology in their operations. The key message seemed to be that continuous-feed and cut-sheet production inkjet adoption will be a disruptive technology as it supplants offset and electrophotographic digital printing technologies, so start planning for it if you haven't yet taken the leap.
"This market's moving faster than even I anticipated it would," remarked conference chair Charlie Corr, during a wrap-up session that featured leading industry consultants who participated in the three-day event. They included Gilles Biscos, president of Interquest; Marco Boer, vice president of IT Strategies; Howie Fenton, senior consultant, NAPL; and Elizabeth Gooding, president of Gooding Communications Group. "Inkjet's evolution is happening significantly faster than [what's occurred] with toner-based technologies," Fenton added. "People are making money with it now." There are also ample opportunities for today's early inkjet adopters. "It hasn't crossed the chasm and become commoditized."
The summit was packed with non-stop activities: keynotes, panel discussions, case studies, user conversations and more, providing a near constant flow of information. The enthusiasm of attendees and sponsors alike was very high, with many compliments going to organizers for bringing the two groups together in such an intimate setting, which included scheduled one-on-one meetings and case history presentations by segment.
The first of its kind summit, organized by nGage Events and North American Publishing Co. (the publisher of Printing Impressions and In-plant Graphics), featured leading commercial printing executives, in-plant printers and transactional print providers. Aside from educational sessions featuring leading industry consultants and ample opportunity for all printer attendees to network and compare experiences during the three-day event, simultaneous breakout tracks focused on inkjet technology opportunities and roadblocks, as well as real-life user experiences for book, direct mail and transactional printing.
User panelists in the book manufacturing track included Christian Schamberger, president, Mercury Print Productions; Rick Lindemann, vice president at Total Printing Systems; Gary Calleo, vice president of manufacturing, RR Donnelley; and Stephen Franzino, vice president of technology, Courier Corp. Direct mail panelists featured Dave Johannes, vice president of digital print and mailing operations, IWCO Direct; Patrick Murray, vice president of operations, Japs-Olson Co.; Mark DeBoer, director of customer experience at Darwill; and Lou Tazioli, president of Tribune Direct. Representing the transactional/transpromo segment were Gary Powell, business process consultant, Allstate; John Augustine, manager, strategic projects, TransCentra; and Gene Rauch, director at Incepture Print Solutions.
Another frequent refrain at the sessions was the message that the quality of today's inkjet equipment may not yet match offset, but there are plenty of applications where it is more than good enough, and the technology will continue to develop. Discussions on cost of operation of inkjet seemed to all come back to the idea that it was hard to get a handle on costs, which will differ for each user, depending on factors like ink coverage and type of paper used. Another key takeaway was to also pay strong consideration to workflow and postpress production when installing an inkjet device, and not just on the digital engine itself.
Among 19 industry vendors participating in the Inkjet Summit, Keynote-Level Sponsors included Canon Solutions America, Finch Paper, Ricoh Production Print Solutions and Xerox Corp.