Inkjet Summit Preview: The Art of the Technology
Mark DeBoer’s a realist. The director of customer experience for Hillside, Illinois-based Darwill is a huge proponent of production inkjet printing, and he’s attended each of the previous Inkjet Summits.
By the same token, he doesn’t see the technology as a cure-all panacea. Inkjet has it warts. And like any game-changing technology, production inkjet is a moving target, evolving, improving and occasionally taking a step backward.
“I traveled to Florida for the first Inkjet Summit,” he recalls. “We’d already been working with the technology for a year, but I went anyway because I believe improvements can still be made to inkjet in general.
“Most equipment manufacturers are already working toward the improvements, as are most of the paper companies. They’re trying to evolve the equipment to print better, faster and cheaper. They are chasing this optimal image reproduction ideal at a cost that’s affordable. The ink is just as expensive as the paper is, so they’re trying to find the best formula to get both elements to play nice together.”
The fourth edition of this hosted buyer event is slated for April 18-20 at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
The premise is fairly straightforward: the summit provides senior managers and business executives at printing companies, in-plants and other corporate enterprises an educational forum in which to develop a big-picture perspective about adding their first or additional production inkjet presses, including complementary postpress gear, workflow software and consumables. It is also a medium for printers and technology suppliers to meet in a concentrated setting and discuss topics on a more granular level.
The Inkjet Summit is a buyer-hosted, by-invitation-only event, with all expenses paid for those who qualify. It provides the only platform of its kind, where major industry vendors amass in one venue to provide printer attendees with the latest information on what is available from an equipment, software and paper standpoint. Attendees are also able to hear numerous case histories and user panel discussions featuring printers who have already embraced production inkjet. Breakout tracks also address digital book, direct mail, transactional and commercial printing opportunities.
Even for those printers who possess more than a passing knowledge of production inkjet, the hosted event still offers comprehensive value to attendees. But to DeBoer, for those printers who are now dipping their toes into the technology’s waters, attending the Inkjet Summit is an absolute must.
“I’m not a know-it-all, but I’ve been around long enough to have a good pulse on what’s going on out there,” DeBoer points out. “If you’re a newbie to inkjet, it’s like being hit by a fire hose of information. You’re meeting vendors from finishing, to paper, to OEMs. [The Inkjet Summit] is perfect for someone who’s doing inkjet exploration.”
Other 2015 event participants provided their views on what value they found in attending the Inkjet Summit below:
Paul Hudson, CEO, Hudson Printing: “The Inkjet Summit broadened my exposure to the full range of inkjet applications. While my business has been focusing on the commercial print market, I was able to learn about and meet many people from other market segments, some of which we have chosen to pursue. I also met and was able to utilize the expertise of several experts that helped improve our manufacturing processes.”
Joe Maloy, president and COO, Polaris Direct: “One of the great things about the Inkjet Summit is the opportunity to network and have conversations with others in the industry. The ability to talk to peers, as well as competitors, about their experiences with inkjet or their plans for adopting the technology in the future was a great learning experience.”
Rick Lindemann, vice president, Total Printing Systems (TPS): “The Inkjet Summit is probably the best networking event in the industry. Each year, the latest and greatest equipment and media that the industry has available are on display, but the peer-to-peer interaction is definitely the most valuable part of the trip for me.”
Dave Johannes, senior vice president, IWCO Direct: “For me, the Inkjet Summit is a peer-to-peer educational opportunity. It provides great networking for senior leaders of the inkjet user community. The Inkjet Summit also provides the opportunity to listen to case studies and schedule one-on-one meetings with the supplier community. It is an excellent and efficient use of time. Two days well spent.”
John DiNozzi, executive vice president, Access Direct: “If you have any intent of purchasing inkjet technology in the next few years, attending the Inkjet Summit is a must! From prepress and finishing options, all angles of the inkjet process are covered by some of the most knowledgeable people in the field. After attending our first Inkjet Summit, we realized how much more we needed to learn to become an industry leader in the inkjet industry. If you attend, be prepared to learn!”
Martin Aalsma, president and COO, Documation: “I’ve attended the 2014 and 2015 Inkjet Summits and can say it’s a great venue for all inkjet users and prospective buyers. It exposes you to the OEMs as well as the material suppliers. I believe the most valuable takeaways are the relationships and shared experiences from other users/peers. The event is well-organized and in a great location that allows you to break away from the day-to-day and, for the most part, be immersed in learning and contributing.”
Kevin McVea, senior vice president, Strategic Content Imaging (SCI): “The Inkjet Summit is a must attend for any offset printers that are thinking of entering the inkjet world. They will learn the do’s and dont’s from other printers’ experiences.”
Larry Durso, director of digital operations, DG3: “Over the years, I have attended a number of conferences and was fortunate enough to participate in both the 2014 and 2015 Inkjet Summits. I found the Inkjet Summit to be extremely informative not only for the excellent presentations by all of the inkjet print vendors, but for all of the pre- and post-processing vendors that were present to provide their expertise. The one-on-one sessions were outstanding. Where else can you get that many experts to answer your individual questions in a 20-minute session? You can’t.”
Dave Fenske, vice president, Fenske Media: “At the 2015 Inkjet Summit, I was comforted to learn we are on the right track with this technology and, at the same time, scared how complex this industry will become as we integrate all facets of digital into our business model.”
Space is limited for this year’s Inkjet Summit. To learn more about attending, please visit www.ijsummit.com or contact David Pesko at firstname.lastname@example.org. A simple qualification form is available on the website, which is the first step in the process of being invited to attend. PI