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Industry Insight

Canon Solutions America Celebrates Its Second Anniversary

By Richard Romano
Published: February 17, 2015

The traditional wedding gift for the second anniversary may be cotton, but for Canon Solutions America (CSA), it is definitely paper. Ink on paper, to be more precise.

As you may have read elsewhere on WhatTheyThink, last week, CSA— Océ—celebrated its second anniversary with a much-needed (for those of us encased in the frozen tundra of the Northeast) event in Boca Raton, Fla. CSA execs shared updates in the various business groups (Enterprise Managed Services Division, formerly Business Services Division; Large Format Solutions; and Production Printing Division).

CSA had been focusing largely on its technical printing products at the on end, and its Arizona flatbed solutions at the other. The company recognizes that there is still a lot of space in the middle to grow its portfolio, specifically in the area of roll-to-roll. There are also untapped verticals—at least as far as CSA’s outreach efforts are concerned.

“We have a solid portfolio for our technical document printers, both black-and-white and color, and you’re going to see us building not only on the Arizona flatbed line, but also on the graphics roll printer side,” said Sal Sheikh, Vice President, Large Format Systems for CSA.

Mr. Sheikh also identified some verticals that CSA is going to be going after, such as inplants which he refers to as “the hidden entity of the printing world.” Inplants printing departments are everywhere—but they’re not easy easily identified or accessible as print-for-pay businesses. As more and more of these departments find the equipment affordable, they will be more inclined to bring it in-house. Not everyone of course; not everyone wants to be a print facility, and volume may still be at such a level that it is more cost-effective to outsource it. The there is also the need to keep a variety of substrates on hand, not to mention finishing capabilities.

CSA also sees commercial printers as an important market to keep going after. And, like many others, CSA is eyeing packaging.

“The only challenge with packaging is there’s no real inkjet technology that we have today that can compete with the volume they have,” said Mr. Sheikh. As a result the angle that CSA is focusing on is prototyping and short runs for test marketing applications.

As we have been seeing for the past couple of years, digital inkjet printing has opened the door to all sorts of new applications. And the common denominator to much of it is customization.

Mr. Sheikh cited such potential applications as custom wrapping paper—not just for the consumer but also for at the corporate level (gifts, e.g.)—as well as custom wallpaper and other decorative materials. He also mentioned that IKEA is looking at offering customized furniture, such as children’s furniture, where you print right on a dresser, bed, etc. (When I was a kid we used to customize our furniture by drawing on it, although usually with dire consequences.)

CSA has also been looking at industrial applications, such as in automotive manufacturing. “We’re looking at rethinking building materials,” said Mr. Sheikh. “If you look a traditional construction—foundation, frame, wrap, drywall, paint, tile—what if you could prefabricate some of that and have panels that were already pretiled? What happens if you could have the wallpaper printed onto the drywall or other material?”

Today’s digital printing really does fire up the imagination. But it all comes down to, said Mr. Sheikh, “customers embracing new technology. Sometimes they’re scared to make a shift.”

And CSA’s customers can overcome that fear by attending the thINK Customer Conference, a new event that CSA is launching September 8–10 in New York City. We will have more info about this event as it draws nearer.

Richard Romano is Managing Editor of WhatTheyThink | Printing News & Wide-Format & Signage.  He curates the Wide Format section on WhatTheyThink.com. He has been writing about the graphic communications industry for more than 25 years. He is the author or coauthor of more than half a dozen books on printing technology and business. His most recent book is “Beyond Paper: An Interactive Guide to Wide-Format and Specialty Printing.


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