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Charlie Corr talks Inkjets at Mimeo

Published on February 17, 2012

Chief Strategist for Mimeo Charlie Corr and Cary Sherburne talk about bringing inkjet into the primarily toner company.

Cary Sherburne:  Hi, I'm Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com and I'm here with Charlie Corr, who is Chief Strategist from Mimeo.  Welcome.

Charlie Corr:  Good to see you.

Cary Sherburne:  So let’s talk about inkjet.  Right now you’re a pretty much toner based plant.

Charlie Corr:  Yeah, we are.

Cary Sherburne:  And recently you know 2008 was billed as the inkjet drupa and we have seen a lot of announcements coming up, but in the last couple of months we have seen some really interesting you know Xerox’s waterless entry and HP is now with the T400, 5,000 pages a minute and the quality is good.

Charlie Corr: Yeah.

Cary Sherburne:  Is there inkjet in Mimeo’s future?

Charlie Corr:  There is definitely inkjet in Mimeo’s future and inkjet is—we believe—is very disruptive to the market.  It has much—as you were mentioning, it’s much faster.  It is much less expensive and for many applications it is good enough, right and we-

Cary Sherburne:  You probably wouldn’t use if for your photo applications, right?

Charlie Corr:  No, not in the foreseeable future, but we have been running a trial using inkjet and what we have found is that properly qualified, which is we’re going to print it on uncoated stock, don’t look for the highest color matching, right and then people have been satisfied, right, so it’s a rather easy value proposition and I have to tell you, some of the stuff looks perfectly fine and it is at a much, much lower price point.  So there are still some issues with our type of work on those types of platforms, right because—

Cary Sherburne:  Because a lot of yours is marketing oriented and-

Charlie Corr:  Marketing stuff and we also have a lot of short runs, right and then we aggregate them, so if you think about workflows having the overhead to each job and then there is the job today’s workflows are troubled with our you know we want to do you know 200 jobs right now and they each have this many pages.  So there are some workflow things that we have to sort of settle out and frankly they are not aiming at our market because how many are they going to sell to people like us, some, but not too many, but because we’re aggregating and because it fits our value proposition we’re going to take that trial and we’re going to make it a regular offering and we’re going to see—I think inkjet becomes a huge part of our future.

Cary Sherburne:  Are you disclosing who you are trialing it with?

Charlie Corr:  Not yet.

Cary Sherburne:  Okay, I'll get that off the record afterwards.  But I was recently able to attend the launch of the T400 at HP and one of the things that I found fascinating about that 42 inch width is that the way that they had it set up at the customer site O’Neil Data Systems.  They had it set up to be able to actually stream two separate jobs on each half of the paper and then a slitter at the end, so that you could just pull that off the re-winder and then you have two separate jobs going to 20 inch **** equipment.  It was amazing.

Charlie Corr:  Yeah.

Cary Sherburne:  And then they talked about ribbons and streams and I didn’t get all of that or understand it, but just the way that they were able to accumulate different jobs or aggregate different jobs in the same room.  You have to have—for something like that you have to have volume.

Charlie Corr:  Well which is why as an aggregator we can build volume and certainly over periods of time I think the technology will move down market, but today as you know it’s quite expensive and you need lots of volume, so unless you sort of have a centralized model you’re going to have trouble feeding that beast and that’s certainly the challenge.  We believe though that the value proposition where I can sell a color page like that you might buy today for 20 or 30 cents I can sell for 8 or 10 cents and for many people it will be good enough and it’s going to be like what you print on your desktop or a lot like what you print in your workgroup, so it’s not like quality that you don’t find acceptable.  It’s just not photo quality.  It’s not you know.  You’re probably not going to do your covers or annual reports or those things with it, but an awful lot of what is printed we believe it can help migration of black and white to color.  It can help the migration from offset to digital and it can honestly, the thing people don’t talk about much, but we believe is true, it will steal pages from other digital because it’s less expensive and good enough.

Cary Sherburne:  You know what I find interesting when you kind of look at the whole market as an aggregate and I welcome your opinion whether you agree or disagree with me, but it seems to me that the toner based work has kind of hit critical mass in terms of what can be transferred from offset.  What can be has been and so the opportunity with toner based is new applications, photo products, short run book covers, those kinds of things, but now with the new inkjet offerings that is—there is a huge opportunity now to transfer from offset.

Charlie Corr:  It really is the thing we have been talking about and again I'm not suggesting that electro photography goes away, but it’s pretty clear that—and it has been for some time, that there are significant limits.  On a single engine cut sheet there is what?  180 pages a minute was the tops and how long has that been around?

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah, a long time.

Charlie Corr:  A long time and then in color it is pretty clear that you can’t go much wider.  It’s pretty clear that you can’t go much faster, so the technology has its limits like all technologies do and a lot of it is around price that goes along with that, the productivity and the price that play together, so I agree that this is really the transformative thing that brings the pricing much more in line with what people—and productivity with offset.  I mean it’s all these little digital machines doing what one press could do.  Well now it’s a 42 inch press, digital at those speeds.

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah, at those speeds, yeah and full color.

Charlie Corr:  Wow.

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah and you know another interesting thing.  I think they are the only ones right now that have MICR. 

Charlie Corr:  No, I think there are a couple of people who are working on MICR.

Cary Sherburne:  Working on MICR, but they have it.

Charlie Corr:  Yeah, yeah.  No, I think Océ has deployed it as well.

Cary Sherburne:  Océ, but what—and I don’t know how Océ implements.  I need to go find that out.  Maybe you know, but the difference that I thought was interesting was typically MICR has been in the black toner, so wherever black toner was you had MICR.  

Charlie Corr:  Right.

Cary Sherburne:  Now they have a separate ink station for MICR.

Charlie Corr:  Yeah and Océ is doing the—it’s doing similar implementation, but yeah, yeah.  No, it’s interesting.  It’s moving pretty quickly from a technology perspective.  It is still expensive is you tend to see at the beginning, but and so I think mainstream adoption is a little bit off, but if 2008 was inkjet wait until 2012 because what you’ll see at that show is that’s going to inform the next four years in a way that we haven’t seen change probably since the early 90s.

Cary Sherburne:  Well the Donnelley KBA partnership is kind of an interesting thing to watch.

Charlie Corr:  Yeah, yeah, there is a lot of innovation and for veterans like us it brings back that whole excitement that you saw with Docutech [ph] and you saw the introduction of indigos and that whole new market opportunity that lay in front of you.  I honestly get as excited about this because of that and having gone through it.

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah, you know I thought I was kind of done with getting excited about the equipment, but when I start seeing these big **** I'm like wow.

Charlie Corr:  Wow, right, this is digital, right.  This is really what we were you know.  This is what the evolution was when you can really move those pages from offset and really have mass customization.  It’s good speeds and low enough costs and it has always been to some extent about the cost and productivity, which are related.  You have to be competitive.  I don’t care how much the advantages are.  If it’s too expensive I'm limited in the opportunity.  That is so dramatically changing that I think that is the exciting thing if you have been on this digital thing for awhile.

Cary Sherburne:  Forever, yeah.  I guess I'll have to go to Drupa.

Charlie Corr:  Yeah, yeah, yeah, I think it will be very interesting this next time.

Cary Sherburne:  Great, thanks.

Charlie Corr:  Great.

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By Peter Crean on Feb 17, 2012

I totally agree with Charlie that 2012 and ink jet is like '92 and DocuTech, 2000 and Indigo/Nexpess/iGen. And the market demands for run length, quality and cost are exposing a significant space for the wide range of new products. And this time there are more products from more providers to fill this space. A very exciting time for digital print and print in general. These change events seem to be coming about every decade, twice the speed of human generations - not quite internet or cellular change rates, but certainly not static.


By Gerhard Maertterer on Feb 17, 2012

At the drupa 2008 we had not yet found a print
machine manufacturer capable of providing an acceptable toner coverage for high speed printing of highly personalized mailings and transpromo. In the run-up to the drupa 2012 the latest generation of inkjet machines now even masters the precisely modulated AlphaPicture photos, as shown by a test series. Being more than ten times faster, this considerably reduces the production time and the price per unit.

Before long, digital printing of direct mailings will be less expensive than two-stage hybrid production with web offset / laser. The question on whether or not to go for really One-to-One individualization + customization + personalization will no longer be a matter of technology or cost but rather a matter of creativity.


By Cary Sherburne on Feb 17, 2012

Gerhard, so very true


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