Cary Sherburne and Frank Romano discus their impressions at drupa.
Cary Sherburne: Hi, I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink, and I’m here with Frank Romano. Romano must be a more senior editor than me.
Frank Romano: I am the most senior person at this show. This is my 10th DRUPA.
Cary Sherburne: Wow! This is only my third, I feel like a neophyte.
Frank Romano: Wow! You’re at only three?
Cary Sherburne: Well, you know I came from the digital world; we didn’t even know how to spell DRUPA in those days.
Frank Roman: In ’72, there was only one building built, the new building at the new fairgrounds here and Heidelberg introduced the GTO Press. And they had 100 of them running at the same time.
Cary Sherburne: Wow.
Frank Romano: And they had a wall and with visuals on them. And they were all, there were like 200 35 mm slide projectors, and they had a whole team of people running around keeping the bulbs lit and keeping the slides going. It was amazing.
Cary Sherburne: Well, it’s changed a little, and you know it would be kind of interesting to share with our viewers; we’re in day, actually formally day two of the show as we speak here. And we could share with our viewers a little bit about what we’ve seen that was interesting so far. And you know, we just have to start with Landa Land.
Frank Romano: Yes, we do. I mean, that’s a revolutionary technology what he’s done there with nano-type… nano…
Cary Sherburne: Nano Ink.
Frank Romano: Nanography.
Cary Sherburne: Nanography.
Frank Romano: I’m gonna get it right. We’ll have to find an easier way to pronounce it, I think. But it is a revolutionary technology. It has a very small dot size, by the way, its 500 nanometers where the normal inkjet dot size is between one and three microns.
Cary Sherburne: But he’s still using standard heads.
Frank Romano: He’s using Kyocera heads right now, the Piezo heads, but theoretically you could go to any head because it’s a thermal.
Cary Sherburne: Yeah.
Frank Romano: He replaced the oil that was in the indigo ink with water…
Cary Sherburne: Right, with water.
Frank Romano: … which means you could use thermal heads or Piezo heads.
Cary Sherburne: But what was most astounding, I mean, obviously, the printed product that comes out is critical to the success of the machine, but what was most astounding was the user interface.
Frank Romano: You have the machine, by the way, that’s, you know, like, 10 feet long and about 7 feet high and the visual interface is the entire front of the machine. And you stand – and you operate it as though it was an iPhone and you move things along here and click on things. It’s just a – oh, and when it’s running, a little video comes up, because there’s a video camera inside and it shows you what’s happening inside the machine. It’s an amazing interface. I imagine the operators will put chairs in front of it and watch movies while the jobs are running.
Cary Sherburne: And you can also run it remotely using – they’re actually using the Samsung Galaxy Tab, but an Android app that lets them run more than one machine remotely.
Frank Romano: Yeah. I like the fact that he said that one person can run several machines.
Cary Sherburne: Right.
Frank Romano: So they would just be sitting there doing – hitting buttons all the time.
Cary Sherburne: In between playing Angry Birds.
Frank Romano: With Scrabble on them.
Cary Sherburne: Yeah. So, then beyond that, I mean, he’s going to have multiple sized sheets and he’s got partnerships with Komori, with Heidelberg, and with manroland and sheet fed.
Frank Romano: And you’ll see some others coming along the way.
Cary Sherburne: Coming along, exactly. And so that’ll be kind of an interesting model to follow. But the whole B2 sheet fed thing is pretty interesting to me, you know, to see that, and of course, Indigo with their 10,000 Series is a pretty interesting entrant.
Frank Romano: Yes, you know, I’ve been predicting that for years because in 1998, they showed a B2 machine and never showed it again. And I kept saying, Okay, next show you’ll have it, next show… well, they finally have it. So we went from four years ago at DRUPA where you had two B2 machines to where you have today you have nine B2 machines.
Cary Sherburne: And what’s interesting about the Indigo strategy for me is the fact that they’ve brought together what were two separate manufacturing lines, businesses, whatever, with the web fed and the sheet fed into a single platform. So they have the 10,000 sheet fed, which is document-oriented, 20,000, which will be a flexible packaging oriented and a third – labels, and a third one, a 30,000 which is full and carton sheet fed, all on the same platform. So that’s going to save them a lot of money in the long run.
Frank Romano: And that’s going, like, you can see that model with everyone. They all need to get into the label market, the packaging market, folding carton, and also a flexible film, by the way and then the document market. So you can see everybody sort of modifying their machines to handle these different subserves.
Cary Sherburne: And then Xikon, of course, with their Trillium liquid high viscosity toner, liquid toner. And they’re claiming they’re B2, well, they are because it’s 20 inches wide…
Frank Romano: Well its 20-inches wide.
Cary Sherburne: … but, but unlimited lengths.
Frank Romano: That is correct. And by the way, at Trillium, we used to have that RIT, we had two of them and we used to use them for signage and we used to do signs 10 feet long.
Cary Sherburne: Mm-hmm, yeah, sure, banners.
Frank Romano: Now that liquid toner technology was developed by a research institute in Australia.
Cary Sherburne: Yeah, Research Labs of Australia, oh yeah.
Frank Romano: And Nio Kochi was the only other company that was using it for a long time. I don’t think they sold that many machines, but the good thing about it is, unlike the Indigo technology, which emits VOC’s, this one does not. So that probably will give Zycon an advantage.
Cary Sherburne: So, yeah. So, let’s adjourn for now, but come back and talk about more a little bit later because this is a big show.