One of the key themes of drupa is the B2 format digital press, where both inkjet and electrophotographic technologies are used. Looking back we first saw sheet fed B2 presses previewed at drupa 2008 by both Fujifilm and Screen. Both products were technology demonstrations to test out the market. Both products in a more advanced form were also show at IPEX in 2010, but again these were still alpha products that were still going through the market evaluation and technology proving process. Now at drupa 2012 both the Fujifilm and Screen presses are ready for sale.
The problem for both companies is that many other suppliers have announced an entry into the B2 format market, or in certain cases SRA2. These include: Delphax, HP Indigo, Komori, Landa, MGI, and Ryobi/Miyakoshi. Excuse me if I have missed anyone but I have not had a chance to look around the show yet.
Now it is not a problem that other companies have entered the market. In fact it is good as it creates a greater awareness of the business opportunity if many suppliers are competing in this space. No, the problem is every new supplier is at least one year away from market.
In fact, project IPEX 2014 will be the B2 Digital IPEX.
The problem for Fujifilm and Screen is that with the projected higher levels of performance of many of the new entrants to this market, or the possible lower prices where vendors are prepared to give an idea of costs, that possible buyers will now wait to see how the new entrants products develop. I am sure that many HP Indigo customers will now not jump ship for Fujifilm or Screen but will wait for the HP Indigo 10000 press. Other customers will be intrigued by Benny Landa's charisma and will wait to see if they will join the Landa bandwagon.
The moral of this story is if you going to announce a future product at drupa or another leading show, at least be sure you can bring it out and have it running in the market successfully before the next show. It is good to be first but at least be sure you can deliver, otherwise wait until you are ready to stick your head into the firing line.