Andrew Tribute: Good morning from a beautiful spring morning in Cornwall, England. I want to talk about a major announcement that’s been made this week, but also just to comment on another one. The big announcement in many ways for many, for a lot of people, was the announcement by Donnelly and KBA that Donnelly is going to license its inkjet technology to KBA, to go to Digital Press. There’s a very good article on PrintsEO.com by Cary and I’m going to be adding some comments to that with my opinions about what this really means.
But the big thing I wasn’t to talk about this week is an announcement made by Canon. And this is for Canon moving into a new business area. This is into the production photo finishing and short run print on demand market. Now they’ve been in the short run on demand market, but with electro photographic technology. The product they’ve announced this week is Dream Elabo 5000. This is a single pass inkjet printer that prints duplex, that’s aimed at the production photo finishing markets and the print on demand market. It’s not very quick, necessarily. It’s a 20-page a minute printer. But the key thing is this is inkjet technology and single pass inkjet technology. For this Canon has developed a new print head which prints a width of 12 inches in a single pass in seven colors. Now, there’s nobody that quite does that yet, so this unique in this sort of area, but it shows that Canon is developing inkjet technology to go into wider market areas than currently the printheads they use in the desktop, Soho and wide format markets, all of which have scanning printheads.
So this is going to be interesting to see where does this go? The printer looks very interesting for the markets its aimed at and its going to be available from next year. But it’s really interesting to think, what does this mean, because if Canon is now developing wide format, single pass printheads, we can then envisage that they can gang these together and put multiple ones in line to increase speed and redundancy, just the same way that other manufactures like HP have done. So, I think what we’re seeing is the announcement of Dream Elabo 5000 of widening Canon’s position in the photo market, but only a very dominant player. But also opening up new opportunities to extend in the inkjet production market, Canon at the moment is only an inkjet production through its ownership of almost total ownership of Oce, otherwise it always a electro photographic company. So this is showing Canon moving forwards into the next generation of technology. Very interesting product and what the implication of this is going to be. And I’m looking forward to seeing it when it comes available.