Wayne Barlow, Canon UK’s Head of Graphics & Communications Business Group
What trends has Canon identified in the visual communications sector?
The consumer’s experience of print has been made more valuable than it has ever been – and much of that is thanks to the power of print. Customers want to uncover new revenue streams, improve their margins and make the most of their equipment. New applications and new services continue to make all that possible.
Our customers tell us they want an ongoing dialogue through a collaborative, partnership approach to work smarter, access new revenue streams, devise new print applications and business models, and differentiate themselves by adding value for their customers in unexpected ways.
As part of that approach we offer our Essential Business Builder Program. It inspires and guides customers to innovate and transform their business models with creative, and even disruptive ideas, irrespective of the underlying technology.
Canon’s showrooms in Birmingham and London combine insight, expertise and technology. Established to help customers grow and transform their businesses by unleashing the power of print, customers want to see live running and regularly want to print their own files. These showrooms provide demonstration spaces for at least 14 of our top print devices, a selection of finishing devices as well as our wide range of leading software. Among the machines are the 100-page-per-minute imagePRESS C10000VP and the Arizona 1280GT UV flatbed.
As a manufacturer of wide format and cut sheet production printers, are you seeing any sign of a trend toward market ‘convergence’ where PSPs are now supplying both formats?
PSPs are under greater pressure to supply an increasing number of shorter run services, faster, to more customers. It is no great surprise then that they are looking at how they can use their expertise in new sectors. Customers want to uncover new revenue streams, improve their margins and make the most of their equipment.
Of course, while we have the technology, we also recognise the important role that we play in helping our customers extend their business capabilities. Customers don’t want just a machine, they want to be part of a development strategy in a real partnership approach. Through continuous dialogue we gain a deep understanding of the trends that are driving change. We want our customers to reimagine their businesses and realise their full potential and work with them to achieve just that.
What advice would you to offer somebody looking to get into wide format printing for the first time?
Operations looking to move into this sector and adopt new services should identify the right long-term partner with services and solutions that match their ethos and strategy. At Canon, we are in constant contact with the industry, to ensure that our technology and services meet the needs of this vibrant and fast-moving market place. We also work with our customers to ensure their investment is fully supported and contributing to profitability from day one.
The new Colorado UVgel printer was launched to much acclaim last year. How is this going over with customers in the market?
The technology was developed to meet a need for faster turnaround times and for prints that don’t need time to dry. It also does that at a significantly reduced cost, compared to eco-solvent and latex printing. In part, this is thanks to UVgel’s ultra-thin ink dispersion, resulting in low ink consumption.
UVgel technology will transform prospects for wide format roll-to-roll printing.
Do you have plans to extend the Colorado and produce a range of UVgel printers?
Yes. The first model to use this ink was the Océ Colorado 1640 – a 64-inch roll-to-roll wide format printer that has a top speed of 159 square metres per hour for applications such as billboards and outdoor banners. At its highest quality level, the Colorado 1640 can still operate at 40 square metres per hour. This was the first of the family. So watch this space!
What are your plans for exhibiting at Sign & Digital UK?
The Canon stand will be one of the largest at the show and we will be reinforcing the power of print with a multichannel approach via a consumer marketing campaign produced for Canon’s fictional beauty brand ‘Elemental’. Elemental campaign assets will showcase the range of print technology, digital capabilities and marketing knowledge Canon can offer print service providers when working with real brands.
The Elemental campaign takes visitors on a journey to explore three separate environments. In each of those – home, street and store - different print applications will demonstrate how they drive consumer action, influence shoppers buying decision and helps brands raise awareness.
The Océ Colorado 1640, the first 64" UVgel roll-to-roll printer, will be at Sign & Digital UK for the first time. Our unique UV ink used for the Colorado gels immediately on contact with the media, requiring no heat to cure, and is suitable for a wide range of media, including ultra-thin and heat-sensitive substrates. This breakthrough technology allows users to print up to four times as fast as is possible with water-based printers. It helps sidestep production bottlenecks, delivers consistent vibrant colour, banding-free output and sensational finishing.
Also being demonstrated is the Océ Arizona 2280 GT flatbed, Océ ColorWave 700, imagePROGRAF PRO-4000S and a cut-sheet device imagePRESS C850 with the new duplex, long-sheet feeder for banner printing, as well as workflow solutions.
On the first day Mathew Faulkner, Applications Development Senior Manager, Graphics and Communications, Canon Europe, will be taking to the main stage to discuss ‘Interior Décor: turning opportunities into profit’. He will cover the key drivers of the growth in digitally printed décor, print application trends and how to turn these opportunities into profit. Don’t miss it!
What advice would you offer to a first-time visitor to Sign & Digital UK this year?
Use the show to fact find and take advice. Speak to suppliers and ask them to share their insight, of course making plenty of time for an inspiring experience on the Canon stand. As just one example, we will be using the show as an important platform to discuss with print service providers how we can innovate together, not least through a bespoke Application Gallery, which will illustrate the possibilities of print for backlit displays and decorative surfaces. We will also be sharing a host of creative and disruptive ideas that will help visitors unlock the power of print. Our specialist team will be on hand to discuss ideas on how show-goers can develop their businesses through a combination of technology and knowledge.
Finally, what future trends do you think we’ll be seeing more of in the market in coming years?
We believe both PSPs and suppliers will be looking to create a more joined up approach across the board, from their relationships to their day-to-day operation and their customer communication. Greater collaboration will support this as will more open conversations that enable highly responsive and creative decision making. We will continue to help our customers see the bigger picture.