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Commercial Printing and the Newest Technologies

An interview with Peter Wolff, Head of the Commercial Print Group Canon Europe. "Świat DRUKU" (The World of Printing) talked to Mr Wolff during Canon conference "Canon Publishing and Book Printing" (Poing, Germany, 20th-21th of November).

Świat DRUKU: December is a great opportunity for some summaries – could you please tell me what novelties Canon had in its portfolio in 2013?

Peter Wolff: 2013 was a very successful year for the Canon Commercial Printing business, which covers all Continuous Feed production printing solutions. Even though the Commercial Printing portfolio already was comprehensive at the beginning of the year, we became even stronger in our Inkjet technology. This is reflected in the fact that we are the clear market leader in this area in Europe in the fourth consecutive year. In 2013 we launched new exciting features and also additional systems dedicated especially to the graphic arts industry –very fast production systems with a wide printing area. The JetStream 5500 is undoubtedly the most remarkable system we introduced to the market this year. We enlarged our portfolio with ColorStream machines equipped with a lot of new features, such as 5–6 printing stations, functions that support invisible ink and UV inks that can be used in security printing and a lot of other applications. We introduced new inks in order to improve the overall print quality– . Here I’m thinking of our brand-new Premium Pigment inks in black and magenta. We have also a very complex workflow solution with very long tradition – we launched a new version of it with additional functionalities.

Together with leading paper suppliers we launched new applications dedicated to these special segments of the market – new paper qualities lead to new print quality. We decided to cooperate with many paper companies that are present on the market; we want to help them to understand our technologies so that together we can deliver better quality to the end user. In the future, our customers will be able to choose paper from many suppliers and not from a dedicated one.

SD: Are you going to introduce any new machines or solutions in the nearest future? I have heard that you had a very successful installation of a new machine dedicated to the packaging industry in one of the printing houses in Germany.

PW: Right now we are working on a completely new technology entailing a completely different process. We are in so-called pre-launch situation. As you have mentioned, we have done a first very successful installation. In the next year we are going to continue with a couple of installations around Europe and in this way, step by step, we will bring this new technology to market. Our early customers help us to fine-tune our new technologies to their needs. We call the whole procedure controlled market introduction.

SD: What do you think are the most important market trends right now?

PW: Inkjet printing is getting more and more important – it is not a small niche anymore as it used to be. Right now, more than 90% of our sale is inkjet – 3 years ago it was about 30%. In my opinion the drupa 2008 trade fair was the most important event for the printing industry in the past years. It was the actual starting point for inkjet – during that fair many vendors launched inkjet and that is why a completely new quality standard became available for clients all over the world. Inkjet solutions were present on the market earlier, but the breakthrough happened in 2008. The print quality became much higher. For me the year 2008 was the real start for inkjet, although Kodak and some other companies had had it in their offering for more than ten years already.

SD: Could you please tell me, what can the market expect from your company in 2014?

PW: We will bring to market new features for the machine ColorStream 3000 – we will do our best to meet the expectations of the graphic arts market. We are also planning to widen our cooperation with different printing and paper companies. This is all I can tell you right now.

SD: Could you tell me something more about the cooperation of your company with your partners?

PW: We have strong partners for finishing sector: manroland, Tecnau, Hunkeler… They are especially involved in book printing and newspaper finishing processes that allow us to integrate offset and digital technologies. There is also another important, because strategic aspect of our cooperation: we learn from each other, we share knowledge so that we can offer better quality for our customers.

SD: In Poing I have seen the logo of Océ. Could you explain to our readers what the status is of the integration Canon and Océ?

PW: Océ has been integrated into some of our regions’ and countries’ sections. It is a bit difficult to explain, but, for example in Poland, Océ Poland and Canon Poland merged into Canon Poland, so in Poland Océ has been completely integrated. And this is the case in most of European countries, so on the region and country level the integration is almost completed. On headquarters’ level, the Océ- originating technologies still carry the name Océ, because Canon believes that Océ is a good brand. That’s why Canon Poland is selling Océ machines – customers know Océ as a brand. This is why Canon wants to keep the name and logo Océ for now.

SD: Thank you very much for this explanation and the whole interview – I wish you and your company all the best in the New Year.

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