By Eef de Ridder, Vice President, Ricoh Graphic Communications, Ricoh Europe
Ricoh Europe, London, March 17, 2023 – It has been a long four years since the last Hunkeler Innovationdays which is why it was so great to be back when the doors opened at the end of last month.
The show was busy, energetic, and filled with visitors excited by the opportunity to, once again, meet in person. Networking extended into the evening, too, and we were delighted to welcome many clients and partners to our networking event.
But Hunkeler Innovationdays was not just a place for reconnecting with each other after such a long break.
It was a place for exploring new inkjet webfed printing technologies and identifying the best next steps for operations reshaping their processes after such a challenging time.
There were hundreds of conversations around the most efficient ways to manage a wide range of jobs, various run lengths, and different substrate choices. Automation was a recurring topic. Confidence is clearly returning to our industry, with a number of printers perceiving that the time has arrived to invest again for the future.
Visitors were keen to explore ways to address their individual production challenges and positively transform their operations.
Teams of experts were on hand to help them consider how they can transition from offset to digital print. As a result, much time was spent investigating options, discovering new technology, learning about freshly announced software solutions, and poring over previously unseen samples. The mood was upbeat, the positivity was infectious.
Ricoh’s latest technology solutions on show included the first worldwide presentation of the Ricoh Pro™ VC70000e colour high speed inkjet press developed to deliver greater short run application flexibility. It produced live high quality results on offset coated paper thanks to technology advances including Ricoh’s proprietary undercoating technology. It highlighted how Ricoh-developed inkjet inks empower commercial printers to deliver profitable high quality digital inkjet production with their media versatility and compatibility with a wide range of substrate types. It demonstrated increased productivity, particularly for high ink coverage applications, aided by groundbreaking developments such as its AI-powered scanner.
Another stand exclusive was the world’s first appearance of the just-announced vendor agnostic RICOH TotalFlow™ Producer job onboarding solution. The print on demand app funnels print jobs from multiple submission methods into a consolidated cloud-native location, for streamlined production. Showcased too was automated end to end workflow management solution RICOH ProcessDirector™ and RICOH Supervisor™ that collects and places operational data into customisable web based dashboards to optimise device utilisation, performance, and throughput.
The “dragon’s den” was where visitors could gain fresh insights into the forthcoming Pro™ Z75 B2 inkjet sheetfed press. There was huge interest in what will soon become the world’s only B2 auto-duplexing aqueous ink-based inkjet sheetfed press. And the samples that people examined so carefully gave substance to claims that an extraordinary beast is on its way.
Also attracting attention was the Ricoh Pro™ V20100 compact mono high speed inkjet press and the Ricoh Pro™ C9200 sheetfed colour press. A lot of visitors migrated from the buzzing samples bar, where an incredibly broad range of inspiring print applications could be seen and touched and experienced, straight to exploring the various ways Ricoh offers long term support for clients with our EDGE business development consultancy. The latter is a carefully developed collection of essential tools and training to help operations create effective business and marketing plans, secure new business opportunities, and achieve a return on their investment with Ricoh.
How to successfully manage change, and overcome institutional inertia, was something my colleague Erwin Busselot discussed in his DOXNET presentation that asked are you Darwin or Demon. He shares more on that here.
At Hunkeler Innovationdays I met every day commercial printers who wanted to explore how they can say yes to as many different jobs as possible, regardless of run length or variation in content – ink coverage or personalisation. And a major conclusion from the show has been that, especially with significant advances in automation, inkjet is proving itself increasingly capable of enabling printers like these to prepare for a future that will be defined by flexibility and responsiveness.