Printing Industries of America has agreed to merge with the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA), forming the largest member-based graphic arts association in the country. The new joint organization plans to hold the Printing United Expo and Conference in Atlanta where new industry equipment, services, and supplies will be on display as well as providing educational programs.
Changes Brought On by COVID-19
Short Term: The coronavirus is affecting the supplies industry in both expected and unexpected ways. Industry experts IDC expects worldwide IT spending to decline by more than 5% this year and this will lead to much less printing, especially in the corporate environment. The most recent IDC report on first-quarter hardcopy peripheral shipments showed a worldwide 7.5% decline to 21.1 million units as production supply chains were disrupted by China’s producers dealt with the COVID-19 virus. Multifunction color laser in the 21-30 ppm range was one bright spot with a 3% increase to 793,000 units. Major suppliers HP, Canon and Kyocera all saw shipment declines while Brother was a leader with a 9.6% increase. Also showing an increase was ink-tank printers with a 5.5% increase to 3.7 million units.
Longer-Term: An interesting aspect of the virus disruption — with so many employees working from home — there will be more home-office printing and this is more commonly done with inkjet rather than laser printers. We have seen reports that in Europe orders for inkjet printers have risen significantly but deliveries have been slowed by virus-related production delays.
Lexmark International has formed a partnership with and The University of Kentucky Office of Technology Commercialization and College of Engineering professor Joshua Werner where a project will explore recovery of precious metals from end-of-life materials such as toner cartridges and batteries.
For some time inkjet companies have been offering printers with refillable ink tanks. Now Hewlett-Packard has introduced a laser printer with a refillable toner tank. The printer comes with enough toner for 5,000 pages and then the customer can use separate cartridges and a mess-free injection system for adding new toner into the tank. This system is claimed to provide up to 2.5x pages compared to using typical OEM cartridges with an average cost of less than one cent/page.
The originator of the cartridge-free super tank ink concept, Epson America, has now introduced its first A3 color multifunction super tank printer – the WorkForce ST-C8000 (pictured). The output is up to 25 ISO ppm (black or color) at up to 13”x19”. The printer comes with enough pigment-based DURAbriteR ink for 19,500 black or 14,800 color pages, potentially saving the user 80% on ink costs.
Canon has announced the imagePROGRAF TA-20 MFP L24ei (pictured left), a new large-format printer for small businesses. The device reportedly has the capability of 24”x36” posters in as little as 27 seconds using the available Fast (Q5) mode. The printer comes with 330 ml of ink.
Kyocera, a current leader in laser printing, has entered the inkjet production market with the TASKalfa Pro 15000c. The device can output up to 146 letter-size black or color ppm or 74 12”x18”ppm at resolutions ranging from 600×1200 to 600×600 dpi.
Lexmark has introduced four printers for home or small office use, something that should fit right in with the current stay-at-home orders. The devices included the MS431dn monochrome multifunction with up to 40 ppm and auto-duplex. The MS531 dn is a monochrome multifunction offering up to 38 ppm and auto-duplex. The MX431adn also provides 40 ppm. The CX431adw is a color multifunction with up to 24.7 ppm
Konica Minolta has introduced the AccurioPress 6136P (pictured) with MICR toner for secure printing of checks and financial documents. The MICR toner and proprietary developer are supplied by Troy Group.
Canon Solutions America
Canon Solutions America has introduced the DGI FT-3204X and FH-3204 dye-sublimation textile printers. The printers have a capability of up to 10 ft wide printing on either transfer paper or direct to textile. The DGI POSEIDON has the capability of 64” textile printing using process color or fluorescent inks.