This Week in Imaging: An “A4 Blitz” from Canon, Ricoh, Kyocera; Inkjet Production; More

Photo credit: Kathy Wirth

It doesn’t appear groundbreaking at first glance, but our weekly “snapshot” of news this week was interesting in an important respect: three traditional copier vendors – Canon, Ricoh, and Kyocera – introduced or announced new hardware – about a dozen in all – and all of them were A4 models, not A3 floor-standing copier/MFPs.
Ricoh USA’s introductions were particularly interesting, because they’re optimized for applications in the healthcare sector. That means, for instance, locked trays for loading blank prescription paper, and Teflon-lined paper trays optimized for holding media for printing on labels and patient wristbands. While these aren’t Ricoh’s first healthcare-optimized models, it’s all part of the company’s expansion with a variety of solutions for the healthcare sector – which, fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it – is one of the largest sectors in the United States, with annual revenues of $1.668 trillion according to data from StatisticBrain.
In other news, Ricoh (Europe) also hit a major milestone this week, when auto-maker Daimler announced it was installing Ricoh’s first 3D printer for rapid prototyping.
Will they or won’t they? This week, rumor had it that Xerox could be purchasing Eastman Kodak’s Prosper high-speed inkjet business. Xerox already has Impika under its belt; Impika is based in Aubagne, France, and makes water-based inkjet presses, and it’s long advocated the advantages of inkjet for production presses, so this might be a natural fit.
Meanwhile, this week, rival Canon USA outlined its own high-speed inkjet strategy for wide-format signage and displays, publishing, direct-mail, commercial, and transactional printing, which will include its UV gel wide-format printer, the Oce Colorado 1640 next month, its recent ProStream and varioPRINT DP launches, and its Voyager inkjet photo-printing press next year.
Cartridge World was talking big this week with its announcement of a new managed print services program that will “elevate brand awareness and help franchisees throughout the United States grow their B2B recurring revenues with managed print services.”

We found the Cartridge World announcement this week interesting, as we’re in the midst of a project that involves contacting Cartridge World locations in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania area with questions about their services.

Our efforts are part of a study on aftermarket inkjet cartridges. Only two of the locations actually answered the phone and both of them explained that they’d abandoned their storefronts and were reduced to running their franchises from their home office. Both also stated that the storefront overhead was too high and it had forced them to backtrack into a phone order and mailing routine, while simultaneously driving around their “turf” in order to accommodate the needs of their existing customers. (And, curiously, one gentleman even confided to us that the aftermarket supply business was akin to being in the Mafia, “once you’re in you can never get out.”)

This isn’t an indictment of Cartridge World, as, since, we’re in the era of big-box stores and mega online shopping sites, this is pretty much the same as experienced by every storefront business on Main Street. That is, most if not all independent aftermarket ink- and toner-cartridge providers are being squeezed out by the low prices and fast shipping provided by the big boys.

Office-Imaging News

  • New Ricoh MFPs for Healthcare with Locked Paper Tray, Wristband-Printing, More – Ricoh USA today announced new black-and-white “healthcare-optimized” copier/MFPs and printers that it says are designed to address the “security, space and budgeting needs” of acute, ambulatory, and extended-healthcare facilities. Read more here.
  • Canon Announces New A4 MFPs and Printers, New Solution for Securing and Managing eMail – Yesterday, Canon U.S.A. announced a slew of new imageRUNNER ADVANCE and imageCLASS copier/MFPs and printers, as well as a new cloud based e-mail management solution. Read more here.
  • Kyocera Launches New, Faster A4 Desktop Printers Rated at up to 64 PPM – KYOCERA Document Solutions America today extended its family of desktop A4 family with the new ECOSYS P3060dn series. Read more here.
  • IDC: Small Increase in Global Printer and MFP Shipments in Fourth Quarter; Gains for HP, Epson – The worldwide hardcopy peripherals (HCP) market increased 0.6 percent year over year to 26.6 million units shipped in the fourth quarter of 2016 (4Q16), according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker. Read more here.
  • Cartridge World Rolls Out New Managed Print Services Programs for Franchises – Yesterday, Illinois-based Cartridge World, a global franchise network for OEM-alternative ink and toner cartridges, reported a new “significant investment to elevate brand awareness and help franchisees throughout the United States grow their B2B recurring revenues with managed print services (MPS).” Read more here.
  • HP Canada Recruits ‘MafiaBoy’ to Warn of Dangers of Printer Hacking – Last month, HP Inc. recruited actor Christian Slater to star in The Wolf, a short film warning of the perils of printer hacking, while this week, HP Inc. Canada revealed that it’s recruited reformed computer hacker Michael  Calce – nick-named “MafiaBoy” – to also warn of printer hacking. Read more here.

Commercial- and Production-Printing News 

  • Canon U.S.A. Announces Long-Anticipated Oce Colorado 1640 UV Gel Printer for Wide-Format Printing – Yesterday,  Canon U.S.A. announced its long-anticipated UV gel wide-format printer, the Océ Colorado 1640, a 64-inch roll-to-roll printer, that it will make it first public debut in the United States at the ISA International Sign Expo next month and will be available in May. ​Read more here.
  • Canon Rolls Out Third-Generation of varioPRINT DP Monochrome Production Printers – Stressing its commitment to the monochrome production-printer market, Canon U.S.A. today introduced the third generation of its varioPRINT DP product line with the release of the varioPRINT 140 Series. Read more here.
  • Xerox May be Purchasing Kodak’s Commercial Inkjet Business – PrintWeek reports that Eastman Kodak, which will announce its quarterly financial results tomorrow, may be purchasing Kodak’s Ohio-based high-speed Prosper commercial-inkjet printer business. Read more here.
  • Ricoh Takes a Look at its Advances in High-Speed Inkjet Printing – Last week, we discussed how various traditional copier vendors have been venturing into high-speed inkjet printing for commercial and production printing (This Week in Imaging: Production – and Inkjet Production – for Office-Equipment Dealers), while this week, Ricoh USA reported on its latest advances in this segment. Read more here.
  • Global Large-Format Printer Market Shows Healthy Gains; HP Remains Leader – The Worldwide Quarterly Large Format Printer Tracker from International Data Corporation (IDC) found that large-format printer (LFP) shipments and revenue grew by more than 4 percent year-over-year in 2016. Read more here.
  • EFI Launches New UV LED Inkjet Wide-Format Printers, the VUTEk 5r, VUTEk 3r – Electronics For Imaging (EFI) is launching two new UV LED inkjet printers that is says provide the fastest throughput available in their product class, the EFI VUTEk 5r and VUTEk 3r printers, which EFI is demonstrating at the Shanghai AD & Sign Expo in March, the ISA International Sign Expo in Las Vegas in April, and at Fespa 2017 in May in Hamburg, Germany. Read more here.

3D-Printing News

  • Auto-Maker Daimler to Install Ricoh Rapid-Prototyping 3D Printer – Ricoh Europe reports today that auto-manufacturer Daimler has chosen Ricoh’s first Ricoh-branded 3D printer, the RICOH AM S5500P for producing prototypes. Read more here.

Legal Briefs

  • Epson Files Patent-Infringement Lawsuit Against Amazon Marketplace Sellers – Epson announced that Epson America, Epson Portland, and Seiko Epson have filed three patent-infringement complaints on March 3, 2016 in the U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon, against Gaea Supplies; OW Supplies and Smart and Eazy;and Ta Trix, alleging that the companies infringed on Epson’s U.S. Patent 6,502,917 and U.S. Patent 8,794,749. Read more here.

Executive-Management News

  • Global Imaging Systems’ VP to Lead Konica Minolta Direct Sales – Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A.  announced several executive-management changes today – all with the goal of “providing the best-in-class operational and sales support to enhance the customer experience and exceed expectations.” Read more here.

Financial News

  • Kodak Reports Much Improved Earnings for 2016 – Eastman Kodak Company yesterday reported financial results for its fourth quarter and its full-year 2016, delivering net earnings of $16 million on revenues of $1.5 billion for the year. Read more here.

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December 2016

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