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Drupa – the press conferences, Part One

Friday, 04 May 2012
By Patrick Howard

On the first day of drupa the press pack run like harried hares between press conference in the Conference Centre. Timings get out of whack, events overrun, journalists bolt for the exits and no one manages to get to every show. Here are some that I managed to catch. More to follow.

Ricoh clicks with paper Ricoh is not the most colourful company. Its digital presses may be fine colour engines but the corporate style is monotone. First up at 9.00am four Ricoh Europe executives in regulation grey suits and white shirts with ties proclaimed the company’s drupa slogan of Print and Beyond, analysing the trends that are changing the way businesses will purchase and use ‘print’ in the future.

They then went on to present Ricoh’s global launch of a range of offerings such as a prototype of its Pro L4000, a seven-colour, latex ink, large format inkjet printer including white ink and InfoPrint ADF Express, a new addition to its workflow. The cutest offering is a new visual search technology called Clickable Paper, where when you point a smart phone at any printed surface you receive related online content. People will be able to recognise a clickable page thanks to an identification logo.

There was much talk about Ricoh’s well-known eco commitment to a carbon neutral world as well as a passing nod to 3-D printing. I left before the end when the three executives showed no sign of ending and the next press conference loomed.

Konica Minolta plans a revolution

Next up was Konica Minolta where its three Japanese executives delighted the press with their fluent English and humorous presentations. This was my favourite press conference, not least because Akiyoshi Ohno, president and CEO, claimed his wife’s name is Yoko.

The thrust of the presentation was that Konica Minolta is about to start a revolution in printing, is firmly focused on growing its production printing business and aims to ‘tap’ the commercial printing market. Much was made of its alliance with Komori with the prototype of its B2 cutsheet high-speed, (3300sph) inkjet press, the KM1, as the first joint production. Konica Minolta takes care of the inkjet while Komori looks after the paper handling.

With refreshing candour, Ohno admitted that the B2 digital market is becoming very crowded and if the industry does not accept the company’s offering it may never get launched. That’s light years away from the usual programmed corporate speak.

They introduced two new monochrome engines, bizhub1052/1250 and a new colour machine bizhub C1100. To emphasize the revolutionary intent Ohno had a great set of slides with quotes from Karl Marx. That’s not what you expect, and all the more appreciated because of it. They are a confident company with a well thought out strategy.

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