How Memjet Technology is Rocking Digital Print
In 2007, a YouTube video surfaced showing a new type of printhead technology called ‘Memjet’ that was superfast. It was printing 60 A4 full colour pages in a minute. It was a significant moment for three reasons.
Firstly, this showed the commercial printing industry that digital technology was now capable of being very fast. Although in its infancy, the moves were being made to chip away at one of the major competitive advantages that offset print technology had over digital.
Secondly, the technology had not been developed by one of the major print manufacturers. Seriously, before this moment, who the hell had ever heard of Kia Silverbrook or Memjet? This meant that the technology was available to all printer manufacturers, and not locked away and kept out of reach by one organisation. All could potentially utilise Memjet.
Finally, it was significant because much of the development work had actually been done in Australia, in labs and by engineers that had managed to stay off the radar. Those R&D labs now employ close to 200 people and work closely with other Memjet offices from around the globe to contribute to these development efforts, including offices in Ireland and the US. 24 visual impact magazine We’re just shy of 10 years since that video was first released. In that time the technology has developed rapidly. It forms the focal point of a number of high-speed digital printers, and still has the power to wow people with the speed at which Memjet printheads can deliver high-quality graphics.
Speaking with Kevin Shimamoto, General Manager, Wide Format at Memjet Technology, we had the chance to discus the progression that Memjet have made, who’s using it, and how the technology will continue to change and change the industry.
VI: When Memjet was first invented, do you think the market really understood how much the technology would change the industry?
“When we first introduced our technology, we knew that it would have a significant impact on the market. It took a little time, but once the market saw our technology in action, they were quickly able to understand what these solutions could achieve: high print quality coming out at speeds never seen before, combined with a great message about the total cost of ownership. These results provided the proof the market needed to understand just how much this technology could transform the industry.”
“Of course, once the market realised what Memjet-powered solutions could deliver, our competition quickly put programs in place to try and replicate those results. They’ve been trying to follow us into the market with similar technologies ever since.”
VI: How many partners does Memjet currently work with?
“Memjet now works with over 40 partners, including partners who are OEMs of our technology, partners who sell our products under their brand, and partners who are currently in development cycles and will be future OEM’s.”
VI: Do many people in the Australian market know of the company’s connection with the local market?
“Memjet has deep roots in Australia, and we feel a real connection to this region and to this market. There is a sense of pride that, highly skilled engineers in Australia developed much of our technology from the ground up.”
“We also regularly get calls from Australian OEMs and potential customers of OEMs, asking where they can buy Memjet printers. We refer these contacts back to our network OEM’s and local distributors.”
VI: Are Memjet partners using the technology in ways the company didn’t initially envision?
“We introduced Memjet technology with the goal of disrupting the print market. But the definition of that print market is vast, so to realise this goal, we knew we would need to work with innovative partners who could utilise the technology in even more clever ways.”
“We are proud to say that the innovation of our partners has been exactly what we hoped. We now have partners creating and distributing disruptive solutions in many market segments, including wide format graphics, commercial and label presses, cardstock and packaging, desktop label solutions, and mailing and addressing.”
“And we’re not done. Innovation and growth continues, and there is still more to come from Memjet and the partners we work with.”
VI: How much faster can the technology get?
“Memjet technology can scale to accommodate any peak speed demanded by an application.”
“Printing speed is ultimately limited by the cost effectiveness of the supporting infrastructure, such as data processing and paper movement, as well as the fundamental physics of the ink-media interaction. We have limitations on the current printhead design, but speeds can be increased through the use of multiple printheads. “
“In addition, future designs will continue to push the speed barrier through greater processing power.”
VI: How can we expect to see the technology develop?
“Future developments are focused around providing affordable speed in a package that is simple for OEMs to implement into custom designs. Print quality, longevity, and ink flexibility will continue to improve to meet specific application needs and open up access to new markets.”
VI: Which Memjet partners are utilizing the technology to the best of its ability?
“Your question makes me think of drupa and the range of solutions showcased there. What you can see from this assortment of partners is that there isn’t one partner that is the best. Rather, we think that all our partners are using Memjet technology to the best of its ability so that they can meet the specific demands of the markets they serve.”
“Our theme for drupa was “Rock your Print”. But it’s not just about printing, it’s about working with the best OEMs who can generate new opportunities and new levels of simplicity and profitability. All of our OEM’s have capitalised on the opportunity, you could say, they are rocking!”
If you want to know how Memjet can rock your world, www.memjet.com