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An Interview with Kevin Shimamoto, Memjet
May 22, 2015
Memjet is a company we have been following for some time now. They made headlines back in 2010 when they brought to market an A4 printhead that spanned the entire width of a page, and was the first inkjet to introduce 60ppm technology. Following that, the company worked to take its amazing technology and format a printhead for the wide format market. They have been able to leverage both to their advantage and have formed many partnerships across industries. On the cusp of FESPA 2015, we had the opportunity to talk to Kevin Shimamoto, General Manager, Wide Format at Memjet Technology about their company and get some insights on the wide format printer industry. The interview was conducted via phone, and the transcript is here below..
1) What are the best practices for wide format printers? And what sets Memjet’s technology apart from other solutions available?
Because we at Memjet are so focused on quality and speed, we know those that opt to use our technology can harness it in a variety of ways. Businesses can now opt to charge more for printing services because of the speed and short-run capabilities of devices. Some are also looking to reduce their respective footprints.
The second area we see is businesses opting to grow through new applications such as customized giftwrap paper, cake rounds, pizza boxes, etc. Now with short run prints available much more easily, much more is possible, and new products means growth and development for businesses. Thus the best value proposition today is looking at single-pass and other similar options.
As the inventor of single pass in wide format, we feel good that we got to the market first, and now others are joining such as HP. It did provide some further validation to our idea to have one of the top printer companies in the world moving into this space. This also provided is really going to help us, and educate the community as a whole.
The market wants more than one supplier and people will look at Canon and Xerox to see what they are offering too. Customers have more opportunities to find solutions that work for them. Memjet is advantaged because we have been doing this for a while. We’ve had two years to listen to the market, chat with people and help them find ways to develop custom solutions. We have partners that create software, xy cutters, and more.
It takes time to be successful, but HP is going to do well once they get through a learning curve.
2) Can you share an update on what some of the OEM partners are doing? Specifically related to recent product launches / enhancements?
Xerox will be unveiling completely new image quality enhancement capabilities that go along with our print head.
That said, we don’t like to speak on behalf of partners, and they’d have quite a bit to share on their own.
3) What are some of the ways users can use Memjet powered printers to create new revenue streams?
Another way is with retailers and their custom advertisements for their own specific locations. With these new printers powered by Memjet, they can setup and have a job ready to go for the next day where previously to do this, it could have taken up to a week. Retailers at the local level have a better understanding of their customers, and if they can create short runs of targeted ads it is certainly to their benefit. Previously, it could have taken up to a week for the same print job. Basically, businesses are looking at different ways to drive value.
One of our partners, Xante, has been investigating printing on any surface up to ½ inch. They have managed to figure out a way to print on corrugated cake rounds. With this new technique, advertising for a bakery could be placed right under the cake and revealed as it is being eaten.
Retailers have the ability to offer differentiated pricing and differentiated products.
4) Has Memjet considered venturing into the 3D printing arena to extend its already impressive offerings for the manufacturing community?
In the commercial space, we want to be able to get to speeds beyond the 1 sec per page model and take the individual components to market allowing customers to integrate them into their existing technologies rather than buying print heads from us.