I’m not an inkjet user – yet. We’ve been exploring it for about two years. We got a chance to go to thINK in 2017 and are hoping to go back this year. Here’s why I found value in the conference as a prospective buyer.
What We’re Looking For in an Inkjet Press
As an in-plant, we do a lot of transactional, offset, and color digital – everything from traditional EOBs and remittance to booklets and newsletters. We really run the gamut of color capabilities and substrates. Our current press doesn’t have the turnaround times we need, which is why we’re looking at adding a continuous feed inkjet press.
We’re looking to move roughly 15 million impressions per month to inkjet, if possible. It would be a variety of jobs, not just typical EOBs but also a lot of commercial print. The most important thing we need is a device that can win over our customers – our communications department will certainly need to sign off on quality.
There’s a lot of cutsheet out there, but we’re looking for a continuous roll-fed device that can handle high volumes. We’re printing on uncoated as well as coated stock. The biggest challenge is the footprint. As an in-plant, we don’t have a large warehouse, so configuration, footprint size, and heating and air conditioning requirements are all big factors for us.
Our Experience at thINK
I’ve been to several expos and conferences over the past decade and have seen virtually every vendor’s inkjet solution, and I can confidently say that thINK was second-to-none.
At thINK, we were able to witness firsthand Canon Solutions America’s investment in R&D, from the Voyager all the way down the product line.
The best thing about the conference is talking to other people who are looking at or have already installed the devices. You get a lot of information just by networking. Of course, we heard from Canon Solutions America representatives themselves, which was informative, but nothing can replace getting to talk to people who have actually installed the device.
At thINK 2018, we plan to look at the latest advancements of the ProStream. We heard there was the possibility of getting a ProStream in an L configuration, which would make us take a more serious look. We also want to look at the TITAN series to potentially replace some of our microdevices.
Advice to Others Considering Inkjet
Do your homework to be sure that this application fits your customers’ needs. From an in-plant standpoint, we have a wide variety of customers, and we need to be sure our equipment meets all of their needs. Look at the strengths and weaknesses of each device and think about how your customers’ needs will change over time as well.
We’re looking to make a decision on inkjet no later than Q4 2018. Right now, we’re working on getting our upper management ROI information about the solution that can best keep administrative costs down and save our members money.
Big shoutout to Jamie Dooley, our local representative, who has done a fantastic job, day in and day out, of keeping me informed and providing me with all the materials we need to take the next step toward inkjet.
Hope to see you at thINK 2018!
David Gaines is the Manager, Print Solutions at Blue Cross Blue Shield Tennessee. He and his team are considering adding an inkjet press to their lineup.