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thINK Ahead Drives Collaboration and Innovation for Production Inkjet

Steve Malec

In 2015, Canon Solutions America created thINK, an independent forum for users of its production inkjet technology. IWCO Direct has been involved with thINK from the beginning, sending attendees to the conference as participants, panelists, and presenters. It’s been a great way to network with peers and check our “experience barometer” while sharing our ideas and solutions.

thINK Grows into a True User Community

thINK has evolved over the past five years from being primarily industry experts sharing information about production inkjet technology to the majority of the speakers being actual users of these devices. This really resonated with me. It’s encouraging to hear about the experiences of the user community that is willing to discuss openly what they need addressed to allow them to continue to be successful.

This year’s thINK Ahead conference had a record 600 attendees and 75 presenters. Our continued involvement in this event gave us the opportunity to test the waters of new technology while discovering new or improved processes others have come across. There were also many shout-outs to members of the IWCO Direct team who were not in attendance, including Joe Guttman, Mike Henry, Suzanne Pitsor, and Karen Weil. It made me proud to hear that IWCO Direct is held in such high esteem, and is regarded as a leader in the strategic use of production inkjet technology.

This year’s conference had five distinct tracks with six sessions in each track. Innovation was stressed as the landscape of production inkjet technology continues to expand as a result of software enhancements, expanded paper choices, and finishing solutions. More and more print service providers are investing capital in production inkjet technology because they see a bright future ahead.

The sessions at thINK Ahead proved that production inkjet continues to grow at a rapid pace. I was looking forward to the session by David Croll from Océ Printing Systems, titled, “Paper Talk: Media News.” David discussed the latest developments with inkjet media (mostly paper) and the expanded media categories for both continuous-feed and sheet-fed inkjet presses. For example, on the ColorStream 6900, some specialty medias are now available, including lightweight paper, pressure seal papers, and media with integrated cards. The sweet spot for media for the Océ VarioPrint i300 now includes inkjet treated papers, standard uncoated papers with ColorGrip, as well as some specialty stocks, pressure seal papers, and media with integrated cards.

G7 Process Controls Drive Accurate Color with Production Inkjet

Steve Malec speaking during G7® process control session.

Steve Malec speaking during G7® process control session.

I had the opportunity to be part of a great panel discussion led by Jan Lemieux of Canon Solutions America about G7, and how this calibration method aligns well with process controls. The use of G7 and process controls has opened up opportunities with existing IWCO Direct clients, as well as on-boarding new clients with the confidence that we can deliver the best color fidelity with repeatable results.

Time after time, Tim Baechle, CEO of Idealliance, observed that both Taylor Communications and IWCO Direct are leaders in the industry with the highest color standards, and have that recognition amongst our peers. Josh Bergman, Color Management Specialist at Taylor Communications, and I have developed different process controls in our respective print disciplines, but the G7 principles are the same. This has enabled us to maintain tight, accurate color tolerances across the different print technologies each of our companies use. There were numerous questions at the end, and after the session, I had six or seven individuals from a number of different printers ask lots of questions about G7 and how we got to where we are. It was very rewarding knowing I could share valuable information I learned along the way regarding G7 and process controls.

I came away from this thINK Ahead conference with even more pride for how well recognized IWCO Direct is as a great company and partner. This conference not only is ideal for learning new things about production inkjet, but also for the sharing of knowledge with our peers and networking with new members of the inkjet community.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2019/09/27/think-ahead-conference-recap/
Steve Malec

Author

Steve Malec

Manager, Color Technical Support. Graduate of the Graphic Arts program at Madison Area Technical College with 25 years of industry experience under his belt (the past 16 at IWCO Direct). Brings Albert Einstein’s “curiosity has its own reason for existing” philosophy to his role, where he enjoys the challenges of working with his team to devise color management and digital print solutions. You can find him traveling, hiking, biking, or cheering on the Packers, Badgers, and Vikings.

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