The importance of pedigree: new wide-format machines
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By Sophie Matthews-Paul
3 June 2011
It's wise to stick with manufacturers with a strong pedigree
It used to happen a lot. You'd wander round a trade event or read magazine articles and discover that, lo, a new manufacturer had popped up offering wide-format print service providers the digital Holy Grail. Today, such occurrences are far less common than they used to be and, as a result, we can sit back and relax in the knowledge that whoever is making our new bit of machinery has the background and pedigree to do so.
Call me cynical, but if a shiny new printer resplendent with bells, whistles and promises appears, I am likely to view it through the eyes of a sceptic. If it's only just appeared in a market which is well served with platforms designed to cater for every budgetary and production need, isn't it a bit rash to pour heavy investment into an unknown?
In an earlier blog I pondered on the topic of machine manufacturers needing to work to the power of three. Developers need money, lots of it, to bring even a single successful platform to market. And they also need the integrators who help knit the whole thing together to make into a working unit. Then these development businesses or manufacturers must put together a proper marketing plan, bring out a piece of equipment which works reliably and consistently and, then, find customers.
Successful manufacturing isn't just down to an organisation's size, though. These businesses are run by people, and these are the folk who are responsible for future developments and for looking after the machines already in the field. They are responsible for generating good reputations, they work hard to keep ahead of future trends and needs, and they make sure that they stay up to speed on technology.
The wide-format ink-jet industry originally comprised a whole host of different companies of all origins, shapes and sizes. Acquisition, 'natural wastage' and even failures have reduced these numbers considerably so that, today, we have a solid core of reputable manufacturers who should be able to provide us with the solutions we want. So, donning my rather large cynical hat, I can't see the point of sourcing a mainstream printer from a business without a good track record when there are plenty of options out there that can be purchased without an unnecessary risk factor being involved.
True, there are specialist machines for specific market sectors which might fall outside the general remit of ink-jet production, but these businesses aren't intending to address the mainstream display producer or sign-maker. Today's print service providers looking for a new system should surely be wise enough to stick with tried and trusted manufacturers and check their pedigrees thoroughly when it's time to invest.
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