What will Make Monochrome Printers Obsolete?
Every company would love to launch the next innovation that makes their competitors products obsolete. Digital printing made diazo obsolete. The Xerox 8836/8840/8845 started the trend and the Océ 9800 brought about the end to diazo. What will make monochrome digital printing obsolete? Most speculate that it will be production color. The on-going debate is whether it will be LED technology like the KIP Color 80 or an inkjet technology from HP or Cannon.
I’m not sure who will make it or where it will come from, but based on recent market developments, I believe it is coming soon. Below is a video of a new inkjet technology from Memjet, an inkjet research and development company based in Sydney, Australia.Memjet has 3,500 patents and patent applications for their technology.
Texyt is a blog that covered this development The author reports "unlike conventional inkjets, the printhead spans the full width of the paper and does not need to shuttle from side to side." Below is a video of the Memjet technology in action.
This is printing at 60 pages per minute or 58 linear feet per minute. An Océ 9800 and KIP 8000 are rated 32 and 47 feet per minute respectively. The Memjet technology will print 1600 DPI color. Steve Hoffenberg of Lyra Research says this technology has a “price/performance ratio that is off the charts.” The printer shown is obviously a small format printer, but the company claims they have a wide format with wide inkjet heads that allow the paper to move laterally under the heads. On March 23, the Memjet website had videos of this wide format device and by April 2 they were removed (see below).
This is interesting to say the least. Memjet’s President of home and office business products, Bill McGlynn, is a former HP executive. HP has a competing technology called Edgeline (see the video). They claim this technology is scalable to wide-format, but the price point is substantially higher. Many believe this Memjet technology presents a substantial threat to HP’s dominance in the inkjet market. Memjet has made it clear that its intention is to license or sell this technology. The fact that the wide format video disappeared from the Website may be an indication that a transaction has been consummated.
Hold on. It's about to get more interesting!