User login

Aqueous Inkjet: Is the Glass Really Half-Empty and Leaking?

(July 2006) posted on Tue Aug 15, 2006

Examine aqueous inkjet technology's current position in the market and consider its future stake in imaging.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Michael Flippin

What do the Earth's surface and the installed base of wide-format inkjet printers have in common? I would be shocked to hear that anyone has even slightly pondered this question, so let me give you the answer. Approximately 71% of both are filled with water. Yes, it's true. And just how are they different? The position of one is shrinking and the other is rising. I'm sure that it will come as little surprise as to which is doing what.

Where did I come up with such trivia? Well, I often find myself in random places staring blankly at the world around me in order to find ideas for my column. This time, I spent a rainy Saturday afternoon in the café of a bookstore, enjoying a 20-ounce latté that made the price of a gallon of gasoline almost seem like a bargain. During my visit, I headed over to the American classics and ended up leafing through Mark Twain's works. Interestingly, some of Twain's ideas apply to this month's column, so I've enlisted the help of a few notable quotes of his in discussing the topic at hand: the position of the wide-format aqueous inkjet printer.

"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please."

I really appreciate this quote, though it hits a little close to home. Some believe that analyzing statistics is fun. I'm one of those people, and I feel that doing so is necessary in order to really understand markets and opportunities—both established and emerging. But interpreting numbers, maintaining data, and relating these figures to the real world is often quite tricky. In a vacuum, making sense of the numbers would be easy. But the challenge is often taking data and creating analyses that answer the questions, "Why?" and "Does that take into account the whole market picture?"

Much has been said and published over the past two years about the imminent fall of aqueous inkjets at the hands of solvent and UV-curable inkjet technology for wide-format graphics. And to be fair, I have made my own assertions based on the results of Web Consulting's research. "Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable," Twain said. I am starting to think he had something against numbers.

"The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated."


Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to the magazine.