The Merger between Canon and Océ which was finalized in 2012 has created a global printing company with huge clout and a wide range of cut sheet, continuous feed and large format printing equipment. The companies are now fully integrated and the marriage seems to be bearing lots of offspring.
On the other hand there is a strong strategic rationale for Canon and Océ to merge. Now it’s a good time to look back and reflect on the results of this integration. Jeppe Frandsen the head of professional printing group at Canon Europe who recently was on a business trip in Dubai seems to be the best person to give us a rather authoritative opinion on the Canon’s plan for future following Océ take over and what this take over means for Canon customers.
“Océ products complement Canon, especially in high end part of the business. We have been trying for last 10 years to expand our product portfolio including continuous feed equipment. With Océ acquisition we are able to capitalize on an excellent complementary fit in product mix, channel mix, R&D, and business lines. On the other hand this merger enables us to cover all the needs in the market and become a one stop shop. Due to globalization customers want a supplier that can offer a wide range of products and services globally. This does not mean cheaper products but more options and better availability. ” comments Frandsen.
Back in May 2014 when we visited Canon factory in Poing prior to the Fespa Digital we had to opportunity to see a glimpse of Canon’s strategy to become a number one player in world of digital printing. Some of the equipment that we saw for the first time in Canon’s manufacturing site including the imagePress 800 is already available in the market. However other more exciting technologies such as project Niagara or InfiniStream has not been launched yet. Frandsen explains:” Niagara is a high-volume cut sheet color inkjet digital press which is an ideal technology for direct mail application. It is easy and flexible and most important feature of the technology is that it can use normal offset paper while offering excellent printing quality. It will be launched eventually in Europe and later all over the world. On the other hand Infinistream folding carton press has been in development for last 5 years.
The world’s first InfiniStream Technology has been installed at packaging printer Joh. Leupold GmbH, based in Schwabach, Germany. The print house is close to Canon factory in Poing and our engineers and expert can monitor machine’s performance regularly. This machine will be installed first in Germany and preferably in print houses that are located near Poing and eventually in Europe. And if the demand is there Infinistream will be launched in Middle East as well.”
Infinistream is a clear indication of Canon’s diversified strategy to tap into more profitable packaging industry. The machine uses electrophotographic liquid toner technology. It’s modular and can deliver offset quality. However it’s a huge investment so we have to wait and see if it can find its place in the crowded folding carton technologies available in the market.
Wide Format confusion
Within wide format sector Océ Arizona flatbed printer is very well known. During Fespa Canon launched a new version of company’s flagship printer. Océ Arizona 6100 series has a large flatbed, 2.5m x 3.0m, with an advanced vacuum technology that ensures a wide range of materials can be held securely. The machine boasts two independent printing zones, which makes it productive.
During Fespa Fujifilm also showcased the same printer albeit with a different colour and the different name (Acuity) which begs the question what’s the rationale behind this strategy. “The fact that FujiFilm and Canon are offering same technology can be perfectly explained.
The sales volume for this machine particularly in the Middle East is not high. Fujifilm and Canon customers can benefit from this cooperation and receive efficient service and support from two top global brands. Nevertheless there might be some confusion but we don’t see this as a big issue or a high priority that should be addressed,” maintains Frandsen.
It seems that large format printing is an important part of future for Canon. The company is offering a wide range of equipment including a Memjet based printer ColorWave 900. While HP has chosen the latex rout the question is what type of inkjet technology Canon sees as a safe bet for the future.” The market for latex is still very small, around 4 or 5 %. We did showcase 5 years ago a latex prototype printer during our expo. But that was just a technology demonstration.
For Canon out door wide format technology is very interesting and I’m confident Canon will come up with suitable technology to fulfill the growing demand in the market for billboards and posters. I believe in future we have to be more application oriented. Our software along with Océ’s rich legacy in offering state-of the-art software will help us to find a strong foothold in large format printing markets.” Concludes Frandsen.