Most people will know that Ricoh make very good inkjet printheads, now up to the 5th Generation and used by some of the world’s leading roll and flatbed printer manufacturers. It would surprise many to know that, at USD$18.2 billion, Ricoh’s sales revenue is about the same, if not a little higher, than Xerox’s.
Recent and upcoming events have signalled to the market Ricoh’s intention to carve out a greater share of the printer and ink market and enjoy with inkjet, the same success and quality reputation that the company enjoys in toner-based cut-sheet printers.
First was industry identity Paul Thompson’s shift from Ricoh UK back to Australia in May. No stranger to these shores, Thompson has previously held sales and management positions with Xerox, Canon/Océ and Currie Group. Now, with Ricoh’s DTG (direct-to-garment) and visual display range in his business development portfolio, he intends to raise the profile of Ricoh’s inkjet offerings across Australia.
|Settled in at Ricoh Australia: Paul Thompson with the Ri100 and Ri6000 DTG printers in Ricoh’s Sydney showroom.|
“We’ve been a bit below the radar for some time,” he says, “but those who do know us know we stand behind what we sell with support, training and knowledge.” An early success was Worldwide South Brisbane’s purchase of a Ricoh Ri100 DTG printer that uniquely combines textile printing with heat treatment in one unit, negating the need for a separate heat press.
The second event has yet to occur but will happen in the August-September window, and that is the Australian launch of Ricoh’s first flatbed UV printer, the Pro T7210. Shown at FESPA Europe in May and previewed at SGIA in the USA last October; the Pro T7210 is a 3.2 metre x 2.1 metre flatbed UV aimed at the décor and decorative panel market rather than straightforward sign and display. As such it boasts a maximum media thickness of 110mm, rather than the common 50mm thickness for most sign and display printers.
Senior Product Manager Henryk Kraszewski, working closely with Thompson, points out that industrial markets where the printing is to decorate a functional product, are growing at a faster rate. “It’s all to do with short runs and various versions,” he says. “A home or hotel can have its own-designed wall panels, flooring, even glass patterns.”
Ink adhesion is a strong point of the Pro T7210 and Ricoh now manufactures its own inks. “Printing onto acrylic, polycarbonate, PETG, aluminium, steel, wood and glass requires special ink properties. The Pro T7210 can also feature inline priming for materials that would otherwise be difficult to adhere ink onto,” says Kraszewski.
The Pro T7210 can be supplied as a straight CMYK machine, or with white added, a primer, and a clear coat. The first machine is expected in the country by September.
“With the Ri100 (A4), Ri3000 and Ri6000 (A3) DTG devices, the upcoming Pro T7210 flatbed, GelJet MPC W2201 and also new 64” latex technology in the making, we have compiled a broad range of inkjet production devices using Ricoh technologies throughout,” says Paul Thompson.
Now settled into his new role and with a determined demeanour, there can be little doubt that Ricoh’s footprint will grow in wide format inkjet and textile, just as it has done in cut-sheet and continuous feed production inkjet.
It only remains for his ‘three lions’ England soccer-supporters jersey to be exchanged for a green-and-gold boxing kangaroo one, and the transition will be complete!