We continue our Industry Profile series with Durst Image Technology US LLC. It is the U.S. division of Durst Phototechnik AG, a manufacturer of professional large and medium format digital imagers for the photographic and graphic industries. The U.S. division is located in Rochester, NY.
The economic climate cast throughout 2008 to 2010 brought with it a heightened level of uncertainty. Many print service providers (PSPs) wondered whether clients would renew commitments or if jobs would come in. In retail, campaigns stalled, products didn’t launch—PSPs questioned if the print orders would ever come. And when they did, they needed to be done quickly.
“What became important was the ability for our customers to manufacture jobs in short time frames. The downturn had an effect on the turnaround expectations of the client. A big part of the equation was being able to produce efficiently and answer the turnaround needs of our customers,” explains Chris Howard, SVP, sales and marketing, Durst.
As Durst researched and invested, its main focus was on productivity and efficiency to parallel the needs of the customer. What came out of this was the Rhotex 320 in 2010. The device prints at 600 square feet per hour and fulfills the need of a digital textile printer in the three-meter space. It solidifies the anticipated growth Durst foresees in retail fabric printing. Backing up this claim is fabric’s success in Europe.
“We’ve seen a number of key players that made the decision to go after fabric in a big way. I think it’s a fascinating trend to watch. Our customers feel that is a need their clients are coming to them with and we have a tool that allows them to be profitable and successful. If they become more successful with their business, everyone prospers,” shares Howard.
Another trend occurring in Europe and now playing out in the U.S. is market homogenization. Howard says he’s noticed and heard about it from Durst colleagues based in Europe.
“Screenprint, digital print, and offset providers are calling on the same customers. Demands for turnarounds are getting shorter and run lengths continue to drop, so people are figuring out new production methods, which often include a high-volume digital component,” says Howard.
He goes on to provide an example of Rho 1000 customers. Many are previous owners of screenprinters that would run multi-faceted projects by line item. Those who have implemented the Rho 1000 run each portion of the project one after the other because screen changeover is not required. It cuts time dramatically and also eliminates warehouse space.
Marketing components are merging as well; print and social media for example. PSPs who execute successful integrations, according to Howard, are those who ask questions. Talking with their social media and digital display counterparts help them better educate customers on how to integrate static print with dynamic signage.
“The more social media programs that are implemented should equate to growth in print if they are well integrated,” he adds.
Durst offers its customers opportunity to grow into new markets, merge with old technologies, and learn about new ways to promote print. “People see a number of growth opportunities and institute strategies to realize them,” concludes Howard.
The next installment of this Industry Profile column features Hewlett-Packard.