The migration from offset printing is opening up new markets to digital print technology providers. Impika technology will help Xerox compete in the industrial, commercial, security, label and packaging printing markets.
On 26 February 2013, Xerox announced that it has acquired the Aubagne, France-based industrial inkjet manufacturer Impika, for an undisclosed amount. Xerox has been reselling Impika products in Europe since 2011. The brand will remain initially and the company will be known as “Impika — A Xerox Company.”
This acquisition represents the continued consolidation among providers of inkjet production print technology, such as Xerox with its CiPress devices. High-volume production digital printing is a major growth engine in an otherwise ailing print market. Inkjet production print technology in particular promises much in the way of future innovation and related savings, as digital printing is more flexible than analog printing (offset, flexographic and screen printing) and better able to incorporate variable data for customization and personalization purposes.
Gartner expects Xerox will further develop the Impika technology, even though R&D will likely remain separate, and we believe that the Impika brand will eventually be phased out, though Xerox could retain Impika as a product name. Impika also will give Xerox:
New channels to sell combined solutions.
Access to aqueous inkjet technology, which complements the waterless drop-on-demand inkjet technology in Xerox's CiPress range. (Currently, shipments of CiPress Production Inkjet Systems are low, but ramping up, particularly in Europe.)
A major selling point for Xerox CiPress devices is that the waterless technology has the highest de-inkability rating from the International Association of the Deinking Industry (INGEDE). Xerox has prided itself on initiatives to make its printers and packaging environmentally friendly and ensure printed pages are recyclable. By contrast, when INGEDE tested Impika prints in 2010, it found that these prints were not de-inkable. (More recent test results from additional INGEDE sample prints remain unpublished at this date.) In addition, Impika has published confusing marketing material around the de-inkability of the pages printed on its devices. Xerox can pitch these two contrasting technologies to suit buyers' criteria, targeting both those for whom de-inkability is important and those who consider other criteria are more important.
Ensure strong maintenance support is available locally for Impika devices, which, though well-received, have not been widely sold.
Evaluate your lease/buy decision closely, especially when estimating the residual value of Impika devices.
Request definitive information on the de-inkability of Impika prints.
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