Photokina 2012 held in Cologne, Germany in September showcased new products from a number of leading players in the imaging industry.
The HP stall at Photokina, Hall No.4, was a major attraction. HP had showcased several work flow solutions and live demos that caught the attention of the audience.
The Indigo range of digital presses constituted a major attraction at Photokina, particularly the HP Indigo 7600 digital press which is the fastest SRA 3+ format digital sheet-fed press in the market. HP also announced new solutions for professional portrait and consumer photo prints using the HP Indigo Digital print technology, as a replacement for the traditional silver halide. Also on display were HP’s digital printing technologies for photo market and a full range of photo applications.
HP Indigo had also organised a Photokina program for photo-finishers and lab-owners with an objective to see how European players like CEWE Color in Germany and Fovea in Oslo work. This program was well appreciated by the Indian customers as they got to visit and help the industry leaders define the directions of their photo and imaging business.
* What were your impressions of this year’s Photokina?
hotokina this time around was comparatively smaller and focussed. We had over 200 Indian visitors who were primarily photo lab owners. From an HP perspective we had a great show. These large shows serve as a medium to impart the best practices followed by the world leaders in the photo business to Indian Photo lab owners. As part of the program we had taken around 20 photo companies from India and Sri Lanka to site visits of large European photo finishing companies. We had visited Fovea in Oslo and CEWE in Germany. These companies are leaders in the market and have transformed their business over time. CEWE, for example, is one of the largest customers for HP Indigo with over 80 HP Indigo presses at multiple sites. Getting to see the facility and hearing the best practices of business from the top management of CEWE and Fovea was an eye-opening experience for the Indian companies. The Indian customers appreciated this initiative by HP and hopefully will make their business growth plans accordingly.
* Which of the HP Photokina launches will be seen in India soon?
HP believes in global launches, therefore the new products unveiled this year are already here. GLO colour lab based out of Coimbatore had installed the first 7600 press in India, Venus albums based out of Chandigarh has also recently installed the same press and we are expecting a few more installations before January 2013.
* How has digital printing transformed the photo industry in India?
We are very happy to be able to transform the photo industry in the last 3-4 years. The HP Indigo Digital presses have given photo finishing companies a new lease of life. They were struggling earlier to keep their bottom line intact owing to the various adverse changes in silver halide technology cost structures. But the biggest transformation has come in the products, service and experience that photographers and end consumers have received. Today, we have professional companies that say “shoot the best pictures and leave the rest to us” which we believe is the biggest change in the industry that lacked predictability. Today photographers get the product on the promised time. The overall time has come down from weeks to hours. Products like non-tearable photo books and mini books have revolutionised the market providing the users a world class experience with photo products in the last 200 years. This technology has also eliminated a huge amount of waste and harmful chemicals, thereby doing great justice to the environment.
* What has HP’s India market share been in digital printing?
At HP we believe in the share of pages that get printed on our presses than the actual presses that go in the market. The year 2011-2012 has been phenomenal, since our pages tripled in growth (300%). According to statistics, if 10 million weddings happen in a year in India, then we are looking at our share touching double digits (10%) in the wedding album business in India. To reach a 10% share in a matter of 3-4 years, while competing against 50 odd years of silver halide technology is a great achievement. But there is a huge ocean in front of us and our customers. We just have over 65 production presses installed in the photo trade in India.
* What are the benefits of the new Indigo presses to a customer?
Multiple Indigo presses have broken the monotony of photo prints from just the regular gloss and matte to over thousands of media. The most popular ones include the non-tearable, metallic and textured. Now with new range of Indigo presses like the 5600, customer can print on lenticular substrates (3D effect) and plastics too.
The speed of printing on Indigo presses range from 65-256 A4 pages in one minute and on both sides of the media. This is much faster than any other conventional technology. This has enabled photo finishing companies to deliver world class products in 24 to 48 hours. This has certainly changed the industry.
HP Indigo presses redefine the economics of the photo printing business. The world’s unique Digital Offset technology using electro ink produces quality that matches the conventional photo printing at an extremely affordable cost that has been very stable.
* How do Indigo presses fare on different parameters with their competitors?
HP Indigo is unique. This is the only Digital Offset technology that uses Electro ink on paper, whereas the rest of them use powder toner on paper. Indigo matches up with it, and in some cases surpasses the conventional silver halide technology. Special photo inks like light cyan and light magenta produce those fantastic skin tones that are preferred by the end customers.
HP Indigo Media’s flexibility is a big factor in digital press business. Our customers vouch for this feature that is miles ahead of the other market players. Indigo presses have the industry’s highest productivity and duty cycles. We have one of the best service network in India at over 35 locations. Most importantly the dedication, professionalism and passion of the HP Indigo team provides the best service in India.