Print in the Channel - November 2022


November 2022



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Looking back and forward The past 12 months have proven to be another mixed bag for the print sector but there is still cause for optimism going forward in to 2023.

As the year comes to an end, it is a good time to reflect on another 12 months that have not gone as expected. Back in January – and it seems like a long time ago, somehow – COVID restrictions were still very much in force as yet another wave of the virus swept the country. But then, the wave passed, restrictions were loosened and something approaching normal life returned, which was welcome news for the print sector as it meant more people returned to the office. But then came other curveballs, such as Russia invading Ukraine, which helped to push up inflation and energy prices, which were already on the up, and helped to lay the ground for a cost-of-living crisis the like of which hasn’t been seen for a generation and is now affecting many businesses across the country. That said, there have been many positive aspects for the sector. For instance, demand for label printers has continued to increase as more people buy from online retailers – and this is set to continue for the foreseeable future. The range of products is expanding, and the technology developing so they do more than ever. You can read more about that on page 44. We have more perspectives on 2022, and the major trends in the sector from a range of commentators, starting on page 32.

Elsewhere in this issue, there is an in-depth look at the issues of printer security among small- and medium-sized businesses. Cyber criminals are becoming ever-more sophisticated, and it means that, with the increase in connected devices in businesses now, there are more routes for them to attack a business. Those who run SMEs cannot be complacent and think that a cyberattack cannot happen to them, and must keep everything secure, including their printers – and there are range of solutions that can be deployed. Read more on page 26. In our regular business intelligence piece, the trends in the scanner market are analysed. For more on that, go to page 50. But what will happen in 2023? As the past few years have shown, making predictions is very difficult, but nevertheless we will be doing that in our next issue, which will be out in January. As this is our final issue of this year, I wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year, and I’m looking forward to bringing you the latest news and in-depth features covering the whole of the print sector in 2023. I hope you enjoy the issue. As always, if there are any topics you would like to see covered in Print in the Channel in 2023, or you wanted to get involved in the editorial or advertising, please contact me at .

Dan Parton

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News You should know p6 Product News New on the scene p9 Konica Minolta Growth of remote services p12 Product Launch Epson’s new range p17 SME Printer Security Resellers need to advise SMEs p26 Review of 2022 Perspectives on the year p32 Fraud Deterrance Security printing p40

Epson Product Launch – p17

Epson has launched a new range of 40-60ppm products that closes a gap in its A3 business product portfolio, giving the company a total suite of sustainable, heat-free business inkjet multi-function printers.

Konica Minolta – p12

Remote services have been developing at Konica Minolta for some time, but this is just one area where the company is pushing forward.

Review of 2022– p32

The past 12 months have brought more turbulence to the sector, but there is still confidence among businesses. Experts from the print sector give their take on 2022.

Interview Alex Tupman of Espira p41

SME Printer Security – p26

Label Printers Meeting evolving demands p44

Interview: Alex Tupman – p41

On the Move Appointments p49 Business Intelligence Scanning equipment market trends p50

Espria might be a new name in the sector, but the three businesses that have come together to form the company have many years of experience and strong reputations in managed IT, document solutions and unified communications. As such, Espria now provides end-to-end digital workspace solutions for UK businesses.

Printer security is an increasing concern for SMEs, but many still don’t appreciate the full extent of the risks they face through their printers if they are not secured – and this is something resellers need to be advising them on.



Label Printers – p44

On the Move – p49

A new hardwear sales manager for CTS Toner Supplies and a new managing director for Viking UK and Ireland.

Editorial Dan Parton 07941 979 845 dan@ Head of Sales Martin Jenner-Hall 07824 552 116 martin@ Publishing Director Justin Penn 07816 573 186 justin@ Written permission from the publisher is required before any part of Print in the Channel can be reproduced. © 2022 In the Channel Media Ltd.

The label printer market has enjoyed strong growth in the past three years, but customer demands are evolving and resellers need to be aware of this to ensure they take advantage of the opportunities in this part of the sector.

Cover Story – p24

PSSST! The secret is out!

It’s true, the OKI C650 is no ordinary A4 colour printer! A revelation for businesses wanting to save money.

Martin Ruda, group managing director at The TALL Group of Companies, talks about the importance of fraud prevention and the role secure printing plays in this.

Business Intelligence – p50

In our latest business intelligence feature, statistical analyst Wickus Bester, along with industry expert Jarek Solinski, look at trends in the scanning equipment market and how it is changing.

Published by: In the Channel Media Ltd Company registration number: 14363401 Registered office address 14-18 Heddon Street, Mayfair, London, United Kingdom, W1B 4DA In conjunction with:

Fraud Deterrance – p40



Ricoh wins at the 2022 More2 Direct Commerce Awards

Woodbank acquires Datatech Systems

Woodbank Office Solutions Ltd has acquired Datatech Systems Ltd, further expanding the Woodbank Group’s presence in Liverpool and the Wirral. Stockport-based Woodbank Office Solutions supplies print and document managed services and Konica Minolta, Sharp and Kyocera document solutions to about 1,000 clients. “We’ve been looking to expand our business for some time, and when the opportunity arose for us to acquire Datatech, it was evident throughout the process that they are a natural fit for us,” explained Janet Bowden, founder and managing director of Woodbank. “We have the same values and the same approach, and the acquisition has been a smooth and seamless transition for us and Datatech customers.” The deal was supported by Mark Penketh, managing director of Penketh Group, office interior suppliers and former owner of Datatech. “As a group, our focus now centres on furniture and interiors, business supplies, and technology,” Mark said. “We chose Woodbank as their extensive expertise in printing, photocopying, and document system solutions will enhance the service and customer experience that Datatech customers receive.”

Ricoh UK won the Business Transformation category at the recent More2 Direct Commerce Awards in London. The Direct Commerce Association (DCA) award was created to recognise excellence in the retail sector, with entries evaluated by an independent panel of experts. ‘Business transformation’ was one of 26 award categories, with the judging criteria based on the scale of transformation, approach and implementation, and impact and effectiveness of the changes on customers. Ricoh’s entry highlighted the business transformation of its Graphic Communications division, aiming to evolve its approach to focus on consultancy and long-term value for its print customers. Several initiatives have been undertaken as part of this programme including: l Changing the existing service delivery from a traditional break/fix model to a customer success led partnership l Developing a closed-loop process for customer feedback l Using performance data to help clients get the most from their Ricoh assets l Creating an outcome-based customer engagement strategy. “Ricoh as a business has been on the journey of transformation in what continues to be a challenging and ever-changing business landscape,” said Samantha Precious, strategy and services development manager at Ricoh Graphic Communications. “Within our Graphic Communications division we saw very early on that our customers’ needs were changing – shorter print runs, multi- channel communications and hyper-personalisation have created new capacity for digital print. “We understood that if we wanted to deliver great service to our customers and to continue being successful, we had to change our mindset from customer service to post-sale client care to customer acquisition and success; and all of that had to come with a clear focus on customer outcomes, improved customer journey, better retention and sales conversion rates. “Winning this award would not have been possible without our people; service team and client success teams in particular and, of course, project teams at customer side. It is their dedication, expertise, collaboration, and focus that drive our digital service capabilities and commitment to leading change.”

AccurioLabel 400 press wins Good Design Award for Konica Minolta

Konica Minolta’s AccurioLabel 400 high-speed toner press – planned to be officially launched next spring – was one of five winners for the company at the Good Design Awards from the Japan Institute of Design Promotion. The evaluation jury’s official citation stated Konica Minolta’s AccurioLabel 400 was a wonderful, finished product with excellent accessibility and operational capabilities. Large label storage areas dynamically protruding outwards on each side create a “light impression that is difficult to express in industrial equipment”. The jury also referred to the design evolution from the previous model as “greatly changing the range of expression without hesitation”. “We are extremely proud to have won a Good Design Award for the AccurioLabel 400, particularly with six months to go before the official launch,” said Carsten Bamberg, business development manager, Professional Printing Group at Konica Minolta Europe.



SDS celebrates 20 years of partnership with Konica Minolta

service to our customers,” said Nigel. Despite the challenges of the pandemic and the accelerated move towards hybrid working, SDS has evolved with these needs by catering for home workers and developing bespoke Document Workflow solutions developed by its in-house team. The Southwest market has remained buoyant for SDS with the legal sector, estate agencies, and the construction industry being key areas. The business ecosystem connected to Hinkley Point power station and the upcoming sustainable Gigafactory site at Gravity business park near Bridgwater offer considerable market potential for the company. Cameron Mitchell, business leader for Indirect Channel at Konica Minolta, added: “With local knowledge and understanding of customer needs being essential, the Southwest is a challenging region for vendor direct sales. SDS is the perfect partner for us, combining this local expertise with an excellent knowledge and understanding of Konica Minolta’s range and virtually an extension of our business, but with the essential local agility and responsiveness customers demand. We are delighted and proud to be celebrating 20 years of close and trusted partnership and look forward to our continued relationship.”

Somerset-based photocopier and Print Solutions supplier SDS (Southwest Digital Systems) is celebrating 20 years of success as a partner of Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd. Established in October 2002 by sales director Nigel Gass and finance director Paul Macfarlane, SDS has been a partner of Konica Minolta since its inception and a sole partner of the brand since 2006. “We soon decided that Konica Minolta’s products are the best on the market and perfect for our customers,” said Nigel. “We also share the same business ethics of trust and a customer service-led approach which has proven to be the perfect approach over the last two decades. The business community in the Southwest is largely driven by word-of-mouth and personal recommendations, so we have always strived to deliver the best possible service and to work with the best strategic partners to grow our market share.” With a team of nine, SDS is focused on delivering exceptional customer service and the best business solutions for its customers. “Working exclusively with Konica Minolta gives us a highly reliable and effective route to market and means we can focus our product stocks and technical training to deliver the best sales and support

Nigel Gass sales director

Paul Macfarlane finance director

Xerox wins five-year MOD contract

true testament to the team that we are now seen as such a trusted advisor,” said Darren Cassidy, managing director, Xerox UK&I. “As part of the new contract, Xerox take over services supporting 35,000+ print devices, for over 200,000 users, across 866 locations and 21 countries. “During 2022 and 2024 we will be transitioning, scoping, testing, and securing devices to maintain print and copy quality and productivity, whilst supporting MOD’s operational requirements. Additionally, we’ll work with the MOD to heighten understanding of the environmental impact and costs of printing, encouraging users to truly think about whether it is necessary.” Xerox’s Workplace Suite pull print management solution will increase awareness and reduce the risk of IT security and information governance breaches, due to its enhanced device authentication that removes the risk of documents being left on devices by accident. To further enhance accessibility and productivity, users will have the ability to scan directly to their authenticated OneDrive and email account enabling secure scanning activities.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has selected Xerox to help drive forward its vision of a more sustainable future, through the implementation of Xerox’s Managed Print Services. The five-year contract will see Xerox supporting the MOD with its aim to meet Government Greening targets for net-zero carbon emissions before 2050, and a reduction in paper consumption. To realise these goals, and as part of a broader move to a circular economy model for its ICT, Xerox will deploy its managed print services to reduce device numbers, energy consumption and the volume of printed and photocopied material. The service will provide management information and analytics on service consumption, allowing more informed decisions to be made over the whole contract period as information is centrally collated. In conjunction with the partnership and to ensure enhanced social value, Xerox will also enroll the MOD in its PrintReleaf reforestation program and its Eco Box service that provides for the return of used imaging supplies. “This win marks a continuation of Xerox’s 10-year plus relationship with the MOD and it’s a



Lexmark announces CarbonNeutral® certified printers and OnePrint Subscription Service

Lexmark has announced new offerings that enable SMEs to print more simply and sustainably. Certified CarbonNeutral single- and multi-function laser printers are now available in the Lexmark GO Line of smaller footprint devices, while Lexmark OnePrint offers access to a simplified print subscription service. “As an established leader in enterprise print, Lexmark is utilising our cloud and IoT technology expertise to simplify print for smaller businesses while delivering enterprise-class capabilities and value,” said Brock Saladin, Lexmark senior vice president and chief commercial officer. Two flagship devices in the Lexmark GO Line series are now CarbonNeutral certified products. All Lexmark single-function black and white B3442dw devices and multi-function colour MC3326i devices sold after 27 September are certified as CarbonNeutral products by Climate Impact Partners. These devices provide certified carbon neutrality by default. “These CarbonNeutral certified single-function and multi-function laser devices allow small- and medium- sized business customers to be more sustainable in their printing, without additional cost or sacrifice,” Brock said. “This is a significant milestone in Lexmark’s ongoing journey towards more sustainable products and is part of our longstanding commitment to helping protect the environment.” Carbon neutrality for these products begins with Lexmark engineers working to measure and minimise the greenhouse gas emissions in the full lifecycle of the product’s production, transportation, use and retirement. Lexmark then supports third

party-verified climate projects to offset any remaining carbon emissions. Climate Impact Partners’ CarbonNeutral® certification is the global standard.

“Building on their leadership in the application of the circular economy and success in implementing operational efficiency, Lexmark is now providing Certified CarbonNeutral products to their customers, ensuring the full lifecycle impacts are measured, reduced and compensated for with carbon credits from high quality, independently verified projects,” said Alterra Hetzel, senior vice president of client solutions, Carbon Impact Partners. “We welcome Lexmark to the growing number of corporations taking meaningful climate action today.” Lexmark OnePrint subscription service Lexmark has also launched OnePrint, a simple subscription print solution that helps SMEs to save time and money. Customers select the monthly plan that matches the number of pages they expect to print each month. Leveraging Lexmark’s proprietary AI-driven supplies replenishment system, enrolled Lexmark GO Line devices are automatically monitored and managed, and genuine Lexmark toner is shipped when it is needed, eliminating the risk of running out of toner. Service and support are also simple, with Lexmark guarantee service. “Small business customers appreciate the value and simplicity of subscription services,” Brock said. “They are looking for convenience and a recurring expense they can budget for, with the peace of mind that comes with a warranty. We developed Lexmark OnePrint to meet this need.”

Brock Saladin, Lexmark senior vice president and chief commercial officer

UPM and HP collaborate on digital printing papers

UPM Communication Papers is collaborating with HP to pilot a new generation of digital printing papers specifically designed for high-speed inkjet printing technology. The new portfolio includes four treated, coated grades that provide productive and smooth printing, excellent image production and ease of use for customers. The ColorPRO papers are

increasingly adopted by conventional printing as well as specialist players,” said Ruud van den Berg, SVP Sales, UPM Communication Papers. “As a committed graphic paper provider, we monitor carefully and constantly how printing methods are evolving, so we can anticipate the needs of our customers. Compatibility between the printing press and paper provides an added assurance to customers that they will achieve consistent high quality for their needs.” Bret Funke, director of HP Media and Supplies Solutions, added: “The UPM and HP alliance is proof that cross-industry collaboration between paper and print technology leaders can add substantial and immediate value for our shared customers.

compatible with all HP Inkjet presses. Three grades have achieved ColorPRO

Technology: UPM Star matt JET 45 lbs, UPM Star matt 1.2 JET 54.1 lbs and UPM Finesse matt JET 60.8 lbs. The fourth grade, UPM Finesse gloss JET 77.7 lbs, is expected to be qualified by the end of 2022. “Digital printing technologies are being



Brother UK launches upgraded desktop label printer range

Brother UK has upgraded its P-touch desktop label printers, adding greater connectivity and flexibility across the range. The label printers are suited to home users through to larger offices and workplaces, and are designed to make organisation, personalisation and identification quicker and more efficient for users. With these new models added to this desktop range – the intermediate PT-D460BT, and the PT- D610BT for advanced labelling tasks – there is a printer designed to meet the needs of every user. The upgrades to the range focus on greater connectivity, with the latest Bluetooth capabilities, while delivering expanded options for users creating labels through Brother’s free iPrint&Label mobile app. The new PT-D460BT model specifically also come equipped with PC connectivity, an upgrade from its previous model. “We’re seeing significant growth in demand for professional labellers as more people are using the office within hybrid working models,” said Aaron Hopkinson, product and solutions manager at Brother UK. “Speaking to customers, it’s clear that workplace organisation is a challenge, especially following the explosion in flexible working arrangements. “The upgraded range ensures we offer a solution to every labelling challenge, whether it’s identifying equipment and assets like headphones and laptops – an increasingly important way for IT leads to manage devices in hybrid environments

– identifying storage containers in a workshop or warehouse, or tidying up cables in a home office, among countless others. The upgraded range enhances users’ ability to label anything easily from wherever they are. “With a three-year warranty as standard on all models and our usual ‘At your side’ support, we’re confident the new range will allow our reseller partners to meet all of their customers’ desktop labeller requirements, as well as to upsell the improved models to users of older units.” Compatibility with iPrint&Label also unlocks higher levels of productivity and flexibility, enabling users to print ready-made templates anywhere using a smartphone. All devices feature QWERTY keyboards and LED screens, making them easy to use as standalone products. The new models are compatible with Brother’s TZe tapes up to 18mm, allowing users to create long lasting labels, an advantage for all labelling applications but especially those in rugged environments such as warehouses or gyms. The range-topping PT-D610BT can print wider labels up to 24mm, which means more information, such as QR codes can be included, and larger text can be used. For full specifications and purchase options, visit p-touch-durable-label-printers.


Ricoh UK launches new digital transformation tool

automation into their role. “Key to business longevity and sustainability is being able to face and adapt to new challenges,” said Glenn Griggs, director of sales at Ricoh UK. “Staying ahead in the digital world is a continuous pursuit, which can be a real challenge to get right: we’ve seen over 70% of organisations fail at their first attempts at digital transformation. Our DSMI provides a clear and comprehensive overview of where an organisation currently sits as well as recommendations for a robust and agile digital transformation strategy.” The DSMI allows organisations to ascertain their current digital maturity and, in turn, optimise the value of digital investments and new opportunities. Following a short, free survey of their current capabilities, a personalised results report is generated with an assigned digital maturity score based on five critical elements of the workplace: digital workspace, business process management, cloud and infrastructure, cybersecurity and digital experience.

Ricoh UK has rolled out its new digital transformation tool, the ‘Digital Services Maturity Indicator’ (DSMI). This will enable companies to become more competitive digitally through a comprehensive review of current capabilities in agility, resilience, security and longevity across operations, IT, finance, HR and facilities sectors. Digital maturity describes an organisation’s ability to respond and adapt to technological trends. Much like with humans, maturity comes in stages – the only difference being that organisations can accelerate their digital maturity and reach milestones quicker. As the transition to hybrid work continues, there is a greater urgency for digital maturity. Ricoh has identified that while many businesses have been digitised, they have yet to evolve their strategic digital approach. Research by Ricoh found that 65% of UK office employees expect amplified capabilities through intelligent tools as standard working practice and would even welcome some element of AI or



Canon expands MAXIFY range with new MegaTank models The printers also feature a flat rear paper tray,

Canon has expanded its MAXIFY range for those working at home, or in small businesses, with the MAXIFY GX3050 and MAXIFY GX4050. Built with collaboration, efficiency and productivity in mind, the expanded series is ideal for reaching a range of needs within different workspaces – whether its hybrid working from home or running a small business. Equipped with MegaTank refillable ink tank technology, both models have low total cost of ownership and cost per page. They are easy to maintain and use – saving time to focus on other business matters. Downtime is kept to a minimum with high volume printing of up to 14,000 pages from a set of colour ink bottles – or up to 21,000 pages when used in the economy print mode – while large paper capacity of up to 350 sheets (250-sheet cassette and 100-sheet rear feed) and a user replaceable maintenance cartridge reduce the need to send the printer away for servicing. The MAXIFY GX3050 and GX4050 also feature fast copying and scanning alongside professional quality prints with the four-colour pigment-based refillable ink tank system. Both models are housed in a compact desktop design, fitting easily into tighter home office spaces.

supporting a variety of media types and sizes, along with a rear flat tray for paperboard feeding – covering a range of business needs with a single printer. Additionally, the new MAXIFY GX models support Chromebook, with direct printing and scanning from Chrome OS. The printers also include support for a range of operating systems, including Mac, Windows, iOS and Android. Easy maintenance Both printers are easy to use and maintain thanks to improved hardware design, touchscreens (GX4050 only) and sleek interfaces. Refilling the printers is easier than before – with spring-loaded colour- coded ink caps, users can refill the tank with a gentle lift of the finger, all without spilling ink. What’s more, the user-replaceable maintenance cartridge is now positioned at the front for easy access and usability. Seamless connectivity within the workplace Offering smart connectivity, MAXIFY users can print, scan, copy and connect to the cloud all via the Canon PRINT app, benefitting from compatibility with existing software and technology platforms including AirPrint and Mopria®. When connected to Wi-Fi, the printers determine the strength of the signal and security – when there are multiple access points, they will automatically connect to the one with the best security and data condition, always ensuring smooth connections. With various countermeasures – including WPA3- SAE, WPA3-EAP(AES) and TLS 1.3 encryption – the printers mitigate the risk of unauthorised access and data leakage through increased security. Diverse media support for printing Posters, POS and other paperboard prints that would have traditionally been outsourced can now be produced via the printers, reducing overall costs of promotional materials for small businesses. To support in-house business printing, both devices are now compatible with diverse media applications, including paperboard printing via the new rear flat tray. PosterArtist Web can be used to create posters with no professional design skills required – templates, auto-design and free stock photos help create attractive end results. It is available via a web browser online, so editing can be done anytime, anywhere. For more information on the MAXIFY GX3050 and GX4050, please visit: and



Joint key features: • 18.0ipm/13.0ipm –

fast print speeds • High page yield: 6,000 black ink or up to 14,000 from a set of colour inks • Economy mode boosting yields by up to 50% • F our-colour pigment ink • Rear tray with 100-sheet capacity • 250-sheet cassette • Rear flat tray. MAXIFY GX3050 key features: • 3-in-1 printer – print, copy and scan • 1.35” mono square LCD • Wi-Fi. MAXIFY GX4050 key features: • 4-in-1 printer – print, copy, scan and fax • 35 Sheet ADF • 2.7” colour touch screen • Wi-Fi and ethernet.

High productivity and collaboration When hybrid working between the home and office – or in a shared small business environment – high-speed printing means users don’t need to wait to print documents, both models deliver printing speeds of 18.0ipm for black (mono) printing and 13.0ipm for colour. Featuring four-colour pigment ink, both models are ideal for high-quality business prints on a variety of media types. Canon exclusively developed pigment inks to print with crisp and easily readable black text, with highly visible colour text and graphics – alongside colour reproduction contrast improvements over previous MAXIFY GX models. The all-pigment inks also resist bleeding and blurring, so documents can be highlighted and shared with confidence that they’ll be smudge-free and professional looking.


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Remote chance Remote services have been developing at Konica Minolta for some time, but this is just one area where the company is pushing forward.

Remote services for technical assistance have been growing in importance in recent years due to the pandemic, but also down to environmental concerns, and Konica Minolta has been developing its services in this area – and to good effect as the company recently scooped the Buyers Lab (BLI) 2023-2024 Pacesetter Award in Remote Service for the Western European market from Keypoint Intelligence. Cameron Mitchell, business leader for indirect channel at Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd, says that the company has been promoting the benefits of remote services – such as rapidly available expert help and a significant reduction in travel, which reduces costs and environmental impact – for several years. “This foresight ensured we were well placed when remote service became essential during the pandemic restrictions, but the considerable benefits to our customers, partners, and our own business continue to drive forward this approach,” he says. “Konica Minolta takes a ‘remote service by default’ approach to technical support, ensuring this is always the first step before an engineer is dispatched.” This approach ensures Konica Minolta’s customers get a fast service and expert response, which also ensures maximum service uptime and support resources are as efficient as possible. “Currently about 30% of Konica Minolta’s support calls are solved remotely without the need for any on-site intervention, and if a visit is required we can gather information about the issue in advance to make the visit as efficient as possible,” he explains. “Overall, this remote service approach ensures we deliver a high value and competitive service.”

AI importance One key technology in Konica Minolta’s remote service is augmented reality. Through its AIRe Link solution service engineers can not only see what the issue, query or problem is, they can also feedback directly to the customer on what needs to be done to resolve it, rather than having to describe the process over a phone, for example. “AIRe Link uses the camera on a smartphone, tablet or external camera, which most people have available, to stream the video showing the end user scene to a remote service engineer, complemented by audio communications,” says Cameron. “Advanced tools for visual navigation, such as a live pointer in the video or graphical annotation within a snapshot, are used to guide the end user visually through the process. “As remote and hybrid working continues to be vital for many businesses and workers, augmented reality is the obvious way of enabling better communications and assistance, especially with more complex tasks such as remote services. We are very likely to see this approach continue to grow moving forwards.” Cameron adds that augmented reality will continue to be a crucial factor in remote services as they continue to evolve in the coming years, but equally the increased use of networked and IoT devices will make it easier for these systems to be monitored and for issues to be diagnosed and often fixed remotely. “Remote support for IT systems is nothing new, but increasingly MFPs and other workplace solutions are also benefitting from remote deployment, maintenance, monitoring and health check, security management, remote backup and restore, reporting and notifications, and administration,” he adds. “This is all part of the wider move towards digital transformation, which at Konica Minolta we term the Intelligent Connected Workplace. As these systems become even more closely integrated, so too do the remote services that support them. “The socio-economic changes driven by the pandemic have forced every supplier to re- examine their strategies. Konica Minolta’s core business of office and professional print has been complemented by a range of innovative solutions which has allowed Konica Minolta to ride the waves of change and develop complementary revenue streams.”

Cameron Mitchell business leader – indirect services



Changes driven by the pandemic have informed some of the trends in the market over the past 12 months, although many were an acceleration of a market that was already changing, Cameron adds. “Many businesses were already exploring agile working and re-examining their real estate, partly driven by advancements in technology, partly generational expectations of an agile working environment,” he says. “This in turn puts pressure on print volumes and forces the need to find new revenue streams. While print will continue to be front and centre of most vendors’ strategies, competitive advantage will come from driving innovation to complement the core business.” MGI AlphaJET Innovation was seen in the MGI AlphaJET printer, which Konica Minolta launched earlier in the year. “It is the top of our range,” says Cameron. “It is a complete production line, printing CMYK aqueous inkjet, spot UV, and hot-foil all in a single pass, freeing up labour resources and reducing the production time. “Up until now, printers would have to rely on different devices doing each step of the process, which is hugely labour intensive. MGI AlphaJET brings this all together in one complete production line which understandably requires quite a large footprint. “This solution makes a huge difference in the production cycle by producing jobs quicker, significantly reducing the time from order placement to delivery and invoicing. It is particularly attractive to customers that are coming from an offset background, but there is no reason why digital customers shouldn’t consider this as well. “The entire process can be completed by one equipment operator, one press, and one single factory, which has obvious benefits in terms of the productivity.” Supporting young talent But 2022 has not just been about technology and services, Konica Minolta has also looked to give back to the community and nurture the next generation of talent in the industry. To this end, the company recently supported the Tameside HACK – a coding competition that helps and encourages 11–18-year-olds to discover and explore the array of career opportunities available in the digital world. “It is vitally important to ensure young talent is nurtured and encouraged to embrace the technology industry,” says Cameron. “The young participants worked in teams with mentoring, to find solutions to technology challenges such as cyber security, sustainability, mental health and gaming. “As a technology provider, Konica Minolta is very mindful that our future lays in finding and supporting

fresh talent. By supporting initiatives such as the Tameside HACK, we can engage with and support the next generation of talented technology professionals, helping them to discover new career opportunities and putting them on the right path, through education and skills development.” Konica Minolta also supports other projects in its local community, such as the Sunderland City Council litter pick at the Roker Beach and Marina earlier this year. “Having supported various national charities in the past including mental health charity Mind and Crisis at Christmas, we are now also partnering with more localised charities, such as Trust Links in Essex – an independent charity for mental health and wellbeing. “As a business we are always mindful that Konica Minolta and our team are integral to the needs of the communities we live in, so being able to give help and support to the places we live and work in is extremely important.” Looking forward The next 12 months are set to be busy for Konica Minolta too. This will include the official launch of the AccurioLabel 400 high-speed toner press, which is already gaining publicity thanks to a win in the Good Design Awards from the Japan Institute of Design Promotion. “Designed to achieve unprecedented operational efficiency even in high-volume uses, the AccurioLabel 400 minimises time loss at printing sites and greatly shortens the operator training period, which is equally important,” says Cameron. “When used with Konica Minolta’s Intelligent Quality Care and the IQ-520 unit to increase usability and automation, label production will benefit from higher levels of control. In addition, the introduction of Konica Minolta’s first white toner will add even further scope and value for digital label printing. This is a press designed to meet the demanding needs of label production as businesses look to become even more efficient and streamlined in their production.” Also coming in 2023 is Konica Minolta’s new enhanced Partner Programme. “Further details will be revealed in due course, but the enhancements will go even further in recognising, differentiating, and rewarding partners on their product and services specialisms, as well as their overall commitment to selling and supporting Konica Minolta’s solutions,” he says. “Overall, in 2023 Konica Minolta is looking forward to building upon the growth and success achieved in 2022 and to enhancing and evolving our offering in close collaboration with our partners, to ensure our customers continue to enjoy the considerable benefits of utilising our technology solutions and services to meet the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

It is vitally

important to ensure young

talent is nurtured and encouraged to embrace the technology industry...

...By supporting initiatives such as the Tameside HACK, we can engage with and support the next generation

of talented technology professionals



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Filling the gap Epson has launched a new range of 40-60ppm products that closes a gap in its A3 business product portfolio, giving the company a total suite of sustainable, heat-free business inkjet multi-function printers.

Building on developments Dan Wogan, product manager at Epson, adds that reduced downtime, reliability and reduced energy consumption are key elements to the range. “They build on the technology we have implemented previously in our products; this is development on top of development.” One of those developments is in the dimensions of the products, which are compact compared to other models on the market. “To keep the footprint nice and neat, we have changed the way the print head is orientated,” Dan explains. “The print path is simpler; this has a ‘c’ paper path, whereas previously we worked with an ‘s’ and that allows us to make the device really compact, but it also enables us to create a finisher with an internal device, which we previously didn’t have. Also, with this orientation we can add a dust catcher device, so we can catch paper dust and make that less of an issue. These are neat little modifications and enhancements that help to make the devices even more reliable. “We haven’t had an internal finisher in our mid- range products before and it is, according to feedback we

For resellers of Epson print products, there has been a significant gap in their armoury for some time – a suite of A3 business printers. But Epson has listened and now filled that gap with the launch of its WorkForce Enterprise AM-Series of 40-60ppm products. The three printers – one each that prints 40ppm, 50ppm and 60ppm – reaffirm Epson’s commitment to inkjet printing, as they use the company’s Piezo Heat-Free inkjet technology. These products bring static line-head technology to the mid-range speed market and addresses the sustainability agenda. For instance, inkjet technology can reduce energy consumption compared to laser, and with a compact footprint and a lightweight design, these products help limit resources used during production and shipping. This reduced size also means they easily integrate into the office and save space. High yield ink cartridges also reduce material usage, shipping, storage and end of use management of consumables. These products represent a significant uplift in Epson’s printing strategy and support its commitment to sustainability. The launch comes a year after Epson announced its ¥100 billion investment into sustainable innovation and results from laser technology’s limited ability to make significant steps towards improved sustainability due to its requirement for heat during the print process, and therefore increased energy use. And with fewer moving and consumable parts to replace over the lifetime of the printer compared to lasers, service and maintenance needs of Epson inkjets are also substantially reduced, along with resulting printer downtime, improving productivity and end-user satisfaction. “The new WorkForce Enterprise AM-Series completes our business inkjet line up from small work-group units to high-speed departmental machines – meaning that no matter the business function or print demand, we have a product to suit,” says Gareth Jay, Epson Europe. “With a full range of support from Managed Print Services, Workflow and Remote Service solutions, these products enable a low maintenance, high quality, reliable, sustainable print system.”

Dan Wogan product manager





Sales points All these developments can be used by vendors in their pitch to sell them to customers, but there are other messages that can be emphasised that are relevant, such as the power they use. “On the front panel there is a feature that amplifies the message and shows how much power it is using,” says Dan. “Many people don’t realise that when they plug a laser printer into the wall it uses about 1.4kw of electricity when it is printing but ours uses 22w – it is a massive difference, and these reminders show the added benefits.” To further assist resellers, Epson can provide analysis tools to give a visual representation of how savings can be made with these products. “We can take non-commercial aspects – such as how much are you paying for your energy, how many pages do you print on an average job – and can build that into a simple to use analysis that our partners can use on their portals, they can drop that into a calculator and create proposal documents based on the understanding of how a customer is working. We can understand how much print a customer does on that device and get more granular and create a document that becomes part of the sales process. “For our partners, the opportunity to deploy more sustainable, heat-free devices into a broader range of customers is really exciting and we are looking forward to working with our partners to take this forward.”

have had from our partners, hitting what customers are looking for. Having placed the bridge from external into the tray, having the booklet finisher which is modular and can saddle and trifold is new for us too.” In addition, it prints quickly, which is an advantage as the devices will often be used by people who aren’t doing large print runs, perhaps just a handful of pages at a time. This is where Epson’s heat-free technology really comes into play, Dan says. “It doesn’t have a device in there that absorbs lot of energy that heats and melts toner to a page, which means the print job can be kicked off quicker and be more productive.” Dan adds that there have also been developments to further enhance the security of the printers, including things like runtime intrusion detection. “Security is very high on the agenda and our products fit into that space,” he says. Another priority is to ensure that the devices can act more as a digitalised central hub, being as much about capture as they are output. “The operating system on the device is our own so we can be relatively swift with developing solutions with new ISVs when we encounter an interesting opportunity to address specific verticals,” Dan adds. “It is continual development to enhance our

products further to increase sustainability, reliability and productivity.”

The new range at-a-glance There are many new features and innovations in Epson’s new printer range including: l Most compact footprint in class and significantly reduced weight l C-shaped paper feed reducing the chance of paper jams and improving reliability l 10.1-inch interface panel – smarter and more intuitive than previous models with eco print settings l Simple and easy to use with auto paper size detection and soft- closing paper cassettes l Easy loading, compact high-capacity ink cartridges l High-capacity paper handling – up to 5,150 sheets l Reduced downtime – designed for easy internal access and quick and efficient routine maintenance l 60ppm/120ipm scan capability and optional embedded OCR feature l Inner finisher – compact and space saving to compile and staple documents. Also available with optional hole punch l Attachable booklet outer finisher – to provide stapling, hole punching, envelope printing, saddle stitching, and centre and tri folding.



Sustainability message Epson’s new printers use less energy and are more sustainable than ever and this is part of a wider drive from the company to reduce its impact on the environment – and save end users money.

we link to the UN SDGs and clearly report on what we are doing towards those. We talk about not just carbon offsetting but carbon insetting. “A lot of people talk about how they can offset the harm their products do. A lot of businesses do wonderful things for the environment, they subscribe to print relief and plant trees, which is great, and we want it to continue, but wouldn’t it be good if people did it as a positive plus rather than to offset the damage they have done? We like to think working with Epson and by using Epson equipment in the office not only gives you a positive statement on sustainability as an organisation but if you plant a tree as well you are into inset rather than offset. Don’t say sorry if you don’t need to – get into a net positive.” Richard adds that this is part of everything Epson does. “For example, within our buildings we use renewable energy, simple things such as having solar panels on top of all our factories, which we invested in a long time ago. “The marketplace has changed over the years and now it is important to explain why sustainability is important within a printer. We bring the credentials but working with expert resellers allows us to get that message through to customers.” The launch of our Enterprise AM-C series marks a significant shift for Epson in several ways. We have long championed business inkjet, investing more than 500 million euros in the development of our proprietary PrecisonCore printhead technology since 2018. And it’s now widely accepted that inkjet is a more sustainable technology than laser. In that respect it supports our sustainability agenda and our commitment to sustainable innovation. Our recent announcement that we will end the sale of laser printers shouldn’t therefore come as a surprise. But it is significant. Completion of our range The launch of our new Enterprise AM-C series brings high reliability, efficiency and quality to the 40-60ppm segment and effectively closes the gap we previously had in our business inkjet portfolio

One of the major selling points of Epson’s new product range is that it uses heat-free technology – meaning it doesn’t need to use energy to warm up when it is switched on or activated from sleep mode. Epson’s existing range of inkjet printers use up to 83% less energy than laser printers. Without that warm-up time, it also means it is about 50% faster than its laser equivalents, boosting efficiency. Heat-free inkjet printers also use fewer consumables than laser printers – by up to 96%. This drive towards sustainability and using fewer resources and cutting carbon emissions is not confined to the products Epson make, but how the entire company operates. For instance, Epson has platinum status with the Ecovadis Sustainability Ratings and has committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG), which aim to create a more sustainable future by 2030. “Epson was the first business to incorporate the UN SDGs within our green policies and receive independent certification on them and we have just completed our first audit on that and came out very well,” says Richard Wells, head of office print at Epson UK. “The targets we are setting are the difficult ones, but we produce every year a green report where

Richard Wells head of office print

This drive towards sustainability and using fewer resources and cutting carbon emissions is not confined to the products Epson made, but how the entire company operates.

A move worth making Richard Wells, head of office print at Epson UK, outlines how the launch of Epson’s new printer range represents a shift for the company and reaffirms their commitment to sustainability.



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