The Growth of Inkjet: New Normal or Temporary Bubble?
While global shipments show unstable or declining values as a result of problems in the supply chain, inkjet devices with built-in tanks continue to grow in the Latin region.
This is a phenomenon that began years ago but was hastened with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some argue that it is a trend that is here to stay. Others think it’s just a temporary effect, fueled by those working remotely. And given the eternal struggle for domination between laser and inkjet, I asked several entrepreneurs if inkjet has become the new normal or is it just a temporary bubble.
For Martín Bignasco of Blue Box Argentina, “It is a trend that has been accelerating,” he said. “For a few years, the faster inkjet equipment has come into the market, with quick-drying inks. These technologies would eventually replace the laser technology normally used in most companies.” He added, “The operating costs are much cheaper and the electricity consumption is infinitely lower, which makes them more attractive for those companies concerned about the environment.”
According to Bignasco, we must also consider the savings the new inkjet printers provide over laser when it comes to the huge tonnage of waste that is generated once the empty cartridges are thrown away.
From the center of the continent, David Aguila López (Editor: pictured in the bubble being held by Molinatti) from Inkfinity México is certain. “I don’t think it’s a bubble,” he said. “Inkjet is what’s going to remain,” he said without hesitation. “Toner may have been the leader until now, but that is no longer the case. Add to that, all printer OEMs are now launching equipment containing bulk ink or continuous ink systems. This is really a way to provide a more cost-competitive solution for end-users.”
According to López, this highlights the convenience offered by these newer inkjet technologies where end-users can avoid frequent trips to a store to buy supplies. “Having high-performance tank printers has become a better option,” he added. “The inkjet is today’s fast or convenient food for your printer—it is the convenience of not having to go out to buy.”
Cássio Rodrigues from Katun Brazil, a well-known reference in the Latin American remanufacturing region, offers a different diagnosis. “In simple terms, I don’t believe in the bubble or the new normal. While the ink business is growing, the laser business is reinventing itself too. I think there is room for both types of printing. In low-volume printing services, inks are very competitive. For high volume, while the cost per page is very low, the investment in the equipment is very high.”
Martín Waldeck from Danston Uruguay believes that the pandemic has significantly changed printing habits among users. “The fact of teleworking, a modality that had started timidly and has now become much stronger, makes these types of users continue with their ink tank printers, which are the ones that have been rapidly gaining ground in recent years. Today if we look at the supply of printers, there are few new models that work with cartridges. In other words, the inkjet and especially that which works with ink tanks (CISS) are part of the new normal”.
What do you think? Is this phenomenon part of the new normal or a temporary bubble? ■
** This article appeared on page 17 of RT ImagingWorld magazine which can be downloaded for free.
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Molinatti is RT’s global partner for Latin America. He is based in Buenos Aires, Argentina and is the publisher of Guía del Reciclador—the Spanish language magazine first published in 2002 for the Latin American printer cartridge aftermarket. He has organized more the 20 technical and MPS training events in several countries and is helping RT bring VIP Expo events to Brazil, Argentina, and Perú. Please contact<email@example.com>
Want to know more about the dynamic market in Latin America? Read Molinatti’s other blogs and articles:
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- Revealing the True Latino Pioneering Spirit
- Show Me the Color in Latin America
- Remanufacturing Remains Viable in Latin America
- Price Quality or Service – or all Three?
- Vertical Integration in the Latin Aftermarket: the Next Step?
- Adapting to New Normality or a Paradigm Shift?
- Can Latin America Manufacture its own NBCs—and be Profitable?
- HP Blocks Online Sale of Aftermarket Cartridges
- Remembering when Product Sales Increased
- Confronting Market Challenges and Opportunities