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It’s an Inkjet and Toner World

1 Jul, 2015 By: Harvey Levenson, Ph.D

One thing that was clear from the recent RT Media Imaging Summit & Expo: “It's an inkjet and toner world.” 

David Gibbons, Director of RT Media, Tony Lee, Principal of RT Media, and Lyndee Sing, Director of the Graphic Communication Institute at Cal Poly (GrCI), introduced the summit and shared insights for a worldwide view.  The Summit's keynote speaker was Daniel Burmeister, Director of Sales for Eastman Kodak's Extended Materials Business and a former Washington Redskins player and Super Bowl winner in the 1980s. Burmeister spoke on “Material Science Development: Past, Present…and What's Coming Next.” He pointed out that Kodak's renewed commitment and strategy is the “materials science business” serving the aftermarket through innovative thinking and collaboration.

Ed O'Connor, Patent Attorney/Group Chair, The Eclipse Group, spoke on “How Will the Outcome of the 'First-Sale Doctrine' Court Case Challenge Affect Remanufacturing in North America?”  I discussed, “Fending Off Patent Trolls and Protecting OEM Intellectual Property” and the growing concern over trolls.

The Summit included several “Open Mike Forums.” The first covered: “Will legal issues destroy remanufacturing? Are OEMs and remanufacturers at odds with each other? What opportunities exist for cooperation?” The discussion revolved primarily around the Impression Products v. Lexmark case. The feelings expressed are that OEMs and remanufacturers must find a way to cooperate and co-exist for the good of the marketplace.

Bob Bucknum, Sales manager for Zhono Corporation, presented on the topic of “Delivering Non-infringing Solutions for Printing Cartridge Chips.” Richard Yu, Managing Director of SGT, spoke on “Delivering the Best Non-infringing Solution for the Canon OPC (organic photoconductor) Drum and Dongle Gear Issue.” Rick Lasco and James Furlong of Rnano Inc. discussed, “‘Upcycling’ Waste Plastic to Manufacture Economical and Environmentally Friendly Toners.” They described a process that they developed on how to convert waste plastics into toner with the printing industry being a target industry for this technology. David Cameron of Cameron Consulting Group discussed, “Why is the Aftermarket Color Market Stuck?”

The Summit included two Tutorials. Roland Tong and Tricia Judge of Roland Tong Law Offices: “Patent Issues Facing the Imaging Industry.” Martin Jones, Learning Instructor of The Learning Group for Konica Minolta, presented a tutorial on “The Displacement of Offset Lithography by Inkjet and Toner-based Digital Presses in the Commercial Printing Market.” Jones expressed that all developments in digital inkjet and toner presses are “direct hits” on offset lithography, and that as digital printing grows the volume of offset lithography decreases.

On day two, John Shane, Director, Communication Supplies Consulting Service for InfoTrends, discussed “Trends and Factors Impacting Print Consumables in North America. Shane presented an InfoTrends study focused on electrophotography and page-wide inkjet printing.  Christian Pepper, Director of Sales, Distribution Channel for LMI, gave a talk on “The Upside to the Decline in Printed Pages.” Addressing the aftermarket vs. OEM issues, Pepper pointed out that in a declining industry, OEMs have more to lose and aftermarket companies have more to gain. Giovanni Giusti, President of Doxense Europe, presented:“Industrial Evolution in the New Information Age.” Giusti discussed the growth that occurred in China in recent years. He pointed out that the speed of technology growth is so great that “technology adoption is a must for survival.”

Open Mike Forum 2 discussed: “What are the Emerging Market Opportunities for Print Consumables?” The focus of the discussion was on Eastman Kodak's new entry into the aftermarket to support the aftermarket.  Ron Sarne, Market Development Manager, Strategic Business Consultant, Indigo & Inkjet Graphic Solutions for Hewlett Packard, discussed “Digital Print Technologies and the Market Trends that Drive Them.” Ian Elliott, President of Print-Rite North America, discussed, “Mergers & Acquisitions: Where Does This Leave the Imaging Industry?” Elliott emphasized that there are disproportionate gross margin shares between OEMs and aftermarket companies leading to consolidations in the marketplace.  Steve Weedon, industry consultant, concluded with: “Summit Challenge: Why Remanufacturers Need to be Smarter About Imaging Patents.” Open Mike Forum 3 discussed, “How Can the Threats Facing the Imaging Industry Be Converted into Opportunities?”

Among the Summit expo exhibitors were Chinamate Technology Co., Ltd., Graphic Communication Institute at Cal Poly, Eastman Kodak, Locator Magazine, Nature Toner Co., Ltd., Retech Technology International Limited, Ultrex Business Systems, Zhuhai Altman Digital Technology Co., Ltd., Zhuhai Jialianxin Imaging Products Co. Ltd., Zhuhai Polytoner Image Co., Ltd., Zixingshi Heshun Technology Printing Materials Co., Ltd. , Zhono, LMI, Telatemp, Konica Minolta, and Huiatech, MSE.


Harvey R. Levenson, Ph. D., is the former Department Head of Cal Poly's Graphic Communication Department and former Director of the Graphic Communication Institute at Cal Poly. Though retired from Cal Poly, Levenson is not retired from the industry and continues to write, speak, research, and provide Expert Witness testimony.

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