Market Competition for Latex equipment

ApexVinyl

Premium Subscriber
So I've had this question in the back of my mind for years now, especially seeing how HP is dominating the wide format digital printing realm at the moment....


Why have none of the other key players in the digital printing market made a serious stab at competing with HP? I know Mutoh has latex and I believe Mimaki however their prices are thousands away from some of HP's models.

Granted HP build materials gravitate more towards the plastic side, how are some of these machines worth $10,000 more than say, an HP 335?


I'm just genuinely curious why no other printer companies have tried to put out a 54" or 64" printer that competes in specs and price with the HP models.

One thing that comes to my mind is HP's ability to have economy of scale and production, where as many of these companies can't compete on that level.

Thoughts? (BTW, I have a HP and I like it)
 

jasonx

Member
Simple return on investment.

You have two types of manufacturers in the wide format market.

The Roland, Mimaki, Mutoh etc
Then the EFI, Oce, Durst, Agfa etc

As you pointed out the smaller manufacturers don't have the backing, R&D of marketing. The bigger players don't see the return on investment on the smaller platforms.

I read an article that stated HP has 50,000 wide format customers. It was in one of the Xerox HP articles of late.

HP have a consumable model where its get you into their eco system and then recoup the capital offset with the consumables. The other manufacturers probably rely on the profit from the capital equipment more so.

That's why HP is worth billions of dollars, Indigo, Wide format and now a push in 3D printing technologies.
 

ApexVinyl

Premium Subscriber
Simple return on investment.


As you pointed out the smaller manufacturers don't have the backing, R&D of marketing. The bigger players don't see the return on investment on the smaller platforms.

I read an article that stated HP has 50,000 wide format customers. It was in one of the Xerox HP articles of late.

HP have a consumable model where its get you into their eco system and then recoup the capital offset with the consumables. The other manufacturers probably rely on the profit from the capital equipment more so.

That's why HP is worth billions of dollars, Indigo, Wide format and now a push in 3D printing technologies.


Alright, so my suspicions are correct. Which leads me to believe that unless there are more die-hard inkjet users that we don't know about, HP could potentially turn the market completely in their favor; and eliminate choice. Not about that life, for sure.

I hesitated to bring up the consumable model in my OP since some people can get prickly at that concept....but I would also argue that HP runs off of a planned obsolescence model as well....which is actually rather sad for the consumer and environmental concerns. There is a rather large tech company that does the same but vehemently denies it....as I'm sure HP would too.


But yes, so HP decides they want to develop a technology or improve an existing one, and all they have to do is tell their engineers what they are looking for and bingo, they are off to the races.


I have to say, I've never been a fan of HP equipment...this is coming from my extensive hobby in computers. As an example, my sister bought an expensive home printer from them about three years ago and HP just informed her that they will no longer support the printer with updates. Guess what, the printer doesn't work anymore a month after that message. :/


I certainly don't want to ride HP too bad because even with all the consumables and lifespan accounted for they are a better choice in my opinion, and I don't plan on getting any other type of printers in the future. I also started with a ecosolv printer years ago (I am home based) and fumigated myself out so this was a nice change of pace.
 

Christian @ 2CT Media

Active Member
Alright, so my suspicions are correct. Which leads me to believe that unless there are more die-hard inkjet users that we don't know about, HP could potentially turn the market completely in their favor; and eliminate choice. Not about that life, for sure.

I hesitated to bring up the consumable model in my OP since some people can get prickly at that concept....but I would also argue that HP runs off of a planned obsolescence model as well....which is actually rather sad for the consumer and environmental concerns. There is a rather large tech company that does the same but vehemently denies it....as I'm sure HP would too.


But yes, so HP decides they want to develop a technology or improve an existing one, and all they have to do is tell their engineers what they are looking for and bingo, they are off to the races.


I have to say, I've never been a fan of HP equipment...this is coming from my extensive hobby in computers. As an example, my sister bought an expensive home printer from them about three years ago and HP just informed her that they will no longer support the printer with updates. Guess what, the printer doesn't work anymore a month after that message. :/


I certainly don't want to ride HP too bad because even with all the consumables and lifespan accounted for they are a better choice in my opinion, and I don't plan on getting any other type of printers in the future. I also started with a ecosolv printer years ago (I am home based) and fumigated myself out so this was a nice change of pace.
This will never happen, unless HP builds solid machines and fixes their support system. My company has been a user, believer, and client of HP for 11 years since the first gen was released. We were totally a champion for HP and Latex, we still love latex as a technology, we have fallen out of love for HP... We have had 3 years of continuing build quality issues, passing the blame, and horrible support so we decided to diversify. We purchased a Canon Colorado 1650 to replace the HPs in the bulk of our work, and we are getting rid of our FB for a vanguard vk300d-hs (their service appears to be stellar).

To go back to your question though, the other manufacturers are developing competitive tech, the problem is market adoption and catching up to HPs 10 year lead in tech advancement. Prime example is Epson and Oki, 2 different methods for solvent but both make light-year advances over the market in both speed and color gamut, these companies will refine their products to be perfect iterations of solvent before moving to a new platform. Ricoh, Konica, Roland (from aremy understanding) all looking at latex tech and releasing competitive versions of it.
 

rjssigns

Active Member
Manufacturers of equipment want one thing. Marketing calls that thing an "installed base". An installed base leads to another term called "residuals". Residuals are the profit center of HP's and other similar businesses. Within the realm of HP's latex printers those residuals come in the form of ink, service contracts and parts.

I know this for a fact as I lived it. Company I used to work for sold a particular piece of equipment at or below cost. Why? Because we also had a proprietary chemical for those machines. Profit per unit of the chemical was eye watering to say the least. It was imperative to get as many machines in the field as humanly possible.

This concludes our business lesson for the day.
 

Solventinkjet

DIY Printer Fixing Guide
Mimaki took a stab a Latex and failed miserably. Hard to sell a $40k machine when HP has them for $10k. They have gone all in on UV instead and the UCJV300 is a beast. They are also dropping their prices on the solvent machines like crazy. Mutoh hasn't come out with a new product since I was a kid. Not sure what Roland is up to.
 

ApexVinyl

Premium Subscriber
This will never happen, unless HP builds solid machines and fixes their support system. My company has been a user, believer, and client of HP for 11 years since the first gen was released. We were totally a champion for HP and Latex, we still love latex as a technology, we have fallen out of love for HP... We have had 3 years of continuing build quality issues, passing the blame, and horrible support so we decided to diversify. We purchased a Canon Colorado 1650 to replace the HPs in the bulk of our work, and we are getting rid of our FB for a vanguard vk300d-hs (their service appears to be stellar).

To go back to your question though, the other manufacturers are developing competitive tech, the problem is market adoption and catching up to HPs 10 year lead in tech advancement. Prime example is Epson and Oki, 2 different methods for solvent but both make light-year advances over the market in both speed and color gamut, these companies will refine their products to be perfect iterations of solvent before moving to a new platform. Ricoh, Konica, Roland (from aremy understanding) all looking at latex tech and releasing competitive versions of it.


I have had good luck with my HP but believe me, it wasn't my first choice. I wanted an Epson or Canon solvent big time but the price always pushed me away as well as dealing with the maintenance issues and upkeep. I also like mimaki offerings and was very close to getting a CJV150-160 but again I just kept thinking about how I operate intermittently and dealing with idle time and cycling ink into the dumpster while idle.

I looked at that canon and that's a serious printer but also some serious scratch. I'm just small potatoes there's no way I could swing that :)
 

ApexVinyl

Premium Subscriber
Mimaki took a stab a Latex and failed miserably. Hard to sell a $40k machine when HP has them for $10k. They have gone all in on UV instead and the UCJV300 is a beast. They are also dropping their prices on the solvent machines like crazy. Mutoh hasn't come out with a new product since I was a kid. Not sure what Roland is up to.

I almost had a mini stroke when I saw what the mimaki latex machines were going for.

That being said I'd love to have a UV machine but I can't justify that price just yet with my tiny biz.
 

cstone94

Pro-Graphx
FWIW, I just installed an HP 570 not even a month ago, and it has already consumed 25.2 Liters of ink. Not a single hiccup, hums right along chewing up 150' rolls of vinyl or stretched canvas. Bought it for the ONLY reason being that these continuous jobs of stretched canvas and wallpaper were tying up our hybrid. Haven't ran a roll on our hybrid since November 26th when the 570 was installed.
 

ApexVinyl

Premium Subscriber
FWIW, I just installed an HP 570 not even a month ago, and it has already consumed 25.2 Liters of ink. Not a single hiccup, hums right along chewing up 150' rolls of vinyl or stretched canvas. Bought it for the ONLY reason being that these continuous jobs of stretched canvas and wallpaper were tying up our hybrid. Haven't ran a roll on our hybrid since November 26th when the 570 was installed.
 

ApexVinyl

Premium Subscriber
I hope to need a printer that size someday. Good to hear its working well. I think once I get a larger foothold in my local market I'd like to make the move to UV or whatever technology is working best within the next five years. Nothing wrong with latex at all, I just recognize the limitations and possible better alternatives. For now, my though process is why fix it if its broke. They are selling a ton of them for a reason. :)
 

cstone94

Pro-Graphx
I hope to need a printer that size someday. Good to hear its working well. I think once I get a larger foothold in my local market I'd like to make the move to UV or whatever technology is working best within the next five years. Nothing wrong with latex at all, I just recognize the limitations and possible better alternatives. For now, my though process is why fix it if its broke. They are selling a ton of them for a reason. :)

Owning both UV & now Latex, I will likely never print onto adhesive vinyl again on my UV. The pure blacks you get with laminated latex vs the silvering issues with UV if you don't have a heat assist laminator makes printing stickers a breeze. Not saying you cannot achieve quality results with a UV printed vinyl at all, I've run thousands of them, it's just easier to run them on the latex and not have to worry about issues.
 

ApexVinyl

Premium Subscriber
Owning both UV & now Latex, I will likely never print onto adhesive vinyl again on my UV. The pure blacks you get with laminated latex vs the silvering issues with UV if you don't have a heat assist laminator makes printing stickers a breeze. Not saying you cannot achieve quality results with a UV printed vinyl at all, I've run thousands of them, it's just easier to run them on the latex and not have to worry about issues.

Oh wow, really? I was talking to a local fellow that has a giant sign shop and he was saying how much he loves his UV printers. But to be honest, if the latex keeps performing well for me maybe I won't make the change. I've had good luck so far. Appreciate the experienced information.
 

Christian @ 2CT Media

Active Member
We just got a Colorado 1650 which is GelUV, its quality to our latex is night and day... the speed is most impressive (twice as fast) and we have absolutely no silvering and we don't run heat assist at all!
 

ApexVinyl

Premium Subscriber
We just got a Colorado 1650 which is GelUV, its quality to our latex is night and day... the speed is most impressive (twice as fast) and we have absolutely no silvering and we don't run heat assist at all!


I have heard nothing but great things about the Colorado series but wow, totally outside of my current price range for the near future by about $50k. Maybe someday.
 

Christian @ 2CT Media

Active Member
I have heard nothing but great things about the Colorado series but wow, totally outside of my current price range for the near future by about $50k. Maybe someday.
The Colorado is not for every shop, but I think if you are at the point that you have a 570 and need a second you may want to consider the colorado... once on the shop floor it is impressive, to say the least.

HP Latex is a solid platform that has pushed our growth for the last 10 years. We have done over 6 million dollars of printing on our latexes over the years and the technology is proven, for us wee are pushing them so hard and HP can't meet our needs for a supportive manufacturer which has pushed us out of the Latex realm for now. I have been told that big things are coming next year.
 

HulkSmash

Member
Every other printer in their market
The Colorado is not for every shop, but I think if you are at the point that you have a 570 and need a second you may want to consider the colorado... once on the shop floor it is impressive, to say the least.

HP Latex is a solid platform that has pushed our growth for the last 10 years. We have done over 6 million dollars of printing on our latexes over the years and the technology is proven, for us wee are pushing them so hard and HP can't meet our needs for a supportive manufacturer which has pushed us out of the Latex realm for now. I have been told that big things are coming next year.

Couldn't disagree more. I rather have 3 570's for the price of 1 Colorado. The redundancy is priceless. Putting your eggs in 1 basket, for a machine like that is a bad business decision in my opinion. They wanted me to have one so bad, they literally wanted to set one up, and charge me later for it if i liked it. Very odd group of sales guys.
 
Top