27 January 2019 Digital Printing Technologies

EFI CEO promises more innnovation as customers gather in Las Vegas

EFI needs to find a driver for the next phase of growth and new CEO Bill Muir promises that this will come from its engine of innovation.

EFI revelled in the attention of 1,800 attendees at this year’s Las Vegas Connect convention, ahead of a week in which the management team will be quizzed about actions to restart growth.

The company has already warned that a weak ending to the year will result in revenues falling short by around $12 million compared to what was a record final quarter in 2017.

New CEO Bill Muir offered no immediate recipes for success. He spoke warmly of the importance of family owned businesses to EFI as the bedrock of its customer base, particularly for large format inkjet printers. He spoke about the importance of customer service and ensure that the engine of innovation is kept running.

Sure enough there was innovation on show, a faster Fiery Rip, wider Vutek printer and internationalisation of the MIS and production workflow technologies. The productivity suite is now at Version 7 across all sectors: the packaging suite enables online reordering; the enterprise commercial print version includes easy import of production specification tools. Digital Storefront becomes MarketDirect StoreFront with closer integration across the previously separate tools.

The new Fiery is the FS350 Pro, aimed at high productivity print engines. Canon will be the first to implement its version. Others will be using it to drive continuous feed inkjet presses, B1 digital presses and single pass corrugated machines across both toner and inkjet technologies.

The key enhancements include implementation of Adobe’s APPE 4.4 with faster processing, support for CMYK+ colours, improved image control and editing in the Fiery JobMaster application. Operators will also be able to set up finishing operations from the DFE. The first to be able to demonstrate this connection is Duplo with its DDC-810 digital enhancer and the DC multi finishers.

On the floor of the hotel complex, the company showed the Vutek h5 LED UV flatbed printer, the largest and fastest flatbed to date. This is able to print 109 boards an hour, can print eight colours and in up to nine layers. It rounds off the Vutek h generation of machines announced at Fespa last year and being built at a new factory in New England.

However, the future opportunities that Muir needs to capture for EFI to drive its growth lie with textile, packaging and industrial applications that are tangental to the graphic arts market, though Muir pointed to opportunities in home decor.

These were catered for with displays of the Nozomi, the textile printers and Cretaprint for ceramics. Few commercial printers are going to invest in these directions, the Nozomi excepted, but the Vegas bet is that these will be increasingly important under the third CEO in EFI’s history.

By Gareth Ward

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The Vutek h series of flatbed printers was announced at Fespa last year and the h5 was finally unveiled at Connect last week. The delay has had an impact on sales and is something that new CEO Bill Muir has promised to tackle.

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