At the 2002 Sign Expo show last spring, attendees saw a surprisingly high number of new, solvent-system inkjet printers built in China and Korea. According to the digital color printing consultancy IT Strategies, over the past three to four years, more than 15 companies in China and Korea have begun building superwide inkjet printers. Five companies share 80% of the sales, with most of the units sold to date in the Asia/Pacific region.
I.T. Strategies believes that the installed based of Chinese-manufactured superwide inkjet printers worldwide will rise from about 350 units in 2002 to more than 2000 by 2007. According to I.T. Strategies president Mark Hanley, this forecast is based on discussions with inkjet printhead manufacturers, the OEMs, ink suppliers and others involved in the market. “To the data we receive, we apply our forecast methodology that has been developed over 10 years of forecasting digital color printing markets.
Of the 15 companies making superwide printers in China and Korea, most offer printers based on the Xaar 128-nozzle printheads, but at least two offer models with Xaar and Spectra heads.
I.T. Strategies listed the top five companies as Yaselan, Hangzhou Honghua, Shenzhen Runjiang, Shanghai Teckwin and DGI. Four of these firms have been in business since the early to mid 1990s. DGI was established in 1985 to make pen plotters for the CAD market. (I.T. Strategies: www.it-strategies.com)
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