Interview with Ken Kisner, President of INX Digital | Ink for Wide Format Digital Printing - Sept 2010 | Sign Update Feature
 

Interview with Ken Kisner, President of INX Digital

Digital Inks are a hot topic so in this issue Sign Update gets the thoughts of Ken Kisner, President of INX Digital International Co.

Ken Kisner photo portrait INX Digital Logo

Ken Kisner is President of INX Digital International Co and has more than 20 years expertise in the digital imaging market. He manages a company with offices in California, China, and Europe that makes inkjet ink products for industrial-grade wide and super-wide format digital inkjet printers.

In 2009, Mr Kisner helped manage the transition of Triangle Digital INX as it became a member of INX Digital International Co (www.inxdigital.com). The new company represents the combined digital resources of Sakata INX, INX International, Triangle Digital INX, Innovative Solutions INX, MegaINX Digital and Anteprima Engineering. He was also part of the NAPIM committee assembled to define bio content and is a member of Specialty Graphics Imaging Association, Print Industry Networking Group, Digital Printing and Inkjet Printing Professionals.

How has ink technology changed over the years?

KK: We are noticing the continued evolution of digital printing in many industrial markets, from wallpaper printing and ID card printing to printing on glass. Digital printing has allowed mass customisation so companies can target specific demographics for their customers. As speed and quality of inkjet technology continues to increase, it will allow companies to afford short-to-mid size runs with variable information.

Our company's core product line includes traditional solvent based chemistries. However, through recent collaboration we have created a new line of UV and bio ink that is more suitable for the green aspects of the market. Latex inks and UV LED are new, hot type inks, and LED curing technology has significant advantages that make it very attractive such as using less energy compared to other light sources.

If, as an industry we should be using less solvent inks, what is INX and Triangle doing about this?

KK: At INX Digital, including the Triangle brand, we concentrate on using mild and eco solvent formulations or other ingredients that not only reduce the impact on the environment, but also create a healthier work environment and have a long, useful life.

What is INX doing about helping the sign and graphics industry move toward greener products?

KK: Recently at FESPA we saw the debut of our water-based Textile inks and new Eco Bulk ink delivery system, which is part of INX Digital's green recycling programme, and represents a continuation of our commitment to green products. We developed a number of sustainability and green initiatives more than 10 years ago, and have been committed to finding greener solutions during this period of time. We have strong corporate policies in place so customers know they are not being misled. The website www.greeninx.com outlines our efforts.

Triangle inks Logo

How well are Triangle inks being received in the UK?

KK: There are many advantages that are driving customers to use Triangle inks. Josero is the sole distributor of Triangle products in the UK and Ireland. We chose them because they are forward thinking, are technically astute and have excellent customer service. With their comprehensive dealer network dedicated to selling Triangle inks, nearly 200 sites have been installed throughout the UK. Sales are growing at a vast rate and Josero plans to invest in a new facility so they can expand their demonstration suite.

They often go the extra mile. For example, they explain how our inks are certified by many print-head manufacturers around the world such as Xaar. They truly understand how integrated our products are.

What do you see as up and coming ink technology?

KK: Our BIO standard, rates each of our products as a percentage of renewable resource such as our BIO25, which includes 25 percent of renewable resource materials. Our task has been to increase the use of renewable resource while continuing to focus on products that exceed our customers' expectations.

Our ECO standards will grade products on the environmental and human safety effects of the formulation. We have developed 10 criteria to determine the ECO rating to determine whether or not the product has Hazardous Air Pollutants, Toxic Air Pollutants, the odour level and other items that affect the overall friendliness of the product. We are working closely with NAPIM (National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers) to give this either a national or global acceptance as a standard."

Our Evolve programme is a key strategy for the next 4-5 years to help traditional printers move to inkjet technology. Our field service tech group, our inside technical staff, and our R & D group are all working towards helping this customer base succeed. We also are developing specialised UV inks that will meet certain food packaging regulations, as well as water based inks that are durable for outdoor signage.

INX Digital has defined the words BIO and ECO and established our own standards to adhere to so customers know exactly what they are getting with our products.

Inside INX Digital’s research and development facilitiesHow do you see the market going forward in the next few years?

KK: In North America and Europe, we are seeing growth in the UV printer market. In price sensitive markets like much of Asia, South America, Eastern Europe and parts of the Middle East, we still see solvent based products dominate the market.

All of the traditional industries are looking for some digital equipment, but the display graphic market is growing very fast. The market is dedicated to flags and decoration and the textile market, which includes fashion textile, was one of the first to evolve to digital 10 years ago.

INX Digital continues to invest heavily in technology. Our new state-of-the-art application labs in Europe and the U.S.A. allow us to fine tune formulations which optimise the long-term 'jettability' of our products.

We are focused on new markets and helping our parent companies "Evolve" to digital. Bridging the gap between traditional and digital printing is important for several reasons. Not only does it drive revenue in tough economic times, but digital printing helps reduce costs and increase production.

What do you perceive as the greatest challenges the ink industry faces in the next decade?

KK: Reducing inventories, customisation for test marketing, and advertising is allowing inkjet to dive into packaging, textile and other markets where it is just beginning to emerge. We predict seeing a huge growth in these markets over the next 5-10 years.

Digital is all about possibilities and creativity. With digital, it is possible to do many things that isn't possible or is problematic in the traditional industry. Speed is an issue. Technology is growing very fast in the digital industry and in many ways; certain applications can only be made with digital."

Josero Inks LogoHow would you respond to the view that only OEM inks work and that third party inks damage printers?

KK: Third party inks have a long history in the UK, which is the birthplace of industrial inkjet. The UK market has always been open to experimenting with third party products. OEMs capitalised in the first half of this decade when admittedly there were problems in the marketplace. But since we signed-up Josero, they have significantly reduced the market share that was dominated by the original inks. Josero's ability to convince print operations about Triangle's capabilities, which includes super-wide and BIO products and our outdoor print and full ink train warranties, has made a huge impact on the market.

Printer manufacturers imply that using third party inks invalidates customers' warranties. What is your response to this?

KK: INX Digital backs all of our products with a warranty. If a printer is under warranty with the OEM and our Triangle inks are running it, in essence what the OEM is saying doesn't really matter in this case.

INX Digital steadfastly stands behind our products with both an Outdoor Durability warranty as well as an Ink Train warranty. In addition to the warranties our products come with, we also stock and source common replacement parts for the OEM printers. We have a qualified technical support group comprising engineers and technicians that operate globally.

Further information at the website www.inxdigital.com or www.josero.com

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