Chief executive Jeff Jacobson kicked off EFI’s Engage virtual conference by sharing his hopes for economic recovery and said it was “more important than ever to adapt” in order to seize the opportunities of the post-pandemic world.
EFI Engage runs this week and next, with more than 200 sessions covering the manufacturer’s entire product range including new product demonstrations and expert sessions on existing systems.
It is the first time EFI has held a global, virtual event of this scale.
In his keynote address Jacobson began by addressing the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the industry and on individuals, and said his “prayers and sympathies are with everyone who has been personally affected”.
“The hope we see coming to fruition now are the efforts taken to create and implement vaccines, work that has been done much faster than ever before in history,” he said.
“I am a realistic optimist, and I’m hopeful for the future,” Jacobson stated.
“It is more important than ever to adapt. The agility and technological foresightedness in this industry has enabled us to remain essential and relevant.
“Things will go back to a semblance of what they were before, but things won’t be exactly the same – and this creates new opportunities.”
Jacobson cited examples such as customers who pivoted into producing PPE, social distancing graphics and fabric face masks; and also highlighted success stories such as e-commerce packaging, custom clothing and, in textiles, the reshoring of garment manufacturing by a number of major fashion retailers.
He said the pandemic had accelerated EFI’s, and its customers’, use of digital technologies such as cloud computing, remote service and training.
“As we at EFI have worked to address the challenges of the pandemic, I think we have found some important new efficiencies for the future, that will enable you to have more uptime and a more seamless operation,” he added.
“Our team is here to help you reach your goals, while keeping you at the forefront of technology. We want to help you succeed and to prepare you for the road ahead,” Jacobson stated.
He also said that EFI hoped to return to Las Vegas in January 2022 to reprise its annual Connect user conference, which usually attracts attendees from all over the world.
A number of new products are being introduced at EFI Engage, including in wide-format printing the 375 boards per hour Vutek XT hybrid printer; and two new high-speed superwide roll-to-roll printers, the Vutek Q3r and Q5r.
EFI also has a high-speed single-pass inkjet printer for display graphics in the works, capable of producing up to 1,000 boards per hour in pallet-to-pallet operation. The format is 1.6mx3.2m in CMYK with optional orange, violet and white.
In workflow and MIS, the latest version of EFI’s Fiery Command WorkStation, v6.6, has been released, with Slough-based design and print specialist Page Visions among the early adopters.
Version 9 of the Productivity Suite range of MIS systems for different types and sizes of print business was also announced, while the JobFlow pre-press automation tool gains new features including image scaling for large- and superwide-format work.
Page Visions CEO Tom Griffiths described the Fiery Command WorkStation as “more than just a pre-press and press operators’ tool” and praised its stability as “rock solid”.
“The new Advanced Search with version 6.6 means we are able to get very granular with our job filtering and combine parameters to create production efficiencies,” he said.
Integration and two-way communication between EFI’s Fiery Impose imposition software and Duplo’s DC-618 multi-finisher devices “saves users up to 70% in setup times”.
EFI has also sealed a new partnership with digital cutting and creasing manufacturer Highcon. Highcon will update the software for its Euclid and Beam systems to allow customers to integrate the devices directly with the EFI MarketDirect PackCentral online ordering portal, and with its AutoCount 4D software.
EFI Engage runs until 5 February.