Saturday, October 8, 2016

Wide-format systems for A/E/C print work - is the market big enough to support all of the different brands and models currently being offered?

With the apparent decline in the volume of A/E/C wide-format printing, one wonders who’s buying wide-format systems and, for those who have been buying wide-format print systems, what brands and models they’ve been buying.  I sure wish the APDSP would conduct a survey on that issue and publish the results.  On the high to medium volume (output speed) range, OCE, Xerox, KIP and HP offer systems …. and the Vortex 4200 system is still on the market …. and The Heavey Group offers ROWE wide-format systems.  That’s a lot of brands to choose from, and if the A/E/C print business continues declining, one wonders how all of these brands will survive.  I guess the question is, who will be the next wide-format system manufacturer to go down for the count?

As reported in July on the IRgA (now APDSP) web-site, RTI, then the North American dealer for the Vortex 4200 wide-format system, shuttered its business:

Reprographic Technologies Inc., better known in the industry as RTI, shut its doors in June after about 25 years in business. What happened?

“The bottom line is we got extended beyond what we were capable of managing, and at that stage elected to exit the business completely,” says Erik Norman, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing.

“We gave it a good go,” says Kevin Howes, who was RTI’s director of print solutions and is now poised to become executive director of RSA (read more about that here). “We were like the little engine that could.” In the end, though, the “little engine” just couldn’t climb that long hill.

(Note:  Kevin Howes recently became the Executive Director of Reprographic Services Corporation RSA))

Link to the complete story that was authored by Ed Avis and posted on the IRgA web-site (now the APDSP web-site):

Rigoli, an Italian company, continues to produce the Vortex 4200.

What Rigoli said:

Rigoli will continue making the machine, that company has confirmed in an email: “My name is Zsolt Tarjanyi and I was the leader of the development of the Vortex 4200 and Vortex 4204 products. I can confirm that Rigoli S.R.L. carries on with the production and support of these units.”

Kevin Shimamoto, general manager of Memjet Wide Format, based in San Diego, California, confirmed the relationship with Rigoli.

“We recently discontinued our OEM agreement with RTI and now have a new OEM partner taking over their business, Rigoli, who is the manufacturer of the Vortex,” Shimamoto wrote in an email. “They have partnered with the Drafting Clinic Canada to support North America under the Rigoli OEM brand. All RTI resellers should have already been contacted. Rigoli will support all current RTI resellers and end users worldwide with consumables and printer service and support.”

Link to Rigolis’ web-site:

Mentioned above, The Drafting Clinic Canada, is, apparently, the Vortex 4200 dealer for North America.  (Kind of wonder how they are doing with sales in the U.S.)  The Drafting Clinic Canada, based in the Toronto metro area, apparently offers several different brands of wide-format plotter/printer/MFP systems, including Canon imagePrograf, KIP, Teriostar and MAX (the latter brand is new to me.)  Apparently, they are not dealers for HP plotter/printers/MFP’s, DesignJet or PageWide.  Kind of wondering why that is!

Link to The Drafting Clinic Canada’s web-site:

At the time RTI went down for the count, an auction was held to dispose of RTI’s assets.

On June 29th and 30th (2016), Heritage Global Partners, an auction company, conducted an on-line auction to sell off Reprographic Technologies’ assets.  Here’s a link to the stuff that was auctioned off.  Apparently, 6 or 7 Vortex 4200 wide-format printing systems were included in that auction.  I wonder who bought those; they must have gotten spectacular (really cheap) deals. (Just a guess, but I would think that The Drafting Clinic Canada bought those systems.)

Link to auctioned items:

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