The answer to life, the universe and everything is 42

In the book ‘The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ Douglas Adams describes how the hero meets Slartibartfast and hears how a race of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings built a computer named Deep Thought to calculate the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.  After many millennia, the answer is revealed to be 42.  They then realise they don’t know what the question actually was.

Being a big fan of this story I always associate the number 42 with the answer to the ultimate question.  It was therefore interesting to hear that our forthcoming Digital Print Japan events December 2-4 will be held on the 42nd floor of the Keio Plaza Hotel, Shinjuku.

So, 42 is the answer, so what is the question this time?  Well, it’s all to do with digital printing, and in particular inkjet.  The IT Strategies Executive Conference focuses on the big questions of when and how digital printing will enter commercial printing markets.  We all know one day it will make an impact, but when and to what degree?  Anyone involved with sales of equipment, consumables or substrates for the vast printing industry will want to know more.  A subsidiary question is whether digital can generate new revenues for the printing industry, not just replace it for short runs.  Through a series of presentations and panel discussions by industry experts we hope to improve the vision of what will happen.

As well as commercial printing, inkjet is becoming increasingly used for other applications as well. Once desktop printing produced the majority of the inkjet industries revenues, but pages printed in the home is in rapid decline, and vendors are looking elsewhere for new business.  Inkjet is already strong in graphics printing and has grown at a phenomenal rate for decorating ceramic tiles.  The digital textile market is now taking off, soon to be followed by packaging and labelling applications, and decor printing – flooring, wall coverings, panels and so on.  The technology involved in all of these non-office printing applications requires different printhead and ink technology to desktop printing.  Building reliable machines to deliver high quality print in manufacturing environments involves addressing new issues and challenges.  For this reason we are bringing the Inkjet Academy course to Japan.  The course gives an overview of all of the issues involved in industrial product integration.  Over 2,500 have attended this course already, helping build the industrial inkjet industry.  This is the first time we have held the course in Japan, so don’t miss it.

And hopefully there will be no need to build ‘Earth2’ to discover the question this time, all will be clear!

Mike Willis, IMI Europe