Is Memjet for real?

I have been asked this question many times in the three years since Memjet founder Kia Silverbrook announced the technology and plans to introduce a product before the end of 2007. Demonstration units made it seem at the time that a product was indeed imminent, but promises of products in 2007, 2008 and 2009 have not been met. Some have even suggested that the announcement was a hoax.

All that may be about to change. Next month at IPEX (Birmingham, UK), Impression Technology Europe has announced that it will introduce the RAPID X1 label printer with Memjet technology. The Rapid X1 is a roll to roll printer with an 8 ½” wide 5 colour print head and a maximum print resolution of 1600 x 1600 dpi. Maximum print speed is 12 inches per second at 1600 x 800 DPI. The RAPID X1 is manufactured by Rapid Machinery Company of Chatswood, Australia.

Impression Technology Europe is a distributor of products manufactured by Impression Technology Pty Ltd of Sidney, Australia. These DTG branded products are textile and garment inkjet printers. Silverbrook Research, the parent of Memjet, is also located in Australia.

There are some indications that yet another Memjet-based label printer may appear at IPEX, and rumor has it that Memjet-based large format devices may be coming this year as well.

It appears that the Memjet strategy has changed from licensing the technology to supplying key components, such as printheads, drive electronics, and ink. The company may also supply print engines for the home and office sector.

That Memjet is serious was shown late last year with their hiring of Len Lauer, former COO of Qualcomm; he left that position to join Memjet. He had been rumored to be joining communications giant Verizon as its CEO, showing that he has major management talent.

Mike Willis, Pivotal Resources