Capturing the True Potential of Industrial Inkjet with Metis Scanners

Posted 19th April 2018 by Christina Molina

When you think of a scanner, the correlation to digital print for industrial manufacturing doesn't immediately come to mind. That's what makes this so interesting. Since 1985, CGS has been a world leader in digital proofing, color management and production workflows for the graphic arts. But a partnership with Metis, the Italian manufacturer of scanners, has extended CGS’ portfolio of capabilities to service the industrial print sector. As he prepares to speak at the InPrint Industrial Inkjet Conference, Rob Lawrence, Director for Business Development, kindly spoke on the contributions of digital scanning to industrial print and the current state of the industry.

Can you explain what Metis does?
Metis (Rome Italy) is a flat-bed scanning technology manufacturer. Metis’ roots began in remote sensing technology for the satellite imaging market. Prior to introducing scanning technologies to the industrial printing industry, Metis was known as the finest scanner for the capture of cultural heritage artifacts at the world’s leading museums. In fact, Metis built what is the world’s largest digital camera currently in use at The State Archives of Venice. The same criteria needed to explore the stars and the same technology used to accurately preserve our cherished cultural heritage can be used effectively in the industrial printing industry to recreate the most realistic natural surfaces.

What led to the partnership between CGS and Metis?
CGS’s very beginnings go back to the early days of digital imaging and scan-back digital sensors. These were the days where the printing industry was rapidly transitioning to a digital workflow. Today, the industrial printing markets are also transitioning to digital and we recognized that Metis brings a unique capability that will become an indispensable tool for the industrial print market.

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge industrial inkjet technology currently faces?
The one that keeps coming to mind with inkjet is the durability on high wear surfaces. I think an improvement with inkjet coating is vital, and if overcome will offer a great addition to the analogue processes in use today.

What do you think is the most emerging technology in your industry?
From the imaging side, it is most certainly computational imaging/photography, leveraging the power of today’s computers with algorithms that allows cameras to capture and communicate more than visual information.

You said that InPrint USA 2017 was a success because you not only sold a couple scanners but were able to introduce Metis to a market unfamiliar with surface scanning technology. Can you share some other impressions on the North American market?
Europe has had the lead in the industrial print industry serving the décor markets. A lot of that has to do with many of the ecological regulations that forced them to innovate and find clever and attractive products made from reclaimed materials. As a result, almost all of the important collaborations and industry shows/fairs (both design and equipment) took place in Europe. However, North America is proving to be a fertile ground for product and equipment design and innovation, particularly as the economy has steadily improved. One example of this is the boom in downtown multi-unit housing. This major move, particularly by Millennials and Baby-boomers is driving a huge demand for interior décor surfaces to decorate the walls, floors and furniture.

What is on the horizon for Metis and CGS?
In addition to the new growth we are seeing in fine art reproduction (being able to build up brush strokes with UV inks) Metis is looking to bring its innovative capture process to the textile and CGI markets. Wherever a market needs precise capture of color, texture and glossiness, Metis can deliver!

You can catch Rob Lawrence at the InPrint Industrial Inkjet Conference May 2nd where he will demonstrate how to capture and reproduce the primary attributes of a surface: color, 3D texture, glossiness detail and transparency. “When these attributes can be captured and isolated, it’s possible to recreate those attributes on an industrial printed surface.”

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