As a contributor within the product management team for Konica Minolta for over the past 11 years, I have launched many types of products from office workgroup MFPs, desktop scanners, production printers and many wide format products. However, wide format products are the roots of my product management experience and nothing has been more exciting for me than to launch the first ever Konica Minolta branded wide format printers, AccurioWide. It is one thing to launch a third-party product, but a whole different level of experience and passion to build out a product line from day 1 planning a couple of years ago through the product launch and beyond.
If you missed the product introduction, press releases and the recent trade shows (Print 18’ and SGIA) over the past couple of months, we have a few things to catch up on for the AccurioWide products.
Briefly, the AccurioWide products are large format products with UV Inks with LED Curing, print widths from 1.6 to 2.0 meters in width, printing speeds up to 1,172 sq. ft. per hour, 4 color or 6 color with white inks configuration, all powered by proven industry leading Konica Minolta print head technology.
These products are designed to print on roll to roll media as well as rigid materials like foam core, gator board, di-bond aluminum, clear poly carbonate and many others. The applications become as limitless as your imagination when you pair the printer with a flatbed finishing device – where you can create point of purchase displays, light back signs, home décor items with printing directly on the wood, traditional vinyl signs and banners to printing on floor mats, automobile dashboards, or conveyor belt advertising at a grocery store.
The target customers for this type of printer range from commercial print, franchise printers, sign & display printers, industrial printers for in-house manufacturing processes, and some in-plant operations that have the space and print volume to justify the purchase.
Starting with our print head imaging technology in mind, we wanted to bring high-quality print output to expand our product portfolio. If you are familiar with UV wide format, you know understanding the balance of productivity vs. quality comes from print resolution and number of print passes used to create the image. AccurioWide printers offer resolutions of up to 1440 x 720 dpi; we have had many customers and sales people comment on our high image quality as we showcased the products during Print 18’ and SGIA trade shows earlier this month. During these trade shows, we have produced many customer sample giveaways to showcase our quality and even printed customer samples after hours to take care of our customers’ requests.
Even when we are producing prints at 720 x 720 or 720 x 360 at our fastest print modes, customers said they could sell that quality that was being output. This type of validation and customer feedback is critical to our success and assures me as a product manager we have developed the right combinations, features and quality our customers are looking for.
There are many other features of the AccurioWide, such as our new AccurioPro WideDirector RIP and workflow software that handles pre-flighting, color management, job layout and creation, as connected to AccurioWide printers, select HP DesignJet and Latex printers, Mimaki and Espon third-party printers. It ensures you control the entire printing process from one production tool — from pre-press to production to finishing. You will see the benefits of better print quality, faster turnaround time, less waste and high customer satisfaction.
With the AccurioWide debut this past month, along with the tweets and posts from social media, buzz and sales leads from the trade shows, and the product launch almost complete, we still have a ways to go to satisfy our customers with wide format solutions. As always, the product manager’s job doesn’t stop once the price list is released, we have a long journey to go through the product life cycle.
These are the moments of joy we get to experience in product management and planning, whenever we release a new product and new category for the company, or when speak with our customers to learn more what they are looking for and validate a product we have been working so hard on for years.
As we look out into the product roadmap, the future is looking bright for Konica Minolta wide format!