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EFI Sets Attendance Record at Annual Conference

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As one of the first major events on the graphic-arts calendar, EFI’s Connect users’ conference provides a glimpse of what the remainder of the year may hold, which could mean good things in 2015 for the printing industry. The event, held in late January at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas, drew a record reported attendance of over 1500 customers, channel partners, and industry observers.

As one of the first major events on the graphic-arts calendar, EFI’s Connect users’ conference provides a glimpse of what the remainder of the year may hold, which could mean good things in 2015 for the printing industry. The event, held in late January at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas, drew a record reported attendance of over 1500 customers, channel partners, and industry observers.

Shortly after Connect concluded, EFI announced record fourth-quarter sales in 2014 and a nine percent increase in annual revenue to $790 million, both positive industry indicators as well as steps toward the company’s well-publicized goal of reaching $1 billion in revenue by the end of 2016. Whether by coincidence or design, two of the keynote sessions at Connect also spoke to printing’s continued health by featuring executives from two companies at opposite ends of the history of the industry: Thomas Quinlan, president of RR Donnelley, and Avi Reichental, president of 3D Systems, both in “fireside chat” discussions with EFI CEO Guy Gecht.

It was a relatively quiet event in terms of product announcements from the company. The biggest news was the introduction of the EFI Productivity Suite, not a product launch so much as a strategy for presenting the company’s extensive portfolio of workflow and MIS products in bundles designed for specific types of users and applications. The idea is to take the responsibility of integrating the company’s various software products away from the customers by certifying that specific releases of products have been documented and tested as integrated suites.

About 80 combinations had been earmarked for certification before the end of the first quarter; during their press briefing, company representatives indicated that more would be added based on user needs. EFI also plans to coordinate future upgrades so that all components of a certified suite continue to work together.

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On the inkjet side of EFI’s business, Ken Hanulec, VP of marketing, announced that new colors will be added for the HS100 Pro. These include orange and green, anticipated by the end of the first quarter, followed by light black and clear. He said that the company continues to work on developing a 100-percent LED version of the machine, which might make an appearance before the end of the year.

Hanulec also said that all inks for the CretaPrint ceramic-tile printers, a business that EFI acquired in 2012, are now manufactured by EFI. He hinted that the successful launch of the H1625 LED printer last year, with over 125 models sold in the first six months after the launch, might inspire additional products built on the 1625 platform.
 

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