Let's start this story with a little bit of inkjet history. Make notes if you wish, as there may be a test at the end!
ENCAD, as many of you will know, was an early innovator and market leader in the field of wide-format digital inkjet printers, and many people still look back fondly on a manufacturer whose Novajet printers helped to launched 1000s of the earliest wide-format print businesses in countries all around the world.
At its peak in the mid-1990s, ENCAD distributed its printers to over 67 countries, and had exclusive manufacturing arrangements with major corporations such as Xerox and Kodak.
Alas, strong competition from HP and its Designjet 755CM printer curbed the previously stellar ENCAD growth; sales fell off, revenues declined, and it started to become clear that this particular David was not going to beat this particular Goliath.
Subsequent HP Designjets, such as the seminal 2000 & 3000 series, as well as further competition in the latter part of the 1990s from cleaner and considerably easier to use piezo print systems such as the Roland DG CAMMjet CJ70 and the Mimaki JV-1300, further speeded the ENCAD decline. The business was ultimately sold to Eastman Kodak in 2001 with the historically significant ENCAD name removed from use soon after.
So what about today?
Well maybe, just maybe, the story doesn't end there. What if somebody discovered a factory full of shrink-wrapped and perfectly-preserved ENCAD Novajet 1000i printers?
What if that same somebody created a new company? To avoid copyright issues named it ANCED, and created a technology that enabled multiples of these printers to be effectively used in parallel as a single device capable of competing with the performance of modern roll-to-roll print technology?
Step forward Nicholas Ranoutovink, entrepreneur, tech-enthusiastic, and founder of ANCED Print Enterprises, and inventor of the unique Click Ready Adjacent Printing technology (or C.R.A.P. for short).
In essence this C.R.A.P. concept allows ANCED to bolt together as many Novajet 1000i printers as desired, with software then allowing the use of each individual printer to perform one single task at the highest possible speed.
“Most commonly the printers will be used in a group of 4, with each individual unit printing one of the CMYK process colours (this configuration is shown on the main article image) allowing the system to produce at many times the speed of the original Novajet 1000i,” explains Ranoutovink.
“From the end-user's perspective, this 4 printer configuration is incredibly affordable as we acquired the Novajet stock at a keen price. We expect to bring the 4 printer C.R.A.P.4.U. to market for under $10,000. We're really making inline printing affordable for all.”
Nicholas also enthuses about multiple printers being used concurrently to create a higher speed industrial level system. He explains “With 12 individual Novajet printers, each can play a part in creating a continuous print array along the media length.” (see diagram below).
“Each head is fixed in position so we can print as fast as the media is fed through the systems. Tests with overclocked high speed Y-axis motors are allowing us to print at speeds of up to 5 kilometres per hour, which is incredible – a truly unprecedented performance.”
The working name for this concept is PageLong, and ANCED seems determined to bring the fight to the competition. Continues Ranoutovink: “It is ironic that today, some 20 years since the demise of ENCAD really began, we will revive ENCAD technology to crush all of those that played a part in crushing ENCAD”.
"Of course, once our competitors understand the power of our solution, it's not inconceivable that we could choose to license our C.R.A.P. to other manufacturers. But for now we have to leverage this ground-breaking new technology to establish ANCED as a leader at the very forefront of inkjet print technology.”