Wide-Format Printers/Plotters

Canon Keeps CAD in Mind with New Wide-Format Color Printers

3 Sep, 2013 By: Cyrena Respini-Irwin

Paperless documents may be decreasing the demand for printing hardware, but the diversified digital imaging solutions provider is still pursuing the CAD market.

Although Canon's Large-Format Solutions Group is intent on entering new markets, it will continue to serve CAD/GIS customers as well: In addition to the ColorWave 900, products coming to market in this area include the low-volume, cloud-integrated PlotWave 340 and 360, introduced in July; and the mid-volume, monochrome PlotWave 750, coming in October.

The high-speed ColorWave 900 will make its U.S. debut this month, and delivery will begin in Q4 2013. Image courtesy of Canon.

One Canon Park

In August, Canon invited a group of journalists and analysts to visit its sleek new headquarters building in Melville, New York, for a preview of all these new printers. The 52-acre campus comprises a 700,000 ft² building, two parking garages, and even a walking trail. "[The new headquarters] is not only for Canon people; we designed it for outside people, the community," said President and CEO Joe Adachi, explaining that the facility's conference center and education rooms are available as resources for students and other members of the community.

The new headquarters also houses the biggest Canon showroom in the world, a 12,000 ft² showcase of the company's professional and consumer printers, cameras, and other products. Canon's iconic camera lenses are displayed next to medical imaging devices, remote monitoring systems, and projectors — "diversified products, but all have optical technology inside," as Adachi noted.

Canon also uses this space to demonstrate less familiar offerings, such as its MR (Mixed Reality) display solution. This combination of hardware and software enables users to view computer-generated models in the real environment, interacting with them in three dimensions. For example, when an audience volunteer donned the head-mounted display, he saw a full-size car appear in the middle of the room. He could walk around the digital prototype as if it were a real car, evaluating finishes and comparing various paint colors.

"You can preview design options ... you can see the level of detail," explained Product Marketing Manager Jeff Tepper. "You have an opportunity for cost savings and getting your product to market sooner."

What's Next for Canon

Adachi explained that Canon offers a complete range of digital imaging devices, both input and output, from entry-level "to the tip top." Now, the goal is to integrate these devices for customer purposes; instead of isolated standalone devices that perform one function — such as a copy machine — the future lies in connected, integrated devices, said Adachi.

Integration also requires breaking down the walls between the divisions creating those devices. In 2009, Canon announced the acquisition of Océ, a printer developer based in the Netherlands. Earlier this year, the integration of Océ and Canon Business Solutions was completed with the formation of a new company, Canon Solutions America, which comprises ESS (Enterprise Services and Solutions), LFS (Large-Format Solutions), and PPS (Production Print Solutions) groups.

Canon is also entering a "new business domain," in Adachi's words, with cutting-edge technologies such as the MR virtual-reality system, a DNA diagnostic system, and an ultrahigh-resolution 8K display — "You see natural 3D; you don't need glasses," Adachi enthused. Canon also has a large-format 3D printing solution under development, but hasn't yet announced a product or timeline.

This expansion into new technological frontiers is likely to continue. As Vice-President and General Manager Sam Yoshida put it, "The history of Canon, the DNA of Canon — it's all about diversification."

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