In 2005, EFI acquired Belgian inkjet innovator VUTEk. Since then, EFI has acquired many more companies with a potential to move the company into inkjet applications from wide format display graphics, labels and packaging, to industrial ceramics and textile. Some analysts find acquiring new companies an inferior growth strategy, but when done right a company can grow faster than when it would try to reinvent the wheel. Acquiring innovative companies may be costly, but so is R&D and it allows to expand market presence at a pace that the competition cannot possibly keep up with. All success ful companies have done it — take Apple as an example. The secret is to only buy companies with technology the competition is still trying to get its head around. It’s a game EFI clearly understands how to play very well.
Only recently did EFI acquire two companies that have a potential for EFI to lead the market in roll-to-roll and textile inkjet applications. The Matan acquisition complements the VUTEk line perfectly. The Matan range appeals to printers who focus on roll-to-roll production of display graphics, such as billboards and banners that do not require the highest resolution. This range gives them a lower-cost alternative. Together, EFI claims the Matan and VUTEk line-up will be the broadest and most powerful In the market.
The Reggiani acquisition is EFI’s first step into the fastest-growing segment of digital industrial print: textile printing. The market position of Reggiani in industrial textile printing gives EFl a base of strength to quickly build from in a market rapidly adopting digital. Working with Reggiani’s development team, EFI’s inkjet and software prowess — only think of the Fiery Server — will give the company a big advantage to create a printer, ink, DFE and MIS eco-system tuned to the unique workflow requirements of industrial textile.
The Reggiani acquisition will also allow for a fast start in the display graphics segment of soft signage, which is growing rapidly. The addition of a highly-skilled team in Italy should enable collaboration with other parts of EFl’s inkjet business to reach new markets to capture new, sizeable markets transitioning to digital.
An additional benefit of these acquisitions is the foundation of these companies’ inkjet expertise will bring new perspectives and approaches to all segments of EFI’s inkjet business and lead to powerful technical and business collaboration across the entire inkjet team in the future.
Even as these acquisitions are still fresh, EFI is determined to further venture into a green future. For example, LED curing applies most closely to the Matan products. They have just announced LED for one of their products and are the only other high-end player to have LED. However, it doesn’t stop at general signage printing. There are industrial textile segments that could use UV ink, so LED could apply in some of the segments Reggiani serves as well. EFI has said its strength in ink chemistry and curing methodologies will drive them beyond LED into new ink and curing technologies across all of the markets they serve.
EFl adapted Fiery for Cretaprint and is already working on doing the same for the newly acquired products. With Reggiani in particular they said they will focus on the unique aspects of industrial textile workflow, and how the speed and colour management capability of Fiery can become a key differentiator.
When combined with EFl ink, Fiery’s colour management helps them bring a powerful offering to markets that often struggle with consistency of high-quality colour. This is especially true for Matan and Reggiani.