Efficiency apart, your machines are also being projected as something environment-friendly.
Cheng: Our machines are environment-friendly in terms of curbing water wastage, reducing power consumption, and virtually eliminating pollution. If we speak of our rollto-roll printers, just consider the other forms of printers and printing (both traditional, as also digital). There has to be both pre-treatment as well as post-treatment. In pre-treatment in other kinds of technologies, people have to do, for instance, coating. They have to do the coating according to the kind of pigment/ink that they are going to use to print on the fabric. And don't forget, printing is essentially a chemical reaction. Even after printing, given the technologies they have, they have to do steaming and washing after the printing has been done, so as to consolidate the ink, the sharpness, the brightness of the colours, and to wash out the chemicals off the fabric. For this, they need to use a lot of electricity as well as water. In our roll-to-roll machine (i.e. the Kornit Allegro), there is no need for a separate pre-treatment, which is done online. When you give the print command, it goes for automatic pre-treatment, together with the (water-based) ink. Moreover, you don't need to steam or wash the fabric after the printing.
So, you fill in a roll, and you get a roll (of the fabric) which is ready for sale?
Cheng: Yes, it's ready to be sold. As you can see, it (the printing process) is clean and sustainable. The ink used is water based. Therefore, it is biodegradable. There is no waste at all. Moreover, since no extra power is needed for the steaming and drying processes, this printing is energy-efficient as well. As you can see, the entire facility remains clean. The area remains clean, and there is no smell. When you install these machines, you don't have to take into account factors like water wastage, filtration or cleaning systems.
What about temperature control?
Kim: We recommend these to be operated in conditions where the temperature is around 25 degrees.
Your machines are a lot about sustainability. What changes have you noticed about sustainability over, say, the last two years?
Cheng: I think everybody is talking about it.
Given this backdrop, what are Kornit Digital's India plans?
Kim: We fully rely on our partner, who is our distributor. As of now, we have one (ICC International Agencies in Mumbai), and we will have another one very soon.
So, they would be your sales partners?
Cheng: Also service.
Kim: The partners take care of both sales and service.
In terms of service, what is your average reaction time?
Kim: That depends on the location, but we respond within a day. If the installation is close by, we react within hours.
What kind of problems do your machines usually run into?
Kim: Our machines are reliable. But there can be application issues when people look for the desired results. Then again, remember, this is still a printer, a big printer.
And in what language is the software in?
Kim: Primarily English. We have started work on Chinese (Mandarin) and Japanese. For India, English is no problem.
Among the -selling machines that you offer, which is the most popular or fastest?
Kim: The Avalanche family of four printers. It also depends on the country. In North America, people mostly buy the Avalanche printers, whereas in AsiaPacific many buy the Storm printers. The Asia-Pacific market is now in transition, which is why they opt for a slightly economic model.
What about the roll-to-roll printers?
Kim: At present, the Kornit Allegro is our only solution. It was introduced last year.
What made Kornit go in for a roll-to-roll printer over its existing DTG printers?
Cheng: It is a question of applications. In a DTG, you can only print up to an area of 60 cm by 90 cm (over, say, a t-shirt). But with Allegro, you can print the entire fabric roll. Kim: In short, Avalanche (DTG) is for garments, while Allegro (RTR) is for fabrics.