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Interview With

Roy Porat

With sustainable profits in high-value print, Brendan Perring speaks to Roy Porat, chief executive officer of Scodix, about his glittery side

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(Above & below) Roy Porat, chief executive officer of Scodix, explains the burning need for brands and marketers to create high-impact ‘unique’ print campaigns is driving its success. Scodix has tapped into a demand for the tactile, the beautiful, and the impactful print product

A very special kind of effect

Scodix was heralded as one of the technology highlights of the last Drupa (2012)—what has been the Scodix story since then?

While the company began in 2007, Drupa 2012 was a watershed moment for us and considered by many, internally and externally, to be our real business launch. We went to that show with just one product, offering just two applications—the Scodix S with Scodix Sense and Scodix Glitter. By the time the Drupa 2012 doors opened, we were already shipping product and had twelve presses in the market. At that time, it was like digital printing in the 90s, digital finishing did not exist—we had to create the market via education, demonstration, and a lot of hard work. In the years since Drupa 2012, Scodix has been on an incredible journey. We now have over 200 customers worldwide, with three different products now available.
 
Many companies go to Drupa and make promises that they struggle to deliver post show. We are extremely proud of the fact that we have been able to achieve exactly what we said we would—to build our install base, continue to develop our portfolio, and help our customers to drive profitable, value added businesses.

How does Scodix Foil technology work?

Rather than using heat, as is traditional in bonding foils, we achieve this by using proprietary polymers to lay down our foils. This enables us to eradicate the colour diminishing effects of not only heat, but also the substrate’s original base colour and texture, which, when all combined, greatly affect the reflective qualities of a foil and subsequently its impact.
 
What is more, being digital, the economics stack-up. The Scodix Foil Station is cost-effective for runs of up to 5,000—ideal for many, many applications, previously restricted by the traditional foil blocking process.

How does Scodix technology meet the challenges faced by PSPs to develop their offering?

If we take our original application, Scodix Sense, its basic capability to control the depth of polymer is still wowing designers and brands alike. We need to remember that we are still in the early stages of market education and adoption of this technology. As such, the flexibility to choose from over 256 grades of depth is a unique digital finishing capability that still adds significant value to a PSP’s service offering. And since Drupa 2012 we have more than tripled our applications. In addition to Scodix Sense and Scodix Glitter, today our customers are enjoying the stand out impact of Scodix Foil, Scodix Spot, Scodix VDE (Variable Data Enhancement), Scodix Metallic, and Scodix Braille.





We are constantly evolving and improving our technology to continue to provide a range of effects that cannot be replicated or bettered by any other finishing process—further PSP differentiation. If you take Scodix Foil as an example, it offers the most colour intensive metallic foils available, preserving the reflective qualities of each foil to deliver ‘stand out’. This increases not only the impact but the perceived value of a printed item.

We are constantly evolving and improving our technology



What do you see as the key challenges for PSPs and brand owners?

For PSPs, two things. Firstly, the face of the print industry has changed dramatically over the last decade, with many sectors facing some pretty tough challenges. With the growth of digital technology, anything to do with data has gone digital. What’s more, not only has the total number of printed jobs reduced, but the remaining number of printed pages/sheets per job has also diminished. As such, there are huge pressures on PSPs to drive cost efficiencies to remain profitable.

Secondly, digital print is no longer new or unique, it has become a commodity. PSPs looking to differentiate can no longer do this with digital print alone. What’s more, almost everybody says that they offer high quality print, competitive prices and market leading customer service. In many cases, these attributes are no longer enough to win or retain business. From our experience, the PSPs that are succeeding are the ones that have integrated value added services into their offering – and of course, many have done this with digital finishing capabilities.





Brands are also under huge pressure to increase sales and differentiate their products, whether sold on the shelves or online. Because of this, they not only understand the concept of short run digital print, but they are now embracing its many benefits – print on demand; limited stock holding; product design flexibility and of course, personalisation.
 
Consumers love personalisation. Using our products, brands are now going beyond just digital print and are actively using digital finishing techniques such as spot UV, embossing and foils to better influence consumer sales and improve the consumer experience. We find that once brands start to use digital finishing, they adopt it for most of what they produce, driving further demand for our technology.

Can we briefly explore the current Scodix product portfolio?

Of course. Well, we went to drupa 2012 with the Scodix S providing just one application –Scodix Sense, offering 300 sheets per hour. Today, we provide the Scodix Ultra and the Scodix Ultra Pro Digital Presses. Offering 1,250 sheets per hour, these are the most productive presses in our portfolio and enable commercial PSPs and folding-carton converters to produce tangible enhancements for a wide variety of applications including marketing literature, stationery items, book covers, boxes and premium packages, greeting cards, photo albums with VDP capabilities based on a barcode system, and more.




We’ve been really pleased with sales of our Scodix Ultra Pro Series. 24 of these were from Scodix S customers, upgrading to meet customer demand through increased productivity and run length capability (typically 10 times longer than the average S Series job). This is great news, as it demonstrates a high degree of confidence not only in our products and business, but most importantly, the digital finishing business model and market opportunity.

We also offer the Scodix Foil Station and the Scodix Rainbow digital inkjet glitter station too. Feedback from our launch of the Scodix Foil Station at GRAPH EXPO last October has also been really encouraging. We’ve already taken over 30 orders. This product is an optional module that runs in-line with the Scodix Ultra Pro Digital Press.
It’s ideal for commercial printers who today have to outsource hot and cold foil applications, or converters who have to use a long and expensive make ready process including costly moulds and dies to provide enhancements including high gloss and embossing, all with a variety of densities for short to medium runs.

Are there any specific barriers to adoption of digital finishing in geographic regions?

To be honest, no. We haven’t experienced many barriers to regional adoption. PSPs the world over are in exactly the same situation – they’re all looking for technology and services to differentiate their business. Fortunately, this means that Scodix products resonate well.

However, we do see some interesting trends, one of which is strong interest and sales from India. In part, this is because we have a strong sales team in this country, but also because India produces a wide variety of applications using a wide variety of special effects, especially foils.

With the growth and changes in digital printing technologies and their use, how is Scodix responding to those changes?

While we provide our services using a digital print process, we see our products as being complimentary to almost all printing processes – be that digital, screen, flexo or offset. But of course, our business model is to provide customers with added value products that meet their needs today and tomorrow. As such, we are constantly talking to press vendors, PSPs as well as a selection of brands to learn what they need. This helps us to develop our product portfolio, whether that be adding finishing effects, increased substrate and application capabilities or a variety of press widths to support other print technologies.

It’s well known that Scodix has a strong relationship with HP, does also it work with other manufacturers too?
Yes absolutely. We are truly independent and support and work with almost all print platforms and market leading print vendors. This is an important flexibility for us and our customers.

Do you feel that brand owners and designers fully recognise the opportunities and advantages delivered by Scodix digital enhancement?

The short answer is no. While we’ve made significant progress, there’s still a huge amount of work to do. This is obviously very challenging for a company of our size, but we do what we can. We have quite a comprehensive local customer support programme that includes hosting brand based open houses, being available to talk to PSP brand customers, providing sample swatches and much more. Of course we wish we could do more and that it could happen faster.

What are your priorities and key objectives for Scodix in 2016?

In very simplistic terms, we have two main priorities. Firstly, to increase product awareness and sales of our Scodix Ultra press with Foil Station, and secondly, I can’t say too much, but we are definitely looking forward to launching some exciting new technology this year.

Talking of time, what’s your long-term view on the use of digital finishing and Scodix’ role within it?

In ten to twenty years, digital finishing will be mainstream and I guarantee that every single printer will have some form of digital finishing or post press capability. To achieve that, we will undoubtedly see more Scodix competitors in the market. But competition is good. Competitors will help us to further educate the market and broaden the adoption of digital finishing, increase the effectiveness of print and better support the long-term future of the industry.




Key Company Stats

  • Scodix founded 2007
  • Official launch of product portfolio 2012
  • Scodix has 200 customers worldwide
  • Scodix Foil Station cost effective up to 5,000 runs


For the full interview go to www.printmonthly.com and search ‘Porat’.



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