Previously I posted about my impression that the IPEX in East London is likely to be seen as mostly about Japan. I also wondered about Edwards Deming. What did he learn in Japan? For sustained direction in manufacturing it is at least worth looking at Japan as well as the USA.
Having seen the floor plans it is still the case that companies from Japan will be fairly visible. Konica Minolta has a large space next to the Cross Media Production area. Although this micro show is not there on all the days of IPEX, I expect it to influence much of the discussion. There is a stand for Fuji in the South hall near the World Print Summit and for Screen in the North hall so inkjet for B2 will be mentioned. Also near the Summit is the Komori Eco Zone. So litho has not completely vanished from IPEX. There may be information on how Konica Minolta is working with Komori on digital for larger sheet sizes.
Of course IPEX is just as interesting for what is not there. One theory is that litho continues as the default for print and most people will be content to visit drupa every four years. My guess is that events such as Cross Media will gain influence over time as digital moves quite fast, but this cannot be assessed for a while. The digital companies from the USA may be staying away also for good reasons. Trade shows may be on the way out. The move online may be more obvious to some. Xerox seems to be moving to a services based strategy. HP may be interested in 3D printing but is not quite ready yet.
Assuming that some trade shows can still make an impression that leads to future investment and activity there could still be a role for digital printing. If so it looks as if Japanese companies will play a large role in this.
Even more into speculation I am still trying to better understand Edwards Deming and how the ideas associated with him work out in practice. One approach is to see them as remarkably consistent over time and to be based on earlier work by Walter Shewhart and practice in USA manufacturing. But why did Deming ideas seem to work best in Japan? How much was really tried in the USA in the '80s? What did Deming make of all this? Is there anything new in his later work? What is happening with USA manufacturing at this time? Or in the UK for that matter?
Possibly something for much later. This sort of discussion may get lost as IPEX continues. But there is something in background that you notice over time.