Who is "the public" and who amongst them has this impression? I'm part of "the public" and I don't have that impression. Some other may, but fine - maybe they can change their minds once they understand the facts.
I don't know who this authority from RIT is, but inkjet and offset are completely different technologies catering to different purposes and markets, so the statement baffles me.
I don't understand the statistics you are trying to convey or their relevance. Labs only get work which manufacturers bring to them regardless of the size of the market - so yes, you are correct to the extent there is much potential business in all this, but so what? I come back to my premise that the main problem using non-OEM inks is the relative scantiness of reliable data - about several aspects. So it is <caveat emptor> until those manufacturers spend what they need to spend to provide the same quality of information that is available for some of the OEM materials. I think that's just applied common sense, and not a statement to pass judgment on the inks, the manufacturers or the testers.
Read the mailing lists of Digital B&W, Epson Wide Format and more and you will see the opinion on WR's activities is split half half. See the recent threads here about third party inks. As long as there is no testing done outside the big 3's catalog you will not wipe that impression away, you will see people use inks that are lower in price and not tested. I have tried to convince people that integrity can exist in a commercial setup and that the tests by the big 3 only is understandable given the commercial base of WR but I'm sure it would be a lot easier to convince people when there is a third party ink tested once in a while.
It baffles everyone. You have not been to the Drupa 2008, it was called the inkjet Drupa even before it started. Dual sided web and sheet inkjet printers (called presses there) with assembled heads that cover the full width of the paper in HP's case 36" maximum width. Check HP Inkjet Web Press and that was just one example of what was on show. Screen, Fuji, Océ, Kodak, Epson, possibly 15 companies with machines aimed at that market of mailers, short run newspapers, labels. That's what you can expect for that first 5 year. There are still 2 halls just for Heidelberg and a smaller one for Man Roland, a large booth for KBA and several booths for Japanese offset machine manufacturers but everyone is impressed by the wide spread of new inkjet presses and inkjet technology integrated in offset presses.
What remains of printing has to be adapted to the internet and inkjet fits that more than any other system right now.
I may have seen at most 5-10 silkscreen printing machines spread over the Drupa where in the past there would have been large booths of Svecia, Argon, Thieme and some Japanese and US manufacturers. A niche industry in 10 years time after the appearance of the first (eco)solvent inkjet printers.
Off topic in this thread but inkjet is now everywhere in the non-graphic industry as well. Biochemical arrays for medical testing, medicine production, skin creation, rapid prototyping, OLED LCD display building. What we do is just a tiny, now almost traditional part of inkjet printing.
Competition between labs can only exist when there is enough demand for their activities. Not counting some labs that use blue wool scale, xenon chambers and no up to date methodologies, we had just three labs WR, RIT and in theory Fogra. Of the last two enough essays on the subject appeared but hardly any published testing of available inkjet inks and papers. Wilhelm's publications are until recently the only practical source for inkjet printer users. His commercial model however limits the spread of testing. That isn't good for the industry and it isn't good for Wilhelm's quest to improve the quality of the media in the industry. It is a good thing that other initiatives appeared and there will be a market big enough to support them.
Try: [a href=\"http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/]http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/[/url]