In 2017 digital printing exploded into a vibrant, innovative industry, continually breaking new boundaries and had projections of reaching $187.7 billion in 2018.
There is no sign of this trend slowing down, but the unique aspect that has come out of the industry is personalised printing, the indications are that people want their print their way, the buzzword in the industry right now is ‘customisation’.
As the market shift towards keeping up with this demand, manufacturers and designers are working frantically to find and create solutions to feed and sustain this growing market, consumers are demanding faster, premium quality, more affordable digital printing technology solutions and they want them now.
At the core of this uprising in customisation technology is ‘FFA’, it needs to be fast, it needs to be flexible, and it needs to be affordable.
Arise Digital Inkjet Technology, to simplify the essence of what it brings is higher quality print deliverable with faster turnaround time.
The 2017 Drupa Global Print Report, the growth of digitally printed packaging is on the rise, with 34% of packaging printers offering digital inkjet print – up from 24% in 2014.
In this report at the back end of 2017, it showed how dominant inkjet was becoming and indicated the juggernaut we are now seeing in 2018, having taken at that stage over 70% of the digital print market during 2016. This was not just concentrated to SME’s either this was commercial including wide format applications.
It was a NOW OR NEVER situation. Printers simply had to adapt.
The projections were correct, so far in 2018, digital printing is playing a pivotal role in the industries growth cycle.
Reliability had been a significant factor in increasing productivity and in doing so has brought the cost down and as we all know cost-efficiency is at the very top of all corporate management priority list. This trend has been especially true over higher print runs and is gaining even more market value and market share as we see a continual decline in offset processes and their market share
The printing industry has been an industry that has seen very little change for decades, and you could be as bold as to say is resistant to change, but the rise of digital printing is a force that just cannot be ignored.
There is a tendency within the industry is to be nervous about change. It is no-doubt troublesome for board members to consider a variation of a business model that has been successful for generations and is still immensely profitable, however and in the last two decades, we have seen some very well-known significant corporations who failed to adapt quickly disappear with the introduction of technologies such as the internet and such. But if there was ever a time to adjust and change traditional sales, marketing and manufacturing processes to meet market demand is now. New efficiency, automation and new services are must to survive in this environment.
The market is demanding quick, reliable turnaround times with variable personalisation and customisation, and Analogue just doesn’t cut it anymore. As I mentioned above the figures of the market growing to $187.7 billion in 2018 was from a study conducted by Smithers Pira where we were at $131.5 billion in 2013. Statistics do not lie.
In today’s marketplace success is dependent on many factors but Quality, speed and visualisation and vibrancy are what are currently in demand.
With growth comes the inevitable…..’the need for speed’ and manufacturers have no choice but to keep up, and in turn, keep up with each other creating a vibrant and quite frankly exciting prospect of just where the industry will find itself by 2020. Already we see an increase this year in package printing, innovations in consumable packaging and labelling and speciality ceramic products.
Speed is not Everything
However the key to this is a faster turnaround and shorter print runs, but manufacturers have to tread carefully if they think that speed alone will see them through this evolution.
There are variables such as dynamic combinations of ink solutions coupled with quality, vibrancy and speed, all of this must come together to remain competitive
Research & Development
The starting point is the investment in R&D; research is invaluable. The options are endless, new digital solutions will open up to new markets on a global scale but to be at the forefront, you must have done your research first.
Throughout this article I have mentioned quality, speed, visualisation and vibrancy as the necessary parameters for success or at least to be competitive, print quality needs to be at least 1200 dpi in conjunction with premium formula inks to meet demand.
Hybrid Press Solutions
The retrofitting of existing presses with the latest technology and digital capabilities are breathing new life into current equipment. The hybrid element is enabling a smoother transition into the digital printing age.
Seeking solutions that offer rapid output at a low cost of ownership is the best formula also to reap a rapid return on investment for printing companies.
Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s)
It’is not just printers that need to adapt to the new age of digital printing but (OEM’s) find themselves under pressure to produce faster, reliable and affordable solutions in this new digital space. The main adaptation being a more hands-on communicative role, in an advisory capacity to consult with the end user and work together to strengthen their solutions. Printing is coming in-house and OEM’s need to be fully aware of this section of the market.
If you want to stay ahead – You need to change and change fast
In an industry of little change in decades, change is required and required now. Even if you are serving a market that at this stage is not embracing technological change itself as fast as others, the realisation that it could also need change must be of consideration. Adaptation to market change is crucial for survival, and the only way to achieve longevity and profitability is for printers and OEM’s to collaborate to build the future of the printing industry together.
Guest article written by: David Blakey is a seasoned tech writer. He likes writing about computer gadgets, printers and other electronic devices. His current line of work is with an Australian supplier of premium toners and hp deskjet 3630.