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Inkjet Technology And Print Application Trends

Protex Smart Technologies Co.,Ltd | Updated: Jul 07, 2016

Despite occasional clouds on the horizon, there is no better place than to get a first hand sense of the continuing importance and scale of the printing industry. The baton has passed from the offset press manufacturers to the digital printer manufacturers, with HP having replaced Heidelberg as anchor tenant and champion of print at 2016.

After a difficult period, offset printing has returned to some sense of temporary stability.  Offset press sales are showing flat to slight growth, have reached automation levels that for even shorter run lengths can rival digital production printing, and continue to draw interest from commercial printers. However, highly productive and automated offset presses face a market where low-value print volumes continue to be in decline, resulting a net long-term decline in need for offset presses. 

The long-term trend of a reduction in low-value, high-volume pages with high-value, lower-volume pages is driving the interest and growth in production inkjet technology, and was the place to be to see the new developments in inkjet technology.

Production inkjet technology for transaction, direct mail, and book printing applications had past the early adopter phase. We are now entering a development phase where innovation in ink chemistry will dramatically expand the range of substrates production inkjet can print on, and in turn the range of applications production inkjet address. More on this below.

It should be noted that toner-printing technology continues to thrive as well, especially as seen in the HP exhibition hall. HP Indigo sales announcements dominated the tradeshow news, with at least count over 50 orders alone of the new Indigo 12000 to be delivered in 2016. Shutterfly and VistaPrint parent Cimpress announced large investments in Indigo during the show.

HP also showed a combination of Indigo, cold foiling, and inkjet technology to dynamically overcoat varnish in a single in-line system, illustrating the opportunity for various print technologies to co-exist.

drupa would not be complete without Landa Corporation, which is several years away from large volume commercial shipments continues to draw interest from nearly every attendee at the show. In perhaps an unintended way, Landa’s intermediary belt inkjet transfer approach received validation from Canon, which showed a B-2 sheet size intermediary drum inkjet transfer concept in its booth.

The upshot of 2016 is that we’re poised to enter a new phase of digital print innovation and expansion, an era where chemistry innovations will be the key to success.  This may well be one of the most exciting times to be in the print industry.