Previously, commercial printers have been limited in the output services they could offer because of the production capabilities of their presses. Today, the growth of digital production inkjet technology is enabling printers to handle jobs that require more than just high speeds and high qualities, and this has created new business opportunities for these organizations. By leveraging digital inkjet systems, printers can produce short-run jobs more cost effectively—minimizing set-up time and waste, while reducing turnaround time and costs for clients. In addition, advancements in configuration flexibility and reliability, as well as digital inkjet output quality, are enabling businesses to realize significant operation efficiencies and capitalize on new revenue and application opportunities to drive more business.
Variety is the spice of life
Digital inkjet systems are becoming the technology of choice for commercial printers evaluating their output environments. Inkjet systems can produce color, MICR, or monochrome jobs, with fixed or variable content, on an assortment of stocks based on application requirements. As such, digital inkjet technology enables printers to offer a variety of innovative and cost-effective document solutions and applications.
While the industry continues to embrace color inkjet systems, there is a substantial volume of applications for which monochrome is the appropriate solution. We are seeing more adoption for monochrome inkjet platforms that are optimized for a seamless future transition to color—something that was not readily available when inkjet technology first entered the market.
The increased flexibility and reliability of inkjet configurations has enabled companies to expand the range of applications that can be delivered, driving new revenue channels. For commercial printers this is especially true, particularly for one firm we’ve worked with recently, Frederic Printing, a Consolidated Graphics company.
Frederic is experiencing more flexible, reliable, and versatile application support through new digital inkjet technology, which has been beneficial in the short-run production of textbooks and election ballots. By leveraging inkjet technology, it is able to create new business opportunities by diversifying its offerings, specifically in the print-on-demand (POD) book area.
As printers look to explore digital growth, the need to cost-effectively support short print runs is becoming more crucial. Companies must evaluate a variety of components when making a purchase, including performance, flexibility to meet customer requirements, and investment protection. Another factor to consider is how the technology will support current and future business goals, understanding that this will help make the most of the environment today and in the years to come.
Not all inkjet systems are created equal
Ten years ago, there was only one production digital inkjet provider, but today many vendors are offering various features and functions, giving companies many options. When making a purchase, printers must look at the elements that will have the greatest impact on their ability to optimize use of the system. Productivity is a key differentiator for many companies, but other most frequently mentioned key requirements include:
• low paper waste
• high processing performance for complex jobs with variable data
• quick changes of paper types, and sizes, with minimal re-calibration.
Ink management technology is one innovation that can impact productivity and business management through tools that conduct job estimating, real-time ink usage tracking, and automated ink reduction techniques.
Digital inkjet technology continues to advance and has given businesses new options for revitalizing and restoring the printing environment through flexible and versatile offerings and applications. Companies looking to catch the next wave in this digital growth should take stock of current offerings in the market and determine what platform best suits their business needs of today and tomorrow.