Inkjet Makes its Mark in the Press and Finishing Section

Attendees at GRAPH EXPO 2011, whether traditional or niche market printers, can explore the newest array of sheetfed offset and digital presses and finishing innovations for runs of all sizes and types. One rapidly emerging technology that can also be found here is inkjet, which is playing an increasing role in the world of printing.

Inkjet comes in two basic flavors—production and large-format. While inkjet has been established in the large-format market for many years, production inkjet has only recently gained a significant toehold in the printing industry. Attendees at GRAPH EXPO 2011 will find examples of both production and wide-format inkjet in the Press & Finishing section of the show floor.

Potential production inkjet applications are many and varied. They include transactional, transpromotional, books, direct mail, packaging, point of purchase, brochures, newsletters, catalogs, and newspapers.

In the transactional arena, the migration from analog to full-color variable printing makes inkjet a natural fit. Short-run books, such as text books, manuals, and special titles, are also a good application. One of the more intriguing applications for inkjet is packaging. The Printing Industries Marketing Information & Research Organization (PRIMIR) predicts that the flexible packaging segment of the printing industry will grow to $31.1 billion by 2013.

Moving to large-format inkjet, the applications are wide and varied. They include such things as building wraps, vehicle graphics, retail signage, point of purchase (POP), fabric and textiles, and interior decor. The increasing demand for color in construction documents also lends itself to inkjet. Perhaps the most interesting of these applications is POP, which is predicted to be an especially strong growth area for inkjet. The reasoning behind this growth prediction is that studies show that 68% of all purchases are impulse buys and 70% of consumers make purchasing decisions while in the store. This provides an opportunity for printers to offer their customers not only POP, but also retail signage and short-run promotional materials.

Wide-format output devices on the GRAPH EXPO 2011 show floor include both flatbed printers and roll-to-roll, high-speed, high-resolution printers for producing such things as RFID, tags, and labels.

While on the topic of inkjet, don’t overlook the finishing aspects of inkjet production. Almost all inkjet output requires some sort of postpress attention, whether it is folding, binding, diecutting, laminating, or mounting. Equipment to address these needs can be found throughout the Press/Finishing section of the GRAPH EXPO 2011 show floor.