Just after Drupa, Andy Tribute - Print guru – claimed that the future for print lay in the opportunities for inkjet technology in both packaging and Industrial Print. He explained "Inkjet technology has lots of potential in these areas. They are both getting better and better in terms of quality, and these markets are ones that will drive print forward. It is worth owning some intellectual property within the industrial space, at least."
I believe he is right, let me explain why?
Most manufacturers agree that the huge growth of Digital graphics which probably began around between 2002 -2005 and has continued to grow, is now maturing, some would even say stagnating! The great migration from analogue to digital in sign and graphics has taken place and will probably level out by 2014/15. The manufacturers have watched their sales plateau and need to find their next opportunity.
The technology around Inkjet continues to develop towards more and more interesting applications. Advanced print head design is now allowing inkjet to become more main stream in industrial and manufacturing applications, fulfilling the demand for high quality, high productivity and increased reliability in advanced technological applications. This is supported by more sophisticated and complex, but more durable and flexible ink and fluid chemistries.
Combine this with developments in software which allow integration within production lines, product recognition, and print on curved surfaces and direct from internet opportunities and then options for use become really interesting.
So what can be printed on and where are the new possibilities?
Well it is clear that Vinyl, paper and card are well established, but what is increasingly becoming more mainstream are Industrial plastics, ceramics, natural and synthetic textiles. And even more exciting is the growing demand for Architectural glass, automotive glass, packaging, metals and printed electronics.
What is really interesting is where the demand to understand the technology comes from. A couple of months ago, I was asked to attend a meeting of key print buyers from Unilever, Pepsi, Ferrero Rocher, who manage and control the print packaging for these key FMCG’s. They understand Flexo printing, but were really excited by the possibilities of digital inkjet for short run, versioning, VDP and printing on delicate surfaces. Forecasts from PIRA on Digital into packaging suggest that as much as 8% of packaging could be digital by 2016, but at the moment only 8% of 8% is being deployed, probably because there is a lack of understanding by the packaging industry on what the possibilities are.
So perhaps it is down to the manufacturers to educate the potential customers on how they can use digital inkjet ?? Certainly, we need to be ‘leading the horse to water’.
Our new event InPrint 2014 is designed to do just that, showcase state of the art speciality print and the latest advances in industrial inkjet and 3D rapid prototyping and introduce inkjet technology to a whole new set of customers.
Taking place 8-10 April 2014 in Hannover, alongside the Hannover Messe, the world’s leading tradeshow for industrial and manufacturing technology for production, InPrint provides the perfect and unique platform to connect with manufacturers, developers, industrial print production companies and traditional print companies looking to develop new revenue streams and production processes.
This is not like the whole raft of other Print events around Europe. This is for the customer of the future, this is for them to experience Tomorrow’s world!