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The Road Map

(March 2008) posted on Sat Mar 10, 2007

What does the digital-imaging marketplace have in store for printers in 2008? Read on to find out what you may see in the coming year.


By Tim Greene

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Every year the analysts here at InfoTrends are asked to write a forward-looking document we call the Road Map. This document’s intention is to provide some insight for clients on what they can expect in the upcoming year. Here are some of the highlights from the Road Map that I am preparing:

 

Dynamic year for inkjet

OK, I admit I probably write something like that every year, but this year I expect there to be a veritable avalanche of new inkjet product developments unveiled at or around DRUPA 2008. For those who are not familiar with it, DRUPA is a huge print show held every four years in Dusseldorf, Germany (usually in June) that is aimed at commercial printers. When I say huge I’m talking about 19 halls and 2.8 million square feet of exhibit space.

Because commercial printers typically print very high volumes, a lot of the development of inkjet printers, inks, and print media has been done with commercial print in mind. Of course, like screen printing, commercial printing really consists of a number of applications like direct mail, labels, magazines, catalogs, books, and so forth. For the most part, inkjet plays a very small role in these applications today because many of these applications are primarily black-and-white, have limited requirement for the use of a wide variety of substrates, and are long-run print jobs—none of which has historically been the strength of inkjet technology.

Among those applications identified above there are two that InfoTrends believes will be addressed by the developments out of DRUPA: labels and direct mail. We have already been introduced to separate technology innovations from leading manufacturers that are aimed at those two markets that will be unveiled at DRUPA. We have to believe there are many more that will be introduced that will have an important impact on the commercial printing market because they present the ability to use color, use specialty substrates, and add variable data—even while running very high volumes at production speeds. This matters because as inkjet speeds go up and running costs go down, digital and inkjet will have magnified impact on both commercial printing and screen printing.

 

Consolidation


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