Greene offers a summary of trends in the digital market during 2008 and makes some predictions about what the industry can expect in 2009.
By Tim Greene
Speaking of green initiatives, fantastic progress has been made in the development of green standards and practices by the Sustainable Green Printing (SGP) Partnership. If you aren’t familiar with this group, check out their Website at www.sgppartnership.org. This group has not only developed a set of standards, but they have also reached out to multiple printing-industry associations as partners and supporters to help keep the initiative moving forward. As of this writing, the SGP Partnership includes Printing Industries of America/Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (PIA/GATF), Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA), Flexographic Technical Association (FTA), National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM), Envelope Manufacturers Association (EMA), and the Foil Stamping & Embossing Association (FSEA).
In 2008 we also saw the acquisitions of Raster Printers Inc. and L&P Digital. I think there consolidation will continue in the UV-curable-inkjet market in 2009. I also believe we will see as many as six more of the three dozen global suppliers of UV-curable inkjet printers either be acquired or just drop out of this segment of the market. At the same time, I expect that there will be even more attempts by Asian suppliers to penetrate the US market, especially considering the efforts under way in China to outdoor advertising.
I am very interested to see how KIP does in 2009 with their wide-format color-toner device now that it is available. At Graph Expo, the company was positioning the KIP Color 80 more or less the same way that Océ had positioned the Océ ColorWave 600, as both a technical and graphics printer. These printers are pretty expensive, with prices ranging from $80,000 up to more than $120,000—but for a certain segment of the market, reprographics companies in particular, I can understand the appeal of these printers based on their speed and running costs.
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