Where Digital Dominates
More than 155 vendors came to Philadelphia to showcase the latest digital printing solutions during the ON DEMAND Show, May 15-18 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center—a “must attend” event for those trying to identify their rasters from a hole in the ground as digital printing takes off in dynamic, profitable new directions.
Strong themes at this year’s show included equipment that is costing less to operate and doing more, digital-printing supported Web-based efficiencies, workflow simplification, more user-friendly processes and print quality that’s virtually indistinguishable from offset—all of which are helping to accelerate digital printing adaptation.
Scott Sipherd, category business manager for Palo Alto, California-based Hewlett-Packard (HP), and Barb Anselm, vice president, marketing communications for Xerox, Stamford, Conn., both noted that customers are intermixing their full-color, high-quality jobs with B/W and other work on the same device. This practice is significantly driving digital print volume. “Lots of customers are finding the flexibility of an equipment mix to be cost effective,” said Anselm.
Sipherd commented that a rise in hybrid workflows—where one workflow drives offset and digital—and hybrid documents that combine offset and digital materials are other factors helping to grow the market. “Equipment that allows more flexibility in sourcing media is also reducing costs and driving page volumes,” he added.
Another benefit of substrate flexibility, according to Michael Abergel, executive vice president of MGI USA, Melbourne, Fla., is that operators have the ability to use the same substrate that will be used for large jobs on offset presses, and print proofs on digital devices for a more accurate product.
While digital B/W printing remains strong, industry professionals are definitely seeing the migration from B/W to color, particularly high-quality, full-color collateral. “There may even be a slight dip in B/W volume, but we’re seeing more than 20 percent growth a year in digital color printing,” reported Anselm. Sipherd pointed out that a digital device’s ability to precisely hit corporate colors is a huge selling point for many enterprises concerned with corporate identity. He went on to say the exceptional image quality of the Indigo is driving significant growth in Web fulfillment of photo-related applications. “To support this growth, we’ll be introducing a new light cyan and a light magenta ink,” he said.