In case you haven't heard, digital print is an expanding sector—and if you're not selling it, now's the time to start. Within the next three years, it's expected to consume 20.6 percent of the print market and rake in $187.7 billion, according to the Smithers Pira study, "The Future of Offset vs. Digital Printing to 2018." That's up from last year's total of $131.5 billion. In the end, global digital print volumes are expected to increase 68.1 percent, while offset sales are expected to decrease by 10.2 percent between 2008 and 2018.
If the numbers haven't convinced you, keep reading: We spoke with three suppliers who elaborated on the advantages of digital print, as well as the challenges and misconceptions that digital still faces.
Onward and Upward
Digital print has been trending upward for years, and all signs point to bigger and better developments thanks to new substrates and equipment, noted Brian Coats, CDC, marketing director for MAR Graphics, Valmeyer, Ill. "Printers will keep finding ways to feed an ever-increasing array of materials through digital machines, [as well as the addition of] more specialty substrates and applications," he said.
To obtain that quality finish, MAR Graphics recently invested in a Memjet Super Web Digital color inkjet system. The equipment, Coats explained, has allowed for larger sheet sizes, increased flexibility and cost savings—all of which have improved the company's bottom line. "The larger 14x26" sheet size on our color device has not only secured us more business, it also has made us more productive," he noted. "Our other new color machine has made digital color print more cost effective for applications that are more trans-promo in nature."
Edison, New Jersey-based Prodigital Printing has had similar success with its Kodak NexPress SX3300, which was installed about a year ago. "It has increased productivity, increased our up time and it's given us the ability to run oversized brochures that we were never able to do [before]," mentioned vice president Darren Solomon. "We can now print an oblong saddle-stitch book that's 22x8.5" flat size, going down to 8.5x11", as well as oversized brochures."