High-speed digital inkjet devices have torn up the rulebook for production printing. How will the industry respond?
‘The production print industry is set to undergo drastic changes in the next five years or so. Unlike office and consumer markets, production print has not yet matured, meaning that there is still room for innovation and growth. Although inkjet is not new technology, it is evolving rapidly. Given the high purchase price of roll-fed inkjet systems, significant work has gone into developing cut-sheet inkjet devices to shake up the market with speeds faster than toner, but with affordable acquisition prices,’ says Heidie-Mari Middel, Production Specialist at Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa.
Printing continues to play a key role in a number of industries, ranging from healthcare and education to banking and insurance. Despite the rise of digital media, paper continues to enjoy a great deal of authority. Many people prefer to read a book they can hold and experience with multiple senses, and the same is true for communications materials. Even the digital natives are more responsive to paper than digital stimuli, so printing will form part of many companies’ communications strategies for the foreseeable future.
What really sets inkjet apart from its rivals is the flexibility it offers. Digital printers are typically used for low-volume work, because once production reaches a certain level it can be incredibly expensive to keep printing. But inkjet has overcome this limitation, bringing the benefits of digital technology to high-volume as well as low-volume jobs. That means efficiency and advanced personalisation options, which enables companies to affordably produce runs of varying lengths.
‘This ability to adapt and meet changes in demand provides a serious competitive advantage in today’s volatile markets. On top of this, the ability to print short runs means that users are no longer forced to make do with expensive hybrid solutions involving pre-printed offset templates,’ says Middel.
Inkjet also helps to prevent overproduction, reducing waste in terms of time, money, and materials. By making efforts to limit waste and respect the environment, companies can portray themselves as eco-friendly and differentiate themselves in increasingly narrow and competitive markets.
Inkjet technology acts as a driver for growth, by offering the perfect combination of features to take advantage of the continued importance of printing in our digital world. High-quality, on-demand printing empowers marketing teams in several key ways. It enables them to harness the power of whatever data they have collected and use it to customise their content in order to target potential or existing customers more effectively.
‘Inkjet is the future of digital printing, because it still has room to grow and innovate and adapt to new market demands,’ continues Middel.
‘Although inkjet currently has the same capabilities as laser in terms of document management, laser has peaked technically. Laser technology cannot get any cheaper or innovate any further, which makes way for inkjet to become the next big trend in digital print. Inkjet has the potential to jump into enormous print volumes and will offer more productivity in one single device.’
Inkjet devices save more power as their energy consumption levels are significantly lower than that of laser. ‘This is an important to Kyocera as we continuously strive to offer the most sustainable products and services as possible, to contribute to minimising the impact that printing already has on the environment.’
‘Inkjet’s productivity rate is also much higher as they have fewer moving parts to deal with, as well as lower failure or malfunction rates as a result,’ adds Middel.
Inkjet and its personalisation powers offer a secret weapon for marketing departments, as it enables them to coordinate campaigns that make the most of both print and digital media to deliver messages and information efficiently and effectively. Acquiring an inkjet digital press printer will help companies maximise their relationships with customers and quickly achieve a positive return on their investment.
Companies that are yet to engage with production printers and also businesses looking to update their current models to more efficient ones will be the key drivers in this growth in digital production print. Devices that offer improved beta-data management and enhanced security features to verify what you print will be launched into the market and generate real interest.
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