Technological Developments — More Changes Reshaping the Industry

Print has become a digital-centric process with software, the glue that controls and holds the diverse elements of print production together. As traditional printing processes decline in volume, digitalography is growing with a developing technology race among the diverse strains of digital output (as is detailed in the January issue of Printing Impressions).

This PI e-posting picks up where the print article left off with the forecast of a process race between toner and ink-jet digital printing. Product showing and announcements at Drupa 08 in May will serve as a process competitive benchmark in the race, which really seriously started at Graph Expo ’07, continues with the pre-Drupa analysts and trade press briefings, into the Düsseldorf fairgrounds and the two weeks of the global print superstore operations.

During the four years between Drupa ’08 and the global show’s next outing in 2012, the two digital processes will offer often confusing claims and counter-claims as they fight for market share. By 2012, each will have claimed the market segments most appropriate for their capabilities while offset process share continues to be displaced and shrink. Don’t be surprised if during this time period a new, probably digital, print technology is unveiled. Large amounts of money are being spent to improve current digital process, as well as to identify new imaging concepts.

Three digital production applications that were not included in the PI printed version analysis are: hybrid presses, mail table and similar digital imaging applications, and wide-format production.

Hybrid Presses

A hybrid press is one that includes two or more printing processes in a single, integrated printing press. Hybrid presses linking two processes such as screen printing and flexo are frequently found in package printing plants. Single color and spot color ink-jet have been coupled with offset printing for more than 30 years.

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