DIGITAL bytesJune 2002
ROCHESTER, NY—Xerox Corp. has released some interesting findings from the attendee surveys it conducted during two recent industry trade shows. At IPEX 2002 in England, one of the questions asked was what did attendees think was the greatest advantage of digital color printing equipment? Some 33 percent cited fast turnaround as the most important advantage, while 26 percent believed variable information capability was the leading benefit.
When asked about the most impressive printing technology they'd seen or heard about at IPEX, respondents gave digital dry ink (toner) presses the top spot, with digital offset and high-speed ink-jet printing systems ranked second and third, respectively. Surveyors questioned more than 300 people.
A similar survey at On Demand 2002 in New York found that 22 percent of respondents expect their own shop or place of employment to purchase a digital press this year. Another 10 percent classified a purchase as "probable." Looking a little further out, 41 percent of respondents believed half of a print shop's jobs will be printed digitally, as opposed to offset, in the next three to five years. A more bullish 14 percent expect digital production to account for 75 percent of print volumes, while 10 percent pegged digital's share at 90 percent in three to five years. (www.xerox.com)
HANOVER, MA—Based on its recent findings, research and consulting firm I.T. Strategies is projecting the impact of ink-jet technology on general commercial printing to be minimal over the next five years. Within that time frame, ink-jet printing is not expected to match the speed, quality and cost of offset lithography. However, it says ink-jet technology does have the potential of being the foundation for a high-speed, high-quality press, but that won't happen in the next five years.
For the near term, I.T. Strategies expects the digital printing market developing around wide-format ink-jet capabilities to bring in incremental business for commercial printing markets. It is projecting wide-format printing to generate about $7.5 billion in 2002 revenues for U.S. service providers, which currently doesn't include a lot of traditional printing firms.
"Commercial printers are losing out on this opportunity and could be headed for a 'Technology Lockout' if they continue to let this digital market coalesce around them," warns Patti Williams, consulting partner with I.T. Strategies. Wide-format ink-jet printing currently is being capitalized on by a variety of other channels, such as photo labs, reprographic houses and service bureaus, Williams notes. (www.it-strategies.com)