Print 05 & Converting 05 -- See the Unforeseen
Rochester Institute of Technology Professor Emeritus Frank Romano is another ink-jet believer. "Rollfed or sheetfed, look for quality and speed to reach production levels," Romano says. "Many people see the dinky desktop machines and wide-format systems. I see the future of the printing press."
Digital printing has been getting attention for more than a decade already, so it hardly seems to qualify as a "surprise" awaiting visitors to PRINT 05 & CONVERTING 05. Still, the whole field of digital printing could be in for some profound changes, many of which could surface for the first time this September in Chicago.
When asked to cite the biggest likely innovation to be seen at the show, George Ryan, executive vice president and COO of PIA/GATF, predicts it will be "in-line finishing for digital printing." Ryan sees many digital press manufacturers forming strategic partnerships with finishing systems suppliers to add in-line folding, stitching and other functions to their products.
PIA's chief economist, Ronnie Davis, sees widespread interest in such an enhancement. "There seems to be a big movement in the back end—in binding and finishing to improve productivity. This is the last piece of the puzzle," he says.
Ryan cites another area in which big improvements in digital printing may be in the offing. "Look for new UV and aqueous coatings for digital printing," he says. "All of the manufacturers have products that will be at the show. This has been a big issue. How does the product stand up in the mail?"
Using coatings to improve durability of digitally printed matter means the technology may finally be ready to exploit the full benefits of personalized print—which almost always hinges on mailing the printed pieces.
Dreaming of Digital
GATF's senior technical consultant, Ray Prince, also sees printers searching for improved digital printing productivity through introduction of larger sheet sizes.