Print 05 & Converting 05 -- See the Unforeseen
"Digital presses are here to stay well into the distant future," adds professor Levenson. "However, they presently exist as standalone systems tied into the technology and software of individual companies. The industry will insist that this has got to change. Companies will want digital printing devices from two or more companies with the capability of the devices to communicate with one another."
What some people would call "ordinary" printing presses may also be in line for some extraordinary boosts, experts say. Prince sees a trend to larger sheet sizes as a means to get dramatically more product out of the same number of cylinder rotations. Further, he foresees more interest in combination presses, bringing litho and flexo processes together in one machine.
Ryan won't be surprised to see "UV ink set systems for web presses." Web presses, such as the typical newspaper press, represent a lot of unused capacity nationwide, Ryan observes, and their owners would like to fill that capacity by printing some of the high-quality ad inserts they stuff into their newspapers each week.
The key to this market, he adds, is quality, and the key to improved quality is coating. "We'll see UV cured inks from Flint, Sun and others—all new," Ryan says. "These inks will be at the show."
Coating without heat-setting means "you don't need the real estate for the dryer, don't need to buy lamps, attachments for the cylinders, and so on."
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is another technology getting lots of ink these days, though conventional industry wisdom holds that actually printing RFID tags on offset presses is still quite a ways in the future. "RFID could end up after this show with more credibility than before," Lamparter says. "It's going to happen. At PRINT 05 & CONVERTING 05, you may be surprised by how fast it's happening."