PRINT 05 DIGITAL PRINTING -- Volumes Turning Up
BY MARK SMITH
One of the most striking trends to take shape at PRINT 05 & CONVERTING 05 is the degree to which one can now play a "zero degrees of separation" game between vendors of digital printers and prepress workflow systems. Some level of cross-linking seemed to be announced for almost every possible pairing. (More details are included in the "Prepress Workflow and CTP" show recap on page 28.)
In terms of the print engines themselves, developments appear to have at least temporarily hit a plateau. The pieces required to build a viable business are already in place, so the focus has shifted to promoting market success. System vendors are highlighting growth in monthly volumes among their installed bases, rather than looking ahead to the next big thing, be that larger formats or leaps in speed.
There do continue to be incremental gains in performance introduced, but the closest thing to a hot area of technology has been the various approaches to applying protective and/or glossy coatings.
Examples include new offerings from Kodak Nexpress, Xerox and Xeikon. Earlier this year, PIA/GATF released the results of a study that documented the greater risk of damage that postal handling poses for digitally printed pieces and the benefits of applying a protective coating. (For more information, see article on page 76.)
HP Indigo has introduced a coating technology/treatment of a different sort, called in-line priming, that enables its machines to run standard offset media.
While Canon U.S.A. did have a booth on the PRINT 05 show floor, its new product announcements were saved for Canon EXPO 2005 in New York City. The company also celebrated 50 years of doing business in the U.S. at the private trade show. (See "Digital Digest" news story on page 80.)
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