Sheetfed’s Future Analyzed by PRIMIR
RESTON, VA—August 6, 2008—To better understand printers’ views on the future of sheetfed lithography, PRIMIR (the Print Industries Market Information and Research Organization) commissioned Reed Business Information to conduct a study entitled Trends in Sheetfed Lithography: 2006-2011. The study addressed the commercial, packaging and specialty market segments in areas such as characterization and analysis of capital equipment purchasing practices, press format and configuration preferences, automation, inline technologies, and environmental and safety issues.
Commercial sheetfed printers interviewed report they plan to increase their dependence on automation in the coming years. Several printers attributed stabilized print prices and higher profit levels to on-press automation and technological advances. “Our all-time record is 14 jobs in a single eight-hour shift on one of our new six-color sheetfeds with an average run length of 2,500 with complete job changeover and startup. On our older presses, we were lucky to finish three or four jobs per shift.”
The study also revealed that while some printers are making great strides in implementing job definition format (JDF) enabled workflows, the vast majority of respondents appear to lack the workforce competencies required to market, implement and manage highly automated JDF workflows.
Not surprisingly, the study found that “environmental issues have crowded out health and safety matters,” likely due to the ever-stricter health and safety regulations already in place. Within the next three years, a majority of the respondents feel issues related to corporate social responsibility, sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions will affect their entire operation including their press and supplies decisions. One respondent noted, “I have to admit we were caught a little off guard one day by the stipulation from our largest customer that we needed to help them minimize their carbon footprint in their printed material and collateral.” And, that customer wanted a specific plan of action with achievable and measurable goals.