Feb 6, 2014
The Olympics are starting soon and it got me thinking about some of the ways that competing in the Olympics parallels competing in the wide format digital printing market. I can think of four:
People that compete at the Olympic level train for years for the games. Speed skaters work out 8-10 hours per days for months leading up to the games in anticipation of an event that may last for minutes if not seconds. Bode Miller, one of the most successful U.S. men’s downhill skiers of all time, was born in ski-country in New Hampshire, went to a ski academy in his youth and basically trained to be a downhill skier more-or-less his whole life. Many Olympians are like that. The point is that to compete at the highest levels they prepare at the highest levels, they don’t go in lightly. Print shops that invest in wide format technology and don’t have a committed strategy to make that a successful part of their business are not likely to find success in this competitive market.
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Dec 10, 2013
Though inkjet has been a hot topic since 2008 (remember the ‘inkjet’ drupa?), it is hard to underestimate the continuing impact inkjet is having across all areas of the graphic arts. I think 2013 marks an interesting turning point. Inkjet is everywhere from document printing to labels & packaging to decorative to functional and 3D printing.
Gartner Hype Cycle
3D printing had to be one of the most talked about topics of 2013 and jetting technologies are the key behind many 3D printing implementations (though in this case they are jetting materials rather than inks). That being said, in my opinion 3D printing has reached what Gartner likes to call the ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations’ and others have described as ‘Irrational Exuberance.’ The way some people talk about 3D printing you’d think that before long you’ll be 3D printing your beer complete with the bottle (with a label on the outside and a cap on top).
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Nov 18, 2013
Many readers know that two of the biggest paper merchants in the U.S. (xpedx & Unisource) are planning to merge. The combination of xpedx (about $6 billion in revenue) and Unisource (about $4 billion in annual revenue) would create a giant in the U.S. distribution business. Whatever you think you know about Xpedx and Unisource, they are definitely not JUST paper merchants, those days are way over. Both companies have important initiatives in packaging, digital printing and yes, wide format.
As the big paper merchants come together we see other companies organizing to compete. Read more »
Sep 17, 2013
South Korea has grown with incredible speed since the 1970s, and now represents the tenth largest economy in the world. Currently, the country is one of the global leaders in the high-technology industry with leading technology suppliers, such as Samsung and LG, calling Korea home. South Korea also has a strong base of wide format manufacturers that are not only known in country, but throughout the world.
Image of South Korea's Captial Seoul, Source: PhotoBucket
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Aug 29, 2013
Print is driven by applications and production digital printing is no exception. Demand for certain applications, however, changes over time due to various reasons, such as growth in usage, electronic replacement, personalization, and the move to shorter runs. The change in demand will have a profound impact on production digital printing in competition with other processes as well as between different digital product groups. InfoTrends just published its 2012-2017 production digital print application forecast for the U.S. and Western Europe. It details application volumes and volume growth for 28 print applications in seven main application groups for the main categories of production digital printing devices.
Main Production Digital Printing Applications and Application Groups
The application forecast draws from many sources. InfoTrends’ consulting staff conducts ongoing primary and secondary research in the marketplace to determine the print volume share of the applications and volume trends. The underlying print volume forecast is based on published forecasts, which provide market size in terms of installed base, average monthly print volume, retail value of print, and other factors.
As an example, here is a view of some of the top production digital print applications in Western Europe (by absolute page growth).
10 Fastest Growing Applications in Production Digital Print in Western Europe 2012 to 2017
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Jun 28, 2013
Over the past couple of days here at FESPA 2013 we’ve had a great opportunity to get a glimpse at the future of industrial printing. Many times Tim and I were approached by customers and vendors alike the industrial printing topic is top of mind. However producers as well as vendors define industrial printing in ways that center on applications their products produce. Some consider packaging, laminates, textiles, and others ceramic tiles as industrial applications. But let me offer another perspective, an industrial application is one where a transition from short run custom printing for pilot projects, or prototypes is converted to a manufacturing process that integrates management, workflow, and an integrated digital printing solution that is used for full production runs. Read more »
Jun 27, 2013
Yesterday we went through some of the highlights from the first day of the FESPA event at the Excel Center here in London. Over the past couple of days we’ve gotten a flurry of other announcements and other new printer information that we’ll be adding to our new Ultimate Guide to Wide Format. Some of the major announcements are highlighted quickly below:
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Jun 25, 2013
The big tennis tournament Wimbledon is on here in London this week, and it is also FESPA (Federation of European Screen Printing Associations), which every year is one of the biggest events on the global wide format signage and graphics industry calendars. This year FESPA is being held at the London EXCEL center and I’m particularly excited about FESPA because InfoTrends is a research partner of the FESPA organization and we have, once again, developed a very strong body of new industry research called The Worldwide Survey 4. This study takes the temperature of the signage and graphics markets in a number of ways including issues such as buying expectations and technology investment plans. Read more »
May 22, 2013
One of the key findings from our new “Wide Format in the Communications Mix” study is that over 60% of wide format graphics need to be fulfilled within 2 days. This dynamic has vital implications for vendors up-and-down the wide format digital print supply chain. It means that equipment and supplies distributors with the best warehousing and logistics capabilities, and the best vision into product and technology portfolio, will have a huge advantage.
Many of the conversations I have with wide format digital print supplies manufacturers indicate that finding and maintaining great distribution partners is one of their biggest challenges. Read more »
Feb 27, 2013
In January 2012, at Rochester Institute of Technology, I defended my Master’s Thesis, “Consumer Perception of Inkjet Printed Textiles.” My thesis work focused on how observers perceived various samples of wide format inkjet printed textiles when applied to different applications. The goal of my research was to find what types of textiles consumers want and need.
At the time of my thesis, it was just an idea to have the ability to see wide format printers printing textiles in a production environment. Flash forward to 2013–as I read InfoTrends’ new multi-client study Transforming Textile Printing, I see that the market that I had profiled two years ago (as I began my work) has totally changed with new hardware, a wider substrate selection, and more acceptance from the fashion community.
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