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Green Printing and Product Life Cycle

(June 2011) posted on Tue Jun 21, 2011

Check out the latest trends in new products for and adoption of green sustainability in wide-format printing.

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By Tim Greene

What is going on in the green wide-format-printing market is classic in the product lifecycle. Of course there were the early adopters who were among the first to go green. These companies have helped define, as much as possible, what that term even means when it comes to signage and graphics. The early adopters help manufacturers understand what the market needs. They serve as the beta sites, become the gurus, and frequently build a strong book of business based on their understanding of the applications and customer requirements.

For a few years now there has been a steady stream of new media products that are designed and manufactured with sustainability in mind to meet the needs of companies that have undertaken sustainability initiatives. This is absolutely vital to accelerating the growth of the market—creating the ability to replace many non eco-friendly signs and graphics with similar or comparable eco-friendly signs and graphics. However, the limitation has been that in many cases these eco-friendly substrates are more expensive or simply are incompatible with existing production processes. We have come up against the cost limitation from the outset as it relates to using new types of eco-friendly media, with signage and graphics producers reporting that they can’t or just don’t want to use these products because buyers will not accept a higher price.

LED lights up green curing
Although the development and production volume shift onto UV-curable flatbed inkjet printers represents an important upswing in the green printing market, InfoTrends believes that enhancements to UV-curable are required to reach new heights. Now, one of the big trends we’re seeing in the market that we expect will enable a greater level of green printing and greater adoption of UV-curable inkjet printing is LED curing. Curing inks using LEDs consumes much less power and throws less heat, which enables printing on a wide variety of media. This is the kind of very practical development that indicates an incremental technological improvement that will enable green production methods at operational cost advantage with the bonus of an upside in terms of the additional types of media that can be printed on. That is progress.


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