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The Future for Printing

(December 2011) posted on Wed Dec 14, 2011

Industry vets predict what will come in the ensuing year.


By Gail Flower

An area in our industry that benefits from a slow economy is where labels and marketing are used to capture the consumers’ attention, adds John Bennett. Brand marketers and grocery and mass merchandisers tend to change prices frequently in this type of economy; therefore, there are increase demands for media that can present these changes to the customer.

David Murphy sees potential in retail, interior décor, event graphics, out-of-home advertising, vehicle graphics, and traffic signage. He sees growing markets in folding cartons, corrugated packaging, and P-O-P displays that are just ripe for the benefits of high-quality digital printing.

According to Kim Hensley, label printing will fill a growing need to prevent products from being tampered with by using incorporated holograms, watermarks, RFID, and other tamper-evident films.

The market for personalized products continues to grow across every facet of the printing industry, and businesses that capitalize on this opportunity will thrive in the future, explains Hiroshi Ono. Helping fuel the trend are the recent advancements in UV-LED technologies, which enable printing on unconventional substrates and even directly onto products—from pens, key chains, and promotional items to cell phone covers and laptop computers.

Sal Sheikh believes that new applications, such as packaging printed on flatbed UV inkjet printers using variable-data short runs and prototyping, are the wave of the future.

Healthy rebound
Times are inevitably changing for most screen printers. Industrial printing applications using specialty inks will provide an area of growth, especially in photovoltaics, RFID applications, and other segments. T-shirts, textiles, special effects, long runs, décor, promotional items, and security are other areas of positive growth in traditional screen-printing venues.

“I think the industry is at a crossroads for many companies,” Riley Hopkins says. Though old-style business is giving way to new-style business somewhat, smaller companies and those capable of flexible production have an advantage. Paying attention to matching colors in an advertising campaign printed on different presses, to meeting a deadline, to providing value-added services, to controlling costs seems to make a big difference between the survivors in a tight economy.

“I’m optimistic that the industry will continue to grow in exciting new directions while at the same time retaining some of the core principles that got us to where we are now,” Hopkins says. “I, for one, welcome the new and exciting possibilities.”

Panel of Respondents

AnaJet Inc., Costa Mesa, CA
Chase Roh, Founder

FLEXcon, Spencer, MA
John Bennett, VP, Product Identification

GMG Americas, Hingham, MA
Juergen Roesch, Manager, Business Development

Hewlett-Packard Company, San Diego, CA
David Murphy, Director of Marketing, Americas, HP Graphics

Hewlett-Packard Company, Scitex Industrial Printing Solutions, Netanya, Israel
Harel Ifhar, Marketing Manager

Hop Industries, Lyndhurst, NJ
Eric Matsumoto, Account Representative

InfoTrends, Rockville, MD
Tim Greene, Director

INX International, Digital Division, San Leandro, CA
Jim Lambert, VP and GM

MACtac Graphic Products, Stow, OH
Rick Moore, Marketing Director

MACtac Roll Label, Stow, OH
Kim Hensley, Product Manager

Océ North America, a Canon Group company, Chicago, IL
Sal Sheikh, VP Marketing

ONYX Graphics, Inc., Salt Lake City, UT
Danielle Mattiussi, Director, Product Marketing

PANNAM Imaging, Cleveland, OH
Herb Gieseler, Senior Technology Engineer

Riley Hopkins Screen Printing Machinery, Gig Harbor, WA
Riley Hopkins, President

Roland DGA Corp., Irvine, CA
Hiroshi Ono, Group Product Manager

Spartanics, Rolling Meadows, IL
Mike Bacon, VP Sales and Marketing


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