Making Room for High-Speed Inkjet

By | March 15, 2013

Yesterday, I updated “Digital Printing: Transforming Marketing and Print Management,” my primer on how digital production (toner, inkjet) changes how businesses view and manage their marketing. Every time I do a major update, it’s always interesting to me what portions of the report get updated because it’s like a running history of our industry.

This time, it was all about tweaking for inkjet. Even a year ago, references to high-speed, high-resolution inkjet were made in passing. It was an up-and-coming technology that needed to be acknowledged for the report to be comprehensive, but it wasn’t really having a major impact yet.

This time, inkjet became just another item in discussions and bulleted lists alongside business-class, dry toner, and liquid toner machines.

I also overhauled the section on recyclability concerns. Dye-based inkjet poses challenges for the recycling stream since the particles are so fine that the papers are hard to de-ink. Thus inkjet had posed notable recycling concerns for environmentally conscious marketers. But this new class of high-speed, high-resolution inkjet uses pigment-based inks that can be handled like toner-based print, removing these concerns from the equation.

Dye-based inkjet is still the majority of the overall production inkjet market, but in terms of commercial applications, which are under discussion on these pages, pigment-based inkjet will soon be the default.

Then there is the nod to high-speed, high-resolution sheetfed inkjet. This is no longer a rollfed-only market.

This class of inkjet presses offers expensive machines, so widespread adoption isn’t going to be overnight. But with this report update, what I’m saying is that we’ve passed the early adoption phase, and now — like toner-based digital production replacing smaller format offset presses in the past — it’s just a matter of time and attrition.

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