Industry consultants discuss technologies to watch in '09.
Last year, we all seemed to agree that four specific technologies were instrumental in pushing the market forward: UV, flatbed technologies, single-pass printing, and grayscale print heads. Do you agree that these technologies are still the strongest industry factors?
Florek: Yes. Lyra is forecasting that UV-curable printer shipments will grow at a double-digit pace beyond at least 2012. The recent proliferation of rollfed and low-end UV-curable products is a major reason for these booming sales. In particular, small print shops that only recently bought a UV-curable printer are driving growth.
Boer: Don’t forget about the advancements in ink technology. All of these technology advances go hand-in-hand, and in the end they have to show efficiency improvements or else printshops won’t buy.
Greene: I would add durable water-based inkjet as well, such as HP’s Latex inks, and the Sepiax and Eastech Magic inks. I think this is something that has the potential to change the momentum that UV-curable inkjet seems to have in the wide-format marketplace. Time will tell for sure, but between HP, and the other companies that have significant investments in water-based inkjet printing technologies such as Canon and Epson, in addition to the companies that make inks-I think there is a lot of room for resurgence in water-based wide format.
Marx: All these technologies are still strong influences on the market, but I believe that UV-cured inkjet and flatbed technologies have become mainstream and no longer elicit the "wow" factor. To me, the next big thing will be dazzling increases in inkjet print speed, as evidenced by some of the inkjet technologies introduced earlier this year. The industry can expect to see in the near future the commercial introduction of single-pass, or near single-pass, systems for wide-format. When wide-format single-pass inkjet comes to the fore, inkjet will find itself fully competitive with production screen printing and short-run litho, and there will be a drastic shift in the perceptions and possibilities of inkjet technology.
A batch of new products and technologies came to market this year that may have quite an impact for years to come--the Inca Onset and EFI’s Vutek DS series printer, the new latex inks from HP, the toner-inkjet CrystalPoint technology from Oce. What other technologies have impressed you?