By DPS Staff
The past year was an exciting one for the printing industry. Drupa took place this Spring, again focusing on inkjet, as well as the growth of digitally printed labels and packaging. The event also hosted previews and announcements of new and updated products from leading vendors.
In addition to the physical print, many changes are on the horizon for document/customer communications management.
Both the physical and virtual words come together to intensify the possibilities for brand owners and continue to improve customer experience across the board.
Since it’s a lot to take in, we’ve asked industry analysts to share their thoughts on the key highlights of 2016. With the help of these expert opinions, we see how the latest software and equipment developments, as well as cultural shifts, shape the future of communications, and in effect—the overall print industry, especially as digital becomes more prevalent.
Mark Hanley, president
Five issues come to mind when asked to review for significant trends in digital print, packaging, and publishing in 2016. These include the power of the HP Indigo, packaging, Landa Technology, book publishing, and inkjet.
Let’s first get into the power of HP Indigo technology. We should not be surprised—but we still we were during the pre-drupa trip to Israel this year—by HP Indigo’s genuinely remarkable ability to extend the functionality of electrophotographic (EP) technology to B1 at doubled speeds and to make real inroads into difficult packaging markets like flexible. The perception and reality of Indigo’s presence in traditional print markets—starting with commercial printers where they are digitally dominant, and extending now to packaging converters, is a corrective to assumptions about an imminent Inkjet future. Although, HP is also now invested HP in inkjet for corrugated markets.
Next is the discussion about packaging. Drupa was all Inkjet packaging, which is at least mostly corrugated packaging well beyond corrugated for point of purchase display, already widely printed by flatbed wide format UV systems. Offerings from EFI, Durst, HP, Sun Automation, Inca Digital/BHS, and Bobst were put forward in different formats suited to different parts of the mainstream corrugated packaging supply chain. This is surely a potential market, though aqueous inkjet’s print quality, physical, economic, and performance envelopes still have a lot to prove, and perhaps a way to go to be acceptable in this industry. Both customer and supplier sides of the equation have a lot to learn from each other, but all are due credit for initiative.
Landa technology is another trend to watch. Landa says that aqueous Inkjet is massively handicapped by its water content for high-volume, high-coverage applications, which will mostly be on coated media or film. Their answer is to remove the water before it gets near the media. That will not be easy, but few would bet against Landa. The countdown for Landa has begun with drupa, and systems are expected to get to market in 2017. If their technology is technically and commercially proven, it is going to change the rules for direct Inkjet. Will it work? Well, it really is possible.
Publishing is about the books. Publishing, as in magazines and newspapers, remains a bloody field of battle for print, not because of anything the print industry has done, but because the publishing industry itself has still not come up with a self-justifying business model within the virtual communications world. Technology investments in print will not get much attention until that problem is solved. On the other hand, as far as books go, it is a real success story for high-speed aqueous inkjet systems, and it has much more potential—at least for as long as physical books are published. Yes, you say, they always will be, but in what volumes in 20 years? However books themselves go, it will tend to favor the flexibility of inkjet anyway.
Inkjet awaits its future. In general the expectations of Inkjet, which is in most forms aqueous inkjet, have only risen in 2016. But outside of replacing monochrome EP engines in the transactional and books markets—neither of which markets are felt by their printers to have a continued guaranteed high volume future in print—the numbers are still modest. There are few places where it is consistently used at high speeds with high coverages at low cost economics. This is what Inkjet has to work on with great urgency.
Mark Hanley, president, I.T. Strategies, has over 20 years of experience in the electronic printing industry. He specializes in identifying new markets for digital color printing technologies. In addition to conducting research and consulting, he travels extensively around the world, facilitating partnerships and strategic alliances between manufacturers in Europe, Japan, and the U.S.
Gina Ferrara, senior analyst
2016 saw the continued breakdown of barriers to adoption for Customer Communications Management Hosted Managed Services (CCM HMS), as many internal IT departments no longer desire to build or maintain control over disparate CCM infrastructures or keep pace with the increasingly complex offerings of CCM software vendors; not to mention compliance and regulatory requirements.
An intensifying focus on customer experience and the emergence of new enterprise roles, such as Customer Experience officer and chief experience officer, have also heightened interest in CCM HMS, which offers a fully integrated set of technology and services designed to support the end-to-end customer communications lifecycle.
Innovative providers currently engaging enterprise organizations with a CCM HMS delivery model include CEDAR Document Technologies, DataOceans, and NEPS. These providers have made it their business to stay at the forefront of CCM technology, coupling simplified, business user friendly dashboards or portals with ancillary services in order to meet the needs of an expanding client list.
The opportunities for this developing market are great. We forecast the market opportunity for CCM HMS to exceed $3 billion in the U.S. alone, with a compound annual growth rate of 45 percent. When Canadian and European markets are considered, the magnitude of the market opportunity is enormous. In our view, this delivery model is showing signs it will hit critical mass in the next few years and, as a result, we expect to see CCM HMS providers experience rapid growth, as well as new players that enter the market.
In addition to the CCM HMS providers already mentioned, we are currently aware of a smaller entrepreneurial company beginning to gain traction in this market, as well as two additional firms in the process of defining their offerings. Additionally, some software manufacturers are in the process of investing in their technology to include or refine a cloud-based offering in addition to expanding professional services and partnerships, shifting their business models toward CCM HMS.
However, in our opinion, print service providers (PSPs) have the best opportunity to take advantage of this space, having been trusted partners to enterprise clients for years. Rather than being providers of traditional print services, they should establish themselves as CCM technology service providers with print being a separate and distinct offering. This is already happening to some degree, as many PSPs have offered additional services including electronic delivery, archival and, to a limited extent, business user control of messaging and variable content. However, until recently, these capabilities have typically been viewed as bolted-on services, inextricably linked to traditional print and mail services.
Some forward-thinking traditional PSPs are beginning to take the plunge into CCM HMS, including adopting a new model of printer agnosticism by separating upstream and digital services from physical print capabilities. While this may be a difficult transformation for some PSPs, until they let go of print as their primary business they will be watching this market continue to evolve and expand from the sidelines.
These are just a few of the key developments that we saw at Madison Advisors this year. It is an exciting time for CCM technology as providers continue to evolve capabilities, strategies, and delivery models, shaping the future for enterprise customer communications.
Gina Ferrara is senior analyst at Madison Advisors, an independent analyst firm that specializes in offering Fortune 1000 companies context-specific guidance for a range of content delivery strategies, particularly those addressing enterprise output technologies and customer communications.
Dan Rogers, head of publishing
The year 2016 was exciting for digital print in the label and packaging segments. The focus for innovation was a series of product launches at drupa this Spring.
Data from the Smithers Pira report, The Future of Digital Print for Packaging in 2020, shows that worldwide in 2016 labels produced on digital presses were worth $9.46 billion. This market will grow at 10.2 percent year-on-year through to the end of the decade. Other packaging substrates are valued at $2.57 billion in 2016, and will more than double in value until to the end of decade.
A number of print equipment manufacturers are expressing an interest in developing bespoke systems for packaging and labels as more conventional print segments decline.
In label production, the narrow-web segment is now highly congested with top speeds of 75 meters per minute now possible. The emphasis is now on developing wider, higher throughput presses. HP’s Indigo presses are one of the most popular label platforms. At drupa 2016 the latest iteration—the Indigo 8000 was launched.
This operates at speeds up to 80 meters per minute in full color using a three-color enhanced productivity mode—double that of the HP Indigo WS6800.
Inkjet label print is now developing much faster than toner, though the latter still represents 61 percent of the market in 2016, the world inkjet label market will by-pass toner label prints in 2020.
Compared to labels, digital print is less developed for other packaging substrates—although many systems are now entering the market hoping to deliver the same value-adding options. Corrugated board and folding cartons will be the packaging types that witness the benefits of a digital revolution first.
Inkjet has played in the corrugated space for many years, with the high-performance flatbed systems from Durst, EFI, HP, and Inca Digital gaining acceptance in the display and point of sale sectors, which has naturally lead to limited use in secondary retail ready packages. The future of higher throughput print has been witnessed with the 2.8 meter-wide T1100S, a joint development between HP and KBA. This press began beta trials in 2016 with UK firm DS Smith, and was shown at drupa 2016.
The incorporation of multi-lane print architecture on the T1100S allows different designs to be printed simultaneously in same run, and volumes of 30,600 square meters per minute at top speed. New high-speed machines from Bobst, Durst, and EFI are expected to see their first sales in 2017.
Smithers Pira forecasts digital corrugated systems will see year-on-year growth of 13.6 percent for the remainder of the decade.
In folding cartons the market is less developed, but will accelerate rapidly—over 35 percent year-on-year for the next four years. A measure of the enthusiasm can be seen in the reported a $500 million worth of orders garnered by Landa for its presses at drupa 2016. HP, Heidelberg, KBA, Xerox, Konica Minolta, and Fujifilm are positioning themselves to exploit the folding carton segment. An example is the seven-colour Heidelberg PrimeFire 106 the first fruit of a development partnership with Fujifilm. The PrimeFire 106 will at full speed be able to print 5,000 B1 sheet per hour.
Despite its potential to meet the demand for shorter print runs and more versioned designs, print quality remains an issue for digital for some segments, compared to existing analogue platforms like flexography. As the prospects for digital become stronger in new packaging segments, substrate grades specifically built for such platforms are being developed, including the Invercote G board line from Iggesund.
There is also an emphasis on better embellishment and coating systems for inkjet and toner platforms—including metallic inks.
Simultaneously both labels and packaging are looking to embrace smart functions like freshness indicators with ambient monitoring, tracking of storage, and distribution conditions, to ensure the product is fit for purpose at use. RFID tag use is growing to aid logistics and simultaneously provide product authentication features. One potential low-cost solution is printed electronics like those from Thinfilm Electronics whose technology is now being pioneered in high-volume production with Xerox.
You can get the final report at smitherspira.com/industry-market-reports/printing/digital/the-future-of-digital-print-for-packaging-to-2020.
Dan Rogers is head of publishing at Smithers Pira, smithersapex.com, the worldwide authority on the packaging, paper, and print industry supply chains. As the head of publishing, Rogers oversees the publication of over 60 market reports for a range of established and emerging industries. Smithers Pira market reports provide an independent and expert view of emerging markets, technologies, and factors that affect the packaging, paper, and print industries. Since 2009.
As the importance of data grows and budgets tighten, businesses look to trusted partners to add value to each piece of communication sent. Print providers are faced with a challenging, but exciting role ahead as print gets more targeted and runs become shorter.
On the enterprise side, PSPs willing to dig deep into CCM are likely to benefit as this market evolves and expands.
We look ahead to 2017 and beyond and these trends and technologies penetrate the market. From printing, to packaging, and publishing—and all that drives it behind the scenes, both print providers and enterprises alike have a lot to look forward to. dps
Nov2016, DPS Magazine