PacPrint13, held in the Melbourne Exhibition Centre (“Jeff’s Shed”) towards the end of May this year, showcased a “dizzying array of new high-tech digital” equipment, providing visitors with an unequivocal indication of where the printing industry is headed.
PacPrint is held every four years, and four years ago, the floor throbbed with the incessant beat of large, multi-million dollar (and multi-tonne!) offset presses doing their thing. Digital presses were there too, but almost in a “me too”, or “don’t forget us” capacity.
This year, there were but two only offset presses on display, both shown by one company. Digital printing, however was everywhere. The names might not mean much to you, but they were ALL there — Ricoh, Lanier, Screen, Fuji Xerox and Fujifilm, Konica Minolta, Xeikon, Canon, Kodak, Agfa, Currie Group, Hewlett Packard (HP Indigo).
The paucity of offset presses prompted one wag to quip to a salesperson for the company showing the two offset presses on display, “is this some kind of new technology”. The quip resulted in a very interesting reply. “We will be releasing a fully digital version of this press by the end of the year”.
PacPrint2013 was probably the best and most comprehensive showcase of digital printing, finishing and online technologies anywhere in the world this year, and it was a clear indication that the industry is going digital.
The people behind Kainos Print have been around digital printing since it was first introduced to Australia in 1997. We’ve had vast experience, operated all sorts of presses, and probably forgotten more than most people have ever learnt about digital printing. Anything with a print run of around 750-1000 copies will usually be more economical to print digitally. Book printing, booklet printing, flyer printing, greeting card printing, postcard printing, calendar printing — they are all best produced digitally in quantities less than around 750-1000 copies.
With its smaller footprint, less waste, and lower power requirement, digital printing is also the environmentally friendly alternative.
Buyers of digital equipment have one giant shadow lurking over them — Benny Landa and his nano technology. First shown at Drupa in Germany in May 2012, this technology promises to revolutionise the printing industry. Benny has been to a large extent forgotten, twelve months after the sensational, show-stoprring debut of his presses at Drupa. However Benny says he will be shipping machines by the end of 2013. If he does, and if they become available in Australia any time soon — and with regard to delivery he has form in over-estimating shipping dates — an investor paying a million dollars for new digital kit today should be very nervous. You can read about Benny’s nano technology here.