In modern print shops, it’s well understood that simply printing a piece of media for a client is no longer enough—no longer can you simply click print, wait for the ink to dry, and ship the piece.
UV Ink, the Driver for Innovation
Innovations in the finishing industry came about after technological advances were made in the printing process that made printing on many substrates not only feasible but economical. This technology was UV printing—these inks are high quality and high fidelity and cure almost immediately when struck by UV light from the printheads that are used when printing.
Digital cutting machines in the printing and sign industry are on the rise. These machines use ultra-sharp durable blades and laser-cutting techniques to cut a variety of materials at high speeds and with a huge amount of versatility and customizability.
In the packaging industry, designers are always looking for the next thing that will set them apart. After all, the packaging is very competitive—with so many products on the shelf, yours has to stand out or risk being left behind for a flashier or more modern-looking package.
Technology offers instant gratification to consumers on a daily basis. Customers expect shorter lead times and lower prices all with a greater range of services. Print companies are noticing this shift and have started investing in grand format printing.
Over the last few years, there have been significant technological advancements in fabrics, fabric coatings, printers, and inks.
Today’s manufacturers are taking a more systematic approach by integrating ink chemistry, auxiliary equipment, printer hardware, and software. These technologies will offer a more cohesive method for printable fabrics.
Moving into the future means adopting some of the newest and most beneficial technologies of our time. For print service providers today, this means adopting new laser cutting processes, which offer a broad range of exciting benefits that we are only beginning to explore. A non-contact process, this technology can make the most precise cuts without damaging the surrounding materials. It works with a variety of materials and can finish jobs with minimal cost or effort.
Compared to just a few years ago, today’s presses resemble computers more than they do a ‘complex type of printer.’ Even entry-level presses now have featured previously associated only with hugely expensive high-end presses, and automation has increased productivity by eliminating manual labor, simplifying complex processes and reducing waste. It is easier than ever for print shops to make money taking on challenging jobs.
The demand for high-end digitally printed fabrics is soaring, especially in the textile and design trade industry. With up to 60% of participants in the trade show exhibitor market looking for either digital textile printer providers or the equipment to do the printing themselves, this is a market to be taken seriously.
As new technologies and new types of output continue to hit the printing technology industry non-stop, the wide-format printing industry continues to thrive. This prosperity drives further innovation, and customers spur the trend by increasingly demanding novelty and customization of print services without sacrificing print quality.