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INKJET PRINTING: NOT A THREAT, BUT A REPLACEMENT?

Jun 1, 2002 12:00 AM


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Because it is still a young technology incapable of matching the speed, quality and cost of traditional offset printing, inkjet printing will have minimal impact on general commercial printing products in the next five years, according to digital-printing consultancy I.T. Strategies (Hanover, MA).

Inkjet printing has instead carved out new opportunities because of its ability to achieve very short runs and customization, which are not possible with traditional printing. One of these areas is wide-format graphics, which alone is expected to generate about $7.5 billion in retail revenues for print providers in the U.S. in 2002. Those doing wide-format inkjet printing are generally outside the traditional offset printing community.

According to I.T. Strategies, inkjet technology will, over the next five years, continue to be used primarily by printers outside the general commercial print world to create different products, such as bus wraps — not replacement products. But replacement may occur if advertisers shift their advertising dollars from more traditional venues.

“Commercial printers are currently losing out on this opportunity and could be headed for a ‘technology lockout’ if they continue to let the digital market coalesce around them,” says Patti Williams, consulting partner with I.T. Strategies.