Today’s inkjet printing technology with continuous feed competes with offset printing in many important printing application areas. Advances in image quality, image space, speed, and compatible substrates have expanded the possibilities for printed products. These breakthroughs have increased the quality and lowered the price of printing a wider range of applications on continuous-feed inkjet printing machines.
Commercial printers and in-plant businesses are keenly interested in continuous-feed inkjet printers as they are an attractive solution for printing books, folded mailers, magazines, catalogs, brochures and direct postcards that offer high-resolution print quality, competitive pricing and versatility Substrate.
A NAPCO research report, which delivers new levels of added value with continuous-advance inkjet printing, shows the current state of the art, application possibilities, requirements of printing customers and investment considerations for print service providers and in-plant companies.
The main findings of the report include:
- The options for printing applications have been expanded with the extended substrate functions. Possibly the most important factor in the attractiveness and scope of application that can be produced on continuous-feed inkjet printing machines is the ability to print on coated paper. Most brochures and other marketing materials, including folded direct mail, postcards, catalogs, calendars, magazines, book covers, and some forms of direct mail, are printed on coated paper. This breakthrough and improved image resolution offer a wide range of new applications for continuous-feed inkjet presses. Expansion into new applications is facilitated by the ability to print on a wide variety of stocks – from as little as 40 g / m² for certain book and publication pages – to 350 g / m² used for some types of book covers and direct mail postcards , pushed further.
- Book publishers benefit from this Continuous feed inkjet printing. Initially, sheet-fed color toner printing machines were the only digital printing devices that could print acceptable print quality for book publishers, but run lengths were limited. Inkjet removes this barrier. Book printers taking part in a survey by NAPCO Research expect significant growth in book production on continuous-feed inkjet machines (Table 1), displacing the volume printed on offset and digital toner machines.
Table 1: Growth in letterpress printing methods
- The demand for short runs and more targeted content is driving the introduction of digital printing for magazines. Similar to books, small runs in magazines are still substantial runs, but are very suitable for continuous-feed inkjet printing machines. The nature of a magazine is to cater to a specific area of interest that lends itself to the ability to customize and even personalize content. In addition, there is a greater need for color-intensive graphics and images. As can be seen in Figure 1, magazine publishers that participated in a survey report from NAPCO Research are using digital printing to activate all of these elements. High-resolution, continuous-feed inkjet printing machines can meet all of these requirements and offer a cost-effective printing process for short and long runs with greater adaptability. While the other factors in Figure 1 related to personalization and customization are not used as often, they are worth mentioning as they represent areas of opportunity made possible by digital printing.
Illustration 1: Reasons why magazine publishers use digital printing
- Continuous-feed inkjet presses are now an attractive solution for commercial printers, direct mail printers, in-plant and publishing print specialists, providing an affordable and viable platform for new applications and functions. Investing in continuous feed inkjet is critical for print providers to stay relevant and develop new application-based business models that support fast turnaround times and personalization while ensuring superior image quality and competitive pricing.
The report also recommends that print service providers considering investing in continuous-feed inkjet printers consider the following considerations:
- The need for new equipment
- Your company’s financial position
- Expected print volume
- Return on Investment (ROI)
- Adaptability of the operating and sales staff
If you’re curious about the current state of the art in continuous-feed inkjet printing and wondering if you’d like to take advantage of this technology, download the full report.