Alexandria, Va., February 6, 2004 — A new study investigates print technologies and related paper characteristic needs. Published by the Graphic Arts Marketing Information Service (GAMIS), a special interest group of the Printing Industries of America, Inc., the Effect of New Printing Technologies on Performance Requirements of Paper Substrates reports on paper characteristics needs as they relate to new print technologies or changes in current printing processes.
The research, which looks out over the next five years, was performed by Business Development Advisory of Marietta, GA.
According to Frank Perkowski, who directed the research, “we can expect there will be no significant new process technologies commercialized within the conventional print processes (litho, flexo, gravure) in the next five years. Given the relative maturity of these processes within publication printing, the technical focus within each will tend to be on incremental process improvements that may have both print quality and/or cost impacts depending on the specific application. Some of the most likely and significant developments will be in the areas of computer-to-plate (CTP), Cooperation for Integration of Prepress, Press, Post-Press (CIP3) and workflow improvements, computer integrated manufacturing (CIM), reduced makeready times and lower cylinder costs (gravure), and improved ink formulations and mechanical press improvements (flexo/all).”
The study also reflects that digital print processes will continue to attract the bulk of R&D and capital investment spending within the industry but the commercial execution of these investment programs will be slower than expected by some. Inkjet and electrophotographic devices will continue to improve and increasingly penetrate new markets. Process and technological developments will span the entire print supply chain but commercialization of these improvements will be limited by slow industry adoption rates, less-than-optimal joint development activity, limited capital availability, and significant industry consolidation activity.
In general, paper grades designed for conventional printing processes need to become more uniform and consistent. Specifically, improved paper runnability can best be achieved through higher surface strength (less lint), improved cross direction (CD) and machine direction (MD) tensile, and more consistent sheet profiles. Lower-cost papers (in terms of purchase price and total cost of use) will also become more necessary in certain segments such as newsprint and coated groundwood papers that compete directly with lower-cost electronic mediums.
Except for digital printing processes, the most critical paper requirements will be those that have the most impact on how the paper runs on press.
Overall, the widespread availability of photographic-quality, electronic images in Internet/intranet mediums will continue to “raise the bar” in terms of print quality expectations across all processes and applications. To maintain excitement in the market for printed materials, printers will increasingly seek to develop those capabilities that create high-impact printed images by demonstrating good tone/color reproduction, print contrast, snap, and consistent print quality.
For more information about this study which is available exclusively through membership in GAMIS, contact Jackie Bland, GAMIS Executive Director, at (703) 519-8179 or by e-mail at [email protected]
Membership details are also found on the web at www.gamis.org. GAMIS, a special interest group of the Printing Industries of America, is the premier market research association of the graphic arts industry with members from diverse segments of the printing industry.