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Digital Printing – an Eagle’s Eye View

16 March 2023: By Eef de Ridder, Vice President, Ricoh Graphic Communications, Ricoh Europe.

Collaboration is at the heart of everything we do at Ricoh. That is why I was so proud to welcome an audience of more than one hundred, comprising clients and partners, to our Hunkeler Innovationdays 2023 networking event in Lucerne.

I felt privileged to be able to give our honoured guests an eagle’s eye view into the future of digital printing.

A future that is very bright, also according to Smithers new research I shared. It predicted digital print globally will almost double in volume by 2032 from just over 3.9% today to 6.9% in 2032. By 2032, inkjet will be producing 80% of all digitally printed pages. Global digital print by value between 2022 and 2027 is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 5.7% to 20.5% and then 5.4% to 23.8% of value by 2032.

Shaping this are these major trends and drivers:

  • An increasingly connected world where digital print equipment is networked, linked to support and predictive maintenance,to improve performance.
  • The march of digitisation resulting in some products being replaced with electronic alternatives. But print can counter that by being more connectedwith digitally unique codes (e.g. QR codes).
  • Fluctuations in the supply chain with cash conservation creating a reduction in inventory and more, frequent, smaller orders.
  • Shifting demographics with growing populations and greater literacy boosting demand for print.At the same timeissues remain in recruiting skilled staff.
  • Changes in retail with growth in e-commerce, driving demand for packaging and the unboxing experience increasing interest in high quality print.
  • New consumer preferences with more digital natives consuming information and entertainment through e-channels.
  • Increased sustainability with short runs reducing waste and minimising stocks as well as greater importance placed on bio sourced materials.
  • Digital print responds by enabling personalisation, supporting e-commerce, improving stock management, and reducing operating costs. It can help clients maximise opportunities while allowing them to reduce the environmental impact of their activities – something we at Ricoh are also working hard on.

We have set global environmental targets for 2030 and 2050, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. We aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions from our production sites, offices, and vehicles by at least 63% by 2030. In 2050 it is targeted to be 100%. We also aim to reduce the use of new raw materials by 50% by 2030 and by 93% by 2050.

Responding to some of these trends with digital print is from France. Co-founder Rémy Barelli spoke about how the commercial printing operation now competitively manages more than 1,000 jobs a day, submitted online by graphic designers and advertising agencies, following its installation of a Ricoh Pro™ VC70000 high speed inkjet press. It prints 10 million A4 pages per month, with a capacity of 20 million, and 80% of its work is on coated paper. It enjoyed a 50% increase in revenues in 2022.

Christian Haneke, Innovation & Solutions Manager, at Sattler Media Group in Germany, explained how the operation, which produces 50 million pieces of direct mail annually, needed a solution that could flexibly produce high volumes of high quality print, cost efficiently. It wanted a system that was resource and environmentally responsible that could seamlessly integrate into its existing production landscape from data management through prepress and finishing to logistics. Itsought a powerful and dependable partner who, as a technology leader, would continue to deliver relevant solutions.

It chose a Ricoh Pro VC70000 and since then has enjoyed a high acceptance thanks to its flexibility and sustainable technology. It closes technology gaps in Sattler’s production portfolio, boosts and creates opportunities for all Sattler business units, addresses business challenges, and enhances products with added value. Christian concluded that high speed inkjet will play a crucial role in Sattler Media Group’s future.

Both and Sattler Media Group have transformed their print production to ensure their operations fly high. And their investment strategies, designed to future proof their businesses, are aligned to the future print landscape as predicted by Smithers.

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