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How digital is the printing industry really?

June 2, 2023  By Drupa

Print and digital solutions: At first this sounds like a contradiction in terms. However, the printing industry has known for a long time that it can only go hand in hand. Anyone who processes data needs a digital infrastructure to offer solutions quickly and efficiently.

Digital transformation in the printing industry – where do you start?
The following areas in particular are considered for digitization:

  • productivity and collaboration;
  • security & compliance;
  • analytics & intelligence;
  • flexibility, efficiency and sustainability; and
  • mobility.

The easiest way to start is probably to increase productivity by starting to automate processes that make it easier for us. This frees up staff to spend more time on value-adding activities and also on further concept development. Once the start is in place, it also makes it easier for them to collaborate and achieve higher quality results.


The printing industry focuses on production before administration
A recent Drupa survey found the printing industry places its main focus on productive processes. More than half of the participants already map production processes (such as production, makeready and downtimes) in their operating system. Production planning is also automated. Whereby only six per cent state that the automation potential in pre-press has been exhausted. In contrast, only 10 per cent have completed automation in accounting. Likewise, 50 per cent of the companies use production data acquisition to identify problems at an early stage.

Decisions are made on a digital basis
A cornerstone of digitalization is knowledge. Knowledge that is drawn from data. Around 75 per cent of the printing industry already uses this knowledge to make decisions.

Status quo of digitalization
The theory of Print 4.0, the digitalization of the printing industry, has one goal: the process from the customer’s order to the delivery of the product runs completely digitally and autonomously. The manufacturing and delivery processes are digitally linked and automated. Seamless processes between paper supplier and printer, prepress, printer and material transport: stocks are filled by sensory observations. Human intervention is no longer necessary.

Our industry has already produced many best practice examples from which we can learn. In reality, many industry players have dared to start and have already automated individual workflows. Printing machines behave autonomously. The COVID-19 crisis has once again increased the willingness to digitize. Many companies are switching to digital offerings. Digital providers are entering the market, forcing other entrepreneurs into digitalization in order to maintain competitiveness. Now it is time to use this beginning as a competitive advantage and take the next step.

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