By Jon Robinson
For three weeks over the months of July and August 2017, PrintAction magazine surveyed its readership about their short-term investment plans for production inkjet technologies. The questions were targeted at printing company executives with 40 respondents providing insight into one of the most intriguing production opportunities for the future.
When asked what level of interest do you have for investing in a production inkjet press within the next two years, cutsheet or roll-fed, 27.5 percent of respondents indicated it was “high, very likely”, which received the second highest response behind “low, waiting but watching”.
Fifteen percent of respondents indicated their interest was “medium, investigating”, while 20 percent indicated they were “not interested” in investing in a production inkjet press within the next two years. One respondent commented they were waiting for an affordable 19 x 25-inch duplex machine, which echoes sentiment about the current high cost and high monthly production requirements of production inkjet systems.
What type of press
When asked if the needed funds were available, assuming relative pricing parity between machines, what type of printing press would you first invest in, the vast majority of respondents indicating “cutsheet production inkjet” at 47.5 percent. The remaining respondents included: Roll-fed production inkjet at 27.5 percent, followed by production-strength colour toner at 20 percent and five percent for a 40-inch sheetfed offset.
When asked what application or sector would you most want to target, assuming that you have purchased the appropriate inkjet press, 45 percent of respondents indicated “commercial print”, which clearly stands to gain the most installation attraction in the years to come.
The remaining respondents included: Direct mail at 17.5 percent, Transactional or statement at 12.5 percent, Labels at 10 percent, packaging (other than labels) at 2.5 percent, and publishing at 2.5 percent. Four percent of respondents indicated other print sectors, including B2C applications “which I would not really class as any of the above.”
When asked what do you see as the greatest challenge to making an inkjet investment, given the current state of the technology or market, the largest challenge was the “price of the presses”. This again points to the fact that inkjet systems have not yet settled into a commercial printing friendly position under $1 million.
In fact, 35 percent of respondents indicated “press prices” was the biggest challenge, followed by the “price of inks” at 22.5 percent, “quality of work” at 20 percent, adding “necessary workflow/IT” at 10 percent, “available substrate range” at 5 percent, and the “speed of cutsheet presses” at five percent. One respondent shared a comment that is likely on the minds of most printers: “We have so much capacity with our current equipment, I couldn’t justify spending money on a different press.”