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Why digital sheetfed toner continues to excel

This year's Drupa was a showcase for the fully realized capabilities and how print service providers are now integrating inkjet into their operations

July 5, 2024  By Erwin Busselot



Everywhere you look keen attention has been focused on development and investment news for inkjet technology and how it is redefining production. Drupa was no exception.

This was no great surprise.

Whereas eight years ago the spotlight was on the developing technology, this Drupa was a showcase for the fully realized capabilities and how print service providers are now integrating inkjet into their operations.

So, you would be forgiven for thinking that interest in digital toner presses is subdued.

However, toner remains a core digital print production method. In the Drupa Horizon Report sheetfed toner technology was reported to dominate the volume end of the digital print market.

The report also pointed out that simple conversations about the economic breakeven point between conventional and digital print have been replaced by sophisticated dialogues about how digital print can enable printers to evolve their propositions, not just be economic for short runs and fast turnround print.

When considering the profile of the digital print produced in terms of lead times and run length it found that globally 57 per cent of printers reported that run lengths of more than 5,000 sheets occurred in up to only 10 per cent of their orders (i.e. rarely). Only 23 per cent reported it occurred with more than 25 per cent of their digital print orders. Of course, the fact that digital print is so responsive has contributed to relatively low order lengths, enabling brands to enjoy supply chain benefits as both stock volumes and waste are brought down.

Regarding lead times, 48 per cent of commercial printers reported that more than 25 per cent of their digital print orders had a lead time of less than 48 hrs. This dropped to 32 per cent for packaging printers and 27 per cent for publishing printers. This is where digital toner presses shine.

Erwin Busselot is director, business innovation and solutions, Ricoh Graphic Communications, Ricoh Europe


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