Some 36% of the global print industry’s revenue is generated through commercial printing, making it the dominant sector. Yet, as everyone in business will attest, that revenue means little without significant profit. With demand for shorter print runs, and quicker throughput, those margins are being squeezed.
Firms with direct mail, point of sale and general commercial print contracts are therefore endeavouring to source more efficient business models and technologies that can help to boost their business. Since cloud computing has blurred, and in some cases, erased the lines between previously competing disciplines, many printing firms now offer non-print services such as basic marketing or design alongside their staple commercial printing presses.
As an increasing number of producers of niche products approach printers with their requirements, the printers themselves are adapting to provide more short- to medium-run services. Because shorter runs mean fewer pages, they have reacted by producing pages with higher individual value.
With that being said, new applications and services that enable customers to personalise their orders, while web-to-print output, variable data printing and photographic products are on the rise.
Digital commercial printing presses are the most obvious solution to the new demand for short-run throughput, built as they are to provide optimal results in shorter form production runs. However, compared with traditional offset printing, digital presses come second-best when sheer speed and quality are the prime concerns.
Despite running off its one trillionth page in 2014, the digital printing process is still a relatively small sector of the overall print industry, accounting for single-digit percentages of print production. Digital presses require separate operating environments and specially trained operators and as such it is still a niche corner of the industry.
Even though it is the standard-bearer of premium quality output, offset printing cannot be considered the solution. Total cost of ownership (TCO) makes short-run printing using this method prohibitive; the various chemicals, plates, inventory and maintenance needs are costly, necessitating long print runs if profit is to be achieved.
That’s where the Landa Nanographic Printing Process aims to find a third way. This is a solution that aims to finally settle the old digital vs. offset debate, blending the versatility of digital printing with the high production quality and speed of throughput associated with offset printing.
One of the pillars of the Nanography process is the tiny size of its colourants. Nanotechnology applications have helped the Landa team reduce ink particles to an ultra-small, nanometric scale, producing extremely effective colouring solutions. Landa NanoInk is therefore about half the size of the pigments used in most commercial inks, and thanks to a larger surface area that allows for more light capture, they create a finish that is more vivid and brilliant – and at a better value than many inks.
For short-run jobs- say 5,000 to 7,000 sheets long, the S10 Nanographic Printing Press from Landa is more profitable than any other technology. It features a four-colour unit configuration that prints some 6,500 sheets per hour at 1,200dpi.
Evolution and progress have aimed to deliver what modern businesses demand, namely short, sharp, flexible runs that can adapt to need while staying profitable and maintaining quality. The best of three worlds, you might say.