By Ginny Mumm
Along with the rest of the Canadian economy, the digital printing industry has experienced its share of turbulence this year. Between supply chain slowdowns and currency fluctuations, print service providers (PSPs) have had to be nimble and prepared for possible material and equipment delays. Still, demand for digital printing remains strong. In fact, according to Marketsandmarkets.com, the size of the global digital printing market is expected to grow from US$24.8 billion (C$31 billion) in 2021 to US$34.3 billion (C$44.2 billion) by 2026, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.7 per cent. The report credits “growing demand for sustainable printing and developments in packaging and textile industries” as key factors driving the market’s growth.1
Innovations in printer technology, inks, and software have enabled PSPs to address today’s market demands head-on, including the continuing rise of e-commerce and the macro trend towards personalization and customization. To further explore the industry’s growth, we spoke with Roland DGA product managers Daniel Valade, Jay Roberts, and Kitt Jones, as well as regional sales manager Don Ross, for insight on the Canadian digital printing market.
Revving up colour production
What are some of the wide-format printing trends you have seen?
Daniel Valade (DV): We definitely foresee a continuation of the personalization and customization trend through 2022 and beyond. This trend has fostered the development of additional robust, reliable, and affordable desktop printers and printer/cutters for providers looking to enter the market. These devices enable users to produce T-shirts, posters, stickers, and decal graphics from home or a smaller office.
As the pandemic winds down and trade shows slowly return, manufacturers of wide-format equipment have continued to develop additional ways to communicate with clients. Using social media channels, road shows, and special events, companies are working to provide users with valuable product updates, tips, and insights for maximizing business growth, productivity, and profitability.
How are newer ink formulations contributing to the advancement of colour printing?
DV: Today’s expanded colour gamuts and inkset options provide vibrancy and smooth colour transitions which make printed output more accurate than ever. Specialized inks offer new options for orange and green which, when paired with the latest software, allow users to reach new areas of colour including purples, reds, greens, and other previously challenging hues.
Are there any new software developments for colour product printers?
DV: Software is also undergoing rapid transformation as companies introduce apps which allow users to remotely monitor their printer operations. The development of automation software for easier and faster production is among the other leading trends we are seeing.
What new directions do you see for colour printing overall heading into 2023?
DV: We expect the push for superior colour output to continue, with manufacturers developing software, hardware, and ink options to simplify workflows and enhance colour management. We are also seeing increasing sales interest as print shops emerge from the uncertainty of the last few years.