The 3-D printing effect
Another trend Blundell says will affect the wide-format graphics sector in 2016 is three-dimensional (3-D) printing, which has already allowed some types of manufacturing to move closer to what he refers to as “the point of consumption.”
“I believe we’ll start to see certain thing in our industry produced closer to that point,” he says. “With packaging and display applications, for example, this could give rise to some demand for short-run production. Right now, a short run to a packaging provider is still a few hundred thousand more than a designer needs when he or she is simply looking for a few prototype concepts. If these users could access printing, cutting and folding capabilities for shorter runs of packaging, they would be able to drive smaller devices self-sufficiently.”
Given such opportunities for specialized production, Blundell’s business advice to large-format PSPs and sign shops is to differentiate themselves from their competition by embracing less traditional graphic applications.
“Doing something a little different from the mainstream, like printing on wood or ceramics, will certain enhance their service offerings,” he says. “Marketing and brand managers are always looking to maximize the creative potential of their budgets, so suggesting something new that grabs their attention opens up dialogue and hopefully the opportunity to win their business.”
With files from InfoTrends, ISA and SAi. For more information, visit www.infotrends.com, www.signs.org/research and www.thinksai.com.