Big Picture - May 2018 - 30

cogent arguments over the years on why the laminate industry
should adopt digital printing - the demand for customized,
lifestyle-type environments (think fields of flowers on surfaces in
a hospital) - the strategic potential isn't connecting for reasons
that are not fully clear. Perhaps the traditionally low perceived
value of laminates in the minds of buyers is a barrier.

11

BIG PICTURE

May 2018

PRINTED ELECTRONICS
In the electronics industry, components are made
by batch manufacturing processes. For example,
LCD panels are made on single, super-large glass substrates that
are then cut down to consumer size in an automated process.
Semiconductors are made this way, as well. The dream is to
come up with a roll-to-roll manufacturing technique for
functional components, which has created interest over the
years in using the patterning and chemical-application techniques of the print industry (certainly not just digital print, by the
way). But beyond the already established and relatively crude
screen printing of circuit boards, the use of print to manufacture
these components has not really taken off. This has to do with
the paucity of room temperature chemistries (necessary for print
processes as we know them) with the appropriate functionality
(like speed of charge transmission, for example) as much as
anything. The drive toward ever smaller components is another
obstacle, as there are limits in taking any form of print from
macro- to nano-scale. Some work continues to bring inkjet into
these fields, but true electronics patterning is still at an early
stage. By the way, the printing of electronic patterns should not
be confused with the coating of active chemistries such as
photoluminescents or organic photovoltaics, applications where
screen printing is widely used.

30

strategic to the consumer economy. The value of printed and
converted output from this industry globally is more than $40
billion. Wide format has also given rise to technologies that
have been applied in other markets such as direct to shape and
textile. Those new applications represent a further 30 percent of
value beyond the original wide-format market.

14

CERAMIC TILES
We like to say that the rule of production in
digital markets is that they coexist alongside
analog print doing different things and often not affecting the
existing technologies directly. (Wide format is a great
example.) However, the ceramic tile industry is the exception
to that theory. The previous print process used for ceramic
tiles was clumsy, slow, very expensive, and inconsistent;
changes in the print results dissatisfied buyers and could even
cause manufacturing problems in firing the finished tiles. It's
also exceptional that most of the work to develop printers that
could jet ceramic pigments (theoretically a difficult chemistry
for inkjet) was undertaken by the existing analog vendors and
not the true digital print community. The result is that we're
approaching 80 percent market penetration, nearly a complete
technology substitution by digital, after only 12 years or so.

15

WOOD
Wood is a very specialized market and can take
many applied forms, but the two important
sectors are flooring and doors. It's not a large industry (with
output well under 11 billion square feet and a market for fewer
than 100 flatbed printers) and has been served well with digital
print, particularly by a Spanish company called Barberan.

12

16

13

LAST WORD

TEXTILES
Textiles are a huge success story for digital print.
The victory has been two-fold - at the low end
with dye sublimation for both fashion and soft signage, and at
the high end with reactive dyes for production roll-to-roll
printing. The excellent functionality of textiles as a light, easily
transported, and brilliant form of signage has been one key
market driver. But even more important, digital printing
answers key demands in the apparel world at both the high and
low end of the market. The fashion industry is driven by very
fast cycles, with social media and fragmentation of markets
placing a huge premium on short runs, fast supply, and rapid
change. These are core benefits of digital print (though digital is
not facing a static competitor in screen print). This market is
getting close to a steep commercial development curve, though
it's also dependent on major changes in brand- and retail-driven
supply chains that are out of the technology developers' control.
DISPLAY GRAPHICS
Display graphics is a 20-plus-year-old market.
From a vendor perspective, it feels very mature as
a by-product of the brutal competition in this sector. But despite
falling hardware and ink prices, the market is still growing
healthily in terms of demand. Wide-format inkjet comprises
many applications, but the core driver remains the ability to
provide local retailers with P-O-P graphics, supporting the sale
of consumer goods and serving a function that can be called

WALLCOVERINGS
In most of the world, wallcoverings are a good
example of an established and conservative
market. In fact, wallcovering usage varies greatly around the
world based on strong cultural factors. This is another market
where wholehearted efforts have been made for years to get
digital printing into the mainstream supply chain. Digitally
printed wallcoverings are quite popular today, and their usage
is growing. This is another specialized market, but a much
larger one with considerable consumer potential. Digital
printing's success - due in no small measure to the availability
of a waterproof and odorless chemistry in HP's latex technology
- has occurred through the development of a separate,
parallel retail and converter channel not within the traditional
wallcoverings supply chain. Another driver was the emergence of wall graphics using removable adhesive and cut
shapes to further leverage digital's ability to print small
quantities in varying forms.

So, there you have it: industrial inkjet printing broken down into
16 categories. Sixteen different digital print markets that you
can sink your teeth into. Will you stick to the tried-and-true
display graphics sector, or is time to branch out and start
printing on wood and ceramics, invest in 3D printing, or make a
move to package printing? The ever-growing possibilities with
digital print are truly endless - what will you print next?



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Big Picture - May 2018

Big Picture - May 2018
Contents
Insight
Wide Angle
Upfront
Extreme Vinyl
Business + Management
New Direction
Let’s Talk Industrial
R+D
Job Log
Big Picture - May 2018 - Intro
Big Picture - May 2018 - Big Picture - May 2018
Big Picture - May 2018 - Cover2
Big Picture - May 2018 - Contents
Big Picture - May 2018 - Insight
Big Picture - May 2018 - 3
Big Picture - May 2018 - Wide Angle
Big Picture - May 2018 - 5
Big Picture - May 2018 - Upfront
Big Picture - May 2018 - 7
Big Picture - May 2018 - 8
Big Picture - May 2018 - 9
Big Picture - May 2018 - 10
Big Picture - May 2018 - 11
Big Picture - May 2018 - 12
Big Picture - May 2018 - 13
Big Picture - May 2018 - 14
Big Picture - May 2018 - 15
Big Picture - May 2018 - Extreme Vinyl
Big Picture - May 2018 - 17
Big Picture - May 2018 - Business + Management
Big Picture - May 2018 - 19
Big Picture - May 2018 - New Direction
Big Picture - May 2018 - 21
Big Picture - May 2018 - 22
Big Picture - May 2018 - 23
Big Picture - May 2018 - 24
Big Picture - May 2018 - 25
Big Picture - May 2018 - 26
Big Picture - May 2018 - 27
Big Picture - May 2018 - Let’s Talk Industrial
Big Picture - May 2018 - 29
Big Picture - May 2018 - 30
Big Picture - May 2018 - 31
Big Picture - May 2018 - 32
Big Picture - May 2018 - 33
Big Picture - May 2018 - 34
Big Picture - May 2018 - 35
Big Picture - May 2018 - 36
Big Picture - May 2018 - 37
Big Picture - May 2018 - 38
Big Picture - May 2018 - 39
Big Picture - May 2018 - 40
Big Picture - May 2018 - 41
Big Picture - May 2018 - 42
Big Picture - May 2018 - 43
Big Picture - May 2018 - 44
Big Picture - May 2018 - 45
Big Picture - May 2018 - R+D
Big Picture - May 2018 - 47
Big Picture - May 2018 - 48
Big Picture - May 2018 - 49
Big Picture - May 2018 - 50
Big Picture - May 2018 - 51
Big Picture - May 2018 - 52
Big Picture - May 2018 - 53
Big Picture - May 2018 - 54
Big Picture - May 2018 - 55
Big Picture - May 2018 - Job Log
Big Picture - May 2018 - Cover3
Big Picture - May 2018 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/bp_20191112
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