Start Here October '20

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33 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 2 0 ROLL-TO-ROLL ON THE RISE "The print-on-demand continues to grow as a portion of the total roll-to- roll print market; between 2012 and 2018, on-demand went from 30 billion to 38 billion square meters annually, and the ubiquity of eCommerce, social media-driven concepts, and online design tools promises to accelerate that trend in the year to come," reports Robert Zoch, global content manager, Kornit Digital. "Print technologies and systems that offer versatility/adaptability to differ- ent substrates, more design and color gamut capabilities, and a shorter end- to-end process (i.e. from order to ship- ment) are best-positioned to thrive in this environment," he explains. He points out that the term "micro- factory" as a production concept con- tinues to gain advocates, bringing the complete production process to one location and simplifying supply chain logistics while minimizing their asso- ciated risks. "Heightened automation capabilities (such as web-to-print) and the need to near shore operations for quicker delivery (i.e., proximity pro- duction) contribute to adoption of microfactory strategies." SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS Zoch adds that sustainability is a major driving force in the evolution of print technologies, as it is across a broad swath of industries. "Imprinted textiles constitute one of the world's largest contributors to water waste and pollution, and consumers increasingly demand products manufac- tured in a responsible and eco-conscious manner," Zoch says. "Technologies and processes that eliminate water waste, and reverse trends of environmental damage, are suited to succeed in this market. This bodes well for pigment inks relative to reactives and other dyes, as well." THE NEED FOR SPEED "Speed is always a factor for growth in this segment, but I think the move to the high-speed 3 meter market is becom- ing much stronger," says Agfa's Jason Hamilton, director strategic marketing and senior solutions architect, based in their Mississauga, Canada, office. "In addition, more finishing options and the use of hybrid textile/fabric with mesh kits are other growth areas," he adds. "New features to this printing technol- ogy include inline XY cutting, a camera for registration and barcode reading, two- stage rolls for continuous print mode (like a web press), and mesh kits," he notes. Bluemedia has created products for multiple Super Bowls including this year's SBLIV in Miami. (Images courtesy of bluemedia) Stratojet's Falcon XL 330 is the company's first 3.3 meter, 10 foot wide machine. (Image courtesy Stratojet USA)

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