Digital printing more preferred over offset for shorter runs

Soma Tah
New Update

Soma Tah


Digital printing accounted for 13.9 per cent of all print and printed packaging in value terms, in 2015, according to a Smithers Pira report. The report also forecast that digital will be 17.4 per cent of value and 3.4 per cent of all print and printed packaging volume in 2020, which demonstrates a clear offset to digital transition also.

The reasons that this growing phenomenon of digital printing is hard to ignore are -one, when compared to offset printing, digital printing process is less time-consuming and the other, it is cost-effective for short-runs.

Puneet Datta, Director, Professional Printing Products (PPP) Division, Canon India speaks on the demand drivers and the growth prospects further.


puneet-new-b-1How was the previous year for the digital printing business?

2016 has been a very significant year in digital printing and that was reflected in the largest printing equipment exhibition, Drupa also. If you look at the history of Drupa, it has always been an offset show, dominated by the brands in the conventional printing industry but the show this year stands as a proof that the world of printing is turning towards digital because all the major showcases even from some commercial old printers and brands shown digital printing.

Could you please tell us about some of the drivers of digital printing?


Let me give you an example here. Suppose you have to print 2,000 copies of a brochure. But you will get the advice of printing 5,000 copies of it as the cost of whether you print 5,000 copies or 2,000 cost will remain the same in offset printing scenario. But with digital printing you can even print even one copy of it, without worrying on the cost part. The reason digital printing is growing is that it enables you to print as per requirement and it can handle variable data. It can print very fast and can deliver it even on the same day, whereas in conventional printing the process might take 2-3 days.

What kind of trends do you see in this space?

We feel, printing solutions are getting more and more critical for digital printing. For example, web-to-print solutions make collaboration easy between those who buy printed products and those who sell them. From the user perspective, it brings in ease, save times and cost both, while it gives print service providers a centralized method of administration where the status can be tracked at any point in the printing process.


How has been the growth for Canon so far in digital printing segment?

Digital printing now is one of the mainstream businesses that people would be investing in a lot. We think that the industry will still continue to grow at about 10-15% in the coming years and that’s a very encouraging figure considering the growth figure in most of the mature economies is in single digit now.

We’ve been seeing almost 12-20% growth for the last 5-6 years in terms of unit placements of digital- specifically color cut sheet machines. But, India and China are the two geographies that we feel are poised to grow significantly in this space.


What are some of the advances being made to make digital printing more comparable to offset printing?

Color consistency has always remained one of the most important and crucial aspects of digital printing and we are very proud to say that not only the earlier models but the imagePRESS C10000 takes it at least a couple of steps further in terms of color consistency. That’s one of the banes of digital printing which we are very proud to say that this printer has addressed very well.

Where do you see the demand uptick?

While demands of conventional printing is coming down, demands of digital printing is growing. All your visiting cards, letter heads, etc. get digitally printed nowadays. Printing of bills will be another major driver, as we see more credit cards getting issued, more telecom connections and more electricity connections happening. Apart from that a lot of promotional materials will also be printed in digital presses.

canon digital-printing