The graphics industry reinvents itself

APRIL 2011

07-01-01Print runs are smaller because of the recession and because the Internet and multimedia content are changing consumption habits of printed products. Working with new technology, the graphics industry is getting ready to compete in search of applications, materials, finishes, designs and formats that provide “a little bit extra” and is exploring alternatives for creating new printing products and services. All this and more can be seen at Graphispag from 22 to 26 March.

In the sector, nobody doubts that traditional graphic products like books, magazines, newspapers, advertising leaflets, catalogues and posters will continue to be printed, but everyone believes that they will have to provide more added value. How? Using imagination, new technologies and media and with increased knowledge of the needs and tastes of the end user, who must be considered as a creator of “printable” content.

Experts predict that demand will increase for high quality graphic products printed on demand, tailor-made publications, personalised catalogues, packaging items and large format printing. Digital printing, web-to-print, enhanced reality, new sustainable inks, materials and media, and the combination of techniques to improve finishes will lay down the boundaries in this new scenario.

Some successful experiences

07-01-03The Barcelona-based company Propagandaare the people behind the La Vanguardia, archive store, which enables readers to make online orders of editions of the newspaper published on their dates of birth, single articles, books with copies in various formats, canvases with covers, posters and other specially produced products. A web to print application and a digital printing device make this possible.
07-01-04In Madrid, Clorofila Digital specialises in large format printing on any material, including paper, wood, glass, plastic, textiles, ceramics and metal, and even more unusual media such as compacted sand from rivers and baked bread. The applications are enormous for areas such as interior decoration, architecture, museums, advertising and events, and the results, like those on display in their showroom, are spectacular.
07-01-05In Seville, the technological company Arpa Solutions creates enhanced reality applications for publishing products and printed advertising, spreading paper out towards multimedia content. At present, an electronic device such as a computer or mobile is required, but visualisation using special goggles will soon be possible.

Functional printing, a business of the future

Printing third generation photovoltaic panels, intelligent packaging, biosensors for dispensing insulin to diabetics and measuring blood sugar levels, batteries, circuits, time and temperature sensors for active packaging, RFID antennae and invisible security codes for label and documents… All these functional printing applications are already being tested in the laboratory and are an opportunity for business and for restructuring for traditional graphics companies.

Manufacturing these new products involves using conventional printing systems (offset, flexography, rotogravure, inkjet, screen printing, etc.) in combination with special inks and intelligent materials. Technological Centres such as AIDO in Valencia, Estella in Navarra, CETEMMSA in Mataró and the European Union platform 3NEO are bringing these developments to the industrial community in order to be able to undertake mass production of these products within less than three years.