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2018/2/27 15:31:57


To answer these questions, as well as address some other emerging trends for the coming year, we assembled a panel of industry experts that included equipment and media suppliers. Our roundtable hosted: David Conrad, Director of Sales and Marketing at Mutoh America, Inc.; Lily Hunter, Product Manager, Textiles and Consumables - Roland DGA; Adam Larson, Global Portfolio Manager, 3M Commercial Solutions; Michael Maxwell, Senior Manager, Sign Graphics Business Development & Marketing at Mimaki USA; Becky McConnell, Product Manager, FUJIFILM North America Corporation, Graphic Systems Division; Jay Roberts, Product Manager, UV Printers - Roland DGA; Sharon Roland, Advertising & PR Manager, Fisher Textiles; and Tom Wittenberg, Marketing Manager, The Americas - Sign & Décor Graphic Solutions Business at HP.

17年年底,我们召集了一个标识供应商组成的专家小组,来共同探讨并解决来年的一些新趋势,这次论坛会议的主持人是Mutoh America公司的营销总监David Conrad。专家小组来自Roland DGA公司的产品经理Lily Hunter、3M公司的投资经理Adam Larson、Mimaki业务开发和营销高级经理Michael Maxwell、北美FUJIFILM 公司的产品经理Becky McConnell、Roland DGA公司的产品经理Jay Roberts 、Fisher Textiles公司的公关经理Sharon Roland,以及惠普公司美洲市场的营销经理Tom Wittenberg。


What are some of the key drivers and trends shaping the wide-format printing industry in 2017 and beyond?


Conrad: Markets such as dye sublimation and textile are opening doors for print shops and service providers to explore new opportunities in: advancements in ink technology and media, along with enhanced printer offerings, combined to make the textile, fashion, specialty and sports apparel markets attractive areas for growth.


Wittenberg: Some of the trends that I see from the major brands that drive the wide-format printing industry include a shift from "mass marketing" to "my marketing," meaning that there is a shift from one-size-fits-all to specific messaging designed for very specific target markets or demographics to drive sales. Big data and variable data handling capabilities also will drive segments into new areas of profit. Sustainability is another one as environmental compliance is gaining strength, albeit slowly, but it is now a critical differentiator for more brands than in the past.

Wittenberg: 我从推动宽幅打印的主要品牌中,看到一些趋势,包括从“大众营销”向“个性化定制营销”转变,这意味着从一刀切到专为特定目标人群而设计来推动销售。大数据和可变数据也意味着行业进入了新的利润阶段。可持续发展是另一个新的趋势,由于环境合规性逐渐增强,虽然速度很慢,但现在对于更多的品牌而言,是一个更重要的差异化因素。

There is also a greater need for differentiation in the market to capture attention in less than the "seven seconds" a brand has to attract a buyer. Look for more short runs - versioning and customization are becoming commonplace as brands work to differentiate themselves and provide messaging to specific market segments and demographics.


In addition, the advent of lower-cost electronic signage is at some point going to be attractive enough to coexist with traditional print signage, resulting in some level of impact on the print business as a whole. How much of an impact, no one knows, but ultimately this will happen.


Roland: Retail and trade show markets continue to influence trends in the wide-format industry. Silicone-edge graphics (SEGs) are very popular across both of these markets because of the clean look, easy install and "wow" factor. Fabric graphics add visual and sensory benefits as well as low shipping costs to transport material. Advancements in fabric characteristics add to the vibrancy of color for printed graphics in these systems. Most fabric manufacturers offer multiple options for SEGs that have adequate stretch, a bright white point and are geared towards either frontlit or backlit, depending on the desired end application.


In retail marets, SEGs are prominent in window displays and in-store graphics including wayfinding signage and point-of-purchase displays. For trade show exhibit environments, many exhibitors are turning to SEGs for complete booth signage and use them to create free-standing structures or hang them from the ceiling.


Larson: Strong competition, both from the manufacturer, distributor and graphic manufacturer sides, are key drivers that shape trends within the industry. People are getting better and better at what they do, so the need to differentiate from the competition is steadily becoming stronger. Understanding how your customers make decisions and where they go to make them continues to change, and is vital information for all vendors to understand. This hyper-competition is forcing graphic manufacturers to search for additional applications to help grow business with current customers, and broaden their offerings to provide more comprehensive solutions for potential new customers.



Hunter: Personalization, customization and specialty graphics continue to be in high demand, so we expect continued growth within these markets in 2017 and beyond. Demand for UV printers and inks, such as Roland's VersaUV flatbeds and ECO-UV ink formulations, will grow along with this rising personalization/customization trend. Other than print speed and image quality, uniqueness and creativity are driving the market. Print service providers (PSPs) are looking for cool new products that will help them expand into additional markets and attract new customers.

Hunter: 个性化定制专业图形的需求量仍然很高,我们预计2017年以后市场份额将持续增长。另一方面,随着个性化定制趋势的不断增长,对UV打印机和墨水的需求也将随之增长,例如Roland的VersaUV平板和ECO-UV墨水配方都相应得到了变化。除了打印速度和图像质量以外,独特性和创造力的技术正在推动市场,赢得竞争力。打印服务提供商(PSP)正在寻找新产品,这将有助于他们扩大到更多的市场,吸引新的客户。

We also expect demand for dye-sublimated products to grow as well, whether it is for environmentally friendly soft signage or eye-catching metal photo panels, which should translate into increased sales for dye-sublimated printers and inks. Another growing trend is the use of cross-technology platforms, which involves using different printing technologies together to create a single project. A couple of examples would be sublimation and engraving on rigid substrates, or eco-solvent print/cut combined with UV technology. I liken the different printing and ink technologies to different tools in your tool box - each tool can do a great job on its own, but when used in combination, they can handle a greater variety of projects and create that "wow" factor.


Maxwell: Soft signage is driving this market in new directions, and is the biggest trend shaping the industry at this time. Media compatibility and coating technologies combined with the need for smaller inventories and just-in-time production have created an environment that involves many of the available printing technologies. Other applications that signal a positive trend are object decoration and industrial printing, which are largely driven by improvements in UV ink technology. Specific UV printer platforms that cater to this demand have emerged and are driving creativity into new areas.

Maxwell: 软标牌正在推动这个市场向新的方向发展,是当前塑造行业的最大趋势。介质兼容性和涂层技术,加上对较小库存与准时生产的需求,创造了一个很好的制作环境。另一种积极趋势的应用是工业印刷,这主要受到UV油墨技术改进的推动,满足这一需求的特定UV打印机平台已经涌现,并将创意带入了新的领域。

McConnell: We see the industrial market as a growth sector for printing technologies. As we've seen in other areas, demanded turnaround times and run lengths continue to decrease, so manufacturers are looking for ways to get products out the door faster. Inkjet offers a solution because it's the fastest way to produce short runs; there's no pre-press, no plate making, no make-readies and no lamination. Digital inkjet also offers cost reductions throughout the supply chain, with no minimum order quantities and no overprints help reduce waste. With advanced high-speed printers, robust handling systems and expanded ink systems, digital inkjet is a solution for industrial printing.

McConnell:我们认为工业市场是印刷技术的增长部门。 正如我们在其他领域所看到的那样,要求周转时间和运行周期不断减少,所以制造商正在寻求更快地将产品推出市场的方法。 而喷墨正是一个不错的解决方案,因为它是生产短版印刷的最快方法。此外,数字喷墨技术还可以在整个供应链中降低成本,没有最低的订货数量,也没有套印减少浪费。凭借先进的高速打印机、强大的处理系统和扩展的墨水系统,数字喷墨技术是工业印刷最完善的解决方案。

Where are the growth sectors for printing technologies such as UV, latex and solvent?


Maxwell: Due to advances in media compatibility and ease of production and shipping, print service providers using solvent, UV, latex and sublimation technologies are all benefiting from the soft signage trend. We predict 2017 as a year where wider printer platforms emerge as a result. We expect adoption of 126-inch platforms that can also produce narrower widths.


Wittenberg: Each of these technologies has its own special characteristics that make it useful. Of the three, solvent/eco-solvent are looking for growth; however, the nature of the chemistry and the hazards it poses to the user are driving the transition of solvent/eco-solvent to UV and latex.

Wittenberg:溶剂、UV、乳胶打印技术,这些技术都有其特殊的特性,每一种都非常有用。 三者中,生态环保溶剂正在寻求一种增长方式,但是,也正因为生态溶剂的化学性质及其对使用者造成的危害,推动了生态环保溶剂向UV和乳胶溶剂应用转变。

For latex, the growth sectors are decoration (+25 percent/year CAGR) and soft signage/textiles (+25 percent/year CAGR), while UV sees significant opportunity in corrugated displays and custom boxes (+50 percent/year CAGR). Decoration and displays, in particular, are in the early adoption phase of growth making it extremely profitable for those that are quick to enter.

对于乳胶,应用增长最快的领域是在装饰(+ 25%/年复合年增长率)和软标牌/纺织品(年均复合增长率+ 25%),而UV技术大多数则应用在展示和定制上(+ 50%/年复合年增长率)。 装饰品和展示品处于基础的应用阶段,对于那些快速进入市场的人来说是非常有利可得的。

Finally, there are eco-friendly solutions, such as HP Latex Technology, that have a very strong niche carved out for themselves, not only because of the green characteristics of the latex inks but also due to the recyclability of consumables.


Conrad: The growth sectors are in UV and dye sublimation/textile printing. UV provides alternatives to traditional printing techniques to produce specialty printed products and opportunities to enhance existing markets such as printed electronics, circuit boards, trophy and awards along with the packaging and prototype markets they currently play in. UV ink technology is opening doors to new applications such as backlit film and trade show graphics. Dye sublimation and textile printing are allowing print shops and service providers to explore new opportunities in new markets such as short-run fashion, sports apparel and more.

Conrad: UV为传统的打印技术提供了替代产品和特殊产品,并提升了打印电子产品的质量,比如目前所使用的包装市场。UV油墨技术为新应用打开了大门,如背光薄膜和贸易展示图形。此外,染料升华和织物打印为标识服务提供商在服装等新市场中,探索到了新的机遇。

And, while latex has come a long way in growing into print shops, thanks mostly to the intensive marketing push and efforts put behind that technology by major OEMs, eco-solvent ink continues to provide the best solution for superior print quality through its extended color gamut, ability to print on a wider variety of substrates and its proven track record for indoor and outdoor applications that span a wide variety of markets.


Larson: Latex continues to be strong sector for growth in the industry. The ease of setting up a latex machine, quick job turnarounds and beautiful prints with latex appeal to most customers, especially those just getting into the industry. UV continues to grow as well. Customers seeking out new applications often find hybrid UV printers to be the best solution, as they allow you to print on more standard roll-to-roll printers and on a variety of different rigid substrates. The addition of white ink allows print providers to do unique things with UV printers. This includes the creation of texture, dimension and neat effects that allow graphic manufacturers to stand out from their competition and those that may not have access to a UV printer.

Larson: 乳胶打印技术仍然是行业增长的强劲领域。乳胶机的易用性、快速的工作周转和漂亮的印花吸引了大多数客户,特别是那些刚刚进入这个行业的客户。同时,UV打印的需求也在不断增长,寻求新应用的客户会经常发现,混合UV打印机是最好的解决方案,因为它们可以在更多的标准下,在卷到卷打印机和各种不同的刚性基材上进行打印。白色墨水的添加能使UV打印机做出独特的效果,这包括纹理、尺寸和整洁效果的创造,使标识制造商能够在竞争中脱颖而出。

Roberts: The steady increase in demand for specialty graphics is opening up lucrative opportunities for both manufacturers and PSPs, and we expect this trend to continue in 2017 and for years to come. As mentioned, the personalization and customization of various items and products is also resulting in greater demand for UV printers and inks. Not only are users able to print their basic "bread-and-butter" jobs that sustain their business, but they can also venture into other cool, new, artistic projects that garner higher margins. Innovative printers and inks that enable users to capitalize on these trends are becoming increasingly popular. New printers allow users to print on everything from lunch boxes and laptops to tabletops and doors.


What are some of the new options in media and ink?


Roland: Fisher Textiles' wrinkle-resistant backlit material is engineered for light dispersion to produce backlit prints. It has a slight stretch for a tight fit and presents an extremely vivid print that is amplified when backlit. A treated version is available for direct dye sub, UV and latex printing and an untreated version is available for dye sub transfer. This fabric was awarded SGIA's Product of the Year award for Media Framing Systems.

Roland:Fisher Textiles的抗皱背光材料是专为轻分散而生产的背光印花,它可以轻微的伸展,紧身贴合,当背光放大时,能产生一个非常生动的打印效果。经过处理的版本可用于直接染料、UV和乳胶打印,未经处理的版本可用于染料次转印。

We just recently released a new fabric for frontlit SEG, for UV, direct and transfer dye sub printing. It is a specially treated fabric that is very stable.


Wittenberg: In terms of inks, latex inks continue to develop in the areas of durability and scratch-resistance. This has allowed the sale of printers into traditionally strong solvent/eco-solvent applications such as wraps and outdoor signage. Media, too, continues to develop, although not at as rapidly a pace. The fact that inks are becoming more robust is allowing them to be used on more existing media which is driving growth.


Hunter: When it comes to media, new options include a greater variety of "green" media for output providers to choose from. For the most part, this wider choice of eco-friendly materials has resulted from the need to meet new and changing environmental laws and regulations.

Hunter: 谈到材料,新的产品涉及更多“绿色”的理念,供输出供应商选择。大多数情况下,环境友好材料的选择范围更广,这也恰好满足了新环境下的法律法规。

For inks, demand is steadily growing for newer offerings like fluorescent inks for dye-sublimation applications.


Specially formulated UV inks are also extremely popular, enabling users to increase the value of their products by adding not only vibrant color graphics, but also unique varnish and embossing effects. Manufacturers like Roland continue to offer customers a wider option of eco-solvent inks as well, including cost-effective formulations that deliver not only wider color gamut, but also faster drying and greater media compatibility.


McConnell: Some of the new media options that we see resonating with our partners is lighter weight materials to help drive down shipping expense. Medias like metallic-faced foam core substrates and expanded PVC with simulated surfaces (like wood grain) help print providers offer high end and eye-catching products, while saving clients freight charges.

McConnell: 我们看到很多合作伙伴在一些新材料的选择上,选择了减材料,这样可以帮助降低运输费用。例如,金属材料的表面和膨胀聚氯乙烯与(如木纹)能制作出高端引人注目的产品,这些材料质量较轻,还能有效地节省运费。

Media continues to become more earth-friendly, and we see that print providers and end users are very conscious of green products.


As far as new options for ink, we have released an ink specific for printing on corrugated as we see growth in that market. It features a low odor, more similar to what a print provider would expect from offset or flexo. Ink development and R&D are critical to success in regards to inks for high production machines, and customer demands like ink for food packaging and application-specific inks will continue to help push the development of wide-format inkjet technology and where it fits.


Conrad: Flexible UV ink will open doors for even more applications while white and silver provide alternatives for various applications such as prototypes, specialty labels and stickers.

Conrad: 灵活的UV油墨将为更多的应用打开大门,而白色和银色油墨为各种应用提供了替代品,如特种标签和贴纸。

Maxwell: Media coating options have advanced quite a bit in recent years, and media manufacturers have improved their offerings. Most print service providers only utilize one side of the medium, which has opened up the possibility for manufacturers to offer multi-use products. Some products are coated on one side for solvent, UV or latex, and are able to be sublimated on the reverse uncoated side. Improvements in ink flexibility and durability, plus expanded color offerings, have also improved compatibility with these media and have enabled PSPs to offer wider gamut prints with ink technologies that were previously limited in those areas.

Maxwell: 近年来,材料涂层的选择已经有了很大的进步,标识制造商在不断改进他们的产品。大多数打印服务提供商仅利用介质的多重属性,为标识制造商提供了多用途产品的可能性。一些产品的其中一面涂有溶剂或乳胶,并且能够在未涂覆的反面进行升华,油墨灵活性和耐久性方面的改进、产品颜色的扩展、介质兼容性的改善,使得油墨印刷技术得到了充分的发挥。

Larson: 3M has recently introduced more non-white print films such as a clear printable wrap film, which allows graphic manufacturers to tap into their creative side when offering wrap solutions to their customers. We also introduced one of the first printable, wrappable metallic films that allows installers to achieve shimmering accents and bold statements in an innovative way.

Larson: 3M公司最近推出了一系列非白色打印薄膜,清晰可印刷的薄膜,使得标识制造商在为其客户提供解决方案时,呈现更多创意的元素。此外,我们推出了首批可打印的可缠绕金属薄膜,这种薄膜使安装者能够以创新的方式实现闪烁的效果。

Where are the new and emerging markets for output providers?


Roland: New fabric markets for output providers include sports marketing, festivals/events and apparel. Ample opportunities are available in sports marketing for end uses including but not limited to: stadium graphics, outdoor graphics, acoustical aids and media backdrops. For festivals and events, custom printed canopy tents, promotional table throws, printed crowd control barriers and backdrops for red carpet events are all becoming very popular uses of fabric graphics.

Roland: 织物面料应用的市场很多,包括体育、节日/活动和服装领域。体育领域一般为体育场图形、户外图形、声学辅助和背景图形。节日和活动上应用的一般为定制的打印帐篷,红地毯的背景等方面,这些使织物成为了非常流行的面料图形。

Apparel is one of the fastest growing markets for output providers. Custom apparel products are a hot trend in our industry, driven by consumers, sports organizations and corporate sponsors looking for soft, comfortable clothing with a personal touch. In recent years, fabric manufacturers began to offer apparel products made from recycled yarns, due to consumer demand for more environmental friendly products. These fabrics are made with recycled yarns from PET bottles, the result of closed loop recycling.


Applications for apparel include mainly active wear such as jerseys, sports shirts, yoga pants and leggings. All of these require a moisture management system that is present in fabrics geared towards apparel applications. Swimwear is also a growing application in the apparel market.


Conrad: Specialty, electronic and industrial markets offer opportunities for print providers to capture business with new ink technology and printing capabilities of wide-format devices on the market today.

Conrad: 专业电子和工业市场为标识供应商提供了新的机会,使他们能够利用当今市场上的新型油墨技术和大幅面设备的打印能力来获取更多业务。

Wittenberg: Decoration is a big emerging trend. Wallpaper, window blinds and canvases, and corrugated displays are in the early adoption phase for those willing to enter the market. The growth rates and margins are creating repeat purchases from the early adopters, enabling them to gain market share.

Wittenberg: 装饰是一个新兴的大趋势。墙纸、百叶窗、帆布以及波纹显示器,正处于进入市场采用的早期阶段。增长率和利润率从早期的采用者那里重复购买,使他们获得市场份额。

Soft signage and textiles are other markets that are starting to grow at the expense of traditional signage. In many cases, however, this requires the purchase of dye sublimation equipment, which takes the PSP out of their normal technology if not already in the dye sub market.


Maxwell: With improved printer speed, ink and media compatibility, we are seeing a trend of small- to medium-sized producers taking on larger jobs that may have traditionally been outsourced. This trend has opened a market for these smaller providers to bid on jobs at museums, airports, hospitals, etc.

Maxwell:  随着打印机速度的提高,墨水和介质兼容性的提升,我们看到中小型生产商正在承担传统上可能无法外包的大型工作,这一趋势为这些规模较小的供应商开放了竞争环境。

What are some of the best new applications and business opportunities for shops?

Roberts: As mentioned, dye sublimation and UV product personalization/customization represent two rapidly growing, potentially lucrative markets that PSPs can tap into. Both of these technologies are helping output providers grow and succeed.

Roberts: 如前所述,染料升华和UV产品的个性化定制代表了两个迅速发展方向与利润丰厚的市场,同时,这两种技术都在帮助输出供应商成长并取得成功。

While people usually associate dye sublimation with fabrics and textiles, the possibilities go beyond those applications. There are many rigid substrates that can be sublimated as well, including table tops, flooring, wall panels and more.


UV printers and inks are also opening up new business opportunities. One of the fastest-growing trends in the graphic arts industry is the use of specialized UV inks to create stunning dimensional and textural effects that really make the graphics "pop."


We are also seeing new developments and creative opportunities in mixed-media printing and art production. Experimentation leads to new, amazing processes and possibilities.


Wittenberg: The most immediate applications are the corrugated displays for retail environments, soft signage to replace existing rigid or flexible signage.

Wittenberg: 最直接的应用是用于零售环境的波纹显示器,软标识替代了现有的刚性或柔性标牌。

Maxwell: On the signage/graphics side, traditional applications such as banner and PVC still dominate demand; however, backlit, fine art and retail soft signage seem to be driving the newest opportunities with roll-to-roll devices. UV flatbed technology continues to present demand in the signage space, and object decoration is being rapidly adopted due to the virtually limitless applications and easy integration into many print environments. Whether you are an existing PSP or just starting out, the currently available technologies will all provide many opportunities for success.

Maxwell: 在标牌图形的应用上,横幅和PVC等传统应用仍占主导地位,然而,零售软标牌似乎正在推动卷到卷设备的发展,在市场获得一席之地。另一方面,UV平板技术继续在标牌空间中提出需求,由于它的应用范围广,易于集成到诸多打印环境中,作为室内装饰应用的角色被迅速采用。

Conrad: Textile industry applications, specialty and traditional screen printing applications are areas where digital printers are looking to grow their business. Ink and printer technology are growing to support these non-traditional markets.


Larson: At 3M, we believe new, reflective products will open up many great opportunities to apply reflective films to buildings, parking garages and other types of walls. Films like these provide installers with a film that stands up to the rigorous wrapping process that includes repositioning, elongation and conforming without severe bruising. It also features self-healing properties that keep the reflective quality of the film shining bright.

Larson: 在3M公司,我们相信新的反射膜能更好地应用在建筑物、停车场和其他类型的墙壁上,像这样的薄膜能为安装者提供质量的保障,经受过严格的包装过程,包括重新定位、伸长和贴合,并且没有任何划伤,具有自我修复功能,可以保持薄膜的反射质量。

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