5 September 2014

The digital printing revolution could make businesses even more agile: HP

Source: HP. High-impact retail graphics, floor covering and corrugated display applications printed using HP Latex and Scitex Digital printing technologies at the new HP Graphics Solutions Centre of Excellence in Singapore.

Commercial digital printing presses are revolutionising what we can do for business printing. Whereas printers with traditional offset printing presses require a minimum number of the same item to be printed before it becomes economical, digital printers can personalise any number of items on many types of materials affordably, whether it is a print run of one or a thousand.

Gido van Praag, VP, Graphics Solutions Business, HP Asia Pacific and Japan, shared that digital printing is driving customer interest in different countries. In Japan, Sony customised Walkman boxes with well known cartoon characters with HP Indigo and saw 300% revenue growth, while in Singapore, local business Prestige Label has used HP Indigo to offer a broader palette of applications and deal with shorter print runs. "The work starts for us when the printer is sold. We work together with the customer to maximise the asset base and the profitability of their investment," said van Praag.
Custom labels on
water bottles.
In a world where brand owners need to stand out or get lost in the crowd and ever-shorter promotion cycles, being able to individualise an item quickly is a big advantage, added Nick Lazaridis, Senior Vice President, Printing and Personal Systems and Managing Director, HP Asia Pacific and Japan. 

He disclosed that HP printed the 800 million custom labels that were used in place of the Coca Cola logo for the company's Share a Coke' campaign over three months. While Share a Coke has not been held in Asia Pacific, the campaign made it to global headlines for its creativity and the enthusiastic response from customers. 

"Digital printing enables companies to be more responsive and agile," agreed Thien Kwee Eng, Assistant MD, Singapore Economic Development Board, who noted that research firm IDC had forecast a digital printing CAGR of 20% from 2013 to 2018. 

"Book publishers utilise digital printing primarily for new titles, reprints and custom titles to reduce inventory holding costs and market niche books. In the world of fast moving consumer goods, digital printing enables companies to vary packaging with seasonally-focused marketing campaigns or localised messages to improve their reach to customers."

HP's newly opened 21,000 sq m Graphics Solutions Centre of Excellence in Tuas, Singapore, gives an idea of the extent of HP’s digital printing portfolio and solutions, including from partners

“Brand owners are facing increased competition as consumer choice and expectations have exploded. As a result, they’ve moved into the digital world to connect more powerfully with their customers,” said van Praag.

“The new HP Centre of Excellence aims to give them the tools to compete, helping brands identify new ways to combine their unique skills with the industry’s broadest portfolio of innovative digital printing solutions, and its unparalleled application capabilities.”

Printing companies will be able to benchmark and conduct end-to-end application testing of their HP digital printing equipment, while brands and agencies will be able to browse inspirational ideas and work on pilot projects in a real-world production environment.

"The limitation today is not the technology. The limitation is in the mind," said Alon Bar-Shany, General Manager, HP Indigo Division, HP Graphics Solutions Business.

Selected HP commercial printers can handle fabrics.

Packaging can be printed for consumer goods of all shapes and sizes. 

It is a matter of "print what you want, when you want, how much you want" in order to stay relevant to the market, said James Yew, who was at the HP Digital Supermarket section of the Centre of Excellence to demonstrate what HP Indigo can do.

HP commercial printers can print heat transfers that can be applied onto a range of surfaces. 

Textured pages, apps that recognise the images to deliver augmented reality experiences and NFC where a related file is transferred to a mobile device placed close to the picture are some ideas for businesses.