Diversification and new markets

February 6, 2010 by  

Printing companies around Cambridge will be seeking new sustainable markets, as business rides out the recession. This will be true for smaller firms offering business card printing in Cambridge, and other forms of stationery printing, right the way through to large volume litho printers.

Manufacturers of printing machinery may provide the clues as to the shape of print markets, post recession. Major offset press manufacturers KBA, Manroland and Heidelberg would appear to be looking at diversification away from their core offset presses business. For example, in December 2009 Manroland was granted its 709th patent for an “inkjet printing apparatus”. This generated some speculation that the manufacturer was about to move into the digital wide-format market. It would appear that Heidelberg is also looking to diversify, after it was reported that they were actively seeking a partner for a digital print operation.

Whilst this could indicate the start of an interesting trend there will be some concern that major offset litho manufacturers will ‘take their eye off’ their core businesses.

In recent years developments to save time and money in the sheetfed sector have concentrated on improved automation systems. This may indicate the way forwards, i.e. additions to core offset litho but not total abandonment of the long established methods. It will be interesting to observe the movement in digital applications in the near future. Clearly, longstanding players will not want to miss out on new markets in the future and we could reasonably expect some movement to digital innovations.