Internet-of-Things is impacting the Computer-to-Plate Industry | Trend Alert

Industry innovations offer higher quality, improved affordability and ease of implementation.

The Internet of Things’ (IoT) is exploding. There were 22 billion active Internet-connected devices at the end of 2018 which is expected to rise to 38.6 billion by 2025 and reach 50 billion by 2030, according to Enterprise Insights and a Strategy Analytics’ report. As connectivity grows, so does manufacturing capabilities to seamlessly integrate technologies with sensing, identification, automatic processing, communication, actuation and networking capabilities.

These advancements are no exception for the printing and  imaging industries. As technology evolves, business owners’ and consumers’ expectations for higher quality, affordability and faster turnaround times also rises.

Here are some of the latest Computer-to-Plate (CTP) trends impacted by these innovations:

CTP Implementation Increases

Initial acceptance of CTP technologies began over 10 years ago and has come a long way since then. Experts estimated annual revenues in the printing industry would be $199.5 billion, give or take inflation in 2018 and would continue to increase this year.

There are a number of prominent factors fueling the growth of global CTP systems. Some of these include digitally-automated processes, new environmental regulations, the introduction of   chemistry-free printing, ease of integration and the increasing use of multi-function systems for a wide variety of business  applications.

Printers Gain Easier Accessibility

CTP manufacturers invest millions of dollars every year in research and development, refining and perfecting CTP’s performance. Simultaneously, they adopt new advancements, create new technologies and introduce new equipment to the market. Furthermore, CTP solutions become a requirement for the pre-press and printing industries to remain competitive in today’s highly- digital, globally-competitive environment.

These changes positively impact business owners by giving them more CTP equipment, functionality, versatility and digital options from which to choose. In addition, the widespread capability of customers and printers to work with PDF formatted files simplifies the processes required to produce higher quality products faster. When operators print directly from PDF files, it removes problems with lost fonts, missing images and incorrectly linked files. These changes have also leveled the playing field, enabling printers of all sizes to reduce the  amount of resources and time it takes to produce jobs. In turn, printers can decrease customer prices.

Technology Provides Affordability

Not only do businesses have many more CTP equipment choices today, but the available  solutions also widely vary in price depending on a number of factors, including functionality, speed, size, style and output quality.

The latest innovations help make the latest generation of imagesetters more affordable depending on the different types of models in the marketplace. For example, current CTP solutions can improve the quality of output, eradicate film development processes, reduce the amount of chemicals, lower overall operating costs, cut  labor expenses and eliminate the need for off press platemaking.

A Greener Environmental Approach

Environmental regulations become more stringent each year.  As new laws are passed, the pressure  for companies to reduce their chemical usage grows.

The upside for environmentally-conscious customers want to know their printer is doing everything possible to minimize their ecological footprint. The benefit for employees is working in a safer environment without the chemicals required for traditional platemaking. Long-term exposure can have long-term health consequences. The advantage for business owners is cost. Typically, the closer the platemaking processes are to being chemistry free and/or processless results in a lower expenditure over time. In addition, there are fewer chemicals to purchase and dispose of, which saves costs, reduces energy consumption and eliminates waste.

To learn more about these sustainable advantages, read our blog: The Benefits of Chemistry-Free CTP Plates | Going Green.

The Takeaway

The printing industry — like many others — has experienced many changes over the years. In spite of those changes,  it has endured. The market is healthy, according to a number of reports and studies.  The economic footprint for the United States, alone, is sizable. According to Printing Industries of America (PIA), the trade produces approximately $170 billion in annual sales, employs over 800,000 people and includes roughly 42,000 establishments.

And growth will most likely continue as the IoT generates many more opportunities.