Over the last few years we have seen a steady rise in the number of companies making an effort to report their sustainability credentials. This is an excellent trend, confirming that companies are taking responsibility for environmental impact seriously. Mostly this effort is in response to what shareholders and the markets expect, however over time it means that sustainability is coming into sharper focus. Indeed, it’s becoming uncool not to acknowledge the need for sustainability initiatives reporting.
The wide format digital printing sector has started to focus heavily on textile printing. This is especially true for on demand applications such as printed interiors and disposable or recyclable fashion, which could soon supplant fast fashion as a concept. Textile and packaging printing are the two areas of print where safety must absolutely be considered from the very beginning of a project. Designers need to be aware of potential toxicities in inks and substrates particularly.
It’s been clear for a couple of years that technology is no longer the primary driver for growth in the graphics industry. Technology is still important, obviously, but these days it is print applications that tend to push innovation the hardest. One such application is the idea of distributed print buying via the cloud, something that various developers, such as HP and EFI, have taken a stab at. There is a lot to be gained from the approach, which allows print buyers to upload their files and order print via the cloud, so that the print can be printed close by. The ecological savings are obvious in that much of this type of on demand work will be digitally printed. And the approach also saves on transport related emissions.
A small company located in central southeastern France is seeing environmental improvements through the use of a digital cutting system. They’re using it to do specialist cutting on demand for both digital and offset printing workflows.
Intelligent resource management is what sustainability is really all about, whether you are a research scientist or a provider of technologies for graphics production. Brainy people keep coming up with new tools to help graphics professionals to improve process control, cut waste and reduce resource usage. Digital printing has stolen a lot of the sustainability limelight over the last few years, primarily because of its ability to produce custom documents in runs of predetermined runlength. However makers of other kit, including platesetters, have not been idle.