Canon to promote digital technologies at GPP 2022
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By Akanksha Meena
The Middle East print industry has been showing signs of recovery since the second half of 2021 when the second wave of Covid subsided. The pandemic resulted in a shift of trends favoring digital print technologies as volumes drop and demand for variable print grows.
Canon Middle East has seen the market rebound in 2021 and is optimistic about the future - Ayman Aly, Professional Solution, senior marketing manager, Professional Printing Solutions, Canon Middle East, shares that the company observed market recovery in July 2021, spanning print volume growth and unit placement, compared to the same period in 2019. He also notes that increased attention was being given to inkjet, among high-end commercial printers, which is also aligned with global reports like Smithers, ‘The Future of Print Equipment Markets to 2026' which highlights that there is a big shift from offset to digital printing. With these global trends supporting the market dynamics, Canon will be showcasing its inkjet capabilities at booth D16 during Gulf Print & Pack 2022.
This will be an opportunity for Canon to give insight to the large commercial printers, including those facilitating government, university and military institutions on inkjet applications. ‘People have old perceptions about inkjet and there is still a low level of awareness. Our objective at GPP is to demonstrate the exceptional capabilities and ease of adoption, so that they can see the latest technological advancement and benefits that that can be achieved,’ says Aly. Visitors at the Canon stand will see the latest inkjet quality and will learn the know-how of the technology. The company will also show applications of cut sheet and continuous sheet inkjet and the pros and cons behind each technology.
The socio-economic changes to consumer behavior, brought about by the pandemic, will be enduring and favor digital printing, due to the ability to print short-run variable-content work efficiently. By 2026, digital press sales will have overtaken sales of analog presses and will account for 56 percent of new press sales, according to the Smithers report. ‘We already saw growth in digital printing which will continue further. There is a big shift from offset to digital in commercial printing and commercial printers now are more willing to discuss digital printing technology and applications than ever before. It was a great year for inkjet at a worldwide level, which is a great opportunity for Canon. The Middle East and Gulf need to be more aware and aligned about what is happening with this technology and how it can help,’ Aly adds.
With the shift from offset to digital, the company will also promote its toner technology at the event. Aly says that toner technology is a smaller investment, flexible and easier to adopt if volumes and investment are a consideration. Canon’s flagship Titan – claimed to be the fastest black and white machine in the market will also be on display and the line-up will span print investment as small as 70 images per minute, to production printer of 1000 or higher A4 sheets, per minute. Aly adds that signage was another segment that saw traction during the pandemic, as demand for social distancing signs, indoor campaigns for retail and exhibition signage grew in the region, as also indicated by the Smither’s report.
Looking at the market trends, Canon will promote its complete workflow from pre-press to post-press technology, as well as two new recently launched large format presses – Colorado 1630 and Arizona 135 at GPP 2022. ‘Arizona is the new and innovative way of adding volumes, attracting new customers and applications such as, interior décor and POS materials. Customers are impressed with flatbed printing, but are not sure about how to adopt this technology and avail its benefits. It needs know-how and application knowledge and that’s our objective, to help the customer be better prepared and know all the pros and cons,’ Aly explains.
‘We want to help customers recover from the damage of the pandemic, attract new customers and improve their profitability and through our presence at GPP we want to educate them on practical considerations that matter to them – for example, how to calculate costing compared to the current business model with offset and inkjet, or how to adopt the technology – because printing operations are still hesitant to adopt digital, which is major problem commercial printers are facing. And if they have not tried it before, there is a thought process and plan that they need to adapt to benefit from digital technology. Printing behavior is changing, run lengths are reducing, digital communication is now in line, and print needs to be integrated with digital communication,’ Aly explains.
Canon reportedly recorded a 70 percent market share in Q3 2021 in color printing and higher than 80 percent in black and white. The company will also highlight success stories and case studies of its customers, like for example those who adopted Arizona and Colorado presses and added new innovative applications.
Aly says that printing is a face-to-face and networking-driven industry, where events like GPP are important: ‘During the last year we were mostly present online to share our plans, thoughts and technology. We conducted several webinars, but printing output needs to be touched, smelled and felt, which you cannot do through a screen. People working in print cannot trust something seen on screen and they need to see quality in person. Everyone is waiting for major events such as GPP to see the latest technology. It is an important show for the Middle East. I expect to see a big crowd at the show because industry peers want to meet each other. It is a year of big exhibitions. With such industry events, things will get easier in the Gulf region. I see major brands are participating at the show because we have not met for quite some time and everyone is eager to discuss and network.'
In addition to the rise in demand of digital printing, the Smither’s report also highlights that the sales of analog presses (offset litho, flexography, gravure, and screen) have been falling year-on-year since 2016 and will continue to do so up to 2026. The effect of the Covid-19 pandemic was to depress sales in 2020, with partial recovery in 2021 and a bounce back in 2022. However, this bounce back is due to the release of latent potential that built up in the market during the pandemic, and the decline will be swiftly re-established in the following years. All the analog print processes are affected by this changing dynamic and they all fell in the period 2016–21, with the total analog equipment sector declining by 2.6 percent CAGR. This is expected to fall a further 1.9 percent CAGR in the five years to 2026.