Rising global pulp prices and increased concern with sustainable media has generated a lot of interest in our industry. I recently completed an interview for Image Reports magazine in which I was asked about the future of consumables in large format digital printing.

You can read the original article on the Image Reports website. Below is the article I originally submitted.

1. In relation to wide-format inkjet substrates/inks, what do you see as the major issue/s affecting a) your own business and b) the wide-format sector in general?

Frequent price increases across materials are the plague for us all. The ability to pass the costs along remains difficult. Our current setup revolves around an ethical purchasing policy which restricts access to the lower end of the substrate market. Experience has also shown that the cheaper materials often do not work well with the high end printing machines Octink run.

On a hardware level I feel the machine manufacturers need to strike a balance. On one side the desire to flood the market with their own product is understood. Often frustrations are voiced with the low margins achieved when they are largely responsible. Saturating the market with cheaper machines  only serves to increase the overall competition and drive down margins.

2. How do you think this needs to be addressed?

On the materials we are ultimately in the hands of global commodity prices so there is not much to be done other that having contracted periods of set pricing.

The machinery issue needs to be looked at carefully by the manufacturers as the market has a finite size. Some would certainly do better to concentrate on after sales service and upgrades.

3. Do you have customers demanding ‘green’ substrates and/or inks and, are they willing to pay the often premium price for it (or do you swallow any extra consumables costs to win the job)?

The sustainability angle is increasingly stronger. At this point in time it still only serves as added value, the cost implication in the current climate is strongly resisted by all bar the most ethically minded companies.

4. How important to your business is it that you investigate new/alternative consumables and suppliers, and how do you view the suppliers’ efforts in helping you maximise opportunities?

This is absolutely critical at Octink. We are constantly on the look out for new and innovative products that can further our customer offering and the supplier relationship we maintain are crucial to achieving this.

5. In your view, is consolidation of consumables suppliers benefiting or hindering the digital wide-format sector?

Any move towards a monopoly adversely affects the market, ours is no exception.

by Octink in Latest News