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31 years in offset...

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  • 31 years in offset...

    Hi all,

    After 31 years in offset printing (and the past 5 with a Xerox 700), it looks like we are about to become all digital in-house while continuing to farm-out offset jobs. I just received a quote from a local offset shop that is cheaper than we have been printing it in-house! I see no reason to put it off any longer... looks like we are digital printers now!

    Man it has been a wild ride...

    Always look forward to your comments.

  • #2
    We made the same decision 3 years ago and have not looked back since! I don't at all regret it and as matter of fact we are experiencing double digit growth since the switch. Good Luck!!!

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    • #3
      We are also all-digital. If we get a call for something that has to be offset (doesn't happen very much these days), we outsouce to an offset printer. Interesting observation: like Craig, we have been experiencing double-digit growth for the last 10 years, while, it's getting harder and harder to even find an offset printer that is still in business to outsouce to. Ten years ago, I had my choice of about 15 to 20 local offset operations that I would trust to handle the job. Today, that number is down to around 5 or 6, and, even some of them are on shaky financial footing.

      Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there will always be a place for those big-iron offset operations with their 2 to 3 million dollar presses, but, objectively looking at the trends over the past 10 years, I think they will become more of a "trade-printer" to the digital operations, instead of dealing direct with the person or business that is buying the print.

      -MailGuru

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      • #4
        We now print 16 million feet per month on our two CiPress digital web presses. Probably 80 percent of that is variable names. Of that 80 percent, we are 10 percent variable pictures based upon state / sex, etc.
        I have been in the business for 25 years this August. The way to survive is to ALWAYS innovate.

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        • #5
          Dad said that when he wanted to start doing offset, his father and grandfather, were resistant, and wanted to stick to letterpress. I started doing digital work in 2009, probably later than we should have, and my father heavily resisted. While we still have all our offset, and most of our letterpress equipment, around 80% of our dollar volume comes from digital work that wouldn't be practical for us to run offset.

          I am the fourth generation of my family that has run the company, and I wonder if printing as we know it, will be around for my son. I look forward to letting him talk me into whatever the next revolution is, though it will probably be a bigger jump than any of the previous ones.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by kdw75 View Post
            Dad said that when he wanted to start doing offset, his father and grandfather, were resistant, and wanted to stick to letterpress. I started doing digital work in 2009, probably later than we should have, and my father heavily resisted. While we still have all our offset, and most of our letterpress equipment, around 80% of our dollar volume comes from digital work that wouldn't be practical for us to run offset.

            I am the fourth generation of my family that has run the company, and I wonder if printing as we know it, will be around for my son. I look forward to letting him talk me into whatever the next revolution is, though it will probably be a bigger jump than any of the previous ones.
            Your son will talk to you about 3-D printing....

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            • #7
              Just the opposite here. If we don't print a job offset in house, it's cheaper to send it out than to print it digitally here. We have a small market, and most customers squeeze those pennies; they won't pay even a slightly higher price for digital.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Londen View Post
                Your son will talk to you about 3-D printing....
                We have a 3D printer we recently bought, as one client has us do prototypes of tools. I figure everyone will have a 3D printer in their house, so I'm not sure how much money will be made by trying to sell 3D prints in the long term.

                I think it's a matter of making your money before 3D printing becomes too easy.

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                • #9
                  I think it's a matter of how much those 3D printers will cost as to whether they get into most homes, or even into most printers. Like every other piece of machinery, not every shop can afford the latest and best.

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                  • #10
                    And there will be a huge leap in quality between home based and what a printer should be running.
                    Much like desktop inkjet printers that can print a great photo at great cost but certainly aren't worth it for production or volume usually.

                    I still think printed circuits and other conductive printing is going to "become a thing" as well.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Neko2 View Post
                      And there will be a huge leap in quality between home based and what a printer should be running.
                      Much like desktop inkjet printers that can print a great photo at great cost but certainly aren't worth it for production or volume usually.

                      I still think printed circuits and other conductive printing is going to "become a thing" as well.
                      Before we jump into 3D printing the industry is so new that the printers sold 6 months ago are already obsolete . . . see this link about the next gen 3D printers

                      Liquid 3-D Printing - IEEE Spectrum

                      much quicker and really cool . .. but then so was that very first Indigo when it came out (never mind that they made you buy two of them)

                      BTW we are still a predominately offset shop but have also had digital since 2001 . . . in our case they play nicely with each other
                      "If you think you are too small to be effective
                      you have never been in the dark with a mosquito."

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                      • #12
                        3-D printing will change everything, but not a complete change. Just because you could 3-D print a magazine, doesn't mean you can do it as cost-effectively or as fast as an offset printer. Specialized markets will feel their entry way before the mass production industry will, outside of maintenance.

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                        • #13
                          What does 3D printing and traditional print as we know it have in common? I'm not knocking 3D printing, I'm questioning if it is a commercial printers position to offer 3D printing. I feel like people just see the word "print" and they lump a plastic part with brochures and banners.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by arossetti View Post
                            What does 3D printing and traditional print as we know it have in common? I'm not knocking 3D printing, I'm questioning if it is a commercial printers position to offer 3D printing. I feel like people just see the word "print" and they lump a plastic part with brochures and banners.
                            A number of printshops - including one in my small city - are buying a 3D printer mostly in order to more fully understand the technology and its possible impact. Some are also marketing that capability as a part of their customer solutions capability in marketing support. It's not a big expense in order to better understand if there's a business opportunity down the road with this technology.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by arossetti View Post
                              What does 3D printing and traditional print as we know it have in common?
                              Nothing, as far as I can see. Electrophotographic, lithographic, gravure, thermographic, silk-screen, dye-sublimation, etc., all put a ink/toner on a substrate. 3-D 'printing' just creates a substrate. Betchya you can pad print it.

                              Who's the boss now, 3-D printing?!

                              Comment

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