Is the Death of Offset Near?

D Ink Man

Well-known member
This is actually a topic on an upcoming webinar. Wow!

A better topic may be, Is the Still Born Inevitability of a Overhyped New Print Process Nearing Reality?

This makes just as much sense as the notion that offset is near it's end as it remains the highest quality form of print ever known and practiced in the history of the world.

This is my take; and it's strong.

D Ink Man
 

chevalier

Well-known member
Offset will be around for a very, very long time. That said, we should be wise to think about how rapidly newsprint has declined in 10 years. It won't ever probably be completely dead but...
 

Chasfinch

Well-known member
we had this discussion at work last week. I think we are seeing the end of offset printing in the next 10-20 years. All depends on how the new digital press gets to the same speed as the offset press.
 

johntheventer

Active member
My two cents worth - I think we will see offset printing start competing with digital press and production by finding new effective ways to print much lower volumes - and even if they don't, I agree with chev…

I know some printers that have machines that are as old as thirty or even forty years, and they maintain them well and they are not as fast or productive as newer ones - but they still do a lot of work and one would be hard pressed to find the difference between a flyer that came of a really old machine and one from a much newer machine - another reason is that these machines are way more flexible - if you know your stuff you can flush out ink and print some other fluid onto a substrate - spot varnish etc…

I don't see offset dying - in fact I see digital production becoming more popular - but, as we all know, economies cycle and I see people going backwards to offset saying "Why re-invent the wheel?" if you want bulk - offset print it - if you want low volume targeted material - use your iPad/iphone -
 

Macmann

Well-known member
Processes change, this trade is changing-anyone remember strippers or contact frames? The fact is large/wide format and digital printing is experiencing explosive growth. Much like the late 80's early 90's when the Macintosh was gaining a foothold. Initially people thought "desktop publishing" was a fad and the Mac was a toy. How could you ever accomplish what was being done on a costly Scitex system with just a Mac and Photoshop? We did. Similarly, early large format printers struggled with banding, quality issues and costly inks. These kinks are being worked out and the quality is stunning. It is dangerous thinking to believe a method, process or even an entire industry will be around just because that's how we've always did it. Look how quickly film cameras have disappeared. Just as large format has taken a bite out of offset there are other technologies being developed waiting to be the next big thing. Much of large format printing is for the retail segment, store signage and such. It's not to difficult to imagine 50, 60, or 70" flat panel screens costing a few hundred bucks where the retailer just loads a limitless supply of photos off a flash drive-no printing necessary. We should always be on the lookout for the next big thing and embrace the technologies that are the most cost effective and profitable. Now where did I put my Rapidograph, I've got some films to stipple.
 
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slehning

Well-known member
This goes back to my days in a stand alone prepress film house.
Back then when we worked on one million plus dollar main frame high end studios.

They had the old CDC disk packs weighing up to 20 pounds and held a whopping 300mg. I remember a work out buff that use to do repetitions of shoulder presses with them before spinning them down into the drive. Back then we were very skeptical about a thing called a Mac 2FX with photoshop and Pagemaker being able to do the job we did on the studios. Long story short. It is inevitable. Technology is growing at an unbelievable rapid pace, much more so than back then. The digital press will over come most of it along with other green technologies.

Yes, Offset will be around for a while, but will decrease at a fast rate with technologies and print demand will continue to decrease. The best way to stay alive is diversification.

That being said. Never say never!
 

D Ink Man

Well-known member
Methinks everything will be alright then if all of PRINTING dies. Methinks?!?

The original subject topic refers to PRINTING, as in different types of printing PROCESSES. One has to truly define the definition of PRINTING before delving forward. This subject can be very much debatable, as we have seen.

D
 

Possumgal

Well-known member
Processes change, this trade is changing-anyone remember strippers or contact frames? The fact is large/wide format and digital printing is experiencing explosive growth. Much like the late 80's early 90's when the Macintosh was gaining a foothold. Initially people thought "desktop publishing" was a fad and the Mac was a toy. How could you ever accomplish what was being done on a costly Scitex system with just a Mac and Photoshop? We did. Similarly, early large format printers struggled with banding, quality issues and costly inks. These kinks are being worked out and the quality is stunning. It is dangerous thinking to believe a method, process or even an entire industry will be around just because that's how we've always did it. Look how quickly film cameras have disappeared. Just as large format has taken a bite out of offset there are other technologies being developed waiting to be the next big thing. Much of large format printing is for the retail segment, store signage and such. It's not to difficult to imagine 50, 60, or 70" flat panel screens costing a few hundred bucks where the retailer just loads a limitless supply of photos off a flash drive-no printing necessary. We should always be on the lookout for the next big thing and embrace the technologies that are the most cost effective and profitable. Now where did I put my Rapidograph, I've got some films to stipple.
Rapidograph? I used to draw lines for forms on pasteups with them. Doctors charge sheets were always fun.

I don't think print will die entirely, but I've seen so many invoices, statements, etc. we used to print being put out on office printers. Business printing in-house booklets now post them online. The good ole' black and white, day in and day out printing has really shrunk.
 
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chevalier

Well-known member
It's only a matter of scaling and adapting further technologies which will further decrease costs and improve quality of digital.

Here's a crazy thought experiment (numbers from Epson and Heidelberg websites). You can caveat this to pieces but if that's your line of thought you're missing the point.

An Epson 9900 proofer retails for $5,995 and is at least 4 year old technology.
It can produce 40" x 60" prints from 15:26 to 40:05 (Normal is 24:20). Let's use 24 minutes as a nice round number.
That's 1.64 sq. inches per second

A new Heidelberg XL106 retails for ???
At 18,000 it can produce 29 x 41 sheets per hour
That's 5,945 sq. inches per second

That's roughly 3,625 Epson 9900 printers to match the production of one XL106.
That's $21,731,875 MSRP for the Epson printers.
Take 20% off the top for volume purchase and your down to $17,385,500
Add your number for unique plant engineering to build a (crazy) array that can feed and deal with the output of these thousands of proofers, plumb them all to one set of giant ink reservoirs, climate controls, building, etc. I'm going to throw out $10,000,000.

Your at $27,385,500.

Say there's a leap in technology with the Epson without any consideration to the external engineering and support costs:
2x todays speed $18,692,750
4x todays speed $14,346,375
6x todays speed $12,897,584
8x todays speed $12,173,188
10x todays speed $1,738,550

Ask yourself how many Heidelberg XL106 offset machines can you buy at that cost including building, support equipment, engineering, delivery, etc.? How long will it take for that Epson cost to come down? How long until they double the speed of the Epson? How long until machines are available without all that crazy custom engineering?
 
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slehning

Well-known member
No doubt Epson is not a good comparison.
It is designed more for the large Format / contract proofing gig.

Cross reference those numbers, run length, ink consumables, etc., with a device such as Fuji J-Press, and devices as such. ( No that is not a Plug ) :)
 

D Ink Man

Well-known member
60,ooo impressions an hour, 6 pages wide, with dot gain in the low teens? This Epson SurePress could be the next new slicer of bread. Who nose? Think the ink jumps out of the can too at about a buck a kilo. Look out pub market.

D
 
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Alois Senefelder

Well-known member
Interesting Topic.

Interesting Topic.

Hello fellow Lithographers and members of the Pre Press Brigade.

My thank you to all the contributors of this topic, many interesting and perceptive views.

Alas my days of "Smudging ink onto paper" are over.


Regards, Alois


"What gunpowder did for war, the printing press has done for the mind"
 

chevalier

Well-known member
"I'm sticking to this here horse and carriage those damned internal combustion machines are dangerous and they break too easily! Henry Ford will never get the price low enough and Rockefeller will never drop his oil price!"
 

CSimpson

Well-known member
Inkjet is the future, it is just a matter of time. In a decade or so is my guess. Offset will be like the letterpress
 

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