Where Is the Future of Printing Headed?

With the rise of digital media supplanting some forms of the printed word, people might believe that there isn't much of a future for printing.

 (photo credit: RF123)
(photo credit: RF123)
These people would be mistaken. Printing isn't only concerned with newspapers and books, both of which seem to be lasting longer than expected in any case. Printing is an industry that finds use in a wide range of modern applications and continues to move forward into the future.
Printing Today
"Wherever you go, you're surely going to see something that's been printed. The labels and packaging on every product in every store were printed. Even items that aren't paper or cardboard go through the printing process. The demand for this industry is so much greater than most people realize, and that demand is driving constant innovation" a professional authority from "Peer Print" told the Jerusalem Post .
Integrating Print into a Digital World
Companies are actively developing new technologies and new methods to provide better services and solve their clients' problems. Digital media isn't really replacing print. Instead, printers are integrating new technologies into their workflows to provide more comprehensive solutions. People are looking for better ways to build a seamless connection between the digital world and the physical, and printing will play a critical role in that process.
One of the biggest advancements in printing has been the shift towards smaller runs with greater customization. Traditional methods were time and labor-intensive to prepare, meaning only products that would be printed tens of thousands of times or more could be economically viable. The integration of digital control and new technology is already making small-run printing more affordable and will continue to do so into the future.
Environmentally Sustainable Printing
As a physical medium, printing consumes physical resources. The two biggest concerns today are the consumption of paper and ink cartridges. Sustainable use of paper is being managed through the continued development of sustainable forestry practices along with extensive recycling efforts. The use of ink cartridges in consumer and business printers is being handled much more directly by printing companies, which are inventing new ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Advances in technology allow modern printers to use less ink compared to older models. They can provide the same print quality while consuming fewer resources. Furthermore, modern printers have economy modes that allow for even greater ink savings. The design of ink cartridges has also been modified to allow for easier recycling rather than going to the landfill. Companies have been developing new ink formulations to reduce wastage and make them more environmentally sound.
The Dawn of 3D Printing
One of the most surprising developments in printing has been the advent of 3D printing. This technique allows for real, tangible, three-dimensional objects to be printed. This technology is a type of additive manufacturing, where materials are added to make an object. This is a stark contrast to traditional subtractive manufacturing, where excess material is trimmed away to shape an object. 3D printing allows for designs that would be impossible to produce through other means and reduces waste material.
3D printing works much like a regular printer, as print material is deposited through a nozzle. The difference is that this nozzle then places additional layers on top of the original, building up a 3D object one layer at a time
(
Jpost blog re 3D). As the technology continues to progress, there are hopes that it will bring major advancements in the production of miniaturized medical instruments and other advanced technologies.
Making Printing Easier and More Accessible
Home and office printing has become much easier over the years. Many will remember struggling to get older printers to work while newer models are working much more consistently. One of the biggest drives in the printing industry is to make the process simpler, easier, and foolproof. Wi-fi and other network integration allow for people to access printers without physically connecting, or even being in the same building, for that matter.
The direction that the printing industry is now headed is the use of artificial intelligence technology to streamline printing. This would smooth out the connection between technology and the people who use it. Instead of navigating menus and settings, people could someday communicate what they need to be printed and how through plain speech. Artificial technology managing office printers could better coordinate operations and reduce the frequency of many technical issues.