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Over the last 10 years or so we have seen the industry evolving a rapid pace. Yes litho is still the default for large runs of the same job. However, for variable data and short run jobs it is never going to compete with digital due to the setup costs. Inkjet, however, is a different animal, it does have the potential to take a vast share of the toner device market. The ability to print on substrates such as envelopes without worrying about the window melting under the heat of a fusing process has some definite advantages.
"it is our belief that, at least, for the next 5 years toner will remain as the digital solution of choice"
At this point though, inkjet technology can still suffer (although they are improving) from the same old problems of jets getting blocked and special media being required to get real depth of colour. Despite this, the technology still appears to work well for some direct mail and label applications where quality is not paramount.
Digital devices using toner have had many years of use in the printing industry now. We had the first colour devices over 10 years ago with their oil rollers and wiper blades which caused quality issues and many other teething problems with the technology, and we have learned from that, and many other tweaks which were necessary and which have really made toner devices currently the most reliable choice for digital work. Due to the high speeds and high duty cycles, versatility and reliability of toner based devices it is our belief that at least for the next 5 years they will remain as the digital solution of choice.
The ability of our latest systems not just to be able to print onto paper, but print onto card, ncr, black paper, dark garment transfer, light garment transfer, window stickers and utilise 5 colours instead of the standard 4 suggests to me that there is a lot more mileage in toner technology yet!