The year 2020 has been a remarkable one for many industries. This is true even for the print management industry.
COVID-19 has caused an economic crisis and forced businesses to reconsider how and where they conduct business. The printing industry continues to develop new techniques, new technologies, and new approaches to customer retention and attainment in the face of these changes.
Here are the top SPM technologies
In the printing industry, the status quo will never be the same, but by recognizing the current trends and knowing how to use them, printing professionals can continue strong operations. The best part is that this will mean fewer layoffs, safer working conditions, and more productive methods.
Role of AI in the printing industry
In the printing industry, we are just beginning to utilize the vast amounts of machine data generated to improve the quality, efficiency, and autonomy of the printing process. By combining a large amount of data and an algorithm, you can create machines that accomplish a particular task efficiently. This is due to the AI component of machine learning.
Some machine learning application cases have been marketed in the past year. A machine learning system and visual inspection systems are being used by HP and Ricoh to identify, classify, and correct print problems.
A solution of this type uses algorithms to locate print defects and, in some cases, uses user feedback to increase its accuracy and speed. Depending on the issue, corrective action may be taken, such as compensating for a clogged printhead or requesting a reprint if necessary. Artificial Intelligence reduces the demand for skilled labor, but the quality of work is still assured.
By using PredictPrint Media Manager, users can scan a paper ream’s barcode when others in the company scan the system’s barcode to access up-to-date media settings. In this solution, the paper is scanned, loaded into the printer, and then wizard-driven selections are made to automate the process of determining the paper’s size, type, color, coating, and weight.
Production printing using robotics
Across the globe, the number of industrial robots installed has more than tripled from 2010 to 2019, placing the total installed base over two billion. The adoption of robotics has been lowered through several trends in recent years, making it more accessible to everyone. The most significant change has been a decline in cost due to the decline in prices and increases in variations and capabilities.
At present, production printing has few use cases, and OEMs have yet to introduce many programs that automate the movement of materials with robotics. AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles) are increasingly common in warehouses owned by technology-forward PSPs with large or complex fulfillment operations. We will accelerate the adoption of automation over the next decade as a result of an increasing desire to increase productivity while minimizing labor costs.
Augmented reality for printing
To create augmented reality (AR), a layer of digital data is superimposed over the real world. Among its main applications are in education and entertainment. Using quick response codes (QR codes) or other means, print can provide the trigger to launch the AR experience, allowing AR to render benefits to physical experiences. Video explainers on vital customer documents, as well as innovative AR applications that allow customers to interact with products, are just a few of the many possible use cases.
Instead of integrating the augmented reality technology directly into the printed product, SPM focuses on facilitating or assisting print production. Most often, AR is used to diagnose and service printing equipment either by the OEM’s service technician or by the end-user. As a result, users can identify parts and access instructions for repairing or replacing items based on their experiences.
We anticipate that AR will play a vital role in bridging the physical and digital worlds with the use of digital twins to visualize different scenarios in the print manufacturing process as it evolves. Using AR to model a new physical layout of the print shop or to predict bottlenecks throughout the production process could be useful based on changes in print volumes and application mix.
The bottom line from print service providers
As with previous periods of creative destruction that opened up new opportunities, Keypoint Intelligence expects the printing industry is approaching a new peak in innovation. It is the act of replacing (or displace) the old with the new while creating new opportunities that create creative destruction.
As each of the SPM technologies can reinforce the effects of the others, they are likely to cause greater disruption than the technologies that preceded them. The transition has already had positive effects, so instead of focusing on the negatives, we should focus on some of the positives.
IT infrastructure and administration are redundant as a result of cloud computing, but it provides access to a growing hybrid and remote workforce. By disrupting creativity and analysis, big data and artificial intelligence will allow us to spend our time on more important, high-value tasks. As PSPs transition from the old to the new, they should always plan for the future by identifying and incorporating transformative innovations.
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