Inside Printing Industry 4.0: Industrial Printing

The recent publishing of the “Printing Industry 4.0” report by the bvdm is the perfect occasion to dive a little deeper into this trend-setting topic. The ever-changing printing industry is on its way into a new age of digitalization. But digital transformation isn’t only about automation but comprises a variety of complex components.

The printing industry is definitely an industry with a bright future, and on our blog we are dealing with the most interesting changes and future technologies on a regular basis. Today we are diving a little deeper into the meaning of industry 4.0 for the printing industry.

The bvdm Report on Industry 4.0

For their print 4.0 report, the bvdm and Fraunhofer institute worked together to line out the most important changes facing our industry. And the most important take-away from their research seemed to be a misunderstanding of the concept itself: industry 4.0 too often is only associated with automation. But a substantial and effective digital strategy goes beyond just that to all areas of business and should be dealt with on an executive level. Additionally, changing customer demands and business models call for a change in print companies and media strategies in their projections for “Scenarios for the Year 2025”.

Not Just about Automation

According to print.de, digital transformation consists of eight components for the printing industry: Cloud Technology, Blockchain, Augmented/Mixed Reality, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Mass Customization and Smart Factories. But a transition into the digital age means much more. The goal of this step into the future is to achieve a smarter and more efficient work environment not only through workflow automation and digital supply chains but also through workflow optimization with the advance of Cloud Computing, improved algorithms and so on.

A Changing Industry

The changing industry also shifts the market and therefore print companies’ positions and task fields. Torben Schanz of Star Cooperation urges printers to become “the point of intersection with the customer” to secure a lasting spot in the business landscape of tomorrow with other digital consultants urging print companies to go even further. Laser Line’s Steffen Setzer suggests creating a “service network” around the customer, saying “having the data is having the customer”. Creating a strong customer relationship is one of his top priorities with the new possibilities of the advancing digitalization.

In general, companies that not only work on their professional competence but also on their IT, problem solving and communication skills have the advantage over one-dimensional business concepts. Overall, it is important to find the right digital strategy for each individual company. There isn’t one universal concept that works well for every business.

Future Technologies

Avid readers know that future technology is a recurring topic on our blog, and of course it is part of print 4.0 as well. While the future holds a variety of advancements and new chances for the printing industry, it is always exciting to see new technologies go from innovative ideas to fully realized new technologies. We like to stay up-to-date on all things print and collect different perspectives, innovations and impulses to present to our readers.

Get the full report published by the bvdm here. What’s your opinion about industry 4.0? Tell us in the comment section!