Meet the drivers behind 2026’s digital print production milestone

By Eef de Ridder, Vice President, Ricoh Graphic Communications, Ricoh Europe

Ricoh Europe, London, October 20 2023 – 2026 is expected to mark a significant print production technology milestone. Smithers predicts global sales of inkjet and electrophotography (toner) equipment will overtake analogue for the first time.

Its The Future of Print Equipment Markets to 2028 also estimates the installed base for high end single pass inkjet will exceed 3,800; up from a projected 3,048 in 2023, and 1,998 in 2018. Enjoying even faster growth are sales of sheetfed inkjet presses that are forecast to reach 3,276 worldwide in 2028, more than double the 1,451 in 2023, and nearly nine times the 385 in 2018. 

Smithers says behind this growth is the improving speed and quality of inkjet technologies as well as greater demand for customised and shorter run jobs.

Other drivers it highlighted are:

1 Technologies with an emphasis on sustainable operations including improvements in setup, aqueous inks and coatings and better substrate handling for paperboard grades.

Ricoh’s digital production printers, including the soon to be market available RICOH Pro™ Z75 B2 sheetfed inkjet press with Ricoh developed aqueous inks, fit the market need for efficient production. The RICOH Pro™ Z75’s on demand print capabilities ensure the most effective use of resources. Own-developed software, some cloud-based, aids efficiency, productivity, and trims waste, particularly of substrates. Ricoh’s systems also come with operational support. They include Lean Print Services that help print businesses drive down costs, transform operations and support growth and the Carbon Balanced Printing Programme that enables operations to analyse, optimise and neutralise their carbon emissions. Ricoh operates a zero waste to landfill strategy at its manufacturing facility too, and its Comet Circle model for reusing parts and recycling materials lessens environmental impact and promotes a multi-tiered recycling system.

2 Improvements in automation, including integration with online platforms. 

Many Print Service Providers (PSPs) can improve their workflow processes from the point of onboarding a new job through to delivery. Preflighting, workflow management, and batching software solutions can automate the picking up, processing, and preparing of jobs for printing. They reduce manual intervention, time spent overseeing the workflow and labour costs. They also minimise the potential for problems further down the manufacturing line and enable staff to focus on the high value work. When accessed via simple to use setup, team members of all skill levels can confidently operate presses while highly automated processes maximise production capacity. The Pro Z75’s intuitive interface and Fiery® digital front end allow for easy onboarding while its powerful customisation tools simplify complex jobs, automates workflows, boosts efficiencies, and reduces human errors.

3 Smart software and support services helping operators maximise up time on their presses, resolve faults more quickly, and optimise on-press performance. 

New market launches such as the RICOH Pro™ C9500 and RICOH Pro™ C7500 digital colour sheetfed presses are equipped with features that help simplify operations, automate tasks, and maximise productivity. They include a new base controller known as the RGC OS (Ricoh Graphic Communication Operating System). It continuously enhances connectivity with various systems and tools and aids functionality. Operators can easily customise and improve media management operability as well as schedule upcoming maintenance tasks, while a number of wizards facilitate simple operations to set up jobs and achieve the best possible print output.

We believe there are several other drivers shaping the continued growth of digital high speed inkjet and sheetfed presses. Contact your Ricoh representative to learn more and see how we can help you harness them to power your continued success throughout the 2020s and beyond.



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