The “Finishing” Business in Industrial Printing is Just Getting Started

December 19, 2017

I remember a TV commercial from the 1990s for a still camera that featured the great tennis player, Andre Agassi, had the accompanying tagline: “Image is Everything.” That tagline is still very applicable and valid today in the production print world with the emergence of digital finishing. This encompasses such “touch-and-feel” finishing applications as Spot UV, 3D embossing and foil stamping, which provide sensory dimensional textures to printed output. These and other services bring to life brochures, labels, posters and packaging with eye-catching images. And it’s finally catching the eye of print shops everywhere.

I’m thrilled about this emerging trend in our industry as I hear Konica Minolta customers share their success stories in this area. First, they learn about the more convenient digital capabilities that allow for cleaner, simpler print operations than those offered by more traditional means. Then they realize the added revenue that digital finishing generates when they can offer their customers applications that they previously couldn’t – whether it had been due to high costs, lack of demand, lack of the proper equipment or expertise, lack of shop space for the equipment, etc.

These are all very valid reasons that are now eliminated with products like our MGI industrial printing product line that features such offerings as our MGI JETvarnish 3DS, a 100 percent digital inkjet Spot UV coater. One customer, George E.B. Stewart, founder of Spectrum Printing in Tucson, AZ, said, “The ability to create 3D effects and texture was very important as another option that we could add to our list of services to clients. And, of course, the foil aspect was a very exciting feature as well. So, while we had traditional foil with a die, we felt that this was a way for the shorter run jobs to be able to be foiled at a price point that made sense.”

Another MGI JETvarnish 3DS customer, Print Panther, a fully digital boutique printer in Oakville, Ontario, was seeking a creative way to stand out from the crowd and give their clients a product that is truly unique. Co-founder Christine Yardley said, “The technology is actually far beyond our expectations. We can now manage complex projects flexibly, more efficiently, and in less time. When clients see the output from our new system, they are simply amazed!”

The value of enriching print with dimensionality and metallic foil is to give projects both noteworthy visual decoration and compelling physical significance. The result is a more meaningful, memorable printing impression on customers and transfer of information to users. For brand owners and print buyers, that translates into more successful corporate communications, advertising campaigns and new product sales. For printers, it means more profitable job projects and client relationships.

This past September we were honored with three “MUST SEE ‘EM Awards” at Graph Expo (Print 17), the renowned Graphics Arts industry trade show. The annual “MUST SEE ‘EM Award” program recognizes the most compelling and noteworthy products each year at this trade show which is the largest printing exhibition in the Americas. One of the three honorees was the JETvarnish 3D Web, which provides stunning 2D/3D UV dimensional, tactile textures and personalized, embossed Variable Data Foiling (VDF). These attractive decorative special effects are now available without the traditionally expensive use of dies, screens or tooling on label rolls up to 17” (420mm) and at speeds up to 8220ft/hr (2520m/hr). So this was quite an honor and gave the finishing market even greater exposure to the Expo’s thousands of attendees.

With this kind of exposure and the shared stories of print shops who are experiencing great success with finishing applications, I truly believe that word will get out and the demand for such products will increase. And that 20th century tagline – “Image is Everything” – will become a mantra in the 21st century print production community.

Visit Konica Minolta at the EFI Connect 2018 users’ conference at The Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas on January 23 – 25. We’ll be in Booth #114.

John Dembia
Product Marketing Manager

John Dembia has been the Manager of Product Marketing for Production Print Products for 2.5 years. He began with Konica Minolta in 2000 as a National Product Training & Information Manager in the Photo Imaging division. In 2007, he became a Product Marketing Manager for multifunction products. John is married and has two children. In his spare time, he enjoys photography and hiking.