Industrial Applications & Printed Electronics

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  • 1.  I'd like to teach the world to sing...er, print.

    Posted 10-27-2019 20:06

    Marci K encouraged us to join in the discussion boards at the Academy dinner the other night - I'm on my way home from Printing United where we were exhibiting a number of machines used in 'functional printing'. I'm now holed up in a hotel room in my hometown after a family visit with my mom and sister, nothing more to do, (I had too much beer at PU, done with that) so let's get to it.

    One of the takeaways from the show I had from working our booth was the number of printers/attendees from the various market/process segments who have no idea the sheer volume of everyday products that are made using printing as an integral part of the manufacturing process. We got a few 'but where does the shirt go?', but a lot were amazed at the long list of consumer products they handle every day, not realizing they are printed. All that glass. All those electronic devices, touchscreens, solar cells, medical and health products. It's a big list, and it grows.

    If the printers don't know, how can the public know? And if the public doesn't know, how can we grow awareness of the importance of this segment of the print family?

    Seems to me, along with a trade show that essentially services people already on the inside, we as printers need to take the story of printing in 2020 to the general population and the government. Don't forget, the US Dept. of Labor dropped printing as a category in January, deeming it statistically irrelevant. With that vote of confidence, how are we ever going to find new workers?

    ...or should we just stay off the radar?

    What say you, folks?



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    Andy MacDougall, ASDPT
    TMI/Squeegeeville/Wachiay Studio/RH Solutions
    Royston BC
    250 334 2598
    Canada. www.squeegeeville.com
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  • 2.  RE: I'd like to teach the world to sing...er, print.

    Posted 10-29-2019 10:34
    As always, Andy raises good questions. I think all of us have experienced the same lack of understanding within our printing communities.

    Since the inception of nano particle silver inks that cure at low temperatures, new applications in the functional printing space have been growing over the past 5 - 10 years. Increasing year-on-year attendance at the IDTechEx reflects new interest in printed electronics.

    We use 'Lifestyle' posters to illustrate the vastness of applications involving the printing process. Here is the automotive one. Attached are other illustrations showing how many things in our everyday life are printed. The question is how do we best communicate and disseminate this?

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    Dave Dennings
    Technical Product Manager
    KIWO Inc / ULANO Corp
    Seabrook TX
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  • 3.  RE: I'd like to teach the world to sing...er, print.

    Posted 10-29-2019 22:17

    Those are great illustrations, a picture is worth a thousand words. Interesting the dialogue over on ASDPT over this compared to here. Any other people in crossover mode on this site/in the communities? Maybe it's only you and me Dave!!

    Who are the other players here? 

    I think the functional side has one of the more interesting stories as we go forward, if we are looking at showing the general public the diverse world of modern printing.



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    Andy MacDougall
    TMI/Squeegeeville/Wachiay Studio
    Royston BC
    250 334 2598
    Canada. www.squeegeeville.com
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  • 4.  RE: I'd like to teach the world to sing...er, print.

    Posted 10-30-2019 10:15
    Edited by Bob Monte 10-30-2019 10:17
    Great questions ~

    • If the printers don't know, how can the public know?
    • And if the public doesn't know, how can we grow awareness of the importance of this segment of the print family?
    • How are we ever going to find new workers?

    If the printers don't know in all likelihood, they are either (A) stuck in their zone of production comfort or (B) not staying on top of industry shifts/changes presenting many potentials, possibilities, and revenue growth. Today there are now substrates, technology, automated workflows, finishing abilities, and much more that did not exist a mere five years ago. Now opening doors to producing products that are both visually stunning and less labor-intensive at a much higher profit margin.

    How can the public know? I find the public, in general, has a profound lack of understanding or real desire to learn how Donny and Marie are draped across the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. But when I have stood there looking up, I am awed by everything it takes to land the plane. Now, this application is becoming so commonplace as to the point of unremarkable. But as Dave points out, what of phones, the automotive industry, medical, apparel, and industrial production where many products could not be produced without print? Does the public care, or are they just satisfied receiving their Amazon box, printed in a corrugated plant, peeling back the packing tape, potentially printed on a flexo press, opening their product, box printed in a folding carton facility? I am sure you get the picture.

    If the public doesn't know, we grow awareness of the importance of print by educating the masses. Start a conversation with someone you do not know. I often travel on business, and when asked what it is I do for work, invariably, the comeback is this...Printing is a dying industry. Dying? Look around this restaurant at everything that is printed. Labels on every bottle, napkins, menus, flooring, wallpaper, your cell phone, graphic T-shirt, tiles on the bar, wall hangings, order pads, pens, and much more. And that is just one of 660,755 restaurants in the United States alone, not to mention only one industry we are discussing here. That conversation tends to blow the minds of anyone outside our industry.

    How are we ever going to find new workers? I believe print finds new workers, not the other way around. Here is why I feel this way. When publically speaking to an audience I often ask this question. How many here started their careers knowing print is where they wanted to land? Count the hands. Then ask, how many in the group ended up in this industry for one reason or another? In most cases, I find those hands raised by far outweigh the former. What of you, reader, in which category do you land?

    Those considering entering print as a career often feel the same as the person in the restaurant I was mentioning. It is an old, dying industry, and they avoid print for this reason. But, every statistic counters this uninformed mentality. Is print changing? Yes. Are products dying, i.e., books, newspapers, sure, they are on the decline. But print as a whole is growing. The PPI is on an upward trajectory and has been since a slight dip in 2009. Look to Smithres.com and their 2018 industry report where they state "The global printing industry is forecast to reach $821 billion by 2022, driven by growth in packaging and labels, rather than graphic applications, and digital rather than analog printing"

    The takeaway, talk to the printers, the public, and those considering this industry as a career. Spread the word to the point it becomes viral.

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    Bob Monte
    Strategic Account Manager
    EFI
    Austin TX
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  • 5.  RE: I'd like to teach the world to sing...er, print.

    Posted 10-30-2019 10:44
    First, Dave ... amazing illustrations. May we use them?
    Defining and promoting our profession of printing is very exciting.  Milwaukee/Wisconsin was a hotbed of print ... as was all through the rust belt.  I believe Wisconsin tech school programs (maybe 8 schools around the state?) have dropped "printing" as a degree.  That was a dagger.  I would love to see introduced a print module back into the schools that exposes students within various degree segments (graphics, textile, engineering, etc) where print plays a vital role.  Therefore print may not be the degree, though part of most degrees.  I do believe educating all to our industry that we treasure is great, though we need to re-introduce into the classroom.

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    Rick Mandel
    President & Owner
    Mandel Graphic Solutions
    Milwaukee WI
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  • 6.  RE: I'd like to teach the world to sing...er, print.

    Posted 10-31-2019 18:22
    Hi Rick,

    Thank you for asking. Yes, of course you may use them, as long as KIWO is given credit for them. There have been others who use our images without permission or credit given.

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    Dave Dennings
    Technical Product Manager
    KIWO Inc / ULANO Corp
    Seabrook TX
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  • 7.  RE: I'd like to teach the world to sing...er, print.

    Posted 10-31-2019 11:41
    thanks Bob - all good answers to the points raised. I do think your observation on how people find print (as a career) is spot on, but having read a report in the SGIA journal/or on the website recently where they surveyed the functional industry, over 1/3 of companies reported finding new workers as their worst impediment to growth. The growth still happens. I know in the circles I'm in (graphic and textile) it is an ongoing problem. Productivity sucks when the workers are half trained. Rejects climb.

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    Andy MacDougall
    TMI/Squeegeeville/Wachiay Studio
    Royston BC
    250 334 2598
    Canada. www.squeegeeville.com
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