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International Label Mfg.
 

2013 CEO Summit Registration Now Live




Registration is now live for the 2013 CEO Summit taking place at the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, Feb. 11-13, in Sarasota, Fla. This annual event is developed specifically for the owners and executives of PSDA member companies.

The CEO Summit is the best opportunity to connect with the most successful people in the industry. The program will contain engaging education sessions, ample networking time and attendees can enjoy the beautiful surroundings, including the Ritz-Carlton's award winning 18-hole championship golf course designed by renowned golf course architect Tom Fazio.

Learn more and register today.
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Appleton
 

PSDA News

Upcoming Webinar: Team Management for Small Business Owners

Join PSDA affiliate partner Caliper for a complimentary webinar Sept. 12 at noon ET and learn how to manage your team and enhance your organization's success. Learn more and register today.

Every small business faces a similar challenge: where to invest time, money and attention. When you're dealing with limited resources and budget constraints, one of your top priorities, and often biggest expense, is your team — the employees who can either drive your business or detract from your success.

So how do you ensure that you have the right team? How can you discover whether your employees are using their talents to their fullest potential? And what are you doing to retain the loyalty of your top talent? Just as important, how accurate are you at identifying conflict before it becomes a serious detractor to success? These are some of the questions every small business owner needs to ask — and answer — in order to build the most effective team possible. Learn how other small business owners are managing their teams for measurable success.

You will learn:
  • Best practices in creating an efficient, effective team;
  • How team issues, if not addressed, can critically impact your small business team; and
  • How employee development can bring a return to your company's bottom line.
Learn more and register today
Check Out PSDA’s Complimentary On-Demand Training Offerings

You are probably aware by now that PSDA's On-Demand Training offers a variety of courses on an individual basis, allowing you to pick the courses one-by-one, based on your needs and job role. What you might not know is that several of these individual courses are available free of charge.

Click here to browse the individual course offerings, and scroll to the bottom to check out the complimentary content, which includes the following courses:

•  Adding Print Equals Profits
•  All About Envelopes
•  Being a Champion
•  Building Your Brand Identity
•  Die-Cutting, Foil Stamping and Embossing
•  Paper Substrates
•  Understanding Color and Printing Inks
•  Understanding Ink on Paper
•  Understanding the Proofing Process
•  Web-to-Print Success
An Industry Fast Fact from PSDA Partner Two Sides

The U.S. forest products industry far exceeds all other industries in the use of renewable biomass energy and is a leader in cogenerating electricity. In 2005, the forest products industry produced more than four-fifths of the total biomass energy generated by all U.S. industrial sectors.

— Agenda 20/20 Technology Alliance, U.S. Department of Energy, et.al

For more print and paper myths and facts, click here.

Ennis, Inc.
 

Member News

Large-Format Print Shop Changes Name, Sharpens Focus

PSDA member Digigraph Xpress, a large-format printing, graphic design, product and display-sourcing company, recently changed the company name to Print Big Solutions. The new name was rolled out with a newly designed website, www.printbig.com. “We feel the new name clarifies what we do, and how we approach our work,” said Joe Duffy, president of Print Big. “Our new logo includes a pencil. Our tagline is ‘Talk To Us!' We want to highlight the days where people sat down face-to-face to puzzle out problems and find a solution — sometimes with nothing more than a cocktail napkin and a pencil. Our customers know we won't stop working until we find the right solution for their needs. That is why we have such a loyal customer base.”
Data Management Adds Self-Expiring Visitor Badges to Line



PSDA member Data Management Inc. recently added to its line of Visitor Pass Solutions. Now visitor management systems can print self-expiring visitor badges on color inkjet printers. Self-expiring visitor badges, which change color overnight so they can't be reused, have long been available for direct thermal printers. But these print only in black and white, including visitors' photographs. “Now users of visitor management systems can benefit from both the added security of expiring badges, as well as the improvement in quality afforded by full-color inkjet printers,” said Noel Turner, Data Management's VP of sales.

In addition to having more identifiable photographs, badges printed on inkjet printers can be customized with a facility's logo and color-coded for better access control, according to Data Management's VP of product development, Richard Reed. “The professional appearance that people are used to seeing on permanent employee ID cards can now be replicated on our self-adhesive visitor labels,” he said.
Wilmer
 
MPX Makes ‘2012 Best Places to Work in Maine’ List

PSDA member MPX was recently named one of the 2012 Best Places to Work in Maine. The company will be recognized and honored at the Best Places to Work in Maine awards ceremony on Oct. 11 and will be profiled in a special publication by Mainebiz. The official rankings will be announced at the event. This is the third time MPX has been honored with this title. MPX management is very proud to be recognized as such a company and uses the results collected during the selection process each year to continue to learn about and support the needs of its employees.

This statewide survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in Maine, benefiting the state's economy, its workforce and businesses. The 2012 Best Places to Work in Maine list is made up of 42 companies in two size categories: small/medium (15-249 U.S. employees) and large (250+ U.S. employees). MPX has been named one of the Best Places to Work in Maine in the small/medium category.
Navitor Introduces Foil-Stamped Folders on Website

North Mankato, Minn.-based supplier Navitor recently announced that foil-stamped folders are now available on the company's website, www.navitor.com. Navitor Folders, a PSDA member, offers quantities as low as 50 along with 10 stock varieties and seven foil imprint colors online. Navitor offers a variety of folder styles online as well, such as expandable, literature and legal sizes. All the folders featured on the website come with standard horizontal business card slits centered on the right pocket.

Foil stamping is a specialty finishing service that can make printed materials stand out from the crowd. It is a printing application where heat, pressure and metallic paper (foil) are used to create various designs and graphics on different materials. Foil gives the stamped design a radiant, polished and sophisticated look. Another advantage of foil stamping is the environmental factor. The Foil & Specialty Effects Association recently did a study on foil stamping sustainability. The research showed that foil stamping did not lower the recyclability of paper products.
Innovative Print & Media Group Helps Boost Literacy of Philadelphia School Children

Three leaders of PSDA member Innovative Print & Media Group recently reached out to the community by participating in the Read to Me Early Literacy Program sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. Innovative President Rob Whitman, new business development Vice President Michael Tornvall and business development executive Eric Sheron joined leaders from more than 130 businesses in the region to read to 2,200 kindergarten and first-grade children in Philadelphia schools as part of the program's Storyteller Event. Innovative Print & Media Group is a provider of print and promotional products, creative and marketing communications services, direct mail and fulfillment.
Glatfelter
 

Industry News

Label Industry Shows Market Resilience
Packaging Digest (08/01/12) Fairley, Mike

A survey of North American converters showed that the main hindrances for printers are downward pressures on prices and climbing costs, with about half of respondents naming them as the two biggest impediments to business growth. The poll demonstrated that converters are still heavily dependent on the food/supermarket sector for business, with around 70 percent of respondents producing labels for end users in this industry. The survey also found that 100 percent of converters are providing customers with self-adhesive labels, followed by wraparound and sleeve labels.

The most popular label substrates are paper, coated paper and plastic films, while metalized film and paper are catching up, likely on account of end user anti-counterfeiting and premium product differentiation mandates. The biggest and most lucrative growth segment for converters appears to be the main printing process. Slightly more than half of polled printers said they are using digital technologies, with 95 percent of respondents preferring flexo and 65 percent utilizing UV flexo. Brand owners can realize mass label variation at a lower cost through digital printing, which can address speed-to-market and short-run requirements for labels.

The next generations of digital inkjet label presses have long been considered as offering the ultimate potential in higher speed, quality and digital printing for the future. Inkjet offers perhaps maximum flexibility for modern, rapidly changing marketplace conditions, with the goal being to print proof-quality inkjet labels at conventional press running speeds on a digital press line, but with all the nimbleness, job batching, changeover, marketing, variation and personalization options brand owners demand. It is crucial that converters maintain their cooperation with brand owners to reinforce the message that digital printing can boost their business value.

Cross-Media Needs Print as its First Point of Contact
Print Week (08/23/12) Francis, Jo

Cross-media marketing is increasingly popular, as brands come up with ways to use new tools for customer engagement and sales generation. Pitney Bowes has published research indicating that email open rates are declining in cases where email was the only contact point with consumers, with 53 percent of some 5,000 respondents reporting negative perceptions about email intrusiveness — more than double that for direct mail. Print's ability to stand out — whether through size, shape or tactile effects — means it can hold its place as a powerful driver of customer interactions.

The London 2012 Olympics provided a high-profile platform for cross-media interactions. BP PLC used QR Codes and unique identifying codes on its carbon-neutral promotion, which arrived with Games tickets. Part of the company's campaign involved an attention-grabbing insert in the ticket pack. Printed on 50 percent recycled polypropylene, the piece involved pop-out die-cut tags, each printed with a QR Code and individual code. By visiting a microsite, ticket-holders were able to neutralize the carbon emissions involved in their journey to Olympic venues, with BP aiming to set a world record for the most individual carbon offsets at a single event. Those visiting London's Olympic Park itself were prompted to make a further engagement with a souvenir photograph in front of a spectacular Olympic stadium backdrop available for ticketholders who took their individual tags along to the BP Target Neutral Walk.

Meanwhile, Lloyds TSB used the ticket pack to put a promotion directly into the hands of recipients by sending out what appeared to be a straightforward printed leaflet, which turned out to include an integrated label to be used as a Team GB supporter's bib. Recipients uploaded a photograph of themselves wearing the bib to a Lloyds TSB Facebook page in order to have a chance of winning tickets for the Team GB after-party.

 

Fine-Tuning Web-to-Print
MyPrintResource (08/20/12) Vruno, Mark

InfoTrends research indicates that print jobs fulfilled by web-based ordering systems will increase almost twofold from 2009 within 18 months, while XMPie's Idan Youval observed that "e-commerce is becoming the backbone of many [print] service providers today." Datatech SmartSoft's Eric Wold said printers can remove "value-less touches" in their workflows and tolerate inevitable market fluctuations with the proper software. He cited re-channeling labor from non-value-added processes to value-added processes as the biggest challenge for the printing industry. Wold's advice to print companies is to "stop throwing bodies and payroll dollars at mundane tasks like order processing, writing quotes, and job dockets and endless production meetings. Clients don't pay for these activities, so the less time you spend on them, the better off you will be." Wold stressed that the mastery of new software tools should be seen as an opportunity to keep up with and even overtake the competition.

Aleyant Systems' Steve Ciesemier called mobile platform compatibility the "biggest shift" for the industry. "Your web-to-print needs to be there," he said. Ciesemier said that Aleyant will demonstrate automated workflow integration and introduce some newer online storefront technology at GRAPH EXPO this fall. "We're trying to bridge the digital divide between online storefronts and back-end devices, making it as seamless and hands-free as possible," he said.

Meanwhile, Wold speculated that in the future, buying decisions will be increasingly fueled by relationship marketing. "Cutting-edge marketers will explore the use of AI [artificial intelligence] agents that will sift through mountains of data looking for correlations and opportunities to trigger communications," he predicted. "If printers still want to be around 10 years from now, they need to overhaul their workflow now so they will be able to participate."
Top 10 Mistakes in Selling Web-to-Print

Read "Top 10 Mistakes in Selling Web-to-Print" from the November 2011 issue of Print Solutions magazine.

Optimize Your Online Presence
PrintWeek (08/24/12) P. 26 Whipp, Matt

Search engine optimization is what gets a website noticed in Google and other major search engines, and companies are "wasting money on hosting fees" if they are not optimizing their sites, according to Matt Whipp of Printweek. Optimizing means engineering a website so that it is fully usable for real people and also structured for easy indexing by Google, Yahoo! and the like. One tip is to make sure a website has a logical structure reflected in a clear navigation. An example of this could be a commercial printer that is introducing a web-to-print business and wants to launch a completely different site dedicated to the new venture so that each site can maximize exposure to its target audience and thus enhance SEO capability. Categories and sub-categories on these sites should be clearly and hierarchically classified.

A second tip is to create really well-targeted category pages that contain a number of the relevant keywords. A site that uses specific keywords will attract its target audience more successfully and lower the competition. A company seeking to be the top ranking letterpress printer in Chicago, for instance, would need to ensure the website carries terms that users would likely enter into Google to find a letterpress in Chicago. "Letterpress" and "Chicago" would be obvious choices, but when stuck for ideas tools like Google Keyword are available to generate prompts. However, website managers should be careful not to go overboard on the keywords so that the site remains engaging.

Businesses selling products online may have numerous similar pages with only small changes — business cards in different colors, or photobooks with a variety of templates. One way to avoid creating pages of near-duplicate content is to use canonical URLs, which is to standardize URLs on a format so that a search engine can ignore variations as they all refer to the 'master' URL. Thirdly, make sure to register the site with Google and Yahoo!, in addition to the major search engines used in other countries, including Baidu in China and Yandex in Russia. The site should also be registered with directories such as Dmoz.

Marketing Analytics – Measuring What Matters in B2B
Great B2B Marketing (08/29/2012) Ryan, Christopher

Many B2B marketers tend to miss the forest for the trees by measuring things that are not important, wrote Christopher Ryan, founder and president of Fusion Marketing Partners. One example is the question of linking B2B sales with specific marketing points, such as attributing the sale to the first or last prospect response. Ultimately, this is not an important question because there is no way to really know which source produced a sale or what is the true buying motivation. Only four or five metrics should be measured, the most important of which are cost per lead, cost per customer acquisition, conversion ratio of inquiries to qualified leads and conversion ratio of qualified leads to sales. The focus should be on the sales model, as a software company with a 12-month sales cycle operates differently than a consulting company and each scenario needs different marketing activities and forms of measurement. Each scenario does, however, have in common the need for a low cost per acquisition, and metrics must be consistent and repeatable. Ryan offers five rules for marketing analytics:
  • Ensure that what is being measured is valuable to both sales and executive staff.
  • Create a dashboard that illustrates the analytics, as graphic illustrations are always preferable to spreadsheets; only measure things that can be improved or acted upon, as a metric is useless unless it helps a company to boost performance.
  • Make sure the analytics are part of a well-defined process, as currently only about 25 percent of companies routinely follow a specific lead generation and follow-up process, according to MarketingSherpa.
  • Finally, it is important to make sure other departments are measuring their work as well — if a marketer promises a certain level of performance, sales staff also should have goals for closing deals.

Use of Mobile Action Codes in Magazines Increases 107 Percent
Media Post Publications (08/29/12) Sass, Eric

A new survey from Nellymoser found a 107 percent increase in consumer magazine publishers' use of mobile action codes in the past year, with the top 100 titles using 2,200 codes in the second quarter compared to 1,062 for the same period last year. The numbers have consistently risen since Nellymoser began gathering the data last year, starting with 352 in the first quarter of 2011 and jumping 61 percent between 2012's first and second quarter totals, from 1,365 to 2,200. The 2012 second quarter is also the first time all 100 of the top titles deployed a mobile action code. The most popular use for the codes was linking to mobile video, accounting for 40 percent of codes, while about 20 percent were aimed at allowing the user to enter a sweepstakes or share content on social media. Among the codes Nellymoser measured were QR Codes, Microsoft Tags, Digimarc watermarks, SpyderLynk SnapTags and JagTags.

Avoiding Mobile Marketing Mistakes
Forbes (08/07/12) Lopez, Maribel

The biggest problem with Quick Response (QR) Codes is poor marketing campaign execution, according to Maribel Lopez. She wrote that consideration of QR Code use as part of a marketing campaign should account for at least three areas. "A successful campaign will tell the consumer what they should do," Lopez said. "It will tell the consumer why they should do it and a successful campaign will make the interaction meaningful."

The campaign needs to include specific instructions on how readers should use QR Codes, and what they should expect to happen. Lopez pointed out, "Many QR Codes provide no indication of what will happen if a person scans the code." Furthermore, a successful QR Code campaign needs to deliver a meaningful call to action, which can be challenging when the code is presented in an article or catalog rather than on a product in a store. In the former situation, "The marketer is asking the consumer to leave one process and start another to scan a code," Lopez said. "QR Codes are more effective if you tell the reader why scanning the code is valuable. There are many types of calls to action, such as: 'Scan here to buy now' or 'Scan to download our new iPad app' or 'Scan for a recipe.'" Additionally, the marketer must ensure that the call to action delivers what it promises.

The final consideration Lopez cited involves making the interaction worthwhile. "A person has to pick up their phone, launch an app and scan a code," she said. "There should be worthwhile information at the other end of this transaction. If the consumer scanned a code to get to your home page, it's a waste of time." Lopez stressed that "a QR Code provides an opportunity to add rich content to printed material. It's an opportunity to provide the user with more information that is specific to what they are currently viewing."
QR Codes: Lessons from the Data

For more on QR Codes, check out "QR Codes: Lessons from the Data" by Heidi Tolliver-Walker in the January 2012 issue of Print Solutions magazine.

Case Study: Making Magic at Tada!
Wide-Format Imaging (08/12) Gustavson, Denise

Traditional and Digital Arts (Tada!) founders Meaghan and Shawn Scalise invested in an eight-color VersaCAMM VS-540 54-inch printer/cutter with Metallic Silver and White Eco-SOL MAX inks and a VersaCAMM VP-300 30-inch printer/cutter for their digital print production needs. "We've eliminated the need to outsource and have begun running new applications" thanks to the VS acquisition, Shawn said. The VS' wider print area and metallic and white ink capability made the product especially appealing to Tada!'s production environment.

A signature product of Tada! is acrylic graphic signage with stand-off mounting, and the VersaCAMM VS allows the company to print acrylic graphics in reverse and backs them with white ink, eliminating several production steps and making lamination unnecessary. "We've been able to streamline our process and send our acrylic graphics and hardware 'kits' out to clients worldwide," Shawn said. Another VS application involved the printing of graphics for a 45-foot parade float designed and built by Tada!, which featured a 10-foot diameter jeweled crown. CMYKLcLm and metallic inks were used to print the float graphics, while a two-part resin was applied to create a three-dimensional effect.

Shawn also appreciates the more nuanced effects he can produce using White Eco-SOL MAX ink. Tada! creates custom contour cut decals for retail clients, including a firm that fabricates soy candles. "We were using white vinyl for their labels before, but printing white ink on clear vinyl creates a very professional look," Shawn said. He also pointed out that "metallic and white inks bring our projects to a new level, and the eight-color ink configuration means all our printed colors are richer. With the VersaCAMM VS, you're bringing quality that other shops can't provide."

The Truth About Designing for Print: Control the Whole Process
Quick Printing (08/12) Steele, Jeffrey

Seasoned print service providers unanimously concur that carrying a design for print all the way through the completion process is crucial, and Elm Street Printing & Graphics owner Peter Palermo emphasized that "you must have the right input, and have agreement on the strategy right from the start." Palermo suggested that this represents "the biggest challenge in working with the clients, that you get agreement upfront; you're on the same page, and there are no surprises down the road. If we ask the right questions and get the right input, and we're talking to the right people, we can get the concept and design right 90 to 95 percent of the time, the first time."

Agreeing with this assessment is Goodcopy President Lou Goldberg, who said that "the more control you have over the job, the better it is for everyone. You want to be able to make your client happy. Deadlines are very tight, and if you can control all aspects of the project, you can meet everyone's needs." Westphal's Group President Jeff Westphal pointed out that clients frequently do not understand the importance of their printed collateral material matching their mobile or desktop websites. "Their website should look exactly like their printed collateral material, or follow the same theme," Westphal said. CL Graphics President Rick Schildgen said matching print and interactive design is even more critical because many firms' print materials guide prospective clients to the websites of those companies.

Westphal said that practically any printer can tackle double parallel folds and gatefolds and sometimes will accept tasks entailing manual folding to produce attention-getting pieces. "If you're handed something that you know from a technical standpoint is not going to be easy to achieve, that's where your bottlenecks come in," said Goodcopy vice president of marketing Edie Goldberg. "If [clients] consult with us in the early design process, and they bring us in from the beginning, then efficiencies will result." Clients additionally appreciate printers as valued partners when they design pieces that save money on mailing costs. Goldberg said that one-stop shopping is very appealing to clients. "The graphic design component allows your clients to have the confidence that you are their print professional and will do the job right," he said.

The Catalog: It's the Leatherman of Marketing
Multichannel Merchant (09/01/12) Vol. 8, No. 4, P. 24 Lynch, Erin

The results of the Multichannel Merchant Outlook 2012-2013 report point to the continued prosperity of the print catalog, despite a slight drop in the percentage of respondents still using it as a marketing vehicle, from 65.4 percent in 2011 to about 60 percent in 2012. Catalogs are assuming new, multifaceted roles, including branding, the driving of web traffic, prospecting and the driving of store and mobile traffic. "The focus on multimedia becomes all the more important as catalog pages reduce in number," said Glenda Shasho Jones, president and CEO of Shasho Jones Direct, a catalog agency in New York City. "The cost of mailing a full-size catalog has become prohibitive for many, so we've got to provide the content our consumers need in different locations. Encouraging consumers to use other media effectively is our responsibility, and doing so will lead to the continued value of the catalog as a marketing tool — not its demise."

Constantly climbing shipping costs appear to be prompting some retailers to consider print alternatives for branding purposes as well as for boosting traffic less expensively. Alternatives cited by survey respondents include postcards, fliers, direct mail and solo mailers. Nearly 20 percent said they did not intend to use an alternative method this year. To measure the effectiveness of the catalog-focused marketing campaign, around 63 percent of those polled said they use keycode captures, about 53 percent use match-back programs and 24.2 percent did not employ a formal effectiveness tracking tool. Those statistics were slightly lower than they were last year, when 65 percent used keycode capture, 45.5 percent used match-back programs and 29.4 percent did not use an effectiveness tracking instrument.

About 44 percent of respondents indicated plans to increase their catalog circulation numbers in the coming year, versus 31.4 percent who expected to maintain circulation as is and 22.9 percent who wished to decrease circulation. The 2011 numbers for these respective options were 55.4 percent, 19.4 percent and 22.3 percent. Of those catalogers expecting to boost circulation this year, 31.9 percent anticipated an increase of 1 percent to 10 percent, 13.4 percent projected an increase of 11 percent to 20 percent and 10.9 percent expected to grow circulation past 20 percent.

Digital Finishing: What's Your End Game?
MyPrintResource (08/27/12) Whitcher, Joann

Digital finishing demands automated processes to help counter labor costs, simplify operations and let print service providers handle multiple finishing tasks concurrently. It frequently facilitates efficient ways to generate high-quality finished documents with variable and personalized information on either pre-collated cut-sheet or roll-fed output. "As digital print continues to make strides, print finishing technology is doing a good job of keeping up by offering more fully integrated and automated solutions, from feeding to printing to finished product, with fewer manual touchpoints and greater provisions for quality control, tracking and inspection throughout the entire process," said Standard Finishing Systems' Bob Flinn.

Standard Finishing's suppliers, Horizon International of Japan and Hunkeler of Switzerland, have collaborated to produce tightly integrated roll-to-inline finishing solutions to respond to the needs of the digital print operation. The Horizon/Hunkeler Roll-to-Booklet saddlestitching solution is designed to run in-line with continuous print engines, process booklets from a printed roll or finish pre-collated cut sheet output at speeds up to 6,000 booklets per hour. In addition, the system has full variability capability, while both fixed and variable page count can be processed with full integrity including sheet-level, book-level and text/cover matching verification, when the system is outfitted with Standard's VIVA inspection software.

"The good news is that these advancements are accompanied by increased automation and other features designed to make operation seamless and intuitive," Flinn said. "Things like job format selection and memory, accurate automated setup and a simple touchscreen interface will allow an operator unfamiliar with finishing to be proficient at producing books, and a seasoned bindery person even more efficient as more and more print shifts from offset to digital."

Nordson Corp.'s Elizabeth Jordan said the biggest factor in binding today is the ability to efficiently produce high-quality books on demand, and she pointed out that "production of a high-quality, digitally printed book often necessitates use of polyurethane [PUR] adhesives as the oils, inks and sometimes papers used in digital printing can interfere with the binding properties of traditional ethylene vinyl acetates [EVA]." Nordson fulfills these requirements via its EP48 book on demand (BoD) applicator, designed to fully integrate the binder, permitting automatic set up and adjustment for spine widths from 0 mm to 60 mm.

Spiel Associates co-owner David Spiel said printers that bind a high number of books each year may wish to automate their process by using a more advanced machine, while many printers elect to use an in-line punch with their digital copier. "If you only have one digital engine, it may pay to use an in-line punch," Spiel said. "If you have multiple machines, a good off-line punch should be able to handle the work from all of them."

3-D Printing Revolution Stymied for Now by High Prices
Scientific American (08/28/12) Peck, Morgen E.

The cost of 3-D printers continues to hold back technology that has the potential to spark a revolution in creativity and self-sufficiency. A decent 3-D printer currently costs at least $1,500, but developments are needed to bring the price down enough for most people to buy one and for printing shops to provide 3-D printing services to those who cannot afford to make a purchase. Matt Strong, a product developer in Pleasant Grove, Utah, believes 3-D printers can be manufactured for less, and he launched a campaign on Kickstarter this month in hopes of building and selling a version of the popular MakerBot Replicator for nearly a third of its cost.

In the near future, the price of 3-D printers could fall to about $1,000, which is the same amount Hewlett Packard sold its first personal DeskJet in 1988 to awaken a new market, and prices for regular computer printers plummeted from there. Kinko's copy stores were selling printouts by the page by the 1990s. Diane's Mail Room, a shipping provider in Buckley, Wash., purchased the 3D Touch, a $4,000 double-headed 3-D printer, in February, and charges $15 for every ounce of plastic that is used to print something. Although only about four people use it a month, owner Ted Griffiths believes in the technology and plans to upgrade soon to a high-end ProJet 15000 that sells for $14,500. "If it takes us five years to get this thing to where people are coming in and using it all the time, that's OK," he said.


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September 6, 2012
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