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Print on demand: A low-carbon alternative with higher profit potential

Transform printing, publishing and processes with digital technology from HP


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By Susan Twombly, June 2009

Did you know …

An estimated 25 percent of books go unsold – wasting the paper, ink and energy required to produce them.1

Each year, almost 3 billion magazines on newsstands are never read. Placed end to end, these would circle the earth at the equator 20 times.2

It’s a sad fact that much of this waste can end up in landfills.

The situation worsens when you consider all the unused signs and graphics printed on paper and other materials – like PVC and MDF board – that can end up there, too.

The wasted chemicals and energy used to produce the discarded matter adds to the environmental impact.

If companies want to reduce printed waste, they need a way to print only what’s needed. Yet, that’s hard to do cost effectively with traditional printing and publishing. That’s where the on-demand model comes in.

The solution is digital

On-demand printing and publishing leverages digital technology, which enables companies to produce only what’s needed, when and where it’s needed. So, they can greatly decrease costly scrap and waste.

With on-demand solutions from HP, print service providers, graphic artists and other businesses can transform physical pages into digital media, optimize workflows and leverage new types of publishing services for added revenue potential – and all while taking steps to reduce their carbon footprints.

HP digital printing technologies: Less waste, more opportunity

Traditional analog printing technologies – such as offset, screen or flexo – require long print runs to absorb set up and overhead costs. This typically leads to excessive and expensive overprinting. Digital printing can change that.

HP Indigo digital presses

With HP Indigo digital presses, businesses can produce high-quality, short-run print jobs on demand. This not only helps them eliminate waste, it helps them expand services: It now becomes cost-effective to take on short- or medium-run jobs and personalized printing projects.

Consider these potential savings, also: In a comparative study with a typical lithographic offset press, the HP Indigo press wasted 98 percent less paper and used 86 percent less ink for shorter runs (500 copies). For longer runs (3,000 copies), the Indigo press wasted 43 percent less paper and used 39 percent less ink.3

HP Inkjet Web press

The high-speed HP Inkjet Web press can also help reduce waste with shorter, on-demand runs (in the thousands), compared with the longer runs (in the tens of thousands) typical in the newspaper and periodical industries. Available in the second half of 2009, this digital press can expand personalization opportunities and make smaller jobs more feasible, too.

HP Scitex FB7500 Printer

Screen print service providers can ease their transition to digital printing with the new HP Scitex FB7500 Printer. It’s a versatile UV flatbed printer perfect for high volumes of on-demand printing of high-quality point-of-sale projects, exhibition graphics, signage, backlit displays and posters.

With a maximum productivity of 500 m2/hr, the HP Scitex FB7500 Printer is ideal for high-paced environments and tight schedules. To help you convert screen printing volume to digital, this printer adds outstanding media versatility and an efficient, automated workflow that avoids lengthy and costly set-up processes.

HP Exstream software: Transform carbon-intensive processes

HP Exstream helps companies print more responsibly and reduce environmental impact. Leveraging the software’s many electronic and interactive capabilities, businesses can reduce paper usage, as well as warehousing, document production and distribution costs.

For example, HP Exstream can help automate and streamline document creation and delivery processes across an enterprise – from a simple letter to complex statements, lengthy publications and even enrollment and welcome kits. Digitized documents are easy to access, edit, distribute and print on demand, which helps reduce scrap and keep content up to date.

HP Exstream can also help get critical communications to customers faster and improve the customer experience with more effective communications, delivered through their preferred channels.

Transition to digital today

As companies seek ways to do business with less environmental impact, HP on demand printing and publishing solutions can help them transition to more sustainable approaches – while they work towards eliminating the media leftovers that eat at their bottom lines.

1“Findings from the U.S. Book Industry—Environmental Trends and Climate Impacts,” page 31. Book Industry Study Group and Green Press Initiative; 2008.

2Turning the Page: Environmental Impacts of the Magazine Industry and Recommendations for Improvement. The PAPER Project, 2001.

3Sachin R. Kadam, Mary Anne Evans, Ph.D., Sandra Rothenberg, PhD, A Research Monograph of the Printing Industry Center at RIT, PICRM-2005-01, “A Comparative Study of the Environmental Aspects of Lithographic and Digital Printing Processes,” page 17, 2009.

Print wisely, protect more

» HP Indigo presses
» Read: HP Indigo expands sustainability options
» HP Inkjet Web Press
» HP Scitex FB7500 Printer
» HP Exstream software
» HP Retail Marketing Automation solutions
Learn more

HP Eco Solutions Program
» Read more about reducing environmental impact

HP Global Citizenship Report 2008
» Read about low-carbon alternatives
» Read the comprehensive report
» Read the enterprise & public sector report

Video: HP CloudPrint & MagCloud Web Service
Podcast: Commercial Printing
John Meyer, director of the Digital Printing and Imaging Lab, and renowned photographer Douglas Kirkland discuss how digital technologies are revolutionizing commercial printing.

Decreasing waste, democratizing print

MagCloud, a web-based cloud service, makes it possible to create and publish digitized magazines and economically print, promote, sell and deliver them on demand.

It offers an alternative to mass production and the resulting waste, since each issue is custom-printed on Indigo presses when ordered.

The service breaks through cost/complexity barriers for small independent publishers or individuals who may never have considered publishing.

It costs nothing to publish a magazine. Users simply upload a hi-def PDF file and the MagCloud service does the printing, mailing, subscription management and more. Readers can buy a magazine for as little as 20 per page, plus shipping.

As an on-demand solution, MagCloud is a low-carbon publishing option that can make micro print runs profitable. But as a cloud service, it also has massive scaling capabilities to flex as demands increase.

Find out about MagCloud
Read Publish, print your own magazine on demand
See other on-demand printing solutions in the HP Lab

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