The Future Of Printing: How Will We Print Hard Copy In Years To Come?

Printing is a time-honoured tradition, but with the astronomical rise in digital over the past two decades, it’s fair to say that the future of hard copies looks uncertain from the outside. Interestingly, this isn’t necessarily the case and in fact, print is far from dead! It’s just evolving, as technology does. Will we still rely on ink cartridges and toner? Or will our printing needs evolve as time goes on?

So, what does the future look like for printing?

The introduction of inkless printing

While thermal printing has been around for some time now, the introduction of inkless printing from Zink Imaging is a new innovative take on an existing technology. How does this work? Paper is embedded with dye crystals that are clear at room temperature, the colour is only brought out by the addition of thermal print-heads which are programmed to produce specific colours from the crystals. Clever, huh? While thermal printers have vastly improved, there is still a way to go yet to make these a household staple. The price is a barrier for many, but this could be a worthwhile investment for businesses in the future who may want to reduce the cost of their ink. 

Increase in 3D printing

3D printers have become popular for those wanting to experiment with the concept of printing three dimensional objects via electronic data. It’s a growing trend but one that could totally revolutionise how we go about our daily lives. Just imagine it, need a new pot for your plant, or perhaps a bottle opener? Print it! You can now print anything from vases to measuring cups and door stops. There is however an opposing ethical argument in regards to printing dangerous objects. The first 3D printed gun was created in 2013 causing waves of uncertainty for this technology. It can’t be denied though that the opportunities are truly endless, and while 3D printers may not quite be household items yet, the future certainly looks bright for three-dimensional printing. 

Improved sustainability

Sustainability is a hot topic in 2019 and one that isn’t going to be pushed under the rug any time soon. Every industry requires change, that’s change to become more sustainable, change to reduce environmental impact and change to work towards a safe future. In the future, we can expect to be printing our hard copies on strictly recycled and environmentally friendly papers that aren’t costing us the rainforest in return. In the past few years, the printing industry has had a real push and focus on sustainability, already making waves and driving towards more sustainable printing techniques. 

While we may well and truly be experiencing an unstoppable shift towards digital, it’s impossible for the majority of businesses and individuals to go completely paper-free. With the rise in exciting new printing methods and sustainable production, it can be said with confidence that hard-copy printing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. We can only hope that 3D printed food isn’t too far away into the future because that’s one invention we would love to witness. 

Jessica Foreman:
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