I’m a huge fan of niche printing companies and innovative technologies. Right now, we’re seeing a red-hot niche developing with hydrographics applications in plastic decorating and finishing services.
Hydrographics applies printed or film designs onto three-dimensional objects. A polyvinyl-alcohol film is gravure-printed with the graphic image to be transferred, and it’s then floated on the surface of water. A bonding agent is added, and then the substrate is lowered into the liquated. The floating ink layer wraps around the surface and adheres to it. (Click on this video from H20 Printers to see the process.)
Why is this technology so red-hot to visionary printers? A number of reasons:
It’s a hot new growth market.
It’s highly specialized, requiring talent and the right equipment.
It may be unattractive to the giants of the industry.
It adds a new element of design and customization to everyday objects.
It’s complementary to your printing business.
It’s a highly profitable niche.
To me, the smart money is on innovative technologies like hydrographics. Whether you’re looking to buy into the business or partner with an existing hydrographics printer, it’s a great area to niche in and create strong competitive advantages.
It’s also a terrific way to establish yourself as an expert in a particular technology – one that will be attractive to a wide range of vertical markets in the very near future.