Digital Printing Industry In Times of the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

At a time when China struggles to control the virus that affects its country, and it has spread to 28 more countries. We can see that the coronavirus has the potential to be as damaging to the human health as for the global economy. Threatening the supply chains, increasing the demand for the material in stock and increasing the prices.

China is not new in dealing with the emergence of viruses that threaten the health and economy of its country, as well as that of the rest of the world

In 2002, SARS virus emerged in the province of Canton, China. During this time, the world briefly felt the consequences of China's isolation. Of course back then the country’s factories were mostly dedicated to the production of low-cost goods for customers around the world.

Though China’s factories still manufacture products like clothing and plastic toys, they have long achieved dominance in more advanced and lucrative pursuits like smartphones, computers and auto parts.

The country has evolved into an essential part of the global supply chain, producing components needed by factories all around the world.

Global brands that count on the Chinese market for the supply chain as well as for a sizeable chunk of sales are braced for a significant hit.

Let's do a quick test, look around and pick up 5 objects. I can bet that two of the 5 objects will say made in China

A known idiom states that, "When America Sneezes, the World Catches the Cold". But in these days when the rest of the world depends in one way or another on products and customers in China, I think it would be more valid to say, “When China Gets the Virus, Every Body Feels the Symptoms”.

Honda has three plants in Wuhan, the city where the first case of the virus occurred.

Airbus stopped its production line in Tianjin as travel restrictions imposed by Beijing.

Hyundai has halted production lines because of disruption to the supply chain of parts flow between South Korea and China.

Apple iPhone parts, including camera components are made in Wuhan.

IMAX postponed the release of five films it had intended to showcase in China during the “Chinese New Year”.

Just a few weeks after the outbreak of the virus, daily Chinese oil demand is already down 20 percent because of dwindling air travel, road transportation and factory closure. Reducing demand for crude oil, which has stumbled 16% in price since China identified the Coronavirus.

By default, China has a strong presence in the digital printing industry. From additives for manufacturing digital ink, mercury arc lamps, LED lamps to the seemingly insignificant ink containers or e-chains that protect the cables that control the printhead carriage.

If we keep in mind that 80% of the printheads manufacturing companies come from Asia, of which several use some component of Chinese factories, it is expected that at some point there will be shortage for the digital printing industry.

The longer those Chinese factories remain shut down, the greater the risk of shortages of key components. Many companies assumed they get parts from a diverse range of suppliers, protecting them from shortages, only to realize that a single plant in China produced the components.

The situation works in both ways: customers cannot buy what they need from Chinese factories and China can´t import machinery, components and raw material from other countries (chips from Taiwan and South Korea, copper from Chile and Canada, factory equipment from Germany and Italy).

With more than 56 confirmed cases in Europe (Australia, Germany, France, U.K., Italy, Spain, Sweden, Finland and Belgium) the imminent arrival of the Coronavirus to the old continent has not been delayed; even with the closing of borders with Asia.

To see the magnitude of this situation not only the factories are being reached by the Coronavirus and the closure of China. Also the trade shows of diverse products that are carried out throughout the world have been affected.

The annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona, has been impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak, with companies beginning to pull out.

LG Electronics issued a statement saying that the company will not participate in this year's edition of MWC Barcelona to reduce the risk of exposing of LG employees to international travel. While Huawei, the Chinese tech company, said it was monitoring the situation to determine their precautions.

Only a month and a half into 2020, many trade shows in Asia have been potponed to try to contain the rapid spread of the virus. People in the digital industry who are waiting for the arrival of the next trade shows in Europe (one of which takes place every 4 years) could also see their intentions fade if they were also postponed for reasons of health safety.

In a probable scenario in which the WHO declares a global pandemic alert. What would happen with the exhibitions planned for the coming months, where the most renowned brands have waited patiently to showcase their products with the newest technological advances.

This scenario would mean that the year 2020 would be one in which, for the first time the greatest exhibitions of the digital printing industry around the world would be postponed or even canceled. Leaving the launch of many new products on hold or possibly opening the doors for a boost of promotion through digital media.

If any of these become real, in the following exhibitions around the world we will see less presence of Asian companies.

APPPEXPO 2019 general view 7420
Cooley Group enviroFLEX shipment 7061

FESPA entrance first day 7605

Filtering area Trendvision 5678

ITMA 2019 crowds in front FLAAR REPORTS Nicholas Hellmuth 9055

Mixing filtering area Trendvision 5903


Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.

Recent Posts

Keep up with the latest trends about de digital printing industry and learn more about different technologies, equipment, media & substrates, inks, etc.