A person inspecting some print
Product Banner

6 Ways Digital Print Supports Rapid Product Development

In the ultra-competitive industrial and manufacturing environment, the ability to rapidly move from concept to finished product is a significant competitive advantage. Traditional analogue printing processes, while effective for high-volume production, often lack the flexibility and speed needed for rapid product development.

Digital print technology, particularly UV flatbed printing, offers a compelling solution. This article will explore how digital print can support rapid product development, enabling businesses to innovate, customise, and respond quickly to market demands.

1. Facilitates Transition from Analogue to Digital Print

A person using a screen
A person using a screen

Industrial and manufacturing businesses have traditionally relied on analogue printing methods like screen and pad printing for their production needs. These methods, while reliable for large print runs, require extensive setup, such as the production of plates and screens and meticulous colour alignment. This can be time-consuming and costly, making it less suitable for short runs, prototyping, or customisation.

Digital print technology changes things massively. With UV flatbed printers, for example, businesses can print directly onto a wide range of substrates and surfaces, including plastics, metals, glass, and wood, with exceptional precision and speed. This direct-to-object capability removes many of the preparatory steps needed in traditional methods, allowing for quicker turnaround times and lower costs.

2. Streamlines Prototyping and Iterative Design

A person examining a product prototype
A person examining a product prototype

One of the most significant advantages of digital print technology is its ability to streamline the prototyping process. With traditional processes, prototyping can take several days or even longer, delaying the overall product development cycle. Digital print, however, enables businesses to produce high-quality prototypes in a matter of hours.

Speeding Up Innovation

A design team working on a new product can print a prototype using a UV flatbed printer and have a physical version ready the same day. This rapid turnaround enables iterative design, allowing for quick feedback and adjustments. As a result, the development process accelerates, and products reach the market faster.

Testing different substrates, finishes or techniques allows new product developers to find the best solution and provide options without having to worry about a costly set-up or waste. Samples can be evaluated, and feedback provided, leading to faster decision-making and production. Digital print makes this iterative approach affordable and efficient. It ensures that the final product is exactly what the customers want and increases the likelihood of success when the product is fully launched.

Solidifying Proof of Concept

This capability allows decision-makers to see and feel a sample before committing to a large run. The rapid turnaround can significantly shorten the development cycle, shortening the time it takes businesses to bring products to market.

3. Integrates with Advanced Manufacturing Processes

A close-up of a package with braille text
A close-up of a package with braille text

Digital print integrates seamlessly with advanced manufacturing processes. Digital printers can handle variable data printing, which is so important for businesses producing customised or personalised products. This capability is particularly valuable in markets where consumers and industrial clients demand unique, personalised items, such as custom industrial components, tailored packaging, or bespoke promotional materials.

Printing with UV ink provides other huge advantages, including contrasts in texture that are ideal for producing packaging prototypes or even tactile signage. Gloss ink, for example, is an ideal way of adding different effects to product designs. It adds texture and amplifies the vibrancy of colours. It can also be printed in layers and built up to produce raised effects, such as braille text.

Digital print supports just-in-time manufacturing too, allowing businesses to produce items on demand rather than maintaining large inventories. This reduces storage costs and minimises waste, as products are printed based on real-time demand.

4. Unlocks Personalisation and On-demand Printing

A close-up of personalised pressure gauges
A close-up of personalised pressure gauges

A compelling reason to invest in digital print is the ability to diversify product offerings, from custom-printed wallpaper to personalised promotional items to bespoke packaging solutions. It can fit in seamlessly with existing processes and workflows, and the learning curve needn’t be restrictive. Digital print can be an excellent addition to a production workflow by removing the inefficiencies of relying on external partners.

Personalised products are not limited to the consumer market, industrial clients also value customisation. Whether it’s custom branding on machinery, unique labelling for specialised equipment, or tailored signage for industrial settings, digital print makes these bespoke solutions achievable and efficient.

Businesses can experiment with new designs, trial different materials, and offer limited-edition products without the financial risks associated with traditional printing methods. This flexibility attracts new customers and allows companies to respond swiftly to market trends and customer feedback.

5. Encourages a Shift in Mindset

A close-up of a printed panel inlay
A close-up of a printed panel inlay

It can be a challenge to adopt new technologies and may require a change in mindset by decision-makers if it’s to be successful. This is especially true of those accustomed to traditional printing methods.

It’s essential to communicate the strategic advantages of digital print, emphasising how it aligns with broader business goals such as innovation, efficiency, and sustainability. Leadership support involves investing in the right equipment, committing to staff training, and fostering a culture that embraces new ideas and technologies.

6. Embraces the Future

A customised finger pulse oximeter
A customised finger pulse oximeter

Keeping up with technological advancements is crucial. Digital print solutions can enhance what a business can achieve, as well as future-proof it by enabling it to adapt to new trends and market demands quickly. Roland DG offers a range of digital print solutions, from entry-level printers and cutters suitable for small-scale production to high-capacity flatbed UV models designed for industrial uses. This scalability ensures that businesses can find a solution that matches their specific needs and production volumes while keeping an eye on the future.


The transition from traditional analogue printing to digital print technology represents a positive shift for industrial and manufacturing businesses. Investing in digital print technology is a strategic move. It enhances operational efficiency and positions the company as an innovator in the industry. With a range of digital print solutions available, there is a machine to suit every productivity level and business need, making the transition both feasible and advantageous.

If you’d like any more information on anything you’ve read in this article, our experts would be happy to help.

Talk to an Expert