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Sun, Jun

Well, when it comes to environmental considerations in the manufacture and distribution of wide-format inkjet printers, many vendors are still standing on the apron though their engines may be running. Nessan Cleary reports.

We know that for many businesses, particularly retailers, it’s important to be seen to be green and that increasingly that means looking to their whole supply chain and making sure that it reflects their own environmental policies. The knock-on effect is that large-format print providers are going to have to be in a position to demonstrate to their customers that their business fits the bill. And that in turn means taking a long hard look at the suppliers they use and the equipment they buy. In commercial print and in packaging this is already de rigueur but it seems that the large-format sector is lagging behind.

Nessan Cleary gets up close to this new flatbed, launched complete with new inks at Fespa 2013.

Korean ink manufacturer Inktec showed a flatbed printer at this year’s Fespa show in London. The Jetrix KX5 has a bed size of 2.5 x 1.3m, and there’s an optional roll-feeder which takes media up to 2.2m. This should take rolls up to around 100m, enough to allow the printer to be left printing during the night. Unusually, it will take media up to 10cm high. The operator has to set the carriage height but there’s a motion sensor on either side that will stop printing if there’s any danger of the heads hitting the substrate.

Focus on finishing…and you know it’s likely you’ll significantly improve your margins. So where are the main advances taking place. Nessan Cleary investigates.

There’s been a development frenzy when it comes to cutting tables, but don’t expect the same level of activity elsewhere on the finishing kit front. So in some instances you’re going to continue to suffer from that production bottleneck until manufacturers put the same levels of R&D into other tools as they have into cutting technology. It’s easy to see why the focus has been on such devices – the demand for more automation has been almost palpable. And the developers have risen to the market’s expectation.

Nessan Cleary investigates how this cutting plotter handles a range of materials at high speeds.

Earlier this year Mutoh launched a new series of cutting plotters, known as ValueCut, which are essentially improved versions of the Kona series.

Nessan Cleary talks to users about how this package has evolved from being financial management tool to a vital part of the production system for the modern wide-format operation.

Management information systems (MIS) have become increasingly important to print businesses, partly because there’s more emphasis on automated throughput than there was, but also because the role of the MIS has changed. Traditionally such systems have been all about gathering financial information so that managers can make the best decisions for the smooth running of a business. But increasingly the MIS now sits at the heart of the production process, running everything from estimating and quoting to generating delivery notes and invoices.

Textile printing is said to be one of the fastest growing areas in wide-format, but you do have to tailor the applications around the available materials? 

There’s no doubt that digitally printed textiles is a huge and growing business. But this is partly because it is made up of several very distinct markets. The biggest of these is the garment sector, which itself can cover a huge range from high street fashion to the occasional promotional    T-shirt. This includes printing to various materials from cotton to silk, which require specialist printers with inks suitable to these materials, and plenty of washing before the garment is ready  to wear.

Nessan Cleary takes a look at the machine that heralds Epson’s move into the textile printing market.

Late last year Epson announced its intentions to get into textile printing with two new dye-sublimation printers, one of which was the 64in wide Surecolor SC-F7000. This machine was subsequently officially launched at this year’s Sign and Digital show with quite a number now established in the field.

 

 

Avery Dennison has announced the ‘GoForPro Contest 2013’, a competition co-sponsored by HP, Epson and Mimaki that invites print professionals to enter their best graphics projects by 15 December. Winners’ entries will be awarded trips to the sponsors’ training centres in Barcelona, Dusseldorf, Milan or Istanbul.

Fespa 2013 has departed London and it’s time to assess what we have learned before the dust settles. Nessan Cleary reports. 

Even though this year’s Fespa show took place in London, it remained undeniably a European show, thanks to the sheer number of overseas visitors. It was busy, with most visitors having done their homework and knowing exactly what they had come to see. And there was plenty to see, with most stands crammed with equipment and visitors alike.

Nessan Cleary gets to grips with this Mimaki TS34-1800adaptation.

This month’s Machine Matters covers a roll-to-roll solvent printer from Graphic Printing Technologies (GPT), a division of Amari Plastics that is perhaps best known as a reseller of printers from the likes of Mimaki, Epson and Agfa.

Nessan Cleary investigates this high-speed textile printer aimed at the soft signage market.

Earlier this year the Portuguese company POD added a new textile printer, the Mtex 1800, to its line-up of fabric printers which are all distributed in the UK by the Derby-based company Digital Print Innovations, or DPI.

Nessan Cleary finds that latex compatibility and environmental concerns are the main catalysts for wide-format media development.

When it comes to substrates there are myriad different choices. But there are several trends in the types of substrates being demanded that indicate the overall direction of the wide-format market.

Nessan Cleary findsRoland’s new eco-solvent printer really has been built for speed without loss of image quality.

Roland has just launched a new eco-solvent printer, the Pro4 SolJet XF-640, premiered at Sign and Digital UK and immediately available to order.

There are many different stages in the life of a job, from the quotation through to final output, and its not always easy to link these together. But there is help at hand finds Nessan Cleary.

There is a tendency in wide-format to think in terms of individual machines and their capabilities but where there are multiple machines this can lead to a fragmented production department. The Image Reports’ annual Widthwise survey flags-up that, increasingly, PSPs are recognising that as a problem and looking at ways to improve their workflow.