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Wed, May

This kit is an optional addition rather than a printer in its own right, but it’s in an interesting process as Nessan Cleary finds out.

Most printers fit into an easily definable category, such as solvent or UV-curable, but for this month's test we've looked at a hybrid approach. The Colorific Lightbar is based around its UV Light ink, which is effectively a UV-curable ink in a solvent carrier - and thus promises to give the best of both technologies while eliminating their downsides.

The latest developments in automated cutting tables point toward a demand for faster throughput and better quality finishing as Nessan Clearly reports.

Yes, you can make use of it, even if you’re a small company. Walter Hale explains.

The term ‘big data’ doesn’t help. It sounds expensive, technologically complicated and something that only big companies can take advantage of. The hype doesn’t help. As technology critic Evgeny Morozov noted: “If you have a treasure trove of unpublishable papers, just add the words ‘big data’ and see them go viral.” In truth, the issue isn’t that complicated. When we talk about big data what we’re really saying is, let’s do the kind of analysis that helps us make decisions based on facts, not gut instinct. Put it like that and the real question is: can your company afford not to invest in big data?

Longier has produced a flatbed printer at a reasonable price but does it have the print quality to compete in the UK market? Nessan Cleary puts tries it out.

Whether deserved or not, Chinese inkjet printers have generally had a poor reputation here in the West for quality and reliability. But Paul Serellis of Eazy Print, whom we met for last month's Hands On, was so enthusiastic over his Longier flatbed that we were intrigued enough to have a proper look ourselves.

The retail sector is under pressure from online shopping and the recession but is this good or bad news for wide format providers? Nessan Cleary investigates.

The retail sector is an important source of work to the wide-format print community so it’s a no brainer that we keep up to speed with trends and developments impacting upon the type and levels of work we can produce for such customers.

It’s easier to sell wide-format graphics if you can demonstrate how effective they are, but how easy is that? Nessan Clearly finds out.

The HP Latex 3000 was designed as a production machine but can it handle both image quality and high speeds? Nessan Cleary puts it to the test.

Last year we tested HP’s 26500 entry-level latex printers but there are also several larger models so we’ve been back to put the top of the range Latex 3000 through its paces. This is a fairly large roll-to-roll printer, capable of taking media up to 3.2m or two rolls up to 1.6m each side by side.

The Chinese brand Longier is offering a reasonably priced flatbed printer, but how well does it perform in practice? Nessan Cleary asks user Paul Serellis of Eazy Print in Eastleigh.

From time to time you come across a new player in the wide-format inkjet printer market, such as Longier. Its range is built in China but now available in the UK and Europe courtesy of Gary Hall of Hallmark Equipment Services. The first of these was installed over the Christmas period at Eazy Print, based in Eastleigh in Hampshire.

The digitally printed textiles market is growing, but is if for you? Nessan Cleary reports on the latest technological developments for textile print.

The basic concept of using dye-sublimation to transfer digital inkjet prints to textiles has been around for ages, but we’ve seen considerable growth in this area in the last couple of years, as evidenced by the growing number of dye-sub printers and emergence of several niche trade shows.

Can the Cloud be used to centralise colour management for wide-format printers? Nessan Cleary investigates what vendors are doing to make it viable.

With an increasing number of services being offered through the Cloud, from file storage through to MIS, so it’s no surprise to find that some vendors in the print space are also offering colour management services from the Cloud.

Epson’s T-series aqueous ink printers are aimed at the crossover point between technical drawings and graphics. Nessan Cleary tests the printer to see how well it performs.

So far in this test series we've tried a number of solvent and UV-curable printers, and even a couple of latex machines, but this is the first time that we've looked at an aqueous ink printer. The T-series is Epson's latest wide-format offering and aims to bridge the crossover point between CAD and graphics. As such the emphasis is on value for money rather than image quality, though it's got some nice features.

This Roland roll-fed UV printer promises the freedom to print to a wide range of media, but does it live up to this? Nessan Cleary asked user Jason Pavlou, managing director of Giraffe Press.

It’s easy to think of UV machines as being for rigid materials and solvents for flexibles but there is a class of UV roll-fed printers that can cope with a wide range of different substrates. These printers are more expensive than their solvent counterparts but their prints cure to a tough finish without the need for lamination and the freedom to use less standard media can lead to a wider range of applications. This is the thinking that led Roland to develop its VersaUV LEC printers. And it's also the reason that Jason Pavlou, managing director of Giraffe Press, bought one back in the summer of 2013.

A growing number of UV-curable printers are using LEDs but is this trend set to continue? Nessan Cleary reports.

An enormous amount of technology goes into keeping inks wet enough to be able to lay them down onto a substrate without blocking the nozzles. But almost as much thought also goes into drying those inks without damaging the media. The way that the ink dries has a direct affect on the look of the image in terms of its colour saturation and overall glossiness so that the ability to control the drying system is a vital part of designing a printer.

Nessan Cleary takes a look at how digital signage, otherwise known as narrow casting, could become a useful tool in your arsenal.

When it comes to simply displaying information in a cost-effective manner, it’s hard to beat a printed sign. Yet digital signs are popping up ever more frequently, and you can understand why. Last year, for example, British Airways used a digital screen in London’s Piccadilly for its ‘Look Up’ campaign, with a little boy pointing up at real planes as they flew high above the screen. Software was able to track actual flight data so that the boy was always pointing directly at a plane, which was identified on the screen. Clever stuff. So where does that leave those of you printing ‘traditional’ signs when the arguments for using digital screens seem so compelling?