Fri, Feb

Sophie Matthews-Paul assesses the printer EFI Vutek GS200 in a live demonstration environment in the US.

The world’s first Wide Format Print Shop Live at Fespa Americas, held in Orlando at the end of February, provided an opportunity to take a close look at the Vutek GS2000 2m UV-curable option from EFI, from initial delivery and set-up through to continuous running at the show.

Melony Rocque-Hewitt takes a look at some of the more unusual niche markets opened-up by digital wide-format print.

Digital print technology is at the stage where anything can be realised. Here we look at how some companies have capitalised on the possibilities of wide-format to grow and evolve their businesses and in doing so, have created new market areas.

Would you pay more for a simpler tax system? According to a recent poll of small businesses, over half would. But, given that’s not going to happen anytime soon, Ray Abercromby, partner at BTG Tax, gives his top tips for cutting through some of the red tape.

When we remind ourselves about the early days of wide-format digital technology one thing we’ll all acknowledge is that we were pretty limited by the inks and materials available, and how well the machines of the day could handle them. If the results came out well on our chosen substrate, then we were pretty satisfied; if the end product wasn’t fit for purpose, then the ink tended to get blamed.

Wide-format digital print is all about ink and its inherent behaviour during the processes we expect it to endure. For machine manufacturers, it’s the element in their equipment that actually proves the unit is as good as it claims to be. Ink also represents the part of the printing process which tends to play a major role in carrying the responsibility for quality even though it is dependent on machinery and technology for being transferred from cartridge or bottle through to the printhead nozzles and jetted onto the material beneath.

See-through graphics offer a huge opportunity but the most commonly used materials have their drawbacks. As leading player Contra Vision points out with their technical knowledge, new developments mean it’s worth looking again.

Mention see-through graphics, or one-way vision graphics as the medium is also popularly known, and thoughts immediately turn to perforated self-adhesive materials that are printed and then subsequently applied to all manner of transparent surfaces from vehicle windows to office partitioning; architectural glazing to impressive expanses of buildings’ exteriors and retail windows. That however, far from encapsulates the medium. There are other ways of producing see-through graphics, and other materials to use. They work practically anywhere perforated media can be used, and in thousands of places, situations, and applications where they simply can’t.

Sophie Matthews-Paul unravels some of the elements used when working with colour, and stresses why we need a standard.

The application of the term ‘colour management’ in the wide-format display sector is all about control but, until the chaps from ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) step in with an overall compliance initiative, this remains each to his own. Everyone knows that the parameters surrounding accuracy of output compared with the original data are reliant on several criteria but, in this industry sector, it is still filled with confusion and queries and, to a certain extent, blame.

One time photo lab turned large-format print printer, Contact Photographic Services continues to push the envelope as the 2000th company to buy into Océ’s Arizona print technology uses it to find new markets.

Sophie Matthews-Paul finds the Roland VersaUV LEC-540 machine is much more than a wide-format printer.

Many in the large-format print space today want to create all sorts of shapes, sizes and finishes away from conventional indoor and outdoor applications. As a result there have been machines coming to the fore which have a lot more to offer than just their broad width.

HAVING deep impact

Forward thinking graphics companies continue to seek out new markets and products to grow. Duncan Jefferies, marketing manager for Mimaki’s exclusive UK and Ireland distributor Hybrid Services, gives his take on developments and highlights companies that have done just this.

Your business will not die if you fail to use Twitter or LinkedIn. But, it may not grow as fast as it could either. Consultant Jacky Morgan uses her 25+ years marketing experience and business knowledge to uncover the truths and realities about online networking.

You’d have to to have been living in a cave for the last 12 months not to be aware of the impact that Social Media is having. But it’s an impact that, on the whole, seems to be passing printers by. The legendary Jeff Hayzlett, ex-CMO of Kodak, brands those in the print sector who don’t adopt social media as “stupid”. He’s convinced that there’s money to be made from it and can’t understand the reluctance. When I’m speaking to clients they’re ready with a wealth of reasons why they’ve not opted in. I too have a theory, but unlike Hayzlett, I don’t think it has anything to do with stupidity.


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