Image Reports | Wide Format Digital Print Industry News | Analysis

Sat12202014

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Features

An industrial revolution

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Nessan Cleary looks at how new inks developed for wide-format printers highlight the printer vendors’ growing interest in industrial printing – and what that means for you.

 It’s easy to talk about new printers and to analyse their performance and associated cost. But by and large it's the consumables - the ink and the media - that can determine new applications or potential cost savings. Most wide-format vendors are working on new inks - this is mainly because they are looking to develop new markets in industrial printing. But, don’t lose faith – this can also benefit the graphic arts market as these newer inks are designed to work with a broader range of materials without needing to use primers. It means that existing wide-format PSPs are in a good position to reach out to new markets, and or provide new applications to existing display graphics customers etc.

Ricoh L4160

altThis month Nessan Cleary tests the latex printer that marks Ricoh’s first foray into wide-format printing.

The market for latex printers has been completely dominated by HP, despite a challenge from Mimaki. Now Ricoh, which supplies the Gen5 heads used by Mimaki, has entered the fray with the L4100 printer, available in 1.3 and 1.6m widths. Ricoh has rebadged Mimaki's JV400 LX series, and there's no discernible difference between the two apart from the sales and servicing, with Ricoh targeting its existing customer base of commercial printers and corporate print rooms. 

Hands On: HP Wall Art

These days everything can be personalised. So how useful is this HP solution? Nessan Cleary asks those who have bought it.

Home furnishings and interior decoration are rapidly becoming popular wide-format print applications, with wall coverings high on the list. There’s a good range of wallpaper substrates available now and HP has built a complete solution around its latex printers that also includes design software, called Wall Art. 

When artists become inkjet innovators

altDr Paul Laidler, research fellow at the Centre for Fine Print Research at the University of the West of England, explains how the work undertaken by the centre and its student artists is pushing the boundaries of wide-format inkjet.

Nyssan Deeb, Managing director, GP Digital

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What’s having the greatest impact on your business at the moment?

We don’t have one singular thing that’s having an impact; it’s a combination of everything.  We are constantly evolving and learning new things every day. We wear a few different hats in here, all equally important. So I suppose just managing the day-to-day operations in hand with pushing growth in the areas we want, and not letting the ball drop in between! 

Redefining sustainability

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Walter Hale explores the concept that sustainability is no longer about being green, but about the way companies perform and how they help, or harm, the businesses, communities and societies they interact with.

The Day of Independents

Why Simpson Group is targeting smaller retailers and businesses with its new retailers shop4pop online ordering service.

It’s too early to say whether north-east based Simpson Group will win the battle to get enough print orders out of small retailers via its new shop4pop ecommerce venture to make it pay, but chairman Mark Simpson is convinced that now is the time to lead the charge.

IR talks to... Mark Perton, MD, Perton Signs

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Perton Signs in Acton, London, is 150 years old this summer, and has been in the same family for all that time.
 
The company, which now has a staff of 25 and a turnover of around £2.8m,  
produces and installs event graphics and signage. The current MD is Mark Perton, 
great great grandson of the founder William Perton. 
 
I met him to ask about the firm’s longevity and his plans for moving it forward.

Spaced out?

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For those of you thinking of extending your workspace Phil Thompson, head of BPIF Business, gives you a down to earth take on the key considerations.  

Due to the challenging nature of the last four or five years, there will be very few companies that have got through them unaffected. Some will have adapted smoothly while others will have had to change business models and practices. As a result, the way that work flows through the production process and how this fits into the space available to the business may no longer be appropriate. So are you one of those looking to change your factory layout, extend your space, or even considering a complete move? 

Becoming a bendy business

Are you set-up to deal with more requests for flexible working now that the law has been amended? Jo Eccles from the Forum of Private Business advises on how to progress in the light of recent legal changes. 

At the end of June the Flexible Working Regulations were amended, with the right to request flexible working extended to cover all employees after 26 weeks' service rather than only those with children under the age of 17 (or 18 if the child is disabled) and certain carers.

Architectural specialist relies on the speed and quality of Vutek GS3250

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While most companies investing in wide-format UV-curable printers are involved primarily in the display sector, Artwork Solutions has always taken its fabrication and print expertise into a different dimension. As a result, the company has made its name as a design-led manufacturer of corporate branding products and services, with its client list predominantly being architects and interior designers who seek innovative and functional solutions that can perform a practical role as well as provide highly aesthetic qualities.

Hands On: Colorific Lightbar

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The two most common ink technologies in use in wide-format today are solvent, which continues to offer good performance at low cost, and UV-curable, which will work with a wide range of media and can print direct to board. But now we are seeing a new type of ink emerge that combines the best of both of these ink technologies. The new inks are a hybrid technology with both solvent and UV-curable components. Essentially, the solvent is used in very small quantities to soften and key the media surface so that the pigments can penetrate into the media. The UV element then immediately cures the inks so that they are ready for immediate use, with no waiting around for the prints to out-gas. These type of inks typically have a bright colour gamut and a lower film thickness than with UV-curable inks.

Epson SureColor SC-30600

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Epson's first foray into wide-format printing was with a series of aqueous ink printers that established a good reputation for photographic and proofing applications. But Epson was slow to get into display graphics, preferring instead to sell its printheads and inks to other vendors on an OEM basis. However, in recent years Epson has made a determined play for the display print market, with both solvent and dye-sub printers as well as a newly-launched brace of aqueous CAD/ graphics machines.

Rocket graphics moves to wider horizons with new Vutek GS5000r investment

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For Watford-based Rocket Graphics, steady expansion and careful, accurate assessment around where its strongest growth areas lie has led to the investment in a new EFI VUTEk GS5000r, supplied and installed by UK distributor CMYUK Digital. This versatile superwide format UV-curable printer now enables the company to extend the work it produces for sites where 5m sizes are beneficial for logistics, installation and end appearance. 

Think Bigger: Inca

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“Education through inspiration” best describes the strategy adopted by flatbed printer manufacturer Inca Digital to promote the potential of UV inkjet to the creative professionals who are increasingly switching on to what the technology is capable of.

Starting just over a decade ago with the pioneering Eagle and Columbia models, a succession of Inca Digital printers - most recently, the Onset Series - have continued expanding the range of applications for flatbed UV inkjet technology. And every two years the Inca Digital Excellence Awards (Ideas) benchmark that progress by rewarding the creativity and ingenuity of Inca users around the world.

Are you a player?

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Understand what gamefication is all about and you just might become one, as Paul Simpson explains.

Why is gamification one of the buzzwords of 2014? There are two principal reasons. First, because more companies are realising that the factors that inspire billions of us to play games - desire, incentive, challenge, achievement, reward, feedback and our innate need to be the best at a specific activity – can be used to sell products, persuade us to like a brand or change out behaviour as employees. Secondly, this dynamic resonates most strongly with Generation Y consumers, also known as millennials, who will comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025.