The city of Laval outside of Montreal just hosted the
Grafik’Art 2006 trade show that catered to the offset, digital and screen
printing industries as well as the flexo, packaging and graphic arts
industries. The show was held April 27-29, 2006 and exhibitors showed their
newest products and services on more than 70 000 square feet of showroom floor.
This show targeted clientele from Eastern Canada (Quebec, the Maritimes, and
Eastern Ontario). The graphics industry in these regions represents
approximately $5 billion dollars in sales annually.
One thing that impressed me was the increased presence of
wide format printers that seemed to be everywhere. Many traditional offset
printing companies are seeing the enormous potential that this wide-format
printing industry has. One need only look around, both indoors and outdoors, to
see that wide format printing is everywhere. There are huge opportunities to
create additional revenue for anyone with a wide format printer.
The worldwide signage industry earns well over $29 billion
US in business each year – and revenues continue to grow. Given the many
different types of signs and banners a large format printer can produce, print
providers can seize a sizeable chunk of this business.
The large format digital printing market is a large and
exciting opportunity, growing at double the pace of the overall print industry.
Whether you have an aqueous, solvent or UV curable printer,
these printers are capable of producing:
and outdoor banners
format photographic reproduction
and pressure sensitive stickers
graphics and more
Aqueous inkjet printing
Large format aqueous inkjet printers are the most common printers
available on the market today. Their name reflects the fact that water is the
primary “carrier” component of ink used in these printers. The Canon W8400 44”
pigmented ink printer was represented at the show by RB Digital and PMP Repro
Media. The vibrant colors that came off the printer in record speed instantly
drew the crowds. The Canon W8400 sells for around $7,500 and comes with
software RIP, various other software and an Ethernet card. The brand new Xerox
8160 60” dye based ink printer was presented at the show for the first time in
Quebec and will sell for around $25,000 (RIP sold separately).
Solvent inkjet printing
Solvent inks are a versatile, long-life ink that are
classified as hazardous, yet milder versions are available that produce less
noxious odors. Since solvent-based inks are classified as hazardous, special
venting will need to be installed. Eco or mild solvent-based inks are less
hazardous but may not be a durable as true solvent inks. The Mutoh Toucan LT
was on display with both Treck Hall and Ernest Green. The Mutoh Toucan LT sells
for around $40,000, and can now be ordered with a board printer as well, although
the boards must be of a special type to work in the printer.
One of the biggest printers on the show floor had to be
Canada’s own Gandinnovations, with their Jeti inkjet printers. Visitors crowded
to see huge posters coming off their three meter wide Roll fed printers.
Seiko’s Color painter now with its HP patch on it (now
called the HP Designjet 8000s and 9000s series) was there as well. This solvent
printer from Seiko has always impressed me. You can create long-lasting outdoor
signage with this fast solvent printer. This 64” model is an excellent tool to
boost production and profitability: increase your print volume, improve your
services, and reduce your costs. Like any solvent printer, you’ll want to vent
the fumes properly. This is an industrial type of printer with excellent
UV-based flatbed printers
The other emerging category of wide format inkjet technology
is UV-curable inkjet. With UV-based flatbed printers the drying mechanism for
the ink is completely different then that used in solvent inkjet printing. When
ultra-violet light hits curable liquid ink, it transforms from a liquid to a
solid on the substrate chosen. These new UV printers can range in price from
about $75,000 to $500,000 and more.
ND Graphics was showing the new Gerber Solara UV2 large
format, hybrid, ultraviolet (UV) inkjet printer. The SOLARA UV2 prints either
roll-to-roll or as a flatbed and can accommodate a variety of materials up to
60” wide including rigid materials up to 1/2” thick. There is a conversion
process required to accept different material types. SOLARA UV2 is ideal for
shops specializing in durable outdoor/indoor signs, point-of-purchase displays,
banners, and backlit signage. They produce prints that are instantly dry and
ready to cut and apply. The unique properties of the UV inks allow easy
maintenance with low odor, no ventilation requirements, or harmful VOCs.
Wide Format Printing