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Adding to the Line Up

Manufacturers Ensure A Print Solution for All

Part 2 of 4

By Gretchen A. Peck

Digital print manufacturers approach their goals with the hope of creating print engines that produce better, faster, and more affordable print. Today, manufacturers in the wide format space are more strategic in the products they roll out, creating a range of print engines to fulfill a typical wide format print specialist’s diverse spectrum of needs. Recent product lines ensure that no matter the business model or genre of print, print shop providers (PSPs) will find just what they’re looking for.

For example, Canon U.S.A., Inc. introduced ten new models under its imagePROGRAF brand within the past year alone.

"Canon places a strong focus on R&D for large format inkjet printers and this has allowed for the development of three lines of imagePROGRAF printers," explains Rich Reamer, senior manager, product marketing, large format printer division, Canon U.S.A., Inc. These additions, "allow users to achieve the right fit for their environment. The gain for large format customers is that they can focus on what is most important for their business—whether it is a higher volume of printing each day, or a focus on detailed images and accurate color, the imagePROGRAF lineup has the right printer for them," Reamer adds.

"GCC recently introduced the GCC StellarJET 250UV, StellarJET 183UVK, and the latest, the StellarJET K100UV, to the global market," notes Mira Wu, senior marketing communications specialist for GCC. "These printers print directly on rigid and/or flexible substrates with superior adhesion and outstanding quality. Our StellarJET series fulfills a diverse range of applications—such as backlit displays, billboard signage, fleet and transit graphics, flexible indoor prints, floor graphics, mounted indoor displays, vinyl event banners, wall coverings, window graphics, and more—providing customers with quality output at a reasonable price."

Building upon the successful Virtu family of large format inkjets, Leggett & Platt (L&P) Digital Technologies unveiled its Virtu HD8 at SGIA 2007.

"Three machines in one, the Virtu HD8 adjusts to print with a range of fine to coarse drop sizes to meet resolution needs, allowing manufacturers to select high resolution, eight-picoliter fine drop size for the finest quality, then auto change to 16- or 24-picoliter drop volume for enhanced quality or high quality," notes Richard Codos, executive director, North American development, L&P Digital Technologies.

Other manufacturers approached their product development in similar ways, building flexibility into individual print engines and expanding their brand families to include a broader array of solutions.

"In late 2007, Hewlett-Packard (HP) announced the acquisition of MacDermid ColorSpan and NUR Macroprinters," recalls Rudy Herrera, print service provider segment manager, HP. "These re-branded products were launched in February and March 2008, and include the HP Scitex FB910 and FB6100, and the HP Designjet H35100, H35500, H45100, and H45500."

"As a result of recent technology announcements and acquisitions, HP now provides one of the broadest portfolios of large format technologies and solutions in the industry for the production of almost any indoor or outdoor graphic application," Herrera adds.

Xerox Corporation responded to its customers’ needs with the introduction of five new systems—one B&W model and four color models—within the past year, says Karen Serrano, wide format product marketing manager, Production Systems Group, Xerox Corporation.

"Some of our enhancements in recent years included moving from aqueous inkjet to eco- and mild-solvent ink color products with the latest piezoelectric, drop on demand heads; variable-dot imaging technology; and intelligent interweaving print technology," Serrano notes. "These innovations provide customers with durable, vibrant, high-quality images at faster print speeds, and at lower operating costs."

Xerox wide format printers such as the 8265, 8254E, and 8264E offer the ability to enter the expanding graphic communications wide format market successfully. "They also complement a PSP’s current capabilities in high-volume production digital monochrome and color printing, allowing a PSP to offer a complete solution to their clients," explains Serrano.

Expansion is a major theme found in recent technologies developed by wide format manufacturers. New devices mentioned here expand current product lines. They also assist a PSP in expanding options for their clients. In either case, expansion is an excellent indicator of a successful market and a sign of more good things to come.

Jun2008, Digital Output

Click here to read Part 1 of this exclusive online series, Setting Precedents.

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