Wide Format Businesses Embrace the Gamut of Inks and Media
by Thomas Franklin
Part 3 of a 4-part exclusive online series
For Rex Jobe, president, The Color Place, no one solution can encompass his businessí many services. "We have four output centers, using different technology," he says. The first is wide format, employing HP Scitex solvent printers. The second is a photographic process for high resolution point of purchase (POP). The third is UV printing onto acrylic, gator, foam board, etc., and finally, there is a traditional four color printing on HP Indigo.
The companyís next purchase will be a dye-sublimation attachment for its HP/Scitex XL Jet for fabric printing. "We have client demand for it, but itís also our first chance to do dye-sub in larger widths at faster speeds," states Jobe.
When printing on a variety of substrates, you have to carefully manage your colors, Jobe observes. "We spend a great deal of time on color management, tracking inks and our printers to make sure theyíre consistent."
Fast Signs, Inc. owner Scott Snoyer notes that to date, he has found UV printing on his VUTEk QS2000 by EFI, Inc. far more forgiving, color-wise, than solvent. "In UV you can use fewer profiles because the ink is sitting on top of the substrate," he says. Thatís not to say UV printing is without its own learning curve. "Weíve spent a lot of time learning what we can and canít do with this machine," Snoyer adds.
Specifically, since the company has been able to print directly onto a wide range of substrates, jobs are completed in a fraction of the time.
"We are learning how to keep track of our workflow, to make the most of our efficiency," Snoyer says. The company is also experimenting with the diverse array of media and trying to improve its prototyping. "Weíre coming up with new things every day," he says.
Snoyer purchased the QS2000 in October and notes that as yet, he has no plans to add another printer in-house. "Although," he laughs, "I said that a year ago, a few months before I bought the QS." He is shopping for a heat seamer to enable him to finish graphics coming off of the QS.
Finishing is also on the mind of Digital Imaging Resourcesí Jerry Manikowski. His company recently added a Durst Rho 600 to its stable of printers and has since discovered that flatbed printing and cutting "go hand in hand."
"Itís not an either/or proposition. If you get a flatbed, you need a router or a cutter," Manikowski states.
Eco-solvent inks were a significant attraction for Mounir Murad, president, Imaging Zone. The company, which recently purchased an Agfa Sherpa Universal 90, is employing eco-solvent inks that are guaranteed for a three-year outside use, Murad states. He was attracted to eco-solvents because they "do not require the ventilation that solvent inks require and do not contain any cancer-producing chemicals."
His firm is looking to retire its current aqueous inkjet printer in favor of another, as yet to be chosen, eco-solvent printer sometime early this year, Murad adds.