If you’re not already offering wide format or printing in wide format, you should. The 2017 Printing Forecast, prepared by whattheythink.com, reports that wide format printing, and the related area of specialty printing, are the two leading options for printers looking to add new capabilities.
Combined with new ink technologies, wide format equipment is being used to create a sweeping array of products with high visual impact, including banners, posters, interior and exterior signage, exhibition and event show graphics, retail and POP (point of purchase) displays, window graphics and clings, floor and wall graphics, vehicle wraps, and interior décor pieces.
Wide format is also successfully being used at creating consumer product packaging prototypes, as well as limited runs and specialty promotional items.
How big is wide format?
Wide or large printers are generally considered to be those that support a maximum width of 18 to 96-100 inches. Devices with a capacity over 100” are considered “super wide” or “grand format”.
Today, the wide format devices are digital printers that are either roll fed or flatbed – built with a table where the substrate is loaded and the table then moves under the printhead array. Hybrid printers, which can handle either format, are gaining popularity for their flexibility and reduced capital costs.
Today, inkjet technologies are the primary ones used to image wide format jobs. This generally, but not exclusively, means the use of electricity and pressure to control delivering ink onto the substrate, using piezoelectric printheads. This approach is more popular, across a broader range of end uses, because it supports a wider use of inks compared to thermal (heat) inkjet technologies. Thermal technology, however, can be more economical, and easier for a shop to maintain.
Two the main areas of wide format growth in North America will be dye sublimation and aqueous inklet, according to the InfoTrends/KeyPoint Intelligence market research firm. Other growth for wide format includes UV and latex-based technologies.
For more details on the color challenges and types of dyes and inks, read the original article at Graphic Arts, Print Anything on Wide Format Inkjet.