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Taste For Success

Wide-Format Print Kit Pt. 1

Looking at the latest developments in what is still one of the print industry’s fastes at-growing areas, Rob Fletcher picks out some of the new kit available in wide-format print

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Eye of the tiger

Despite having been talked about as an expansion market for traditional print companies for a number of years now, wide-format print remains one of the industry’s key growth areas, and for good reason. Work is plentiful, customer demand is high, and technology is new and innovative.

Such has been the level of growth in wide-format that the market has become incredibly busy as more companies move into the sector in the hope of expanding their own business. This has in turn made competition for work extremely fierce.

One way of staying ahead of the competition is ensuring you have the best equipment in place to carry out wide-format work. Here, we look at some of the latest launches in wide-format print and analyse how this tech can help you gain an advantage in this busy sector.

Invest to succeed

First up, Epson is constantly launching new equipment for the photo, signage, label, decor, graphics, and textile markets, including its latest model in the form of the SureColor SC-F10000H. This industrial dye-sublimation machine is a high-speed printer with the option of fluorescent or light colours aimed at the textile or specialist rigid media print sector.

Epson’s new SureColor SC-F10000H can print at speeds of up to 246sq m/hr

Phil McMullin, head of sales at Epson UK, says investment in new technology such as the SureColor SC-F10000H will allow companies in the wide-format print market to capitalise on key growth areas and trends.

“The trend for personalisation and customisation that began before the pandemic has accelerated rapidly and nowhere is it more obvious than in wide-format print,” McMullin says, adding: “This means the market has expanded and enabled established commercial printers to move into this area and pick up profitable business in their customer base.

“Then there are the big growth areas like textile and decor, whether that is garments or wallpaper, the options are staggering.

“Established businesses should make sure they have invested in the latest equipment. Advances in technology over the last five years mean that the latest generation of wide-format printers are much more productive, more reliable, more flexible and cheaper to run than previous generations.

O Factoid: The new Epson SureColor SC-F10000H prints at a resolution quality of 1200dpi x 1200dpi O

“If you are not investing, you are probably leaving money on the table. Again, the obvious place to go is your existing customer base – are you offering them everything possible in terms of branded output?”
Circling back around to the new SureColor SC-F10000H, Epson’s latest launch can print at speeds of up to 246sq m/hr and features a PrecisionCore MicroTFP printhead, which the manufacturer says ensures quality remains high even when printing at high speeds.

If you are not investing, then you are probably leaving money on the table

The printer can print in quality of 1200dpi x 1200dpi and features CMYK ink configuration, plus the addition of one or two ink sets in the form of fluorescent yellow and fluorescent pink, or light cyan and light magenta. This, Epson says, makes it suitable for printing work such as fashion, sportswear, home textiles and soft signage.

Differentiate your offering

Elsewhere and swissQprint has also seen demand for its wide-format equipment increase in recent months as more companies seek out ways of gaining an advantage in what is now a highly competitive market.

“All of our recent sales have been to new customers and of these, many are completely new to the wide-format printing market,” comments Erskine Stewart, managing director of swissQprint UK.

“The businesses we talk to are successfully growing focus on investing in equipment, like ours, that helps them take costs out, increase capacity, and differentiate their product offering.”

With this, Stewart draws attention to the latest launch from swissQprint in the form of its generation 4 flatbed. The centrepiece of the models are new print heads, which deliver a maximum resolution of 1350dpi, as well as ultra-high-precision droplet placement, which the manufacturer says “significantly boosts” the print quality of the Impala and Nyala models.

swissQprint launched its generation 4 flatbed last year

Both printers also benefit from an increase in output for certain production print modes; for example, the Oryx model is almost 40% faster than its predecessor.

“Generation 4 combines the latest printhead technology and technical sophistication,” Stewart comments, adding: “This enables the user to reposition themselves in terms of quality and productivity.”

Other enhancements include the Tip Switch Vacuum, whereby the table has been divided into as many as 256 segments that users can quickly switch on or off at the touch of a finger. This, swissQprint says, eliminates time-consuming masking, while as there is no air leakage, the vacuum develops its full force and holds down hard-to-handle media more reliably.

Another new launch comes courtesy of Xanté, which recently revealed the Xanté X-55 UV Inkjet. Offering a maximum media size of 55” x 50”, Xanté says the new machine has been designed to meet a specific gap in the market.

Specifically, it says the Xanté X-55 UV Inkjet will produce signage and graphics print at fast speeds like large flatbed printers, but on thicker substrates of up to 3”. The manufacturer also says the machine can print speciality, larger-format items at slower speeds – something it says was previously limited on small-format devices.

“The Xanté family of X-UV printer can do both; it is the best of both worlds for customers,” the manufacturer says, adding that the new device can print on “almost any kind of media”, this opening up its usage in a wide range of jobs within the wide-format print market.

The Xanté X-55 UV Inkjet runs on iQueue prepress software, the latest edition of which is iQueue14. The software includes fully independent CMYK controls, Pantone colour library, Right-On spot colour matching, full imposition and tiling, QR code generator and PDF-out.

“True server-client operation enhances your workflow to optimise the talents and time of everyone involved in production; take advantage of your entire team of IT specialists, designers, and printer operators,” Xanté says.

Plenty of opportunity

Meanwhile, Hybrid Services, Mimaki’s exclusive distributor for the UK and Ireland, recently announced the addition of the ‘100 Series’ range of 1.6m-wide solvent, LED UV and dye-sublimation models to its portfolio.

Martin Southworth, reseller account manager at Hybrid Services, explains that while these printers are affordably priced, they deliver high productivity and print quality, ease of use, and many technical features that have cascaded down from Mimaki’s high end production models.