Print.IT - issue 47 - page 35

As the markets in which they
operate become more and more
competitive, every commercial
print provider is looking for new
revenue streams and new ways
to differentiate their business and
stand out from the crowd.
At the same time, customers are
demanding, or producing, ever more
creative designs, putting pressure
on the graphic communications
industry to provide high quality
results with maximum visual impact.
To help achieve these aims, print
providers need reliable large format
graphic arts printers that deliver
brilliant colour, photo-quality detail
and lasting, durable results on a
wide range of media for both indoor
and outdoor applications.
Any solution should make shorter
run lengths, faster turnarounds and
high output quality more profitable
– and that means maintaining
productivity and avoiding costly
downtime – whilst also enabling
providers to satisfy the ever growing
range of customer-driven demands.
Inside and Out
Demand for printed material that
will be displayed outdoors poses
particular challenges, as sunlight,
pollution and other weather
conditions cause outdoor signs,
banners and vehicle wraps to fade
and degrade. To ensure customer
satisfaction and repeat business,
outdoor media and ink need to be
robust enough to withstand these
environmental factors.
In the past, the need for stronger,
and often potent, inks meant that
print providers had to have different
machines for indoor and outdoor
applications. In a confined indoor
environment, certified low odour inks
are critical and because prints will
be viewed close-up, it is essential
to have high resolution output and
accurate print registration.
Print businesses also faced
problems with colour quality. Typically,
colours weren’t strong enough to
be lit from the back, which ruled
out many indoor applications, such
as exhibition posters and displays.
Nor were they dense enough for
applications like wallpaper printing,
especially as colour density tended
to deteriorate when printing at high-
speed or towards the end of a mass
production campaign.
For exhibition and other
work, such as building wraps,
photorealistic prints were not yet
possible and, as the industry had
primarily focused on outdoor work
in the past, neither were the fine
detail and small lettering needed
for indoor applications.
What can be done
In light of these challenges, is there
anything print services providers can
do to deliver the high-quality output
increasingly required for large format
graphic arts applications?
Yes there is. Recent
developments in the large format
printer market mean that, for a
relatively affordable outlay, print
shops and small and medium-sized
businesses specialising in this type
of printing can now significantly
widen their portfolio and open up
new revenue streams, leading to a
fast return on their investment.
It is now possible to print indoor
and outdoor orders on the same
machine using low-colour, eco-
solvent SX inks that provide the
Wider choice
Andrew Hall, marketing manager of OKI Systems UK, explains how the
new generation of large format graphics arts printers is opening up new
opportunities for diversification and a rapid return on investment
right print quality and UV stability
for outdoor use, whilst also being
low odour-certified for use in an
indoor environment.
Colour quality is no longer an
issue either – at least not for the
most innovative of these devices,
which, by combining high viscosity
inks with advanced print heads, are
able to maintain accurate density
for vibrant colour and sharp photo
quality detail.
Industrial high-frequency
greyscale print heads increase
the quality and reliability of the
printer and print results; high ink
pigmentation creates saturated
prints for backlit applications; and
innovative Dynamic Drop Printing
(DDP) technology accentuates
fine details and delivers smooth
gradients and rich, glossy colours,
even at high speed.  
Allied to these advances is
support for a wide variety of
substrates, including wallpaper,
fleece, canvas, textiles, whiteback,
blueback, poster paper, photo
paper, clear or transparent film,
backlit PVC, PET, film light box paper
and hard PVC.
New applications include light
frames for technical textile and
backlit materials; over-floor graphics;
point of sale (PoS) and point of
presentation (PoP); wallpaper;
posters; window graphics with clear
or transparent film; banners and
signs; art reproductions; department
store displays; exhibition displays;
and many more.
Durability of output means print
businesses can also explore markets
for outdoor media, from customised
vehicle and building wraps to
banners, signs and awnings.
Positive Prospects
All business sectors have their ups
and downs. Not so long ago the
large format printing industry was in
danger of turning into the dinosaur
of the commercial print world, beset
with a raft of environmental and
performance challenges. Today,
thanks to the latest technological
advances, that’s all changed.
Armed with the latest technology
innovations, large format printing
businesses can face the future
positively, confident in their ability
to meet the demands of an
increasingly competitive market and
to capitalise on a growing array of
profitable opportunities.
It is now
possible to
print indoor and
outdoor orders
on the same
machine using
SX inks
Andrew Hall
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