10 September 2018 Digital Printing Technologies

Spreading out to larger horizons

Go to the Print Show to think big. Investment in wide format can bring an additional dimension to the print services on offer, and that goes beyond the traditional pop up banner into textiles, bricks and all kinds on surfaces never previously available for print.

The show will be the UK public debut of the HP flatbed latex technology. This was first seen at Fespa in the spring where it made an immediate impact.

HP’s latex technology is well established in rollfed printers, delivering a high quality print using water based inks. The latest technology has been extended to cover flat bed printing, achieving adherence to rigid surfaces and a flexibility in the ink film that allows the image to be bent without cracking or flaking.

For those interested in large format inkjet printing, this is enough to justify the visit to the NEC. Even for those not currently involved in large format print, the show provides plenty of opportunity to see and discuss the technology and the market opportunities in a sector which is still growing and which provides openings for commercial printers.

This is not the only chance for UK printers to catch up with products that were introduced at Fespa earlier in the year. The Onyx 18 Rip will be demonstrated as apart of a workflow in action live presentation on the ArtSystems stand. It is bringing the Summa F1612 flatbed cutter driven by the new Rip and print management technology.

Andrew Edwards, division manager for sign & display at Art Systems, says: “Summa’s smart technology minimises media waste and streamlines the finishing process. When you realise that the average amount of media waste in a print business is around 30% any process that can reduce and manage that waste, while also improving workflow, puts profit straight back into the business.”

Finishing, through the EskoArtwork Kongsberg range, is also a key part of the CMYUK stand that will be the first that visitors to the NEC encounter. The business is also the UK channel for EFI Vutek printers and distributor for HP printers. Vutek introduced the first of a new range of printers at Fespa developed under the McKinley project name.

As well as the printers, CMYUK is building an extensive portfolio of substrates, as is another exhibitor Spandex. Antalis and Fujifilm will also be showing new materials to open opportunities for print into areas that have not been practical before. Home decor, textiles and promotional products are the current hot topic areas in this regard.

Epson is one of the first to open the direct to garment market and will have the SureColor SC-F2100 at the NEC along with a dye sublimation printer for fabrics, two printers for display print, a proofer and two label printers.

However the highlight will be work form fashion designer Richard Quinn who is using Epson’s dye sublimation printer to producing stunning fabrics and clothing, including a dress worn by George Clooney’s wife Amal at the New York Met Gala earlier this year. She will not be modelling it.

Phil McMullin, sales manager for Epson UK, says: “Printers have an opportunity to expand the range of applications they offer and to do more than ever on any one of our products, for instance both textiles and promotional products on a single dye sublimation printer. Printers should come with open and curious minds and be prepared to be blown away by the potential of today’s digital printing equipment.

“This is an opportunity educate existing and potential customers and to demonstrate the rapid return on investment and profit potential of our products.”

This sector provides more opportunities for additional profit than almost any other in print as most of what is printed has never been produced before. Where commercial print is led by price for the most part, large format inkjet is led by possibilities.

The Azon Leather Matrix printer is another example of this. It will make its UK debut at the Print Show and is a versatile flat bed machine. The Matrix is a flatbed UV printer that uniquely can print materials to 200mm thick and heavy materials up to 100kg in weight. It will also print direct to garment for fabric printing.

The new Leather model has a 2880dpi resolution which is close to photographic resolutions for printing directly to leather itself. Decoration on the material has previously relied on transfers which involved an additional process and which are not always suitable for applications that dealer Atlantic Tech services has in mind. These include promotional goods, furniture, promotional signage as well as clothing.

Banners however will remain a mainstay of large format print, quickly being joined by polyester displays. Trade suppliers as well as technology providers can be a way to test the opportunity without the risk of an expensive investment. Venture Banners, Your Print Partner and Marqetspace represent the specialist trade suppliers able to talk about the innovation that they can offer.

It is clear that customers are buying much more than four colour print on paper and want to deal with as few suppliers as possible. It is why the Print Show can broaden horizons.

Gareth Ward

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Azon will debut the Matrix, a flatbed UV printer capable of printing on 200mm thick surfaces weighing up to 100kg. A versatile flat bed machine, it will also print direct to garment for fabric printing.

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One of the first to open the direct to garment market, Epson will showcase the SureColor SC-F2100 at the NEC, with a dye sublimation printer for fabrics, a pair of printers for display print, a proofer and two label printers.

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