Sign & Digital Graphics

October '17

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4 • October 2017 • G R A N D F O R M A T GRAND FORMAT printer purchase. The survey shows that flatbed and roll-to-roll printers are shop owners' top two choices, followed by hybrid printers, 3D printers and transfer dye-sub printers. Shop owners also report that print quality and reliability of equipment are the top two factors when considering the purchase of a wide/ grand-format printer—unchanged from last year. Other important factors, in order of importance to respon- dents, include durability of equipment, maintenance costs, brand credibility, followed by pricing of equipment and print speeds. When looking more closely at their next printer purchase, 27% of survey respondents say they plan to purchase a printer up to 64" wide in the next 12 months; and 16% of respondents say they plan to purchase a printer greater than 64" in the next 12 months (up from 9% last year). A full 63% of respondents report that brand loyalty is an important factor when making an equipment purchase. Also, the survey shows that 54% of respondents are satisfied with how well the printer manufacturer educates on capabilities and limitations of the equipment, but believe their printer can do more. Inks We asked respondents about the types of inks they use in their shops, and the majority (58%) report that they primar- ily use eco-solvent/light solvent inks, followed by latex (27%), and UV-curable (15%) inks—essentially unchanged from last year. In addition, the survey respondents who buy inks indicate that color consistency and price are the top two considerations when purchasing inks. When it comes to ink source preferences, the survey reveals a strong loyalty to OEM inks, with 66% of respondents say- ing that they purchase OEM inks, even when the printer is out of warranty (up from 62% last year). Also, 69% of survey respondents say that brand loyalty is an important factor when purchasing consumables (inks, media, etc.). Textile Printing In the area of textile printing this year, not enough respon- dents participated in this part of the survey to make mean- ingful extrapolations for the entire industry, but results are undoubtedly accurate for our readers who are involved with textile printing. Survey results indicate that more than half (58%) of respon- dents are not hesitant to try textile printing (up from 48% last year). In fact, 29% of survey respondents indicate that the opportunity in textile printing is of great significance to their business. Of the respondents who indicate they have a need for a textile printer, a 3.2 meter width was favored (55%) over a 1.9 meter width (38%). Survey respondents indicate that of their textile printing applications, event and meeting signage (46%) and outdoor fabric banners (41%) are at the top of the list, followed by specialty graphics, soft signage, and apparel applications. Of those considering reasons for purchasing a new textile printing technology, 14% indicate that customers demands/ needs have shifted while 13% say that their current printer technology can't produce the necessary applications. In addi- tion, 10% of survey respondents say they plan to purchase a wide-format textile or dye-sub printer in the next 12 months. Among those shops that already have textile printing technolo- gies, respondents say the greatest challenge is the finishing: cut-and-sew process. Print Media In the survey section dealing with purchase decisions for wide-format media, respondents indicate that pricing is the top factor (66%) when considering the purchase of print media, followed by durability of the media (59%) and its reliability (58%). Survey respondents indicate that banner material (69%) was the top substrate consumed during a 12-month period. This was followed by aluminum or composite sheet (49%), cor- rugated plastic sheet (49%), PVC/polycarbonate sheet (36%), foam board (29&), magnetic sheet (25%), and printable PSA film (22%). Finally, 93% of survey respondents say they have at least a general understanding of the limitations and capabilities of their printing technologies with different types of print media (up from 83% last year). And only 7% say they had a low level of understanding (down from 12% last year). SDG Factors when Considering Purchase of Wide/Grand- Format Printer Print quality 87% Reliability of equipment 79% Durability of equipment 75% Maintenance costs 67% (time, resources, etc.) Brand credibility 61% Pricing 61% Printing speed 56% Size/width of output 43% Breadth of capabilities 37% Manufacturer vs. supplier warranty 28% OEM replacement Ink costs 19% Service contracts 17% Leasing options 12% 3rd Party ink availability 9% Field-upgradable 9% Multiple drop sizes 6% Apps available 5% Remote management 3% Other 2% of respondents indicated that their business was expanding into other technologies. 80% (Source: NBM Wide/Grand Format: Market Intelligence Analysis)

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