Sign & Digital Graphics

October '17

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G R A N D F O R M A T • October 2017 • 17 Keeping the Machine Busy Josh Hope, senior manager, Industrial Printing Business Development and Marketing at Mimaki U S A , Suwanee, Georgia, says in general, they counsel customers to consider what types of applications they expect to be producing on their new grand-format machine for the majority of the time (80% or so) that it is installed. He adds that Mimaki only sells through authorized dealers. "Some grand-format printers command a higher price tag, so in that regard there may be a difference in leasing terms, etc. There are also overhead considerations such as floor space, utilities, ability to store large rolls of media or large boards (if a flatbed), etc. "We recommend our customers work with an authorized dealer that can walk them through TCO (total cost of ownership) exercises to find the break-even point," he explains. Output Speed and Quality Hope notes there are many variables involved with this ques- tion. "Output speed always seems to 'top of the list' when shop- ping for a machine but we find that in reality, it's the production throughput that is valued. As in 'how many of X do I need to print, how long will it take me, and at what price can I sell them?' It also varies depending on whether the grand-format printer is a roll-based unit that may be used for distance-viewed billboards that don't require high-resolution quality; or is it a flatbed that's decorating large volumes of smaller items that will be viewed up-close." McConnell says that most people look to grand-format devices because they either need more capacity or they need to be more efficient and they see a grand-format device as a With the Inca Onset X2 and Onset X3 models, print providers can realize speeds anywhere from 2,153 square feet per hour to over 10,000 square feet per hour. (Images courtesy of Fujifilm) potential solution to solve for that. "In order to find the right device to meet client demands, it is best to see the output of particular files on the intended media. Don't just rely on data sheet speeds for various devices but watch jobs printed and determine how much throughput it will offer based on the required applications. That way, your expectations are closer to equivalent than by relying on stated speeds alone," she adds. Ink Types "It's important to use ink that suits the necessary application; if a print provider is considering a roll device, they should be sure the ink is going to flexible but also adhere to the substrates they intend to use in production," McConnell says. She explains that an all-around versatile ink is always a great option but if a manufacturer/distributor has multiple ink sets for a single device, it's worth discovering what each of those ink sets have to offer a print provider. When it comes to UV-cure inks, "Some may have a wider color gamut but may be a bit more brittle, which isn't good for flexible material or finishing rigid sheets. Or an ink may have a flatter finish but it features excellent adhesion. Durability and coverage are also important factors that need to be considered," she points out. "All these factors (and price of ink, of course) will determine which ink set or type of device is best for your business."

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