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46 • WRAPS • 2 0 1 8 T his machine has been chugging along for years—steady, sharp and unfazed—serving up a stream of wraps on a regu- lar basis. This machine feeds on the work, taking creative ideas and transforming them into reality. This machine is highly-regarded. This machine is noteworthy. This machine is not actually a machine. He is Troy Downey, founder/owner of APE Wraps in Coronado, California, and he has been doing vehicle wraps since nearly the beginning of the movement. "It's all about being trained to do it, trial and error, and doing the homework," says Downey about the wraps printing process. "I could tell you until we're both blue in the face." He speaks bluntly and energetically about the wraps profession that he loves. He lends much advice to both veterans and beginners alike in the industry. So, when he talks about guidelines to printing wraps, people tend to listen. "Remember for any project," he continues, "you must make sure you have accurate coverage, you have provided enough bleed, and have a strong understanding of what the material can and can't do." Matt Richart is the co-owner of Digital EFX Wraps in Louis- ville, Kentucky. He's another machine. A partner of Roland DGA, Richart not only wraps everything from automobiles to wave runners but provides two-day wraps training sessions at his headquarters. His advice doesn't go unheard. "Always provide test prints before printing for proong," he suggests, "and be aware that the biggest errors related to wrap jobs typically involve scaling, resolution, print quality or use of the wrong media proles." For both of these experts, the digital printer is a tool—quite liter- ally a machine—that plays an enormously important role in fullling a wrap project. For many of the technicalities that come along with printing a solid wrap job, Downey, Richart, and other wrap veterans leave that task to the manufacturers. And as these manufacturers can attest, there are several options on the market; plus, even more fac- tors per printer that come into play when completing this type of work. "There are a number of factors print providers should consider when selecting an inkjet printer for wrap applications, including the size of the printer or printer/cutter, the speed, dependability/reliabil- ity, and the price and operating costs," says Daniel Valade, product manager, color products and cutters at Roland DGA. That in mind, when purchasing a printer, wrap professionals should prioritize their choice based on production needs, budget and other factors that keep their businesses running successfully. These factors include the printer's width, speed, dependability and cost. WIDTH The wrapping process involves minimizing or completely eliminat- ing the number of seams on a job, so a "64-inch (printer) is ideal for less splicing images together and wider prints," says Chris Padilla, product manager at Mutoh America, Inc. Of course, it's possible to print wraps with a machine that is less than 64 inches wide, but even with a 54-inch printer, "most vehicles WRAPS PRINTERS Maximizing the Machine Finding the right digital printer for your wraps operation Ryan Fugler is a freelance writer and former editor of Wraps magazine. He can be reached at with questions or comments. BY R YA N F U G L E R TOOLS & EQUIPMENT Digital EFX Wraps has been a wraps shop for over 20 years, wrapping every- thing from automobiles to wave run- ners. (Image courtesy of Digital EFX) The printer qualities most important to many wrap shops—beyond just pricing—are repeat- able color and consistent print quality. (Image courtesy of Mimaki USA) Mutoh's ValueJet 1624X is a 64-inch print- er that runs at speeds up to 600 sq.ft./hr. (Image courtesy of Mutoh America)

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