Large-format digital printers

According to some in the sector, there is also a shift from full solvent printing to eco solvent printing – especially in the display graphics market, because the process doesn’t require expensive air filtration systems and air extrusion fans.

“People can put printers that will produce outdoor quality print within an office environment,” says Dominic Fahy, business group director at Océ display graphics and imaging supplies. “For example, signage work within a council can be brought in-house because there are now entry-level eco-solvent presses around.”

And, of course, in a constantly growing market sales are on the increase. “We are selling a lot more products now because the eco-solvent systems can be used in any environment,” says Fahy. “Also, there is typically a lower cost of print per metre, and the cost of installation has come down on presses.”

Matthew Drake, print product manager at Roland agrees. As margins are being squeezed on traditional presswork, digital is looking a much more attractive prospect. “The market is really exploding, and it’s taking work from traditional screen printers,” says Drake.

UV technology
Another area that’s exploding at the moment is the take-up of UV technology – an application that the sector has embraced very quickly, according to Fahy. “There are probably 100 to 200 UV placements made in the UK market every year,” he says.

Using this technology, printers can print on to any substrate, and as a result of this kind of flexibility some industry pundits predict that UV will eventually overtake roll-fed systems in the not too distant future. It takes £6 ($AU12.40) worth of ink to print one A0 poster, which can go down to £1 ($AU2.6) if you’re using a newer UV technology. But while they may be more economical on materials, the running costs of UV presses are still high. “At the moment, the cost of production is in the printheads, and there will come a time when these can be produced economically,” says Fahy.

• Xerox unveiled its 8254E (pictured) and 8264E wide-format colour printers at drupa, available in 54in and 64in models. Designed for commercial print providers, copy shops, and graphic design agencies, the printers use piezo-electric, drop-on-demand inkjet heads
• Epson launched its Stylus Pro GS6000 64in wide-format printer at Drupa. Available from September, it has a resolution of up to 1,440dpi and a 3.7 picolitre droplet size. Epson also unveiled the 24in Stylus Pro 7900 and 44in 9900 for the professional large-format market
• More than half of wide-format printers expect digital presses to drive success, according to new research from Fespa and InfoTrends. Of those surveyed, 57 per cent of respondents indicated that they plan to invest in a new wide-format printer in the coming 12 months
• At Drupa, Roland announced it had upgraded performance of its wide-format digital printers, doubling speed across its range. It has also added a white ink printing solution to its XC 540W

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