it is in 2013 that digital wide format print was identified two be very vibrant in the print market. Three groups are driving this growth: conventional sign shops and screen printers adding or switching to digital printing methods; existing wide-format users wanting to increase capacity or improve quality and/or productivity to meet customer demand; and commercial offset printers or prepress specialists who are keen to capture a larger proportion of their customers’ print spend.
in this kind of print there is a wide rate of technological development. New applications continue to unfold as new substrates, inks and marking technologies are brought to market, leading to new opportunities such as label printing, packaging and package prototyping, interior d?cor, soft signage and fabric/garment printing and a wide range of consumer and industrial applications in ceramic printing, in addition to the established signage and display graphics markets.
While the capabilities of individual wide-format printers continue to evolve apace in terms of resolution, colour gamut, speed of production and range of supported substrates, the integration of these devices into both the production workflow and the wider environment of their owners’ businesses has largely been neglected.
For instance the wide format printers are very isolated in their productions from all the other kind of prints that are available in the market place. Products to facilitate this integration are available, but lack of customer focus, awareness or trust in automation have been barriers to their uptake.
The main barrier is that most wide print format requires more meticulous finishing than all the other kinds of print leading to increasing costs. Just like most complex jobs, most one off jobs require more elaborate planning, shipping and creative input in order to have a good finished product. The norm of this kind of printing is that a lot of customization is desired and this leads to the customers being very reluctant in accepting automatwion.
The manual method of conducting wide format printing is very time consuming and may result into a lot of wastawge. The other problem is associated with the inability to load balanced work across machines leading some machines being left idle.
Further to this, it is important to note that any particular point that manual process occurs is a point whereby extra costs are incurred which are left unaccounted for. Most of the time, job costing methods per metre often result into products being sold at a loss because not all the costs are accounted for during calculating the total costs. Since there are no bottlenecks in place, it becomes very difficult to identify those areas whereby money is being lost as there are no available details to facilitate this.
As the wide-format print provider market becomes more crowded and competitive, margins will come under increasing pressure as they have in offset print.