Recent years have seen exciting new advances for large format digital printing. The latest technology involving new inks and innovative print media offers exciting opportunities if you are in the wide format printing industry.
We’ve got our finger on the pulse of ink technology and have identified five key trends to look out for.
1. New applications
The demand for fabric-based signage and nonwoven wall graphics is rising. Soft signage is popular because of its lightweight and flexible capabilities. Certain fabric materials are also environmentally friendly. Printed fabric-based media can be used for backlit signage, tradeshow graphics, flags, banners, table drapes, theatrical displays, home/office décor, and custom upholstery. It is also becoming popular choice among designers that use it to create wall murals and patterns.
Personalization and customization are first and foremost for a lot of print jobs, particularly if a campaign is regionalized. Printers, therefore, need to be capable of running shorter print jobs as well as transitioning smoothly to and from each media roll.
3. Unattended print jobs
Presently a lot of time and labor go into checking print jobs, despite the industry becoming more automated. If issues aren’t spotted in time, it can lead to a lot of wasted materials and cost serious time and money.
Mobile apps like HP Latex Mobile designed for HP Latex Printers allow print operators to remotely monitor jobs. This technology can also send alerts when attention is needed and lets the operator know the status of the printer while away from it. Printers can now run unattended, freeing up operators to concentrate on other things.
LED technology combined with advancements in print media are reasons illuminated displays are seeing a surge in popularity. They are bright, cost-effective, and serve as can’t-miss advertisements. Fabric-based backlit print media such as Aurora Senfa Decoprint Pearl is compatible with Solvent/Eco Solvent, Latex & UV – which is a huge advantage for smaller sign shops because they can now offer fabric printing.
5. Faster turnaround times
Last but certainly not least on the list is fast turnaround times. According to this 2017 study, 61% of customers want their print jobs completed within 24 hours. This has risen from 41% in 2013. This indicates that the demand for faster turnarounds is only going to increase over time.
There is certainly no secret that time in money in this industry. In order to stay ahead of competition, speed needs to be a factor. Faster printers with automated processes will help industry meet this increasing demand.
The large format print industry is well on its way to becoming faster, more accurate and more automated. Applications continue to expand as we see innovative print media being developed for a wide range of surfaces. Ink and printing technology is also evolving and becoming increasingly affordable – giving small to medium sized print shops capabilities they never had. Stay tuned to see how these key trends develop in the future.