How Print Providers Can Go Wide for New Business Opportunities
The capabilities of wide-format digital printers include printing applications such as signs, banners, point of purchase materials, charts, maps, and engineering drawings. Manufacturers have continued to engineer advances in these digital printers to provide varied widths, higher output quality, different ink technology, and wider substrate capability such as printing to acrylic, metal, glass, and textiles.
Large digital printers are engineered to print on a variety of media, including flexible media on rolls or in sheets, and rigid media such as foam board. Advances in ink technology enable applications like outdoor signs, textiles, and wall/floor coverings to be printed on these digital printers as well. Applications are expanded again with large scale flatbed and roll cutters for standup signs or die-cut items.
Prior to COVID-19, the large-format market was growing, but the virus has had a major impact on wide-format printing because of minimal live events, declining foot traffic, and furloughed employees. Many print shops have been using manufacturing capacity and printing capabilities to make face masks, sneeze shields, and social distancing signage.
Wide-format printers can cost effectively produce a higher volume of valuable of graphics for businesses facing unprecedented situations, such as:
- Advisory billboards
- Distancing markers
- Drive through/curbside banners
- Pop-up shelters
- Signage for special operating hours
With major shifts in how we work, how business operates, and how we shop, we can uncover more requirements for large-format capability. There is opportunity — from retail stores needing customized services and signage (shields, instructions, and sneeze guards), to graphics for new delivery vehicles.
According to the research report “North America Large-Format Printer Forecast, 2020–2024” from IDC, total large-format digital print volume in North America for all application types is expected to decline at a modest 1.5% rate over the next five years. The COVID-19 crisis and the move to digital communications are negative forces, but as the market recovers IDC expects wide-format graphics applications to expand and drive print volume growth at a CAGR of 5.6% for that category over the forecast period.
For printers, now is the perfect time to address some of the following activities:
- Advance customer relationships.
- Experimenting with new products and materials.
- Learn about new equipment and applications.
- Make a marketing plan.
- Get creative — work on renderings/samples for target customers.
Consider Konica Minolta’s AccurioWide 160 and AccurioWide 200 UV LED hybrid wide-format printers, which both offer the ability to print a wide range of applications on flexible and rigid materials featuring Konica Minolta print head technology.
An important feature of the AccurioWide printers is the thin ink layer chemistry used in the printing process, which allows for great color density with low ink usage to reduce running costs. AccurioWide UV inks provide:
- More pigments (color particles) per droplet with unique formulation and dispersion technology.
- Solid color reproduction.
- Large color gamut — vivid / vibrant.
- Great ink adhesion on most surfaces.
In addition, the AccurioPro WideDirector sign and display workflow software will speed operations in your large-format printing with:
- High productivity with reliable output.
- Consistent color with ease.
- Workflow automation.
- Pre-flighting, color management, file processing, printing, and finishing.
The combination of the AccurioWide printers and the AccurioPro WideDirector workflow software provides great wide-format solutions for printers looking to expand applications with solid printer performance, outstanding prints, and an ease of use operators will love.