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Wide-format latex printing

by Ray Bauer

To say wide-format latex printing is hot right now is an understatement. The Special Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) trade show even had an online wait list for their September 2016 exhibitors.

Recently, I spoke about the benefits of latex ink over solvent-based inks. Not only is latex ink more eco-friendly than solvent, it can also help you bring in more business. In fact, InfoTrends expects the retail value of wide-format latex printing in North American to reach $23.6 billion[¹].

What’s driving this growth, along with typical applications such as signage and banners, is the need for more wide-format print jobs that can be done faster — and in shorter runs, using variable data. Additionally, print shops are finding new opportunities in one-off jobs such as birthday and anniversary celebrations, as well as textile, packaging and decorative products.

Analysts also see rising popularity in versioning, micro-marketing and cross-media marketing as campaign managers look for compelling ways to reach their audiences.

Workflow efficiency

Wide-format has another advantage in that it can grab the attention of print shop owners interested in shortening their workflow cycles. Consider that you can use the same machine to produce high quality, branded event banners, transit signage and other outdoor and indoor applications on a variety of coated and uncoated substrates, such as scrim banner material, vehicle wrap film and back-lit media. And because latex inks dry quickly, you can rev up your finishing operations immediately after printing — another added benefit to improve your workflow efficiency.

What all this means is that your print shop can enter the growing signage and display marketplace and boost your current business capacity — without disrupting your current workflows. An added perk of latex ink printing that helps your bottom line is that it requires no modifications to your building’s ventilation system; the same cannot be said for wide-format devices that utilize solvent-based inks.

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Ray Bauer, Production Marketing Manager, Channel and Field Marketing, Ricoh USA, Inc., possesses more than 37 years of experience in the imaging industry, currently focusing on wide- and small-format production print. Through extensive travel, Bauer gathers keen voice-of-the-field insight and reports his findings to Ricoh USA and Ricoh Company, Ltd. By interfacing with Product Marketing, he helps guide the direction of the wide-format business. Most recently, Bauer served as Product Manager for Digital Duplicators for more than 12 years, where his expertise and technical and marketing skills helped define the product category.

  1. ¹ InfoTrends Study Reveals that Digitally Printed Wide Format Graphics are Critical Part of the Communications Mix. InfoTrends. June 12, 2013.