The latest developments in wide format printing creates significant opportunities for printers to broaden their service offerings and create new revenue streams. Innovation in hardware and ink technology lets printers turn jobs around faster and deliver more flexible outputs. This application versatility, and the opportunity to customise and personalise printing while remaining efficient and cost effective, delivers customers a superior experience that conventional technologies cannot achieve.
A new wave in digital development
Developments in digital wide or large format technologies began around 1999 when the first digital wide format printer was introduced, and improvement has since accelerated. Although long print runs are still more feasible on analogue machinery, these types of runs are far less popular than they once were. The accelerated growth of digital development means that more applications are becoming digital, which leads to the creation of highly specialised wide and large format printers.
Today wide format hardware can handle traditional applications such as architectural plans, postage, and signage; however, there are hardware options that also provide an opportunity for printers to become more innovative and showcase their capability to accommodate for market-niche applications, which usually require shorter print runs. Using a traditional press for such applications would be cost prohibitive.
Additional revenue streams and opportunities
As well as creating an opportunity for customers to viably produce short runs, digital wide format hardware let printers offer customised projects, or even limited editions or one-offs. Digital technology means that printers can even create multiple versions of the same output, providing an opportunity to create store signage for individual locations, for example.
The ongoing development of wide format print hardware will benefit end customers, letting them do things not previously possible and letting their branding efforts reach their full potential.
The environmental agenda
As customers look to reduce their environmental footprint, press manufacturers and printers are following suit. Focusing on ways to reduce the negative climate impact, some printers are showing a willingness to pay more for sustainable products such as the presses themselves as well as inks and consumables. These additional costs are usually offset by customers who are willing to pay more for specific outputs and those who agree that sustainability is worth the investment.
This is an important trend that will continue and could even be reinforced by new government regulations around emissions and sustainability.
For those in the digital printing community and those looking to enter the wide-format market, it’s essential to understand these unique applications require specialised skills and knowledge. With specific and precise applications such as posters, art, vehicle wraps, interior and exterior signage, home furnishings, wallpapers, floor graphics, etc., the outputs must be completely customised to fit the exact size and location of installation, requiring skill from operators.
The future of wide format printers
Wide format presses were originally designed to mainly cater to signage, communications, marketing, and advertising industries. Yet, as accelerated development continues and client-driven demands increase, these printers are making an entrance into many new industries. For example, the versatility of these printers means they can be used for short run jobs within packaging, label, and commercial industries. There are even potential opportunities for printers to venture into solar, printed electronics, and radio-frequency identification (RFID) markets, previously only covered by lithographic equipment.
Today’s digital print technology give business access to cost-effective, customised printing with a fast turnaround. New developments may also offer eco-friendly solutions with reduced or no waste.
Konica Minolta offers superior solutions
With a drive for offering superior solutions, Konica Minolta has partnered with leading manufacturer HP to offer a collection of wide format inkjet printing systems. HP is a world leader in wide format printing, with a focus on design, quality, reliability, and functionality for technical and graphics environments. This gives Konica Minolta customers peace of mind that their digital wide format range will help them leverage emerging and future opportunities in the wide format printing space.