Sign & Digital Graphics

Start Here October '18

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61 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 1 8 Maxwell points out that the type of ink (water-based (aqueous), eco-solvent/ solvent, UV cure, latex, etc.) and plat- form (roll-fed, tabletop or flatbed) is determined by the types of applications to be produced. "There is a wide array of equipment to suit just about any applica- tion in accessible price ranges. For a roll- to-roll printer, eco-solvent is a good first choice because it is versatile in application (indoor or outdoor use), can print onto hundreds of media types, and can be run in an office environment. If a flatbed is the choice, UV-cure technology in a dedicated flatbed platform (not a hybrid) would be our recommendation. Entry-level dye sublimation printers are also available for transfer applications such as short-run textiles (soft signage, fashion designs, etc.) or transfer to hard surfaces (awards, pro- motional items, etc.)." "If you don't already have a roll-to-roll type printer, invest in a hybrid. This will satisfy both flat goods (substrates) as well as roll printing such as banners," explains Mahmoud. "This will depend upon the type of products/services you want to offer. Do you want to specialize in unique appli- cations, or will you need a printer that can handle a wide variety of applications," notes Valade. "For a typical startup sign shop, an affordable, reliable eco-solvent printer, such as Roland's value-packed VersaE X P R E S S R F -640, or an equally affordable TrueVIS SG series printer/cut- ter, will cover the applications currently in highest demand (i.e., signage, banners, POP, decals, labels, vehicle graphics)." For people looking to do more unique appli- cations or print to unusual substrates, a quality UV printer, such as those offered within Roland's VersaUV series, will allow you to print and customize a greater vari- ety of items and print directly onto those objects." Valade adds that customization is a huge growth market, and UV printing is leading the way. "With Sublimation being another high-growth market, buyers may also want to consider purchasing a qual- ity dye-sublimation printer, like a Roland Texart RT-640, to decorate soft signage, apparel, hard goods with vibrant, eye- catching graphics." What Finishing Equipment is Needed? "You will need a laminator for produc- ing outdoor-durable graphics. If you'll be offering dye-sublimation or heat trans- fer products/services for creating custom apparel, you'll need a heat press," states Valade. "For those who will be UV printing onto rigid or semi-rigid substrates, a CNC router or digital table cutter will help you stand out from the competition by making custom shapes out of the substrate itself." "Eco-solvent printers pair up nicely with cold or heat-assist roll laminators for The Mimaki UCJV300-160 is a versatile UV-LED inkjet printer with the combined functions of both printing and cutting. (Image courtesy of Mimaki USA) WIDE-FORMAT Contact 630-243-6360 Follow the Red Brick Road to Profits

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