Sign & Digital Graphics

May '19

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • May 2019 • 35 media-handling standpoint, but we see more and more automation through- out the entire production process with the use of software and mechanical technology. Print service providers are constantly looking for ways to be more productive and increase throughput, and sometimes just shaving a small portion of time from a process has major benefits because of what that saved small portion of time means in the long run." She adds that another trend she is seeing is PSPs expanding to serve more markets to help drive top and bottom line success for their business. "PSPs have the opportunity to seek out additional work from existing clients, beyond seeking new clients, often with- out having to make printer upgrades or major operational changes," McConnell says. "With a strong mix of application potential, it's easier to never tell a client or prospect 'no.'" McConnell explains that speed and throughput are, and will remain, criti- cal for print service providers so recent gains are important. "It's also important that suppliers continue to push the limit with speed and output potential for high-production flatbeds. With speed and throughout advancements, it allows for digital wide-format opportunities to continue to grow. It continues to move the needle and realign the print quanti- ties that are economically feasible with digital versus analog printing processes." More Applications McConnell points out that with a flatbed's ability to manage printing thick, rigid sheets, and with accurate registra- tion, flatbed printing has allowed for print service providers to expand beyond their typical applications they offer their clients. "Advancements in flatbed printing technology have enabled flatbed print- ers to be more productive, even if not by increasing speed, but perhaps allowing for automated handling systems or other automated features," McConnell says. "With technology allowing for a print- quality output level that clients are satis- fied with, high-speed flatbeds have given print service providers the opportunity to move more work to digital and seek cli- ents in new markets with new demands." Keeping Media in its Place McConnell says that when its comes to media handling, a flatbed that features either a moving print bed or a moving gantry that keeps the media in one posi- tion while the printer is jetting ink; the only difference between the two is if the gantry is moving or not. Because the media on a printer with a vacuum table is held in position, the media han- dling would have more to do with an automated handling system versus the printer itself. When it comes to a belt- driven device, the ability for media to track properly has everything to do with the straightness and stability of the belt/ roller system. It's critical for PSPs to eval- uate the effectiveness of media handling based on their needs when considering a new investment or upgrade to their cur- rent operations." McConnell says when looking at hybrid versus dedicated flatbed models, the benefits are personal preferences, and depending on which route a print service provider takes typically has a lot to do with their past success and the limitations EFI's VUTEk LX3 Pro hybrid flatbed/roll-to-roll LED inkjet printer is designed for high production throughput, higher volumes and shorter lead times while maintaining image quality. (Image courtesy of EFI) Southern Carton runs many types of appli- cations on their Onset X3 including printing on glass. (Image courtesy of Fujifilm) Capable of printing in excess of 9,600 ft2/ hour (180 beds/hour) with R printheads, the Onset X3 features 3 x CMYK ink channels plus the choice of white or orange. (Images courtesy of Fujifilm)

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