April '21

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8 4 G R A P H I C S P R O A P R I L 2 0 2 1 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M your shop, the actual machine width will be closer to 100". You'll also need to decide what kind of ink you want to print with. "Roll-to-roll printers sup- port the widest range of inks," Maxwell says."Customers can choose from eco- solvent and UV-LED options for the lon- gest outdoor capability, or latex and subli- mation for more personalized and interior applications." You ink decision will also determine factors such as your need for ventilation, curing, cartridge versus bulk, as well as OEM versus third party. Lastly, you'll want a strong com- puter. "Keep in mind that the better computer specifications you have, the faster the RIP can process images and start print- ing," says David Lopez, Epson America Inc. Once you have your machine picked out, the process moves pretty quickly. "Typically, plan on about 10 to 14 days assuming that all the pre-installation work has been done and (is) ready to go," says Tom Wittenberg, HP. Once your hardware and material han- dling situation is established, then you can focus on the software. Your print- ing software is one of the most impor- tant pieces of the roll-to-roll equation because it will determine how ecient your workow is. "Most of the software today that runs the printer (i.e., RIPs) are designed with ease of use and simplicity in mind. is said, you can get training on it from the software suppliers. And with a little work, one can quickly become pro- cient," Wittenberg says. GETTING UP TO SPEED Even if you have zero experience running a digital printer, most people who jump into the business are able to immediately You'll need to decide what kind of ink you want to print with when selecting a roll-to-roll printer. Selections include eco-solvent, UV-LED, latex (seen here with the HP Latex 365), and sublimation. (Image courtesy HP) The Mutoh RJ-900X is a printer that helps shops get their start into dye-sublimation. (Image courtesy Mutoh) begin creating sellable products and have been able to become procient in a mat- ter of weeks. "Most printer packages allow the user to easily produce standard products right out of the box, but specialty items, items that are leading edge, may take longer to be- come 'procient,'" says Randy Anderson, Mutoh America. "e time it takes to become procient on both the hardware and software can vary from business to business based on the amount and range of printing applica- tions," Lopez says. "A safe range is approx- imately one to three months but can be accelerated by choosing a reseller that will provide training both on-site and virtual." Shops will also want to take this time

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