March '23

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M M A R C H 2 0 2 3 • G R A P H I C S P R O 3 3 W I D E - F O R M A T P R I N T I N G R oll-to-roll printing is on an upward trajectory with newer, more efficient technologies mak- ing it a great option alongside the other mainstay of flatbed printing. "ere's always going to be a need for roll-to-roll printing," says David Lopez, product manager of professional imaging for Epson America, Inc., in Los Alamitos, California. "Most of the materials and media comes in rolls. It doesn't make sense to stretch it over a flat bed and cut it." Flatbed printers primarily are used for rigid mate- rials, like glass, wood, or plastic, while softer fab- rics like textiles, banners, vinyl, backlit film, floor graphics, and wallpaper are better suited to roll- to-roll printing. ese printers print directly onto a roll of material using a specialized ink, such as a solvent or an eco-solvent or resin-based ink that is more environmentally friendly. "Roll-to-roll printing is the most reliable solu- tion out there," says Sohil Singh, vice-president of StratoJet USA in Pico Rivera, California. "Flatbeds have taken a good market share, but with flexible printing, you still need roll-to-roll." Advances in roll-to-roll printing Roll-to-roll printing, which has a larger market share than flatbed printing, has become more auto- mated, not requiring oversight once the rolls are placed on the printing bed, Sohil says. e materials can be changed out without calibrating for the next Roll-to-Roll Printers Despite competition, these machines are still the kings of printing flexible substrates B Y S H E L L E Y W I D H A L M Shelley Widhalm is a freelance writer and editor and founder of Shell's Ink Services, a writing and editing service based in Loveland, Colorado. Maintain Momentum Epson SureColor R5070 multipurpose ink can create wallpapers, fabrics, uncoated papers, and traditional signage. (Image courtesy Epson)

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