March '23

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3 4 G R A P H I C S P R O • M A R C H 2 0 2 3 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M W I D E - F O R M A T P R I N T I N G material and can be loaded and unloaded more quickly wrinkle-free, plus multiple rolls can be loaded at once, he says. "Basically, in the past, you only could do one roll at time. Now with the new print- ers, you can load heavier mediums and not worry about it. You can hit print and leave for the day," Singh says. "It's leaner, and you don't need a lot of space for it. You can print a lot of applications on it." Automation has improved roll-to-roll printing in other ways, such as automatic sensors that align and calibrate the printer without requiring a technician to come in on a service call to make adjustments, says Tony Simmering, product manager of MUTOH in Phoenix, Arizona. "Print quality in comparison to print speed has gotten a lot better," Simmering says. "We're able to calibrate to print at a lower resolution for the same quality. Before, the limitation was a bump (up) in the resolution that killed the speed." Sign shops and other printing businesses typically start with a roll-to-roll printer, which can be used to print directly on flexible materials and indirectly on harder substrates by first printing on the flexible material and then mounting the material on the hard surface. Printing this way, though, requires the extra steps and addi- tional labor for the mounting, plus waste from cutting out the vinyl and using it underneath the top layer. (Image courtesy StratoJet USA) (Image courtesy Mutoh) " Print quality in comparison to print speed has gotten a lot better." —Tony Simmering product manager of MUTOH

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