Sign & Digital Graphics

May '18

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36 • May 2018 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S DIGITAL PRINTING AND FINISHING DIGITAL GRAPHICS cially viable. Expanded bed sizes allow for larger substrates, as well as larger quanti- ties of smaller applications. Customized promotional products are a major demand by customers in this market." Thick as a Brick Johansen adds that flatbeds, especially when used with custom-made jigs, are perfect for printing customized promo- tional products. "Bigger beds and faster speeds make larger volumes more effi- cient to produce. Innovative printers and print-buyers are pushing the limits of technology, and technology is growing its capabilities in response. For example, at an international specialty graphics show last year, we had a Ricoh Pro T7210 in the booth, and someone said, "I wonder if we can print onto cinderblock?" So we went to Home Depot, got a cinderblock, stuck it in the printer, and lo and behold, it worked! We printed a nice brick over- lay on the cinderblock, opening up a whole new set of potential applications. It's an exciting time in industrial print." Johansen says that flatbeds' flexibility is certainly making waves, but the major- ity of flatbed users mostly use them for traditional sign making. "Because true flatbeds have an ability to print on vary- ing sized materials and non-standard shapes, it is the ideal platform for tra- ditional sign making, particularly for high volumes of double-sided printing, where flatbeds excel. Front-to-back reg- istration—so important for a variety of applications, including lawn signs for real estate and politics—can be extremely precise on flatbeds, giving it an edge for those applications." Hybrid Options Johansen adds that when it comes to UV-curing hybrids, due to their incredible flexibility, picking a single "best" application for UV-curing hybrids is difficult. "That flexi- bility allows you to print on basically anything that works with either flatbed or roll-to-roll, all with a space-friendly footprint compared to dedicated flatbed printers. Because hybrids excel at applications that are both typically flatbed or roll-fed, they are a great tool for meeting increasing demand for one-stop print shops. When campaigns use a mix of flatbed and roll- fed applications—sandwich boards and banners, for example—a hybrid press can help make things simple and consistent. Color matching among different appli- cations within the same campaign or for The Shark FB-2532 UV flatbed printer from StratoJet handles boards up to 8' x 10' and benefits from 1400 dpi grayscale output and a feature-rich design. (Image courtesy of StratoJet)

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