Sign & Digital Graphics

WRAPS '18

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2 0 1 8 • WRAPS • 47 will require two panels to be printed and seamed, whereas a 64-inch machine will allow for one panel to cover the whole hood which makes it visually more appealing," offers Padilla. For those shops that are operating printers at widths less than 64 inches, it does not mean a wrap project cannot be completed profes- sionally and attractively. "Different sizes can be utilized," explains Michael Maxwell, se- nior manager sales, Mimaki USA, Inc., "however most installers can handle a panel that is 48 inches wide, and the 54-inch platform al- lows for 48-inch wide prints while offering additional space to create overlaps for paneling." In any case, there are a number of important factors to consider when looking at wraps printers. SPEED The most important thing is that you don't want to sacrice quality for speed. "You can't get great speed without giving up quality, says Downey. "However, there are industrial large-format printers that are made to perform at high speeds with great resolution and won't skip a beat." It's true, digital printers are made to function with precise accu- racy at higher speeds than ever before, but "for more detailed, higher- end vehicle wrap assignments, or to satisfy the high expectations of demanding customers, the user may need to slow things down to produce the higher-quality graphics required," says Valade. However, for some applications, it's perfectly acceptable to run the printer at high speeds. "For example," Valade continues, "for eet vehicle graphics, which are typically less complex jobs, higher-speed modes can get the job done adequately." Maxwell states that it's not always wise to look at the fastest speed on a printer when gauging results. "Most wrap-centric environments are looking for a printer that can produce saturated graphics fairly quickly," he says. "A good print speed will come down to 'sellable quality' and consistency throughout the entire job, so potential buyers should look at the mid-production speeds of the printer and avoid the draft speeds as a rule of thumb." Also, each specic job may determine the speed at which your printer is running. "Depending on the desired output and quality expectations from the customer, you will want to dial in the printer speed, prole set- tings and ink saturation levels accordingly to ensure the best possible images with the best production output," suggests Padilla, adding that working in a controlled environment will help produce optimal results. DEPENDABILITY "Though printer manufacturers don't put a life expectancy on the printers, print shops should look for a printer partner who stands behind their products," says Padilla. "Mutoh's ValueJet line, for ex- ample, offers two-year limited on-site warranties on a few of the most popular modes used by installers." At Roland, support is provided in "a Two-Year Trouble-Free Warranty for extra peace of mind," says Valade. But it isn't only about what is under warranty that denes depend- ability. "Consistency is the key factor here," believes Maxwell. "Potential buyers should look at the architecture and the potential for repeat business for years to come." Valade shares that some Roland customers have been using their machines for over a decade. All in all, if a shop owner is putting in the care and maintaining the health of the printer, there is no reason to expect it can't last for several years past the warranty. It's also wise to TOOLS & EQUIPMENT Left: Troy Downey says shops should choose quality over speed when trying to deliver the best product to a client. (Image courtesy of Roland DGA) Center: The ColorPainter M-64s printer from OKI Data is a very popular printer for wrappers, and is the "thorough- bred" workhorse that Troy Downey prefers. (Image courtesy of OKI Data) Right: The HP-Latex-335 is a 64" wide printer employing water-based Latex ink technology. It is another potential option for wrap shops. (Image courtesy of HP Inc.)

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