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Industry Roundtable: The Wide-Format Forecast

(October 2010) posted on Thu Oct 14, 2010

Taking stock of 2010, and preparing your business for 2011 and beyond.

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Marx: Yes. UV solutions will continue to expand, even among roll-to-roll units, particularly in the next couple of years as UV LED-curing systems become both more efficient and more common. While UV isn’t the solution for every application, its instant curing means you can move the print straight into finishing without having to wait for solvent to evaporate. Obviously, the environmental favorability of UV over solvent is also a strong driver for adoption of UV in roll-to-roll systems.

Chesterman: Almost a quarter of respondents to our World Wide Survey said that, thinking ahead to their next machine, they were most likely to purchase a UV-curable inkjet device. Again, it’s a question of keeping up with, or staying ahead of your competitor. UV inkjet offers advantages over aqueous: It dries instantly and leaves the graphic completely cured. In the world of outdoor advertising, this is essential to ensuring the longevity of your product.

Greene: There’s no question about it in my mind. There is a tremendous amount of work being done on the ink side of the market that will enable UV-curable inkjet printers to get a bigger piece of the action in that space.

Boer: It’s easy to sometimes confuse the volume of product introductions with market success. In the digital label printer market, for instance, there have been nearly 20 manufacturers entering with product during the last two years. Effectively, however, only three of those are shipping product. While this is not the case with UV-rollfed products, where announced products do become commercialized once announced, they still account for a growing but small portion of wide format graphics printers sold.

Question: We’ve been seeing a great interest in 2d barcode (e.g., QR codes) technology from the print provider viewpoint. Are you seeing movement in this technology as well?