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Talking Shop

(April 2008) posted on Wed Apr 09, 2008

Print providers discuss the state of the industry at the Signage and Graphics Summit.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Clare Baker, Tom Zeit

Moderator Tim Greene with InfoTrends reported that although UV is still the smallest percentage of the installed base when it comes to wide-format inkjet printers worldwide, that percentage is rapidly growing. UV, he said, is seeing a 42-percent growth rate per year, versus just 16 percent for solvent and only 3 percent for aqueous.

From the panelists’ point of view, the consensus was that the value of these printers will continue to increase and they’re a smart investment in addition to more traditional printing technology. Their speed, ability to work with specialty color-especially white-and their flat capabilities are key, in addition to their suitability for printing on textiles, one of the fastest growing segments of wide-format printing.

A panel discussion on how to evaluate a potential printer purchase, with Rich Thompson of AdGraphics, Jim Hunt of Fastsigns, and Brandon Gabriel of LAgraphico emphasized the importance of taking the machine for a test-drive-not merely on any random job but one that’s typical for your company. The panel’s advice was to remember that a machine’s specifications for speed and output aren’t necessarily what you’ll get from normal practice, and be sure to take into account both the need to make a new printer work within your operations (RIPs and color calibration with other machines) and the new needs for equipment and service that a new printer might bring with it (such as cutting, laminating, and grommeting).

Where the jobs are

Two high-growth areas that drew a lot of interest were vehicle graphics and stadium signage and graphics, with plenty of shop owners wanting to know more about what’s required for them and how to do them right.

In a panel discussion on vehicle graphics, Jared Smith of bluemedia, Wade Davis of Image Graphics 2000, and Rich Thompson of AdGraphics talked about the rapidly increasing demand for wrapping corporate fleets, buses, boats, big rigs, and just about anything else on wheels.