APTech Announces Wide Format Business Master Class

The Association for PRINT Technologies (APTech) announced that registration is now open for its six-week “Wide-Format Business” Master Class. The in-depth course provides a blueprint for companies that wish to build a major revenue center around wide-format printing.

The Master Class includes 12 to 15 hours of instruction and begins Tuesday, March 16 with a session from 1:30 to 4:00 pm ET. The other sessions will be held at the same time on the following five Tuesday afternoons.

Each session is interactive, with opportunities for live discussion and answers to questions.

The content is geared for commercial printers, marketing services providers, and other business owners who may or may not already have wide-format printing equipment. The sessions will provide ideas for creating a powerful, wide-format profit center.

  • Week 1: What is the Value of Wide-Format Printing?
  • Week 2: How to Effectively Sell Wide-Format Printing
  • Week 3: Synergy with Sales and Production
  • Week 4: Migrate Offset Sales Staff Reps to Wide-Format Pros
  • Week 5: What You Should Know about Wide-Format Vertical Markets
  • Week 6: Product Diversification Wins Major Projects

The program will be led by wide-format business expert Debbie Nicholson, president of Think to INK!. The content will include plenty of opportunity for live discussions and answers to questions. It will also feature interviews with owners of wide-format business units and experts in equipment and materials.

“Fully understanding the wide-format printing business can be difficult. There is a lot to know on the technical side with so many different ink sets, substrates, and hardware options,” says Nicholson. “It is equally important to understand the best potential clients and progress toward becoming an Order Maker, not just an Order Taker. My goal with this course is to ignite printers to think about the advantages of developing an actionable plan for moving their company toward profitability.”

“We encourage you to invite your leadership, sales, customer services, and operations team to attend this course,” said APTech President Thayer Long. Graduates of the course will have an actionable plan for each company area: leadership, sales, and operations.

The registration fee is $499 for APTech members and $699 for the full six-week course.

A 50% discount is available for multiple attendees from the same company. Contact Julie Shaffer (jshaffer@aptech.org) about this offer.

To learn more about the Master Class, visit: https://printtechnologies.org/WFMC

For more information about the APTech organization, visit: https://printtechnologies.org/

HP Latex 700 and 800 Printer Series Include Two Models with White Inks

In February 2021, HP announced the HP Latex 700 and 800 series of wide-format roll-to-roll printers for print-service providers who want to diversify their offerings, sharpen their sustainability edge, and meet more challenging customer needs.

After a year of business disruption across the large-format industry, the HP Latex 700 and 800 series bring features that enable print-service providers to be more agile, tackle ambitious projects, and take on higher value work. Two models the 700W and 800W include white ink for applications such as window graphics and day/night backlit graphics. All four machines in the series can produce vehicle graphics, canvas, polyester and cotton fabrics, and wallcoverings for full room installation.

“The new Latex 700 and 800 portfolio will allow PSPs to win big by navigating customer challenges in the next normal and embracing more ambitious projects — safe in the knowledge their work will deliver,” said Guayante Sanmartin, General Manager, Large Format Business, HP. “When you think about HP Latex, imagine the unique ability to say yes to every customer request, regardless of fast-changing schedule or application demands. Help meet deadlines with undisputable operator and environmental safety. With HP Latex, every signage and decor decision becomes a sustainable one.”

The HP Latex 700/800 Series of 64-in. wide-format inkjet printers includes four models, including two that use white inks.

All four models can handle media rolls from 10 to 64 inches wide, including indoor and outdoor banner materials, self-adhesive vinyls, films, fabrics, papers, wall coverings, canvas, synthetic papers, mesh, and textiles (with the textile kit accessory).

The four models in the latex 700/800 series are differentiated by the size of the ink cartridges they hold, the ability to print white ink, and higher productivity levels.

HP Latex 700: One-liter ink cartridges,
High-Speed (4-pass) Print Mode for Outdoor Graphics: 334 sq ft/hr.

HP Latex 700W: One-liter ink cartridges, plus White ink.
Additional print modes include: White Spot (60%), White Overflood (60%), White Underflood (100%) and 3-layer Day/Night backlit graphics

The 800 series printers include updated printheads with more nozzles and larger curing units. The 800-series printers offer up to 50% higher productivity levels compared to previous HP Latex roll-to-roll printers.

HP Latex 800W printer uses 3 Liter Eco-Cartons of ink (Photo: HP)

HP Latex 800: Three-liter ink cartridges,
High-Speed (4-pass) Print Mode for Outdoor Graphics: 388 sq. ft./hr.

HP Latex 800W: Three-liter ink cartridges, plus White Ink.
Additional print modes include: White Spot (60%), White Overflood (60%), White Underflood (100%) and 3-layer Day/Night backlit graphics

Each HP Latex printing system is designed for sustainable impact through printer and cartridge materials, ink chemistry, printer operation, the print itself, the print display, and the product end of life.

Inks

According to an HP technical white paper, the HP Latex 700 and 800 printers use fourth-generation Latex inks that contain up to 65% water and provide advantages across the lifecycle compared to eco-solvent, solvent, UV-curable, and UV-gel inks.

HP Latex Inks provide outdoor durability and versatility across all common media types used in sign and display applications. The inks produce odorless prints, with low maintenance requirements, and reduced environmental impact compared to solvent or UV-curable inks.

No special ventilation is required with HP inks and they contain no Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs). Printing with HP Latex inks avoids problematic reactive monomer chemistry and and ozone generation associated with UV printing.

With each new generation of HP Latex printing system, HP is committed to addressing current — and anticipated — environmental requirements. The HP Inks are UL GREENGUARD GOLD certified for low chemical emissions into indoor air during product usage. HP Latex inks are certified at the highest level, meaning the wallpaper print with HP Latex inks can be applied to all four walls in a typical office or classroom setting.

The newest HP Latex inks also are UL ECOLOGO certified for reduced environmental impact.

The HP Latex 700 and 800 printers use 8 printheads to deliver six colors of ink (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, Light Cyan, and Light Magenta) plus a Latex Optimizer and a Clear Overcoat.

HP Latex 700W and Latex 800W printers use 10 printheads with the same six colors. optimizer, and clearcoat and two printheads with White ink. The white ink offers a 91% opacity level and doesn’t yellow over time.

Standardized tests conducted in May 2020 on black opaque self-adhesive vinyl revealed that the HP 839 White latex ink cartridge achieved the whitest white compared to the white inks on competitive solvent and UV printers in the under $50,000 price range.

The inks for these four printers are supplied in the HP Eco Carton, a cartridge made with a cardboard material that reduces the use of plastic by 80%. The HP Eco-Carton cardboard container can be recycled through local recycling streams. The ink bag and printhead can be recycled through the free HP Planet Partners program.

Other Features

Smart front panel includes a built-in job queue that can store up to 100 jobs. This makes it faster and easier to process reprints of previous jobs.

Raiseable curing module makes it easier to load new rolls of media onto the printer.

Compatible with HP’s updated Latex Print and Cut Devices. The Latex 700 and 700W printers can be directly connected to the newest models of the HP Latex Print and Cut solutions. The HP 800 and 800W will require a RIP upgrade for direct connectivity. HP Latex printer/cutters solutions combine an HP Latex printer with a Graphtec vinyl cutter for the quick production of contour-cut stickers, labels, wall decals, floor graphics, window graphics, and other adhesive-backed materials.

Print OS

The HP Print OS app enables you to control your print operations from wherever you happen to be. You can access and download job information, receive notifications of issues that prevent the equipment from operating, and monitor ink levels.

HP Inc.

HP Inc. was recognized as one of the 2020 Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies in the world. By working closely with partners and customers, HP manages each component in the printing system (printer, inks, printheads, and media) to provide end-to-end large-format printing systems that enable more comfortable and welcoming operations and strive to achieve a world without waste.

On February 11, 2021 HP Inc. unveiled HP Amplify™ Impact, an industry-first partner assessment, resource and training program aimed at driving meaningful change across its three Sustainable Impact pillars: Planet, People, and Community. Partners that pledge to join the HP Amplify Impact program will work with HP to assess their own practices while tapping into the company’s extensive investments and initiatives.

HP announced the HP Latex February 2, 2021

FuturePrint Conference Feb. 25-26 Covers Print Technology for Business Adaptability

The FuturePrint Virtual Conference on Feb. 25-26, 2021 will feature talks about new technology that can improve the adaptability of your business.

Tailored specifically for digital printing technologists, manufacturing experts and print production professionals, the FuturePrint Conference will provide a forum for knowledge exchange, discussion and high-level networking.

According to Marcus Timson, codirector of FuturePrint, “As vaccines begin to tip the balance in the war against the virus, confidence will return and a spike in demand for goods across sectors will become fierce.”

He believes digital print technology has a key role to play in enabling businesses to optimize their performance in the coming boom: “But investing in the right technology to solve the right problems is critical. We must make the best choices.”

The two-day FuturePrint program will feature insights from more than 40 innovators from the world of print technology.

Educational Sessions

Some of the sessions planned for the FuturePrint event include:

The Year of Adaptability
Speaker: Marcus Timson of FuturePrint

EcoLeaf: Sustainable Metalization-A Revolution in Packaging
Speaker: Dario Urbinati of ACTEGA Metal Print

Adapting by Adopting Digital: Inkjet Technology for Changing Market Demands
Speaker: Taylor Buckthorpe of Colordyne Technologies

Digital Packaging Production — Lessons Learned and Looking Ahead
Speakers: Frazer Chesterman of FuturePrint and Francois Martin of Bobst

Sustainable Corrugated Packaging with HP Digital Solutions
Speakers: Karis Copp of FuturePrint and Eviatar Halevi of HP

Differentiate with Digital: Focus on Flexibility
Speakers: Frazer Chesterman of FuturePrint and Matt Brooks of IncaDigital

High-End Direct-to-Substrate Proofing and Prototyping for Packaging: A Customer Case Study
Speakers: Stephan Heinjens of Mutoh, Heiner Mueller of CGS Publishing, and Phil Walmsley of Waldo LTD

Digital Printing on Decor Paper for Laminate Production Using Water-Based Pigment Inks
Speakers: Frazer Chesterman of FuturePrint and Marc Graindourze of Agfa

Challenge of Customization for Print Production
Speakers: Roland Biemans of LMNS, Carten Brinkmeyer of Hymmen, Koen Santesgoeds of Integration Technology, and Stefan Van Waalwuk Van Doorn of TNO Holst Centre

Strange Times: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Embrace the Pandemic
Speaker: Rob Karsten of Phoseon

Profit in Textiles: File-Click-Print
Speaker: Phil McMullin of Epson Pro Graphics

The Future is Sustainable and PVC Free
Speaker: Nova Abbott of Taya

Inside the Tornado: The Opportunity for Inkjet
Speakers: Marcus Timson of Future Print and Dave Gray and Dave Varty of Ricoh

Demonstrating DodXact’s Capabilities for Flexible Multi-Project Support and Testing of Industrial Inkjet Fluids
Speaker: Mark Bale of DodXact

B2B Print Buying: How It is Changing – ERP/CRM Integration
Speakers: Kelvin Bell and Milo Ferchow of Vpress

Will Software Actually Drive Success for Your Volume Printing
Speakers: Pat McGrew of McGrew Group, Johnathan Malone-McGrew of Solimar Systems, and Jamie Walsh of Solimar

Hybrid Industrial Inkjet: U.S. Case Studies Decor/Label
Speakers: Karis Copp of FuturePrint and Graham Vlcek of Industrial Inkjet

Exploring the Life of an Ink
Speakers: Simon Daplyn and Phil Jackman of Sun Chemical

Pushing the Boundaries of What’s Possible
Speakers: Kate Black of Meta Additive and Graham Tweedle of Xaar plc

Introducing Crystal Decorating for Glass Decoration
Speaker: Anthony Carignano of ACTEGA North America Technologies

The Best Way to Buy Software: And It’s Not Price!
Speaker: Pat McGrew of McGrew Group

For More Information

Click here to see the full schedule of sessions, including live panel discussions and networking events.

Registration is free. To reserve your spot, click here and submit you email.

The FuturePrint conference is organized by FM Future, an independent business development and communications consultancy based in the UK.

EFI VUTEk Q3r and Q5r Printers Combine Superb Quality with High Productivity

The EFI VUTEk Q series of superwide roll-to-roll printers were developed to deliver the highest image quality at the highest rated speeds in the industrial roll-to-roll printer market.

The EFI VUTEk Q3r and VUTEk Q5r printers can provide full-system solutions, from file submission to finished prints that are cut to size, rolled, taped, and marked for the designated display solution.

The EFI VUTEk Q5r print different graphics simultaneously on 3 rolls of 63-in. media.

The VUTEk Q3r can print up to 138 in. wide on one superwide roll of flexible material or on two side-by-side rolls of 63-in. wide media. It runs at speeds of up to 6,006 sq. ft. per hour.

The VUTEK Q5r can print up to 198 in. wide on one superwide roll. It can be loaded with 3 rolls of 63 in. media. It runs at speeds up to 7,233 sq. ft. per hour.

The printers can handle the wide range of flexible materials used in sign and display graphics, wallcoverings, window and floor graphics, vehicle wraps, and manufactured decor products such as luxury vinyl tile.

“We designed the EFI VUTEk Q3r and VUTEk Q5r to go beyond printing to provide a complete print-to-finished graphic workflow (from RIP to finished product) on the same platform,” said Ken Hanulec, EFI vice president, worldwide marketing. “This new printer series brings unprecedented speed to our portfolio and a host of valuable features and options that take profitable roll-to-roll production to a new, higher level.”

Below is more information about the inks, printhead technology, optional power tools, print management systems, color controls, and cloud connectivity. Together, these features help improve the efficient, accurate production of many different types of jobs with minimal waste.

Inks

Both printers use nine UV LED-curable inks.

  • The four standard colors include: cyan, magenta, yellow and black.
  • The five optional colors include: light cyan, light magenta, light black, white, and clear.

The configuration and type of inks you choose will depend on the type of applications you plan to do most often. For example, if you routinely print high-quality photos and graphics for museum exhibits and premium point-of-purchase displays, you will have different requirements than a shop that plans to print woodgrain patterns on the decor films used to make luxury vinyl tile.

Shops that create high-resolution photographic images will use the light magenta, light cyan, and light black inks to produce a wide range of colors with smooth transitions in the skin tones and greater detail in the shadows and highlight areas.

Companies that print on clear or translucent films for window graphics or backlit graphics will use a white ink to create a base layer for the color inks. And shops that want to produce wallcoverings and decor films with interesting textures will include a clear ink.

The clear ink either as flood coat to add protection to the print or surface. Or, the clear ink can be applied in layers to selected areas of the print to create textured or glossy highlight areas.

Graphic shops that will use VUTEk Q3r and Q5r machines to produce outdoor-durable vehicle wraps and fleet markings can choose 3M SuperFlex XF ink. Vehicle graphics produced with these inks and specific 3M wrapping films qualify for 3M’s Matched Component System warranty for vehicle-graphic performance.

The LED technology used to cure the inks on the surface of the substrate consumes less energy than other forms of UV ink curing. LED curing also improves control over the gloss and matte surface finishes, and expands the range of materials you can print to, including lower cost and specialty materials.

EFI UltraDrop Technology

Both printers use EFI’s UltraDrop technology with printheads that can deliver ink droplets as small as 7 picoliters and true resolution up to 1200 dpi.

The droplet size can be varied to produce high-definition image quality with smooth shadows and gradients and superb font quality even as small as three-point text.

Power Tools

EFI’s “power tool” options help improve overall throughput by removing the amount of manual processes involved in setting up, running the print job, or preparing the finished rolls of materials for delivery. Some of the optional Power Tools include:

X-Cutter: This tool cuts the prints to the desired length without the slowing down the printing.

Y-Slitter: This device cuts prints to the desired width, making it easy to produce multiple widths of prints on wide or superwide roll. This eliminates wasted media and includes collectors to hold the materials trimmed from the edges of the prints.

InSpec: This in-line print-quality monitoring system alerts the operator when print imperfections are spotted. The operator can take corrective action before imperfections on reproduced on multiple prints.

Roll & Tape: This automated device takes printed cut sheets directly from the printer, rolls them into scrolls, and tapes the edges with labels that include printed job information.

ID Backprint: This features enables you to print customer information on the backside of the printed media.

Automatic Backlit: This print control makes it possible to print each side of a media with a different print mode.

Super Duty Winder: This equipment is used for loading heavy media rolls.


Fiery proServer RIP Premium Digital Front End

Print jobs are set up and managed through a mobile operator touch screen connected to the Fiery ProServer Premium digital front end (DFE). This high-powered DFE combines Fiery XF software with EFI’s cutting-edge server hardware and Fiery FAST RIP for accelerated processing of the large file sizes associated with grand-format printing. In addition for tools for managing job layouts, print modes, and color quality, Fiery DFE Systems include options such as Fiery Spot Color, Fiery Color Profiler Suite, and Fiery Color Verifier.

Fiery Spot Color automates the process of matching spot colors and brand colors used on the many different substrates in advertising, promotional, and display graphics.

Fiery Color Profiler Suite is comprehensive toolset for creating custom color profiles for the precise and repeatable production of colors on both the monitor used to soft proof jobs and the printer and media you plan for use.

Fiery Color Verifier can measure, compare, verify, and correct the color values of prints. It can be used to enable remote proofing, matching prints to standards, or verifying that colors printed in one run are consistent with the colors produced earlier or on a different printer. The Fiery Color Verifier works with internal and external spectrophotometers

Cloud Connectivity

Operators of the EFI VUTEk Q3r and Q5r printers can use the mobile touchscreen stations to connect to new EFI IQ cloud-based applications. With EFI IQ applications, users can track ink and media usage for each job, and monitor job queues and production downtime.

Comments from Users

The world’s first VUTEk Q5r installation side was Yahav Digital Print, a large-format print production company in Israel that currently uses four EFI roll-to-roll printers.

“Our new VUTEk Q5f was installed in October 2020, and we have been running it in full production ever since,” said Zevik Nur, CEO of Yahav Digital Print. “It has exceeded our expectations in terms of reliability, production speeds, print quality, ink consumption, media utilization, and ease of use. We can shift a lot of jobs to the new Q5r and our customers are highly satisfied with our ability to shorten lead times and produce even higher quality prints at faster speeds.”

David Aloni, CEO of Xtreme dpi, said, “As part of our due diligence in selecting a new roll-to-roll printer, we ran the EFI VUTEk Q5r through its paces, including full production. It is the fastest printer in its class, achieving a record production speed. We found its print quality second to none, even for the most challenging files and media types.”

For more information about the VUTEk Q3r and Q5r printers and other superwide roll-to-roll printers from EFI, visit: https://www.efi.com/products/inkjet-printing-and-proofing/efi-superwide-roll-to-roll-printers/

EFI announced the VUTEk Q3r and Q5r printers at the EFI Engage virtual conference in January 2021.

Agency EA Reports Findings from 2021 State of Experiential Marketing Research

Until 2020, experiential marketing projects nationwide provided a steady stream of opportunities for wide-format graphics providers to vehicle wraps, pop-up event structures, temporary signage, backdrops, and custom props and environmental graphics. But this work dried up instantly as in-person gatherings were halted due to COVID-19. So what does 2021 look like for experiential marketing?

Agency EA, an award-winning brand experience agency in Chicago, has announced the findings
of its fourth annual research study on the state of experiential marketing. The industry-wide
survey looks at anticipated trends impacting experiential marketing in 2021 and
beyond.

Agency EA 2021 Experiential Marketing Research Study Cover

This year’s proprietary research study asked representatives of Fortune 500 companies, top agencies and vendors questions about:

  • their perspective on industry spending,
  • factors impacting in-person programming,
  • the most effective virtual event tactics, and
  • the best use of experiential investment when budgets were drastically cut

Below are a few findings from the report:

  • 60% of brand-side marketers continue to invest in experiential as a way to effectively connect with their target audience.
  • 66% of brands noted that their budgets decreased with the transition to virtual events.
  • More than 1 in 3 marketers anticipate growth in their organization’s experiential budget within the next 18 months.
  • 90% of brand-side marketers say they agree that virtual and hybrid experiences are critical to their organization’s success.
  • 60% of those brand-side marketers look at virtual events as a short-term solution to global social distancing policies rather than a long-term investment.
  • 90% of brand-side marketers continue to stand behind the effectiveness of in-person events as being a vessel to connect and strengthen their organization’s relationships with their customers.
  • Brand-side marketers agree that engaging and connecting with their audience, capturing audience attention, and organic networking opportunities are the biggest challenges when planning virtual or hybrid events.
  • 72% of brand-side marketers are relying on the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine as an indicator of when they can transition to hybrid experiences.
  • 72% of event marketers agree that attendee safety/security and health/wellness are key issues to address in 2021 and beyond.
  • 88% of attendees feel more connected to a brand after an in-person, rather than a virtual event — proving the value of face-to-face experiences.

About Agency EA

Agency EA is a full-service brand experience agency that connects brands with their target audiences through hybrid and virtual events, strategic marketing campaigns, digital engagements, and experiential activations.

The company began as Event Architects in 1999 with just two employees and two clients. They primarily produced events for Chicago-area companies. In 2011, the company rebranded as Agency EA to better serve clients seeking full-service agency capabilities.

In 2020, Agency EA became a division of the EA Collective. The other two divisions in EA Collective include: Storyhorse and Studio Sage. :

  • Storyhorse is a brand-development and storytelling agency that helps clients with research and strategy, messaging and visual identities, style guides, and rollout tactics.
  • Studio Sage is full-service, state-of-the-art broadcast and green screen studio. Specialties include webcasts and webinars, virtual events and conference broadcasts, and corporate and brand videos.

“Working together or independently, our divisions help strengthen our clients’ brands, engage their target audiences, and optimize value,” says Gabrielle Martinez, co-founder of EA Collective. “Every journey is unique, and our clients can choose a custom solution, partnering with one, two or all three of our divisions as an integrated team.”

For more information visit: 2021 State of Experiential Research Study Findings – Agency EA

Roland VersaUV LEC2 Models Are Versatile Print-Cut-Emboss Systems

Roland has introduced two VersaUV roll-to-roll wide-format inkjet printer/cutters that use 5 colors of LED-UV-curable inks plus a primer and gloss varnish. The multi-function devices give sign shops and design studios the ability to print, cut, and emboss premium graphics, decals, and displays or labels, and packaging on a single device.

The Roland VersaUV LEC2-640 is a 64-inch roll-to-roll wide-format inkjet printer/cutter that can print, cut, and embellish large-format indoor and outdoor signs, displays and decor with dimensional or textural effects.

The Roland VersaUV LEC2-330 is a 30-inch roll-to-roll wide-format inkjet printer/cutter that can produce labels and prototypes for flexible packaging and folding cartons. The LEC2-330 can be equipped with an optional TB-30 tension bar that enables direct printing on flexible packaging films as thin as 30 microns. An optional ET-30 Extension Table for the LEC2-330 makes it easy to print on a variety of paper stocks and aluminum metalized papers for folding carton packaging projects such as design comps, prototyping, and color-proofing.

Both models can print on actual press substrates. This increases the overall versatility of the devices and helps ensure realistic-looking package prototypes.

Roland VersaUV LEC2 printer/cutters
The Roland VersaUV LEC2-330 and Roland VersaUV LEC2-640 can be used to produce customer-pleasing, contour-cut output with eye-catching 3D effects and tactile surfaces.

“Our new, affordable easy-to-use LEC2-640 and LEC2-330 printer/cutters usher in a new era of UV production,” said Roland DGA UV Printing Product Manager Jay Roberts. “Whether you are looking to produce adhesive decals, labels, stickers, and signs or point-of-purchase displays, package prototypes, and interior decor, the LEC2 printer/cutters have you covered.”

Inks

Both printers use Roland’s new GREENGUARD Gold certified EUV5 inks that are formulated to deliver vivid color, outstanding detail, and tactile surface effects on a wide range of paper stocks, adhesive vinyls, and press substrates.

Available colors include Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, White, Clear, and Primer. The primer extends the range of materials that can be printed. The clear gloss can be applied in layers to add dimension to selected portions of an image.

The higher opacity level of the new EUV5 White ink makes the white ink even more effective when used as a base coat or when printing graphics on transparent film or dark papers.

Software

The LEC2 printer/cutters come with VersaWorks 6 RIP software. In addition to preparing efficient print layouts and optimizing print quality, the RIP software can automatically generate cut lines and apply layers of white or clear ink to the selected areas of the design.

Other Features

Both models come with TU4 take-up systems that rewind the printed graphics onto another roll.

Compared earlier models in Roland’s line of VersaUV printers, the Roland LEC2-640 and LEC2-330 include:

  • advanced printhead technology for precision dot placements and control
  • larger, more power LED curing lamps for higher print quality, improved color saturation and faster ink curing
  • optimized cleaning and maintenance sequences that help keep the printheads clean for superior graphic results and reliable, long-lasting performance
  • a True Rich Color II print setting that widens the color gamut and delivers vibrant colors with neutral grays, smooth gradations, and natural skin tones.

To learn more about Roland DG’s new VersaUV LEC2-640 and LEC2-330 UV printer/printer cutters, visit https://www.rolanddga.com/lec2.

About Roland DGA Corporation

Roland DGA Corporation serves North and South America as the marketing, sales, distribution, and service arm for Roland DG Corporation. Roland DG of Hamamatsu, Japan is a worldwide leader in wide-format inkjet printers for the sign, apparel, textile, personalization and vehicle graphics markets; engravers for awards, giftware and ADA signage; photo impact printers for direct part marking; and 3D printers and CNC milling machines for the dental CAD/CAM, rapid prototyping, part manufacturing and medical industries. 

For more information on Roland DGA Corporation or the complete Roland DGA product line, visit https://www.rolanddga.com.

Roland DGA announced the VersaUV LEC2 printers on January 21, 2021

Short Courses on Advanced Digital Printing Technologies for Surface Imaging

Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia plans to offer a series of short courses related to advanced digital printing technologies for surface imaging. The courses will be designed for imaging and printing practitioners, professional designers, and students in universities and colleges who wish to enhance their careers in the imaging industries.

Organizers anticipate launching the courses in the fall of 2021.

Thomas Jefferson University plans to launch a Surface Imaging Advanced Practice Certificate Program in the fall of 2021.


Each course will offer 1.5 stackable credits. Students who earn 9 course credits will receive the Advanced Practice Certification in Surface Imaging.

Courses currently slated for the fall 2021 program include:

  • Surface Imaging Design: Pattern development for decorative print
  • Digital Textile Printing (wet and dry processes)
  • Hard Surface Digital Printing (2.5 D printing)
  • Digital Printing for Flexible Substrates (wallpaper, cling, print/cut, wraps, etc.)
  • Digital Color Management (theory and hands-on)
  • Printing Technology (online – remote)

According to faculty member Mark Mattson, Jefferson’s surface imaging program “is the only educational program of its kind in the world. No other school comes close to the imaging programs offered and exclusive facilities available to its students.”

What is Surface Imaging?

“Surface imaging is a new and emerging concept that extends beyond the boundaries of existing traditional academic fields,” explains Mattson. The faculty at Thomas Jefferson University define surface Imaging as “creating imagery in various physical forms using a variety of digital printing technologies, including direct surface imaging on porous and non-porous substrates and fabrication printing through material deposition (e.g. 3D printing) and subtraction printing technologies (e.g. laser cutting).

The Center for Excellence in Surface Imaging Lab at Thomas Jefferson University was founded in 2000 as The Center for Excellence in Digital Inkjet Printing in Textiles. The lab has been expanding and evolving ever since.

Students in the Surface Imaging Center use a wide array of large-format and grand-format direct-print technologies and network with industry partners, including suppliers of printers, inks, materials, and software.

Graduates of the Surface Imaging MS program have been hired by companies such as Armstrong Flooring, W.L. Gore (Gore-Tex), Lily Pulitzer, Mohawk Flooring, Calico Wallpaper, Anthropologie, and other companies.

For More Information

Final dates, enrollment information, course plans, and further details will be announced soon.

Follow #surfaceimaging on Instagram or Twitter. Watch this short video the Surface Imaging team produced for the 2020 Design Philadelphia Festival:

Surface imaging video

Contact Hitoshi.Ujiie@jefferson.edu or call 215-833-3548 to learn more.

Visit the website of Thomas Jefferson University

5 Takeaways from Wide-Format Printing Insight Days at PRINTING United

As part of the 14-day PRINTING United Digital Experience, industry analysts and business owners discussed growth opportunities for wide-format graphics producers in the post COVID-19 era.

Five themes dominated the outlook sessions, keynote presentations, and panel discussions during the Wide-Format Hardware and Consumables Insight Day (October 26) and the Wide-Format Workflow and Finishing Day (October 30).

Download a guide to each topic covered during the 14 days of the PRINTING United Digital Experience: » Virtual Publication Bin (printingunited.com)

Before COVID, graphics business owners expected 2020 to be a banner year.
In this keynote presentation, Tim Greene, research director of IDC, noted in Q4 2019, 86% of the companies surveyed said large-format graphics work was still growing and 83% said profit margins had grown over the past two years.

The Q4 2019 research also showed that 76% of large-format shops were considering new market opportunities and 83% had planned to invest in different types of printing and finishing equipment.

Business owners in the panel discussions said January and February of 2020 were fantastic months and the year was shaping up to be one of their best years ever.

The COVID-19 shutdowns in March and April 2020 disrupted major segments of the large-format business. Trade shows and events were cancelled and steep declines in travel and tourism devastated the demand for graphics in airports, theme parks, hotels, restaurants, and other venues.

According to NAPCO Research Principal Analyst Lisa Cross, 87.5% of the participants in the study of COVID-19 Business Indicators said their sales declined in March and April. The average sales decline was 52.3%.

In a panel discussion about the future of signs and graphics, two executives of wide-format graphics firms said the COVID-19 shutdown “was a jolt to the system” and “just seemed to happen overnight.” Business owners said they had to make changes quickly, save cash, and prepare to capitalize on the rebound.

The versatility of wide-format printing and finishing equipment enabled companies to pivot to fill immediate and evolving needs. Companies that served essential businesses such as healthcare facilities, grocery stores, and big-box retailers acted quickly to fill immediate needs for social-distancing graphics, safety posters, and window and curbside graphics to announce new pick-up areas and services.

Some trade-show exhibit companies designed and built pop-up shelters for COVID testing centers or temporary medical facilities.

One graphics display company owner said their company not only pivoted to personal protective equipment, but also to corrugated packaging: “That business increased exponentially”

Another wide-format display company executive said the laser fabric cutter the company purchased to make dye-sublimation fabric displays was put to work cutting fabric for face masks and other garments: “It helped us get through the periods when we didn’t have any other work.” The automated cutter freed the sewing employees from having to stop, measure, and manually cut fabric.

During the spring and summer of 2020, wide-format graphics producers started selling new types of signage. For example, when spring graduation ceremonies were canceled, savvy graphics producers created a demand for personalized yard signs and hanging banners to honor individual graduates.

The reopening of restaurants, healthcare waiting rooms, stadiums, and offices led to an expanded range of orders for all types of safety and social-distance signage, including plastic dividers in bars and restaurants, seat barriers, and photo cut-outs to represent fans in the stands.

Now, some acrylic booth dividers are being printed to enhance restaurant decor and social-distancing floor graphics are being updated with brand advertising or holidays messages.

By July and August, wide-format graphics producers were showing some first signs of recovery. Compared to the March/April time period, 38.6% of respondents to NAPCO’s COVID Business Indicators research said their sales activity rose in the July/August 2020 period, 35.5% had more work-on-hand, and 41.7% were doing more quotes.

Not all wide-format print businesses were equally impacted.
According to sign and graphics research conducted by Keypoint Intelligence, 57% of survey respondents said revenues declined by 21% or more during the first four months of 2020. Another 25% of responses reported sales declines of 20% or less. A fortunate 3.4% saw an increase in revenues of more than 10%.

In a panel discussion about capital investments in the shadow of COVID-19, the owner of a trade printing service, said April was a good month for them because they specialized in printing short runs of yard signs. Throughout the spring, they printed thousands of yard signs for dozens of customers who wanted to express appreciation for health care workers and recognize middle school and high-school graduates.

Several panel-discussion participants noted that larger graphics companies with diverse capabilities were better positioned to pivot and survive the year of COVID-19. They predicted smaller mom-and-pop shops with limited equipment and marketing resources would continue to struggle.

One business owner admitted that pivoting to new products isn’t always easy. He likened it to asking an offensive lineman on a football team to suddenly play wide receiver.

Some owners continued to make capital investments, but admit the margin for errors is shrinking and timing is very important. Experienced print business owners know that marketing and advertising budgets are among the first to be cut during economic slowdowns. But they are also the first budgets to be ramped up during a rebound.

One participant commented that in the 2008-09 recession, “We were too slow to make painful cuts, and slow to add capacity to handle the rebound.” He hopes to avoid that situation this time..

“As an entrepreneur, I am always quietly optimistic,” said one owner. Even in the midst of economic downturns, “There is an opportunity in there somewhere.”

Owners are looking ahead to 2021. The large-format business owners who participated in the PRINTING United panel discussions are cautiously optimistic. But they realize that some markets and consumer behavior have changed forever.

While in-person trade-shows and events may re-start in 2021, the live shows are likely to attract fewer people. And, the role of retail stores may have been permanently changed by the surge in online shopping.

Andrew Paparozzi, chief economist, PRINTING United Alliance,. predicted that the real post-COVID recovery will start happening only when we have learned to live with COVID, and people feel comfortable traveling again.

He said participants in the “COVID-19 Print Business Indicators” studies were anticipating growth in online sales of print products and seeing new opportunities in anti-microbial graphics, complex display fabrication, interior decor, and specialty graphics.

IDC analyst Tim Greene agreed that new types of applications will fuel the recovery. For example, although branded hand-sanitizer stations don’t involve large amounts of printed graphics, businesses can make nice margins by fabricating the stands and selling them for use in offices, manufacturing facilities, schools, and other locations.

Printed graphics with QR or NFC codes could support redesigned “touchless” retail environments and printed backdrops might be useful for corporate sales and administrative personnel who continue to video conference from home. The many restaurants and other businesses now offer home-delivery services may want vehicle wraps or graphics.

Analyst Lisa Cross noted that one reason large-format graphics producers are resilient is because almost any surface today is a blank canvas for digital printing. Surfaces can be printed with either decorations to enhance the ambience or brand messaging

A graphic printing business owner affirmed that observation:“Our wide-format segment will continue to grow. People are putting large-format printing on more and more things in creative ways.”

Some owners believe that new customers they picked up during COVID-19 disruptions will continue to do business with them during the recovery.

Greene believes some companies will stabilize their businesses by continuing to expand the ancillary services they were planning in Q4 2019. Some of the most frequently mentioned services that large-format graphics providers planned to add include:

  • Design services (57.2%)
  • Installation (43.3%)
  • 3D printing services (40.2%)
  • Sign permitting (33.5%)
  • Pre-site consultations (27.3%)
  • Packaging or package prototyping (25.8%)
  • Digital signage/digital display assembly (25.3%)
  • Label printing (24.7%)
  • Digital signage/digital display content (24.7%)
  • Direct-to-garment T-shirt printing (24.2%)
  • Narrow format printing (20.1%)
  • Interior decor applications (20.1%)

“COVID-19 has accelerated the need for businesses to evolve,” said Greene. Wide-format graphics companies can evolve in many directions and produce many types of products to reposition their shops for recovery and growth.

He advised print-business owners to develop detailed and data-oriented plan and to continue to invest in production technologies that enable their shops to produce a wider variety of applications,

All of the wide-format graphics presentations and business-leader panel discussions on Day 1 and Day 5 of the PRINTING United Digital Experience can be viewed online at no charge until January 31, 2021. Visit: https://www.printingunited.com/ to register and access the video presentations.

Recommended Resources

PRINTING United Guide to Day 1: Wide Format Hardware and Consumables

PRINTING United: Guide to Day 5: Wide Format Finishing and Workflow

NAPCO Research: COVID-19 Print Business Indicators. Volume 1, No. 3

Online Printing Education Opportunities in December 2020 and January 2021

Online opportunities to learn about evolving print business practices and technologies continue through January, 2021.

Event organizers at ISA, drupa, and PRINTING United Alliance have scheduled new events. Plus, you can watch replays of all of the presentations at the FuturePrint Virtual Summit until December 20 and all of the PRINTING United DIgital Experience sessions through January 31. Scroll down to see New Events and On-Demand Replays.

New Events

ISA’s The Link: Soft Signage
December 8-9, 2020
Organized by the International Sign Association

Learn how digitally printing fabric signs and displays (“soft signage”) can help grow your graphics, sign, or visual communications business. Expert will cover the ins and outs of the soft signage market and explore ways you can increase profit by entering this space.

Printers, fabricators, suppliers and distributors will share insights, tips and resources related to fabric selection, equipment required to make soft signage, installation methods, and best practices. See live demonstrations in the exhibitor showcases and enjoy networking opportunities with other participants. There is no fee to register. Visit: https://www.signs.org/softsignage

Digital Textile Printing 2020 conference logo

Digital Textile Printing Conference
December 9-10, 2020
Organized by the PRINTING United Alliance
and American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC)

Key trends and technologies in digitally printed textiles. Morning and afternoon sessions highlight the latest on automation, color management, sustainability, state of the industry, supply chain, and more

Ray Weiss, director, Digital Print Programs, PRINTING United Alliance, and Kerry King, senior VP R&D, Spoonflower, will host the event.

Speakers include:

  • Andy Arkin, strategic account manager, Industrial Segments, Zünd America
  • Andy Paparozzi, chief economist, PRINTING United Alliance
  • Chad Bolick, business development, Unifi Manufacturing Inc.
  • Dan Gillespie, director of Technical Services, Alder Technology
  • David Clark, business development manager, Inks, Huntsman Textile Effects
  • Frank Henderson, President, Henderson Sewing Co.
  • Jaime Herand, VP, Graphics Operations, Orbus Exhibit and Display Group
  • Kimmy Schenter, global color operations, Design, Nike
  • Lewis Shuler, senior R&D manager, Fabric/Color/Print, Old Navy
  • Luke Harris, VP of Manufacturing, Solid Stone Fabrics
  • Ray Weiss, director, Digital Print Programs, PRINTING United Alliance
  • Raylene Marasco, founder, DYE-NAMIX
  • Ron Ciccone, director of Digital Services, Roysons Corp.
  • Will Duncan, CEO, WDA, and executive director, SEAMS Association

“While we cannot meet together in person this year, we are looking forward to bringing this exemplary program to the homes and offices of all involved in digital textile printing,” said Weiss. “Our speaker lineup is second to none. We look forward to offering attendees actionable and usable programming and content in the current business climate.”

For the complete agenda and to register for the event, visit sgia.org/events/digital-textile-printing-conference.

Drupa Previews
December 18, 2020
Organized by Messe Dusseldorf

On October 27, drupa opened an online conference area, exhibition space, and networking plaza where you can learn more about the topics and products that will be presented at the hybrid (virtual/live event) drupa trade fair scheduled for April 20-28 in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Each month’s preview day features live web sessions during which you can chat with the scheduled. The next live preview day will take place December 18, 2020. Registered visitors can view replays of the sessions from the first two preview days held October 27 and November 17.

Presentations currently available include:

  • The inkjet revolution in digital production
  • Inspection systems in flexible packaging
  • Trends in retail and packaging
  • Print in a digital world: through intelligent linkage to return on investment
  • Additive production technologies and options for smart packaging
  • The value of print in multi-channel publishing

In the “Exhibition Space” you can preview some of the products and innovations that will be featured in the live drupa exhibition areas. Meetings with company representatives can be scheduled through the “Networking Plaza”. These networking options allow companies and interested parties to establish live online contact in advance of the live event in April 2021.

“Even in times of crisis we can offer solutions to keep the industries interacting and networking,” explained Erhard Wienkamp, COO, Messe Dusseldorf. “We are working intensively on strengthening global communications not only through our local events, but also be expanding new virtual formats.”

“From now on, it is our goal to create a hybrid concept,” said Sabine Galdermann, Project Director of Print Technologies for drupa. She says they would like to achieve the best of both a digital event and a live event.

On-Demand Replays of October Events

FuturePrint Virtual Summit Logo

FuturePrint Virtual Summit
Organized by FM Future

Replays of the 79 talks presented during the second FuturePrint Virtual Summit (October 12-15) are available through December 20, 2020 on the event website: .https://virtualsummit.futureprint.tech/

Access is free, but registration is required.

Sessions covered trends and technologies in industrial print, wide format print, packaging and labels, and commercial print. A full day of sessions was devoted to “Young Guns in Print.” This day of programming featured sessions led by young printpreneurs and was devoted to the 57% of FuturePrint Virtual Summit attendees who were between the ages of 18 and 35.

According to event organizations, the two most popular sessions attracted more than 700 attendees each. These sessions were:

Xaar: The New Roadmap for Inkjet
Speaker: John Mills, CEO, Xaar

Nanography: Where Print Meets the Future Today
Speaker: Nick Clements, Strategic Business Planner, Landa Digital Printing

Other sessions discussed

  • The Rise, Fall, and Restructuring of the Print Economy in 2020
  • The Essential Sales Channel in 2020: How to Win New Clients on LinkedIn
  • Software: The Key to Successful Adaptation
  • Direct to Object: Introducing Actega Decorating
  • COVID and the Silver Lining for Production Print
  • Global Design and Digital Wallcoverings
  • The Mystery of Pricing
  • The Future of Flexible Packaging
  • Why Digital Print for Corrugated Packaging

The October, 2020 version of the FuturePrint Virtual Summit was attended by 3,908 people from over 80 countries. This is up from the 1,550 people from 65 countries who attended the inaugural FuturePrint Summit in June, 2020.


PRINTING United Digital Experience
Presented by PRINTING United Alliance and NAPCO Media

All programming from the PRINTING United Digital Experience (Oct. 26-Nov. 12) is now available on-demand through January 31, 2021. It is completely free to those who register. Visit: digital.printingunited.com.

Choose to watch more than 100 educational sessions and over 40 product launches and demonstrations. Many sessions address market trends for 2021 and present ideas for growing your business in the post-COVID economy.

Market segments across the industry were represented, including: graphics and wide-format; apparel; commercial; packaging; in-plant; mailing and fulfillment; workflow and software; industrial; and digital textile. 

Sessions include:

  • Panel Discussion: Making Capital Investments in the Shadow of COVID-19
  • Panel Discussion: Driving Profitability and Efficiency in Apparel Decorating
  • Keynote: Opportunities Enabled by Post COVID by Production Inkjet Printing
  • Keynote: Trends and Opportunities in Labels and Flexible Packaging
  • Panel Discussion: The Science and Skill of Graphics Installation
  • Panel Discussion: In-Plant Trends in the Midst of the Pandemic
  • Keynote: Thrive in a Transformative Marketplace with the Latest Sheetfed Offset Technology
  • Keynote: Trends and Opportunities in Folding Cartons and Corrugated
  • Panel Discussion: Emerging Direct Mail Trends for COVID-19 and Beyond
  • Panel Discussion: Effective Selling through Online Portals
  • Panel Discussion: The Rise of E-Commerce in Apparel Printing
  • Keynote: Electrophotography- Digital Print of the Past and Future
  • Keynote: Industrial Print -What’s Hot and Where is it Headed?
  • Panel Discussion: Textiles and Color Assurance

More than 8,200 registrants from 5,700 companies in 108 countries engaged with the PRINTING United Digital Experience platform during the 14 business days of programming. Registrants watched more than 7,500 hours of video and accounted for more than 100,000 pageviews.

Daily Guides developed by NAPCO editorial teams provide attendees a deep-dive into each
market segment day’s schedule and are accessible at https://digital.printingunited.com/virtual-public-bin/

In addition to the schedule of educational sessions and research that is available
on-demand to attendees, the Guides contain an overview and editorial featuring a closer look
at companies championing the technology within each market.

“We are incredibly thankful to those who participated both as exhibitors and attendees to this powerful platform,” said Mark J. Subers, president of PRINTING United. “We encourage those searching for the latest statistics and trends, and for those considering new technology implementation, to bookmark this site and take advantage of the invaluable content. Stay tuned for even more resources and programming to come!”

Use Mimaki JV100-160 Eco-Solvent Printer for Outdoor-Durable Signs, Wraps, and Art

The 63-inch Mimaki JV-100-160 is a start-up-business friendly roll-to-roll wide-format inkjet printer that uses Mimaki’s SS21 eco-solvent inks to produce outdoor-durable graphics and photographic signs and displays. Mimaki’s eco-solvent inks are known for their fast-drying capabilities, superior adhesion to flexible signage media, and high scratch resistance.

The 63-inch Mimaki JV100-160 inkjet printer can use 4 or 8 colors of eco-solvent inks.

The printer can run two 4-color sets of inks (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) at speeds of up to 667 sq. ft./hr. for simple banners and graphics.

Users who want to produce a wider range of graphics might want the JV100 printer that uses 8 colors of ink: cyan, magenta, yellow, black, light magenta, light cyan, light black, and orange ink. This ink combination provides the color range and image quality required for advertising vehicle graphics, art reproductions, black-and-white photographs, wall graphics, and point-of-purchase signs that include photos and brand colors.

The light black, light cyan, and light magenta inks help produce sharper details, higher contrasts, and smoother tonal gradations in photographs. The orange ink makes it possible to achieve a wider gamut of colors, including smoother transitions between red tones.

The inks on the JV100-160 are supplied in easy-to-use 600 ml or 2000 ml eco-cartridges that can be rapidly changed with no mess.

The eco-solvent inks on the Mimaki JV100-160 are Greenguard Gold certified, which means they meet some of the world’s most rigorous chemical exposure standards. Greenguard Gold-certified products help minimize indoor air pollution and the risk of chemical exposure.

Features

Mimaki engineered the printer and its included workflow software to make expert-level high-quality printing easy for newcomers to the wide-format graphics business. In addition to Mimaki core technologies such as variable-dot printing and nozzle checking and recovery systems, the JV100-160 includes the new labor-saving Dot Adjustment System.

Dot Adjustment System (DAS) offers automatic alignments to ensure repeatability and consistent quality of the fine lines and details expected in high-quality photographic imaging. The DAS frees operators from having to perform common adjustments themselves.

Nozzle Check Unit (NCU) and Nozzle Recovery System (NRS) work together to monitor and correct the performance of the nozzles that eject the inks from the printhead. The NCU automatically detects the condition of each nozzle. When a missing nozzle is detected, it automatically performs a cleaning. If the nozzle still isn’t working, the NRS automatically replaces defective nozzles with alternate nozzles.

Mimaki Adavanced Pass System (MAPS) provides gradation to printed pass boundaries to reduce banding and uneven colors. The result is a streak-free, high-quality printed.

Intelligent Heaters improve the performance of the ink and materials.

Raster Link 7 RIP Software converts PDFs and other design files into the dot sizes, colors, and patterns that the printer will lay down on each pass back and forth across the printer. The software is designed for quick and accurate processing of big files, including PDFs with special effects such as transparency. It can also print variable text or image data on each print for greater personalization, text in different languages, or the inclusion of regional or local information. Like other RIP software, Raster Link enables you to create super-large tiled prints (such as multi-panel wall murals) or automatically “nest” a variety of smaller prints across the full width of media roll to reduce wasting media.

Variable-drop printing means the printer can change the size of the droplet being ejected during each print job. Ink drops as small as 4 picoliters can be used to create fine details and smooth tonal gradations. Larger drop sizes are used to speed the production of areas with solid colors.

The JV100-160 printer is expected to ship in December 2020 at a suggested retail price of $12,995. An upgrade path is available for shops that want to start with the 4-color printer configuration and add 8-color capabilities later.

About Mimaki USA

Mimaki USA in Suwanee, Georgia is an operating entity of Mimaki Engineering In Japan. The company engineers and manufactures digital printers and cutters for use in the Signs and Graphics, Textile & Apparel, Industrial Printing and 3D markets. In 2019, Mimaki USA celebrated 20 years of service to print service providers in the Americas.

For more information, visit www.mimakiusa.com or on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram @MimakiUSA.

The Mimaki JV100-160 eco-solvent printer and UJV100-160 UV-LED roll-to-roll printer were both announced on November 4, 2020.