Overcoming a Common Challenge
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Overcoming a Common Challenge

Within the large-format graphic arts market, there are two undeniable trends: increasing print volumes and decreasing turnaround times.

By Robert Honn, Senior Director, Marketing Support, Canon Solutions America Inc.
This article appeared in the SGIA Journal, May / June 2019 Issue and is reprinted with permission. Copyright 2019 Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (www.sgia.org). All Rights Reserved.

Analysts confirm that more than 40% of production jobs need to be turned around within 24 hours, and a majority of those within the same day.

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  • To manage these challenges and stay ahead of the curve, wide-format print service providers (PSPs) are investing in next-generation technology.

    Display manufacturing and graphic printing company Group Imaging, based in Mesa, Ariz., felt these market challenges keenly. Adding to these were the pressures of differentiating their offerings and competing with online providers - all of which they were trying to achieve with equipment that just couldn't keep up.

    The products with which they experienced the most issues were wall graphics and wallcoverings, due to the limitations of printing these on latex devices. As a result, their wallcoverings were inconsistent in quality, color accuracy and geometric consistency from panel to panel. This ultimately led to reprints and additional costs due to waste in media, ink and labor - both on-site and at the installation site.

    In order to meet evolving demands, avoid costly reprints and ultimately fulfill their mission in providing incredible print quality for their customers to deliver impactful messages, Group Imaging knew they needed to explore the latest print solutions on the market.

    When it came to the technology that would best align with their goals and offerings, it had to be the Canon Océ Colorado 1640 printer with Canon UVgel print technology. Designed for both indoor and outdoor applications, Océ Colorado 1640 is the world's fastest 64-inch roll-to-roll printer. Designed for high volumes and high-duty cycles, the printer boasts uninterrupted printing, high-quality, breakthrough productivity, reduced waste and lower operating costs.

    Since integrating the Océ Colorado 1640 into its business, Group Imaging has seen a significant impact not only in addressing their previous concerns, but in discovering new opportunities that can offer their desired differentiation.

    "Wallcovering is the main application that we produce on the Océ Colorado 1640 printer, but we also produce a lot of banner applications on it. We are also very excited about the possibility of printing on styrene, which we feel will help us differentiate our business from those large, cost-plus online shops," said Jeff Burris, CEO of Group Imaging.

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    "The other reason we like to use this product to produce wallcoverings is its durability. In addition, with output off the Océ Colorado 1640 printer, we no longer need to laminate. For example, I can take acetone and pour it onto the surface, and then wipe the spray paint, graffiti, or other marks off the unlaminated surface without damaging the image. We cannot do that with other technologies in our shop. This is a huge advantage for us in both cost and production savings."

    These gaps in quality, productivity and versatility are, unfortunately, not uncommon for PSPs. While there have been significant advancements in print technologies in recent years, many products available today are 64-inch latex and eco-solvent systems. And while these printers have the advantage of a relatively low initial investment and are typically easy to use, they have three critical limitations:

    1. Productivity: Not adequate for demands of higher volume production requirements
    2. Quality at adequate speed: Higher quality print mode applications slow down output speed
    3. Media versatility: Limitations on ability to produce multiple applications on a single device

    With the speed throughput, low ink costs and highly durable photo-quality output, Group Imaging has found with the Océ Colorado 1640 printer, that they can compete with online graphics providers while significantly increasing their profitability.

    Perhaps most importantly, they rest a little easier at night, knowing they have the tools to compete in today's high-volume, quick-turnaround marketplace - and ultimately fulfill their mission for their customers.

    "We are passionate about the work we do and proud of what we have been able to accomplish for our customers with the Océ Colorado 1640," said Burris. "Now I can sleep well - very well - knowing that the products that we produce will have consistent image, color and geometric consistency."

    This case study was submitted by Canon Solutions America Inc. and Group Imaging.

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