Introduction

Wide-format Report 2012: Introduction

While the past 12 months have proven that even the wide-format sector can’t claim to have been completely immune to the tough trading conditions affecting print, it has nonetheless demonstrated a resilience seemingly rivalled only by businesses in the packaging sector.
 
The reasons for that are, broadly, two-fold: opportunity and applications. Or perhaps that should be a combination of the two: the opportunity of applications. Or even the application of opportunity.
 
However you configure them, what is certain is that both words figure heavily in this year’s Wide-format report. In the following pages we have taken a look at applications such as wall graphics, building wraps, fabrics, glass, metal and ceramics and the opportunities they can represent.
 
Of course, in many cases, once you’ve singled out the applications you want to target, and our survey should help there, it’s then a case of identifying the technology that is best suited to delivering them.
 
With that in mind, we’ve also tried to get under the skin of some of the hot technology topics, ranging from the return-on-investment quandary of implementing highly automated workflows or the comparative benefits of flatbed, roll-to-roll and hybrid digital printing systems.
 
All that remains is for you to find the best way to apply the opportunities to your business. And that’s where the real fun starts.


Darryl Danielli 
Editor, PrintWeek

Wide-format by numbers

Hoped-for lift from 2012’s big ticket events fails to deliver
29 October 2012

Despite the summer’s high-profile occasions – the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games – trade remains sluggish, although there are some signs of things improving in the year to come.

Flat out

Flat out
29 October 2012

How to balance the flatbed equation Flatbed kit has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, but its added flexibility comes at a price and isn’t always the best option. Words Jon Severs Paul...

A question of volume
29 October 2012

A question of volume That is certainly the case for Calland. He currently operates three roll-to-roll machines, producing work for the display, exhibitions and signage markets. For rigid work, he prints...

Other factors
29 October 2012

Other factors This suggests that volume cannot be looked at in isolation, as a flatbed business case depends as heavily on other factors, such as local wage rates and the size of premises. The manufacturers...

Work to be done
29 October 2012

Work to be done Those not currently with this potential may well agree, but might legitimately ask where this work influx is supposed to come from – the cost of acquisition for new customers is extremely...

Great flexibilty
29 October 2012

Great flexibility For the comparison of flatbed to hybrid, Duncan Jefferies, marketing manager at Mimaki distributor Hybrid Services, admits that for “absolute out and out print quality” Mimaki’s true...

Train to gain

Train to gain
29 October 2012

Supersized station ad spots prove the perfect platform With a captive audience of hundreds of thousands every day, marketers know that major UK railway stations are an excellent advertising opportunity...

Ups and downs
29 October 2012

Ups and downs Those print suppliers formerly supplying rail spaces with small-format posters will no doubt have seen a drop in work, while those wide-format printers with the capability to print on...

Quicker kit
29 October 2012

Quicker kit Another key aspect Wilson cites as fundamental to the growth of this sector is the improvements in printing technology that have evolved over the years, making it easier to meet the requirements...

Going with the flow

Going with the flow
29 October 2012

Automated workflows put production in the fast lane The wide-format sector has traditionally not required an all-in-one workflow, but a changing marketplace is putting pressure on turnarounds and...

Piecemeal production
29 October 2012

Piecemeal production The way wide-format pre-press has worked in the past is through a mix of manual and software-assisted process steps. Images have to be received, resized and edited ready for print...

Add-on assistance
29 October 2012

Add-on assistance Craig Hudson, owner of Hudson Display Services, certainly feels that his Onyx software processes files quickly enough for his company at present. “It’s true that using Onyx software...

Changing demands
29 October 2012

Changing demands And speed of turnaround for work is something that GMG and other commentators stress will become increasingly important to wide-format printers. As mentioned earlier, the shift to...

Textile trouble

Textile trouble
29 October 2012

A sector cut from a different cloth Breaking into textile print might seem to be just a case of buying a new press, but that’s the least of it. Nevertheless, the rewards can be big. Words Tim Sheahan...

Extra outlay
29 October 2012

Extra outlay However, Maclaren says there is far more effort involved than just the initial equipment outlay. “Setting up a dye-sublimation print process is not easy and needs substantial initial...

Hurdles
29 October 2012

Hurdles Alan Watson, general manager at OPG Graphics, is a major advocate of textile printing and echoes Jefferies’ words of advice. Operating an HP Designjet L26500 from its Scottish print facility,...

To the wall

To the wall
29 October 2012

Capitalising on the fashion for wall-to-wall coverage Wall graphics has come a long way over the past decade and is now used in a range of business and domestic environments. And with the right kit,...

Touch and feel
29 October 2012

Touch and feel While the number of locations where wall coverings are being used has grown exponentially over the past few years, so has the array of different substrates available. Different looks...

Practiced partners
29 October 2012

Practiced partners Another option Sulzmann puts forth is to find a local firm that has the capability to print large-format graphics and partner with them. Although this suggestion may not appeal to...

Bigger is better

Bigger is better
29 October 2012

For huge advertising impact size matters Over the summer, London became a giant billboard and ultra-wide wowed the crowds. Words Will Dean Every summer, millions of people walk along London’s...

Vinyl victory
29 October 2012

Vinyl victory A good example of that comes, again, from the advertising bonanza that was the Olympics. Outdoor space managers CBS Outdoor worked with client Coca-Cola to turn Marble Arch Underground...

Sizeable issues
29 October 2012

Sizeable issues Work on this scale, and on the scale of the Jubilee print, throws up a huge number of logistical issues. Besides the basics of finding large-format specialists and finishers, something...

Latest comments