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Wide-Format--Big, Bigger, Biggest -Holding Masterpieces

September 1999
Wide-format's color proofing media and general-use consumables are expanding the gloss, durability, consistency and color parameters of their imposing output engines.


BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO


Whether the intent is outdoor signage or to generate a contract proof, wide-format imaging is only as effective as the media on which the image is output. Naturally, as with every hot new technology, the output engine gets all the hype—which vendors are manufacturing which output devices, what are the output speeds and color consistencies of wide-format printers currently on the market, and what are the price points of these elite output engines?

Output, output, output.

What about the consumable? What about some talk strictly on the media that allows a billboard to excite the night air or the media that bridges the final divide between a commercial printer and a demanding client at the proofing stage?

Clearly, hardware and consumable forces from 3M, Agfa, DuPont, Epson, Kodak, Hewlett-Packard, Roland, ColorSpan, Xerox, Encad and Rexam—whether it's the wide-format output engines they create, or the substrates that support them—are sparking an enlightened evolution for the wide-format market.

Why is this significant? As it turns out, consumables are the key to expanding the applications for wide-format output devices. New media types help owners of wide-format printers expand the variety of work they handle and help create new business opportunities

Recent moves in the wide-format consumables segment include the following items of note:

* Agfa's recent launch of AgfaJet Photograde Media—a substrate coated on both sides, one holding a satin finish, the second a glossy coat—gives Agfa a new position in the wide-format consumables market. AgfaJet Photograde Media is coated on both sides with a PE layer that serves as a substrate for ink-receiving layers. The PE prevents the ink from penetrating into the paper base allowing for the reproduction of photorealistic, extremely high-resolution images.

* At Seybold San Francisco earlier this month, DuPont announced and showed three new color proofing media for the Epson Stylus Pro 9000 wide-format printer. Building on the DuPont/Epson alliance—struck in March 1998 for the benefit of advancing the Epson Stylus Pro 5000 and Stylus Pro 9000—the three new consumables include a co-branded commercial gloss, a commercial matte and a publication roll media especially designed for the Stylus Pro 9000. The new roll proofing paper and DuPont color matches will enable customers to achieve the same proof quality and consistency as established by the Stylus Pro 5000.
 

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