Wide-format Color Printers–Riding the (Tidal) Wave of Profits

“It took us a year to decide on our first wide-format printer,” recalls General Manager Jim Stockman. “Our second one was installed in 24 hours. The 62˝ was making money before the lease was even signed.”

Fred Dietsch, vice president of Media Works, in Jacksonville, FL, has been doing WFP for about four years. His company started with a 36˝ ColorSpan unit and recently added a 62˝ DisplayMaker.

“Work was always backed up on the 36˝ printer,” says Dietsch. “When we got the 62˝ press, work was already waiting for it.”

“On a scale of one to 10, wide-format is an 11,” says Scott Stewart, president of Nebraska Printing Center in Lincoln. Since his 36˝ and 54˝ Raster Graphics Piezo 5000 printers were installed early last year, his existing clients have been monopolizing the printers’ time. So much so, Stewart says he has to add new staff to keep up with business.

Big Opportunities
As wide-format business grows to gargantuan proportions, so does the sea of possibilities. In an ocean of opportunity, applications are limited only by the user’s imagination.

Some of these applications are revolutionizing the fields they’re being used in. For example, Media Works is taking its products into the courtroom, where huge, full-color graphics are being used by attorneys to emphasize evidence.

“Graphics help drive a point home to the jury,” says Dietsch, who does similar work for engineers, turning proposals into public presentations.

Nebraska Printing Center is also involved in a unique wide-format application: rotating signage. (You know, those signs that surround the court in athletic arenas and change advertisers every few minutes?) NPC makes the signage for a client who builds the rotating equipment, which, notes Stewart, is being used in collegiate arenas across the U.S.

As applications expand, wide-format is taking the country by storm. And printers that haven’t invested in the technology may be left out in the rain, says MT&G’s Stockman: “Wide-format is definitely a technology that if the competition has it, you need it, too. We didn’t want to miss the boat.”

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