GRAPH EXPO & CONVERTING EXPO 02 -- Large-format Opportuniti
"You have to learn how to sell it, learn how to make it and it's not an easy thing to do," she notes. But if the company can accomplish the shift, the reward may be "double-digit profits for the most part, certainly much better profitability than is often typical for commercial printers."
Crall reports that previous Graph Expo & Converting Expo and PRINT shows have been very helpful in allowing Progress Printing to actually see the equipment. "If you want to contrast and test drive a lot of different pieces of equipment, that's the way to do it."
For Butler, the choice of a wide-format output system doesn't hinge much on quality any more. "It really comes down to speed, automation and flexibility in the media they're able to run. Graph Expo & Converting Expo will offer the kind of side-by-side comparisons that aren't possible otherwise. This is the show to attend to learn about how to integrate these technologies into your workflow."
Crall believes being open to new opportunities like those presented by wide-format ink-jets will be just as vital in the near future as embracing digital technologies has been in the last decade. "Printers may be able to survive with a narrower world view," he comments, "but their profits will be squeezed and at some point they won't have the money they need to replace old equipment."
IT Strategies' Williams also notes that printers need not focus exclusively on investing in new technologies themselves. "Don't exclude partnership and acquisition opportunities. Many companies in the analog printing market are going to acquire digital expertise."
As for the future of large-format ink-jets, Williams concludes: "If you want to position your company for the 21st century, this is a way to begin doing it."