Wide Adds Value
By offering a mix of commercial printing, superwide-format digital printing, ad preparation and photographic products and services, Lithographix has not only become more valuable to its customers, but has grown its own revenues by 20 percent. This is a terrific example of how wide-format can be adopted as a value-added service. Lithographix has added nine EFI VUTEk superwide-format printing devices and two Durst-Lambda printers, with a blend of solvent and UV.
This is augmented by its six-color, 60x81? KBA sheetfed offset press with aqueous coater, extended delivery and UV printing capabilities. The company produces a wide range of applications, including billboards, signage and displays.
“Even with all of the equipment we have in place,” says George Wolden, the company’s vice president of manufacturing, “we are running 24/7 and looking to expand again. Our belief is that the business is gravitating toward UV digital printing for many reasons, including its improved environmental footprint. We see our business heading that way, as well.”
Adding wide-format can be as simple as putting your ink-jet proofing device on double duty to produce posters and other point-of-sale type materials. Or you can invest in a larger device that is a production workhorse, like Lithographix has done. Projects can be gigantic, or actually rather mundane and still be quite profitable.
One of the more mundane examples I have come across is produced by Nashville, TN-based Fastsigns. “When Goodwill opens a new store,” says owner Scott Snoyer, “there are 400 to 600 small promotional signs that need to be produced, carrying messages such as ‘20 percent off,’ ‘Buy one, get one free,’ etc. Previously, these were cut-out vinyl letters mounted on white plastic. Now we print them in bright, primary colors with a lot more style.”
Most superwide-format devices use either solvent or UV-curable inks. While solvent solutions have dominated the market for many years, UV is growing rapidly because of its fast drying time, durability and smaller environmental footprint. There are also special dye sublimation inks available for printing on heat-transfer material. This is primarily used for textiles, including carpeting.