Wide-format Output--The Bigger Picture
PI: What is the high production large-format market? What are its demands?
Lathan: Xerox defines the high production large-format segment as print providers that produce roughly 5,000 or more square feet per month, or 25 prints per day. Many of our customers are succeeding in this environment because it has significantly fewer participants, increasing demand and significant room for growth. But the bottom line is that the high production segment presents an opportunity to differentiate and start seizing opportunities with higher profitability.
The requirements of the high production large-format market are similar to those in other areas of the graphic arts industry. Systems must be extremely productive and reliable, be based on proven technology, and come with superior service and support. High print quality, print-to-print consistency and ease-of-use also are requirements.
PI: What are the technology options for high production large-format printing?
Lathan: Currently, electrostatic technology is the only viable technology for the high production printing segment. It excels as a high quality, cost-effective solution for high volumes, allowing customers to produce large jobs in a short period of time with great print-to-print consistency. This is supported by the fact that electrostatic printers now produce about 25 percent of all large-format graphics. This is impressive given that the technology represents only 5 percent of installs.
Electrostatic also offers print providers many new applications, including transfer to vinyl, as well as fleet, window and floor graphics. The technology is perfect for any outdoor application and for graphics where the viewing distance is several feet, including overhead advertisements, banners and multi-panel wall murals.
Vendors such as Xerox have demonstrated a strong commitment to developing, marketing, supporting and servicing electrostatic technology, as illustrated by the recent introduction of the ColorgrafX 54e. The 54e is now Xerox's fastest and most user-friendly large-format printer.
PI: Is high production large-format printing a realistic opportunity for commercial printers?