Wide-format Digital Printing: Wide Open to the Opportunities
BEAUTY IS in the eye of the beholder, but so too can be opportunity. Graph Expo 2003 was the first show at which the Graphic Arts Show Co. dedicated a portion of the show floor to digital wide-format printing and designated it the Wide Format Pavilion. While this featured area has been a staple ever since, only a minority of commercial printing operations have pursued the business sector as of yet.
PRINT 09 offered an array of wide-format printing systems and highlighted a number of industry trends that could present opportunities for commercial printers. The size and number of grand-format printers on the show floor was striking, but may have been a response to the larger, international character of the exhibition more so than a reflection of demand in the marketplace.
Even with the momentum behind sustainability in printing having ebbed in other areas, it was embraced by a number of wide-format printing system vendors. Océ North America and Agfa Graphics both put a somewhat whimsical spin on the topic by producing cut-out pieces from heavy-duty, 100 percent recycled paperboard.
Océ produced functional table and chair sets printed with a greenery motif that were set up in its booth and in the special GREENspace area of the show floor focusing on sustainable printing. The company said the project was a proof of concept of new "sustainable display graphics" applications for the Océ Arizona 350 XT UV flatbed printer, which can handle rigid materials up to 98.4x120˝, and the Océ ProCut digital cutting table.
Agfa manufactured its own crowd for its booth by printing and cutting out life-size images of groups of people shot from behind and placing them into stands. It produced a crowd large enough to encircle the entire booth at night and then was able to reposition the panels during the day to create temporary privacy areas for conversations with potential customers.
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