Is 2018 the time to move work off your hybrid printer to a dedicated roll-to-roll printer?
Is your superwide hybrid printer approaching capacity? Is more than half of the total output volume of your hybrid printer roll-to-roll work? Are you looking for new areas to grow? A dedicated production-level, roll-to-roll printer may be in order.
In fact, if over 50-60% of the total output volume of your hybrid printer is roll-to-roll work, a dedicated roll-to-roll printer is recommended. It will give you faster time to market and more capacity to confidently bid on new jobs – for both roll-to-roll and rigid applications since you’ll free up time on your hybrid. And with the right printer model, you may be able to add new capabilities to produce higher-margin applications.
If adding a dedicated superwide roll-to-roll printer sounds interesting, you may find navigating through that crowded and complex world to select the most appropriate printer for your business a daunting task. So many printer manufacturers are telling the same story. The truth is that there are a lot of really good printers out there. Here are some quick tips to choosing the right superwide roll-to-roll printer to get you started.
Tip 1: Always compare print modes. And I mean always. Print modes vary, so know what you’re comparing in order to make a more informed decision. Don’t be afraid to test!
Tip 2: Don’t get distracted by marketing hype: Marketing materials and sale pitches often reference “up to” print production speeds. These modes are sometimes express or draft modes that may not be used often.
Tip 3: It’s speed/quality that matters: Always ask yourself what image quality do my customers expect? Then, compare speeds to print quality. Here’s two ways to approach it:
- Do an apples-to-apples comparison: Determine the image quality your customer’s expect, then, match it to the printer’s production sweet spot(s). Do they match?
- Do an apples-to-money comparison: Pin down the quality levels that are your “money” modes, then, determine if the printer’s productivity at that quality level is a fit for your business
And remember, you shouldn’t have to give up image quality for faster throughput speeds or vice versa.
Download the Quality Print Mode Worksheet to record print times and productivity as you work with each manufacturer to run your test files.
Tip 4: Ink and curing technologies: There are a lot of choices: LED UV, UV, aqueous, eco-solvent…Look for the ink and curing system combination that will maximise the number of applications you can offer, productivity and uptime.
Tip 5: Other productivity factors: Consider the printer’s maximum print width. Don’t be restricted by a certain roll width. Larger printers offer the versatility to print full width rolls and multiple rolls up.
Tip 6: Unique print modes and capabilities: Look for special print modes and printing capabilities that will allow you to produce stunning, high-margin applications, such as high density printing required for textile backlit applications, and unique white modes and layer configurations, such as CWC, CWBWC and Day/Night.
Tip 7: How low can you go: Take a close look at features that will help you lower your total cost of ownership through costs savings or process efficiencies, such as media handling options, industrial build for better reliability and 24/7 operation if needed, and service, support and training offerings.
If you’re looking to max out your performance, efficiency and quality. Check out the EFI™ VUTEk® 3r and VUTEk 5r LED roll-to-roll printers. I think you’ll find them to be some of the most technically advanced printers on the market. Check out these videos to see what László Baran, CEO of Béflex, Budapest, Hungary, has to say about his VUTEk 5r superwide roll-to-roll printer.