Kozle also points out that engineering printers have undergone a dramatic reduction in size while increasing productivity across all aspects of wide format document production. In addition, many new features have been introduced in recent years, including web-based print submission software and the ability to utilize FTP sites and SMB locations for fast file access. “Improvements in software have allowed the reprographics companies to lower outgoing software maintenance expenses and advancements in LED printing technology have lowered operational cost and overall service requirements to the reprographics shop,” he added.
Trish Kinman, marketing manager at Seiko-I Infotech sees more advances in speed and quality. “We see both speed and quality as the biggest trends in equipment right now. Our Teriostar LED wide-format printers offer true 600-dpi resolution with superb line density/acuity and better toner adhesion. Teriostar LED wide-format printers also offer print speeds of up to 6.2 D-size ppm. Reprographic shops can process job requests faster than before, increasing their bottom line while meeting customer quality expectations and project deadlines. Additionally, Teriostar LED printers have the smallest footprint and that’s a plus especially when floor space is limited and/or expensive,” she pointed out.
“In addition, Teriostar LED printers have always been ahead of the curve in addressing the needs of the marketplace. We communicate regularly with our dealers and end-users to understand their needs and to anticipate trends not only for today but years down the road. Reprographic shops benefit from Teriostar’s design, geared to provide reliable performance in the long run. Teriostar also introduced the industry’s first user-replaceable cartridge that’s also easy-to-replace. This dramatically lowers ownership costs and maximizes the printer’s up-time, increasing both profitability and productivity for reprographic shops,” she concluded.
Phil Trembly, national sales manager for GEI WideFormat, also sees speed as a major trend. “The hottest trend currently in the engineering copier marketplace revolves around speed. Customers require faster turn around time between jobs so that they can take on more work. Manufacturers are providing the customer with faster speeds in a small footprint at a low price point. Customers are able to purchase a copier this year that produces six D-size prints per minute for the same price as last year’s model that could only produce four. New feature sets and faster speeds are increasing productivity. Enhanced productivity at the same low price point improves profitability,” he explained.
Canon USA Inc.
Rich Reamer, senior manager, Large Format at Canon USA reported that Canon has focused on productivity and profitability as two areas and that is most prevalent with the launch of the new imagePROGRAF iPF755 and iPF750 printers. “These aqueous inkjet printers can print a D-size draft print in 28 seconds. These models also ship with utilities and software that allow them to expand the services they offer from that printer. PosterArtist List and the Office Print Plug-in make printing professional looking posters easier than ever.”
Reamer sees the major transition from black-and-white prints to larger format engineering prints with color. “There is more color in technical drawings and a substantial growth of 3D drawings being output in color. With this trend there is the introduction of the Color LED models from a couple of different manufacturers in this market but there is also the movement towards inkjet. With less of a demand of black and white images, many find that the latest inkjet technology such as products like imagePROGRAF iPF820 and iPF810, give them enough production and the flexibility to print out high quality color on equipment that is less than $8,000.”
He also sees a growing trend in the market where many sub contractors are now purchasing large-format printers for the first time. “In past years, they had everything printed for them but now with general contractors handing out CDs rather then drawings sub contractors have the need to print themselves. Printers such as an iPF750 with their small footprint and ease of use allow first time users to affordably and easily make the transition simpler. At Canon, large-format printers are developed to handle larger volumes with productive features such as a sub-ink tank system and stackable baskets. As mentioned earlier printers are also being packaged with solutions that allow users to get more out of their printers. Instead of just printing technical documents, new printers such as the iPF755 and iPF750 allow users to print information and presentation graphics or other general user posters without having a graphic artist on their staff. PosterArtist Lite and the Office Plug-in are bundled in with the printers at no charge,” he reported.