Every business needs marketing to promote their service or product. Advertisement can be done in several ways: commercials, website banner ads, radio spots, etc. But the most tried-and-true advertisements are physical ones, such as flyers, posters, city bus ads, and more. Noticeability is vital for these ads. To make marketing materials that attract the maximum amount of customers, you’ll need a large format printer.
Large format printers are widely used to print out large-scale poster boards, wall panels, and store displays. They are perfect for any business looking to advertise in a wide-open space and can draw in customers better than other marketing strategies. Additionally, large format printing accommodates a wide variety of print configurations, allowing for ads that best fit your business.
Owning a large format printer can significantly save on printing costs, especially if you often find yourself in need of wide-scale prints. If you’re still undecided, this article will detail several ways you can profit from having one of these printers while also outlining potential costs so you can purchase one that fits your budget.
What Are Large Format Printers?
Large or wide format printers are considered to be any printer that can accommodate paper rolls 18 to 100 inches in width. As mentioned above, they are useful for creating large-scale advertisements, but they are versatile enough to be used for other projects such as blueprints, courtroom exhibits, and color comparison.
Large format printers are best used for one-off or short-run graphic prints and are most commonly used in the architectural, engineering, construction, and graphic design industries. These printers are best for printing signage on banners, posters, vehicle image wraps, wallpapers, murals, and other various advertisements.
Large format printers produce prints at speeds unmatched by other types of professional printers. The speed is measured by PPM, or pages per minute, and can range anywhere from 1-2 ppm in the low range to 10-20 ppm. Large format printers offer fast speeds and better efficiency without sacrificing print quality.
Types of Printers
Different types of printers are compatible with two types of cartridges: ink and toner.
Toner-based large format printers use dry toner that’s fused into the paper with a heat roller or fuser. These printers are most often used by engineers and architects. Their fast speeds and higher printer volumes make them ideal for printing out highly detailed draft and CAD applications.
Ink-based (or inkjet) printers move ink onto a paper medium through a spray nozzle using heat and pressure. This type of printer is commonly used by graphic designers and marketing directors, as the ink allows graphics to be printed in full color on a variety of materials.
Large format printers are naturally able to handle a large variety of work, but, like other printers, they come in different models that each specialize in handling certain task loads. The most notable models of printers are aqueous, solvent, and UV.
Aqueous printers are relatively inexpensive models that use water-based inks and toners, commonly used for high-quality fine art and photographic prints. These printers don’t produce as many fumes as other models, require little ventilation, and are generally better for the environment, making them useful for extended long format print projects. The paper used in their operation requires a special coating so that ink sticks to the page.
Solvent printers are great for print projects that are meant to last for a long time. The inks used in this model are very durable, able to withstand harsh outdoor elements such as high heat, UV rays, and strong winds. The inks are scratch-resistant and suspended in volatile chemical compounds to allow them to stain non-traditional materials like vinyl. Solvent printers are commonly used to make outdoor signage.
UV printers use resin and latex-based inks to produce the most durable prints of any printer model. These inks remain in a liquid state until exposed to UV light, where they then solidify immediately. This method makes the ink weather and fading-resistant while also enabling it to be used effectively on a wider variety of materials such as acrylic and aluminum.
Besides what’s listed above, large format printers have various traits that distinguishes one model from another. For example, you have your choice between a flatbed and a roll-fed unit.
Roll-fed printers take nearly any digital media wound on a roll, print the desired image on it, and then trim it to fit on a rigid substrate for ease of display. They can handle a larger amount of materials than flatbed printers, offering print shops and graphic artists versatile options for creative designs.
Flatbed printers are compatible with fewer materials but can finish their print jobs quicker than roll-fed printers. Their efficient operation allows them to handle larger print orders with less prep work than a roll-fed printer.
Large format printers are fitted to handle prints of a certain width. As noted above, these can be as small as 18 inches up to 100 inches. The variety of features makes it easy for anyone to find one that suits the needs of their business or personal projects.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Large Format Printing
A large format printer can be a pricey investment, so it’s essential to know the pros and cons of owning one before committing to one. Listed below are a few benefits and downfalls of owning a large format printer so that you can make a more informed decision about your purchase.
- Versatile – Large format printers can print high-quality graphics on various materials, including paper, vinyl, plexiglass, and more. This gives designers a greater variety of style options in what they create, perfect for large advertisements and other marketing materials.
- Durable – Since most print jobs from a large format printer are meant to be displayed outside, they tend to be more resistant to outside elements. The ink used won’t fade as quickly as other brands, and the hard substrate the image is printed on can withstand the harshest winds. Large format printing products can stay up for weeks or even months at a time with minimal wear and tear.
- Fast – Large format printers work similarly to digital printing and allow you to set up your printing projects on a tight schedule. Their on-demand printing capabilities let users perform larger print jobs in a shorter amount of time compared to other printers.
- Noticeable – A large billboard or poster installed in a public place is liable to get more customers to your business than other marketing materials. The current consumer landscape encourages phone or digital ads, but a text or email can be easy to ignore. A large sign in a public space can draw a potential customer’s eye.
- Particular Process – The ink you use for your print project must be compatible with the large format printer you’re using. While it may be cheaper to buy off-brand inks and toners, these can lessen the quality of the finished product and even damage the machine itself. Additionally, the ink has to match the material used and vice-versa or else you risk ruining a print job.
- Very Specialized – A large format printer can create well-designed posters, billboards, and wall art, but because of the way it’s designed, it can’t be used for much else. If your business doesn’t require large-scale prints regularly, then a large format printer might not be the best option.
- Takes up Space – A large format printer needs a lot of room to be operated effectively, and it can end up occupying a lot of space. Additionally, because they use heat to get ink onto a medium, it’s easy for fumes to build up. Where you place the printer is limited to places with adequate ventilation, so make sure you measure out a good spot for the unit before you order it.
How Much Is a Large Format Printer?
Now that we’ve talked about a large format printer’s capabilities, it’s time to talk about how much you can expect to spend on one. The price can go up or down depending on the model of printer, its features, and the store you’re buying it from.
On average, an ink-based large format printer can be anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000. Toner-based printers have a wider range of prices, with older models costing around $10,000, while newer models match the ink printers’ price range. Like the recent HP Latex r2000 plus printer, some higher-end models can even go for $100,000 or more.
Cost Affecting Features
Most large format printers, even at their cheapest, will be an investment, and it’s important to know the features you’re looking for in a unit to help find one in your budget.
One of the factors that can affect the cost of your printer is print quality. This refers to the resolution that a printer is capable of printing, which is usually measured by dots per inch (DPI).
The higher the DPI, the higher the quality of a printed image and the higher the printer will cost on the retail floor. The number of colors available to the printer is also a determining factor in price; a 6-ink printer will typically cost less than a 12-ink printer because the latter produces a better image.
Print speed also affects price, with higher speed printers usually, but not always, costing more. It’s typically measured by how many D-sized prints (24 x 36 inches) the printer can create in a minute. However, comparing production rates can be tricky because printing at the highest speed usually means a matching drop in image quality. It’s best to evaluate a printer on its image quality first before examining its speed.
Another thing that can increase the price of a printer is the additional features that might be included along with the printing function. This includes:>
- A copier that scans documents and makes a specified number of copies.
- A paper cutter that automatically separates a print from the roll.
- Multiple paper sources that allow you to make several different sized prints at a time.
- Bins and collection trays for the automatic organization of large format printer output, allowing for it to operate semi-unattended.
- High-end customization options that allow you to alter the speed, color, and length of prints before completion.
While these additional features can be convenient, especially if your business is particularly busy, none of them are necessary. You know what you’ll need better than anyone, so make sure you weigh your options carefully before you decide to splurge.
The larger a printer is, the more it’s likely to cost. A large format printer that can make prints with a width of 50 inches will be bigger than a large format printer that produces 24-inch images.
New Vs. Used
If you’re strapped for cash, then a used printer is the way to go. Naturally, a brand-new, large scale printer is going to cost more than one that’s been returned and refurbished, but there are trade-offs to consider. While large format printers are made to be durable, there’s no way to determine how much wear and tear and used one has seen. Even with repairs and replacement parts, there’s a chance that it may not last as long as a new one.
Nusign Supply Printers
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Using the 4th generation of latex ink, the HP Latex is loaded with shades of black, cyan, magenta, and white to make your prints pop. Browse our online shop and purchase your printer today!