THE RISE AND RISE OF LARGE FORMAT and Giant FORMAT PRINTING

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THE RISE AND RISE OF LARGE FORMAT and Giant FORMAT PRINTING

I remember at art college in the late 80s as part of the graphics program, we had a typesetting room filled with hundreds of little drawers housing even more wooden blocks of varying sizes, each one with a metal letter or character to its face. I don’t think we spent much time there but it was definitely part of the course and had been in use regularly in previous years. Part of the fascination was that, as students we knew already that whatever knowledge we would take from this room was probably not going to be of much help to our future careers.

In the same building, there was a computer room with maybe 4 or 5 machines running very early editions of Aldus Pagemaker, Freehand and Super-Paint. This place was a little more exciting and it was already quite obvious that the contents of this room would be far more integral to our future.

Fast forward only 10 years and computers would be running the whole graphic industry and digital printing was set to take up the reins from the old typesetting machines and screen printing beds. Adobe focused on creating software for graphic designers and many hardware manufacturers such as HP, Canon, Sony, Mutoh, Roland, Fuji, Mimaki saw the opportunities in digital printing. A few of these manufacturers went into the large format market, and even fewer still focused on what we now call the ‘giant format’ printers. (SwissQ, Durst, Canon/Oce)

These machines are faster, bigger, more accurate and are out-putting far better quality images than we could have even imagined just 10 years ago. Also, due to advancements in adhesion and stability of inks we are no longer limited by substrate with many of the UV flat-bed printers being able to print onto pretty much anything.

Our first ‘large format’ printer here at Exhibitionco was a Mimaki. It was 1250mm wide and could print high-quality photographic images at around 1 lineal metre an hour. Pretty impressive!

Not long after, we added to our collection with the eco solvent Roland HP 5000, a 2.4 metre wide roll to roll printer. This enabled us to produce our own banners in-house. For most of our exhibition work, we would print to adhesive vinyl, then over-laminate using our old faithful Seal laminating machine. Another process which adhered the print to a rigid substrate using a further ‘under-laminating’ process would be the finishing touch. All up we could output around 5 or 6 full size exhibition panels a day!

Fast forward a few more years & today, as well as the roll to roll printers, we operate two 3m x 2m flat-bed machines; a Teckwin &  SwissQ Nyala. With each of these we can produce very high quality, full colour, high resolution, UV stable prints direct to substrate at the rate of around 12 full 2400mm x 1200mm sheets per hour. That means we can expect to get out 100+ full exhibition panels out in one working day.

We can also print roll to roll at 3m wide producing seamless graphic walls of any length.

These advancements in printing technology mean we are far more efficient in producing extremely high quality graphics fast ….. and can pass on our time and labour savings as financial savings to our partners. Speak to one of our Account Managers today to ask about our large format exhibition graphics for your next event.