A Wide Open Opportunity
In-plants that have wide-format ink-jet printers say the devices have quickly paid for themselves in increased business.
by Caroline Miller
According to Joe Goss, if there is one thing that has had an impact on the wide-format ink-jet printing market, it's the PowerPoint presentation.
"We never realized the kind of demand there would be for charts and posters to accompany PowerPoint presentations," says Goss, director of university printing and materials management at Indiana University, in Bloomington, Ind. "The professors don't want to keep redoing the charts. They need something that is printed on a flexible material that they can roll up, place in a tube, get on a plane with and reuse several times for presentations. We never realized the demand that professors would have for the ColorSpan."
The 36-employee in-plant originally had other reasons for acquiring the printer, Goss says.
"Originally, we bought our wide-format ink-jet printer after a customer talked to us about needing banners in the buildings," he says. "We figured the work that the one customer would give us would pay for the machine." But that machine brought in much more business than anyone had anticipated.
That's what in-plants around the country are discovering: Wide-format ink-jet printers are generating lots of new work.
Roger Chamberlain, manager of printing at Cincinnati Insurance Co., reports that most of the work produced on his shop's Hewlett-Packard 800 is legal charts and photographs for legal trials.
"The large-format ink-jet printer is really critical to our operations," he says.
While presentation work has helped justify the purchase of the wide-format machine, traditional products like signs, banners, posters and proofs still keep the machine busy.
Buy One Now
For those in-plants that do not own a wide-format printer, now is the time to buy, maintains Rick Wise, director of Printing Services at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The $8 million, 117-employee in-plant recently purchased its first wide-format printer, a Hewlett-Packard 5000.