Innovative Wide-Format Printing Applications at In-plants
Wide-format printing is a hot topic for in-plants, and the In-plant Forum explored the possibilities in depth. IPI Editor Bob Neubauer talked with two midwestern university managers about the expansion of wide-format printing in their operations, and reviewed examples of some of their innovative wide-format projects. (Watch the full session here.)
Wide-format was already the third most popular service being offered by in-plants prior to COVID-19, Neubauer said, with 77% providing it. During the pandemic, in-plants took advantage of the need for social distancing signage, generating much-needed revenue from this work at a time when their other work slowed considerably.
In the panel discussion, Nathan Thole, director of Printing Services at Iowa State University, and Liz Bowden, Duplicating Services manager at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, detailed the wide-format equipment they use and some of the projects they have produced. Each has latex and flatbed printing capabilities, supplemented with automated contour cutting.
“It takes us about an hour and a half to print a full 4x8’ sheet, but it allows us to do many different specific and custom signs,” he said.
Bowden showed samples of water bottle labels her shop printed for events, as well as clothing printed with a wide-format device. Items like that, she noted, aren't being mass produced, but when people see them, they realize the in-plant can do more than posters, and they start thinking outside the box about projects they can create.
“You can start off a wide-format dept really easily without a massive investment until it starts producing enough to where you can grow it,” she said.
“There’s definitely a need for wide-format graphics whether you know it or not,” emphasized Thole.
The In-plant Forum continued with panels, presentations and product demos. Click the links below to read about some of the other sessions.
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Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited nearly 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.