Disposable assets: print durability
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By Sophie Matthews-Paul
30 December 2011
Plenty of jobs are suitable for output on an aqueous-based engine
One of my videos on Output's YouTube stream shows me waxing lyrical about the properties and quality of the aqueous-based HP Designjet Z6200. Yes, it's deemed to be the fastest photo printer out there but it can do far more than that in terms of producing short-life display applications.
Today we seem to have a passion for durability and, as a result, there's a tendency to treat most applications as though they're going to be displayed outside for months or, even, years. But, in truth, there are many jobs which are only intended for a very short-term promotion with a resultant life span that might be only days or, even, hours.
For a special promotion for a specific event, the period of use for that particular job can be very short. Yet such is our conditioning on the maximum life of a material and ink that we automatically switch into longevity mode. A customer who wants some posters, or a retailer who wants a quick and cheap way of shifting excess stock, has no need to go down this road. What these people need is a fast, inexpensive run of output which can turned round quickly and disposed of, preferably using green methods, once the job has served its purpose.
So what's wrong with producing these applications on a decent aqueous-based printer that uses inexpensive material yet balances its production standards favourably against higher end equipment? The savvy display producer or sign-maker should see this as a great opportunity to get repeat business because the original order was turned round for a minimal amount of money, quickly and efficiently. Quality is good and the job will last the necessary lifespan and, because the customer pays less and knows his order is time-limited, hopefully he'll come back for more of the same, and that keeps the printers working.
One of the joys of wide-format digital printing is the fact that it can be disposable and that it doesn't have to last forever. Longevity is great for applications which need to be used in taxing environments where a tough finish and good lifespan are essential. But there are thousands of examples where the message of the display is designed to be superseded quickly. So think before you print and don't produce jobs which unnecessarily outlive their expectations. Follow the date line and use technology that complements it. This can reduce margins, overheads and keep the wheels of the aqueous-based industry sector turning.
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