Wide Format Printer – What Is It and Do You Need It?

While modern businesses strive to use as little paper as possible, printers and printing tasks are still more than relevant. In particular, printed materials play a significant role in marketing. Customers still react positively to traditional promotional materials, especially when combined with digital channels.

This is where a wide format printer can become a handy tool to increase your business outreach. But if you’re considering getting this type of printer for your organization, it’s crucial to understand its functions and benefits. Furthermore, there’s the question of whether your company truly needs wide-format printing.

This article will help you answer those crucial questions and make an informed decision on the subject.

The Wide Format Printer Explained

Wide-format printing has a relatively short history. In fact, the technology was only developed towards the end of the previous century. However, this type of printing has seen a rapid evolution over the past two decades.

A modern wide format printer can print materials that vary in width from 12 to over 100 inches. The machine can use different technologies like dye sublimation, UV, pigmented, and latex to produce highly precise copies in large formats.

Wide format printers boast superior power and durability compared to standard office machines. In other words, this printer type can handle large printing volumes without issues. Furthermore, a wide format printer is extremely quick considering it needs to produce massive printed media like posters.

An average wide format device will spend around an hour printing more than a dozen of posters. When combined with the high quality and detail, that speed is impressive.

Do You Need a Wide Format Printer?

Wide format printers find their ideal use in two markets: the AEC industry and graphics. AEC stands for “architecture, engineering, and construction.” Wide format devices are a natural fit for this industry since they can be used for printing technical documents like blueprints.

When it comes to graphics, wide-format printing can be used in educational and government institutions, retail, and advertising. In those cases, a wide format printer can produce various large-scale graphics like:

  • Outdoor graphics
  • Banners
  • Custom fabrics
  • Signs
  • Textiles

Of course, if your business falls within these two industries, a wide format machine will be beneficial if not essential. It’s worth noting that, while most wide format printers have a width range of 12 to 100 inches, prints are considered wide only if they surpass 17-18 inches. Also, anything that surpasses 100 inches is considered a grand or super-wide format.

A company that produces a large volume of wide prints will need a dedicated machine. However, the choice of the right printer doesn’t end at the volume and width.

A wide format printer can come in several variants. Similar to traditional printers, wide format devices can be monochrome or color. They may also vary in size, construction, and speed. For instance, some printers may receive two paper rolls simultaneously for much faster printing.

Naturally, your specific needs will largely dictate the decision, but there’s also the matter of pricing. Getting an in-house wide format printer will represent a considerable investment that might make a dent in your budget. On the other hand, the device could save you money further down the road.

In terms of financials, you’ll need to calculate whether the up-front cost is worth it and how long it will take for the machine to pay off.

To sum up the vital considerations, here’s a list of questions you should answer before deciding on a wide format device:

  • Does your business print large formats often enough to justify getting a dedicated device?
  • Do you need black-and-white or color prints?
  • Does your printer need to have a high DPI and great image quality?
  • Should the device have a direct PC connection or be network-enabled?

These questions will help you determine which wide format printer you should get. However, if your business already owns a wide format machine that has been working for some time, your main concern could be when and if you need to replace it with a newer model.

Does Your Business Need a New Wide Format Machine?

There are several instances in which you might need to get a new large format printer. As your business grows and improves, the old device may fall behind, making it less efficient or even completely incompatible with your system.

Firstly, an OS upgrade might make older devices obsolete. Although modern operating systems come with full suites of drivers that enable plug-and-play action, the old printer might not be able to communicate with the system effectively.

In such cases, your setup could become susceptible to crashes and errors. Even if it keeps working, chances are the printer will lose some of its functionality or advantages like printing speed.

Next, the capacity of your company could expand beyond what the printer can deliver. What was once a high-volume, fast machine may become insufficient once your printing needs increase. In other words, your wide format printer won’t scale with your business.

Newer machines may also feature advanced options that the old printer lacks. Some could have automation that takes the unnecessary workload off your team members. Naturally, the saved time will translate into better efficiency and faster operations.

If you’ve encountered some or all of the mentioned issues, chances are your old machine is no longer suitable for your business requirements and will need a modern replacement.

Take Care of Your Printing Needs

A quality wide format printer can address all your business requirements and make it easier to achieve the desired print volume. If you know what to look for, you can get a device that will serve you reliably for years to come.

If you need help picking the right machine, DTS is here to assist you. The service offers top-tier wide formats and other printers from leading manufacturers. Alternatively, if you decide to outsource large-format printing, DTS can provide managed printing services.

You can get in touch with DTS today and get the right printing setup for your Bloomington, Minneapolis, or St. Paul business.