Graphics Blog

Social Media and the Graphic Arts

Social media is perhaps the biggest thing happening in media today, but of what use is it to graphic arts and printing businesses?

The world has been swept up and carried away with the power of social media in a short space of time. Stories of Tweets, pictures, videos, stories “going viral” abound and even mainstream media has regularly been scooped by someone Tweeting an event as it happens. It is the domain of youth and yet Pontiffs, Presidents and Potentates use it. It has also given voice to the previously dispossessed; the silent majority.

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Topics: social media, printing and graphics systems

The Hidden Printing Market And How To Find It

With less than six months until the doors of the world’s biggest printing industry trade fair opens—drupa in Düsseldorf, Germany from May 31 to June 10—organisers have already started exploring new areas where print and related businesses might discover fresh opportunities to make money from printing, as traditional four-colour on paper markets begin to soften and dwindle.

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Topics: printing, inkjet printing

Roll On Buddies

Merle Travis’ classic country song goes:
“Roll on buddy, don’t you roll so slow,
Tell me how can I roll, when the wheels won’t go?”

Although written in another era, the words could apply to modern inkjet printing, using any of the media types available. Inkjet roll media can be a confusing landscape, peppered with compatibility issues between ink types, equipment, profiles, drying methods and, with adhesive media, suitability to surfaces. Roll materials can be coated papers, plastics, vinyls, polypropylene, textiles and even perforated media for uni-directional graphics on glass. Rigid sheet media are even more diverse, but let’s not complicate matters and stick with roll flexibles for now.

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Topics: inkjet printing, Euromedia

Flexo for Green Packaging

The Flenex difference – brighter, more saturated results without the environmental downside.

While the term ‘Flexography’ might inspire thoughts in the general public of yoga and lithe gymnasts, for the packaging and label industry it is a force to be reckoned with: a process that promises and delivers sustainable ‘green’ printing of packaged goods; is economical; on a growth path and in recent times capable of achieving quality results on a par with offset and gravure.

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Topics: Going Green

The Quiet Hero in the Plateroom

In all the noise surrounding accelerating technology changes affecting the printing and graphic systems business, it’s easy to overlook the silent partner in the prepress room, quietly but efficiently keeping every offset business running.

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Topics: plate processor technology, processor and chemistry

What will the Graphics Shop of the Future Look Like?

Much has been written and debated about the “Print Shop of the Future” or “Graphic Services Business of the Future.” It’s as if the present is not good enough or that the almost $980 billion (AUD$1.3 trillion at .73 = USD$1) annual printing industry is destined for extinction or serious reduction. According to the respected research organization Smithers Pira (formerly Pira International) in its “Future of Global Printing to 2018,” nothing could be further from the truth: Growth is being driven by “packaging and labels, rather than graphic applications, and digital rather than analogue printing.”

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Topics: printing, Digital Print

Introducing FUJIFILM Version 2.0

If the headline of this month’s blog sounds strange for a company with roots going back to 1934, rest assured the idea of the Version 2.0 Fujifilm comes from the top — the company’s Chairman and CEO Shigetaka Komori. In his recently published book, "Innovating Out of Crisis", Komori calls Fujifilm’s transformation a “second foundation,” highlighting just how serious the situation was when he was elevated to President in 2000.

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Topics: fujifilm 2.0

Using Your (Print)Heads

One of the two most exciting new printing technologies to emerge since the advent of offset in the early 1900s is inkjet. The other was Chester Carlson’s 1930s invention of xerography, or electrophotographic printing. However, unlike xerography, inkjet’s origins go back at least to the 19 century – it’s just taken a while for the ideas to be matched by the technology capable of delivering millions of tiny ink droplets onto a substrate, in the form of the modern inkjet printhead.

Around 1873, famed British inventor Lord Kelvin patented his ‘Syphon Recorder’ for tracing incoming telegraph messages. This was the first printer to use ejected ink droplets to form an image. However, not to be outdone, France claims the first theoretical inkjet application because, in 1754, a Msr. L’Abbé Nollet, Master of Physics for the Dauphin of France, conducted research into the effects of static electricity on the flow of liquid droplets from capillary tubes. According to Inkjet guru Graeme Minto, who went on to found Domino Inkjet Sciences in 1978, Nollet also reported the very first blocked nozzles!

Inkjet remained an idea looking for a market until the 1950s when the Siemens company introduced a medical recorder that used ejected ink droplets to mark the paper. In the years that followed, inkjet was seen as primarily a marking and encoding method of printing, placing a single colour of informational data onto cartons, boxes and products such as plastic pipes.

Fast forward to 2015 and we can see that inkjet for full-colour printing with stunningly vibrant detail, is all around us. What caused this acceleration in inkjet’s capability?

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Topics: inkjet printing, graphics systems, printheads

Not All UV Inks Are Created Equal

The utilization of inks using Ultra-Violet wavelength light to cure them is increasing all over the world, in all printing processes. Instead of relying on oil/solvent-based inks to cure by evaporation, thereby releasing unwanted VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the atmosphere, UV energy instantly polymerizes a combination of monomers and oligomers present in inks and coatings, onto a wide range of substrates. If that sounds a little fancy, in practical terms it means UV dries and fixes the ink instantly, so the printed item is ready-to-use straight off the printer.

The uptake of UV is strongest in the industrial inkjet printing market. These are the printers that make billboards, POP displays, posters, window signs, exhibition booth graphics, backlit panels, wall and floor décor, product decoration, printed textiles and, increasingly, labels, cartons and boxes for packaging use. Not so long ago these products would have been printed by the ‘silk screen’ process where thick pigmented inks are squeegeed through a fine mesh directly onto the substrate. The screen process is still around, but inkjet UV has taken vast chunks of its market due to its speed, cost and convenience.

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Topics: inkjet printing, UV inkjet

What is the Big Deal with Wide Format Digital?

To begin, wide format digital printing, at print buyer level, is now in excess of a US$100 billion market (source: Infotrends-FESPA joint Worldwide Survey #4).

Wide format digital printing began earnestly in the early 1990s. In 1986, a bright final year UK university engineering student named Andy Cave had written the first PostScript RIP (Raster Image Processor) to enable him and fellow students to quickly print their theses exactly as they appeared on their computer screens. This was to become the famed Harlequin RIP, driving film imagesetters, revolutionizing typesetting and enabling complete pages to be output ready for making printing plates.

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Topics: Digital Print, Fujifilm Wide Format Printing

how to make money From wide format printing
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