What is the Alternative?
Alternatives to Buying In-House Printer
While having a printer in-house offers a world of benefits, there are other outlets you can still consider. Working with a third-party printer could be an option depending on your demand, but there is likely to be a premium in pricing. You won’t have full control over your end products.
If you already have equipment that just isn’t performing as well as it used to, you could try servicing it or look into replacement parts/heads to increase its efficiency. Or, if you want to buy a printer for a specific product or job, you may be able to have your customer purchase the equipment and install it at your facility where you can operate it for them.
Do You Need a Roll-to-Roll Option?
Flatbed VS. Roll to Roll Printer
Flatbed printers are ideal for a wide range of applications but there are still some jobs that are better suited for a roll-to-roll printer. Ink type is a big factor here since flatbeds are primarily UV. While various roll-to-roll models can utilize dye-sublimation, solvent, latex, aqueous or UV inks.
If you want to buy a printer for industrial using, there are hybrid options and part additions available from a variety of brands. However, having both flatbed and roll to roll capabilities in one machine can slow down production. Because you are limited to one functionality at a time. Often there is a dedicated roll-to-roll printer option that can outpace an integrated printer at a significantly lower price point. So generally, unless space is a major constraint or you have a very specific need, having a dedicated flatbed and a dedicated roll-to-roll printer (depending on the application) will provide much higher outputs at a lower price point.
Important to note is that roll-to-roll printers do require a bit more manual labor and material than flatbeds do when working to achieve the same finished product. This is because the roll products will have to be mounted when printing completes, calling for an extra step in the process as well as adhesives and additional materials.
How Will Your Other Equipment Integrate?
How Will Printer Integrate with Equipment from Other Manufacturers
It’s likely that you have other machines or equipment in-house, even if it’s just a single small format printer. If you are in a large production house with a variety of printer brands and models running throughout your shop, the software you use should be a more considerable factor.
Modern UV printers require software for processing and managing your printer(s) and often your workflows too. Each manufacturer will have their own version of software that’s typically intended for only their brand, but there are a variety of third-party software options available that can manage workflows for multiple printers and printer manufacturers. These third-party software programs are an additional cost – sometimes a few thousand dollars – which will add on to your expenses.
A lot of these software programs, both OEM and third-party, are only compatible with Windows operating systems. If you’re a Mac user, your RIP software options may be more limited or require an altogether different workflow from your existing setup.
What Are the Partnership Opportunities?
Consider Your Distributor Relationship
Where you buy a printer from will actually be a huge factor in your experience. It is especially important if maximum uptime is expected. You wouldn’t want to purchase a car that you hope to have for 10+ years from a sketchy chop shop, right? You should make a similar, wise decision when it comes to where you buy a printer for your business.
You’re making an incredible investment in this printer, with the hopes of it providing a great return for your business. But what if it needs servicing? What will you do if you can’t understand how it operates? You’re going to need a reliable partner to turn to for support, ongoing training and warranty options.
The quality of the team you work with will be just as big of a factor in your success. The ITNH team would love to help you start and finish your search for the right large format printer. Contact us for recommendations, advice or even just to get the low-down on the best brands for your business.