Printing 101: Flat Bed Printing vs. Wide Format Roll Printers

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Printing 101: Flat Bed Printing vs. Wide Format Roll Printers

In our previous blog, we briefly mentioned some of the advancements in the signage industry, and how far this industry has progressed in the last 50 years. In almost every sign shop, the printers are the workhorses of the company. As the signage industry progresses, so do the machines that produce our signs. Speed, quality, efficiency, and capabilities, are just a few of the ways that printers have become increasingly advanced.

In most larger sign and graphics shops, you will find at least two different printers; A Flat Bed Printer, and a Wide Format Roll Printer. These two printers allow sign shops to efficiently and effectively service almost every printed sign project that comes through their doors. Each of these two printers offer distinct advantages that every potential customer should be aware of. Let’s Dive In!!

Wide Format Roll Printer: The biggest advantage a Roll Printer brings to a sign shop is its VERSATILITY.

Roll Printing Defined: A roll printer is the most common printer found in sign and graphics shops around the country. These printers print on digital media that comes on a roll. The roll is then trimmed, or adhered to a rigid substrate. Although they do not print on rigid substrates, they can print on a plethora of digital media’s.

  • The VERSATILITY of a Roll Printer can be broken down in two main areas.
  • Material Versatility: Roll printers can print on almost any media that comes on a roll. These materials include, but are not limited to, all types of Vinyl, Banner Material, Fabrics, Canvas, and the list goes on!
  • Job Versatility:  Because of the material versatility, a roll printer can service almost any print project that comes through a sign shop!

Flat Bed Printer: The two biggest advantages a Flat Bed printer brings are SPEED, and EFFICIENCY.

Flat Bed Printing Defined: Flat Bed printing, often called Direct-to-Board printing, allows the user to feed substrates through the mouth of the printer, and the printer will print ink directly on the loaded substrate, and feed it out the other side. Most Flat Bed printers can at least handle substrates up to 8.5’ wide and 2” thick.

  • Speed: Flat Bed Printers add an element of SPEED that most Roll printers can’t achieve. Many Flat Bed printers have variable speeds that allow sign companies to adjust the speed of the print to match the need of the job. Certain Flat Bed printers can print up to 860 square feet an hour! To put that in perspective, that would mean that a sign shop can print about seventeen 5ft x 10ft full color substrates in just one hour. WOW!!!
  • Efficiency: Flat Bed printers not only allow a company to produce a job with more speed, but also allows for more EFFICIENCY. Unless there is trimming to be done, a Flat Bed printer allows shops to go from raw substrate to finished product. This cuts out the additional prep work that comes with other forms of printing, and allows JUST ONE employee to complete the same amount of work that would normally take multiple employees to complete. Because of this efficiency, our customers benefit from even more competitive price points!

Do you need a sign company that can handle any print project?? Call your friends at Divine! Because we both FLAT BED PRINTERS, and WIDE FORMAT ROLL PRINTERS, we can find the perfect solution for your next project!

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