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  • GFI Digital

Wide-format Finishing: End-game Opportunities

from Ricoh

One of the biggest missteps print providers make is neglecting to look beyond the initial investment of the printer. Finishing equipment is a necessary requirement and an important consideration for providers making investments in a digital wide-format printer or looking for ways to expand service offerings. Wide-format finishing applications offer many opportunities and are significant contributors to an operation’s success.

Finishing is a vital process for turning any print job into a finished product and there are a wide range of technologies to consider. Selecting the right technology option depends on the applications produced, substrates used, level of automation required, and workflow requirements.

Today’s most successful providers of sign and display graphics differentiate themselves from the competition by offering services that enhance the value of print. Finishing is the last step in the process but, offers customers many benefits and can make a positive difference to your bottom line.

Growing Opportunity in Cutting

A growing finishing area is digital cutting and routing. Digital cutters can improve many aspects of a print provider’s business, especially those that own a flatbed printer. These devices can reduce the manufacturing costs of a project by offering faster, more efficient finishing and cutting. In addition, these systems offer providers the ability to offer customers extra services, reduce overall production times, and save on substrate cost by providing a way to efficiently cut tightly nested images from multiple jobs.

Today’s cutters and routers are highly accurate, handle a variety of media, and speed production. Compared to manual cutters, automated devices complete the finishing process at a faster rate, with higher accuracy and less waste.

Flatbed cutters are the most productive type of cutter for most operations and they are getting faster and faster. From flexible to rigid materials, a flatbed cutter can handle an impressive array of projects. Aside from flexibility, flatbed cutters also come in the widest range of sizes.

Due to increased media handling, flatbed routers and cutters are a good choice for shops producing POP signage and yard signs. A variety of these devices offer the ability to contour cut designs and cut multiple-up projects on a variety of substrates. Newer flatbed models coming out on the market have new features like QR codes and material databases that reduce job setup time as well.

GFI Digital provides the Colex Sharpcut Digital Cutting System for finishing graphics with accuracy and efficiency.

For Digital Cutting of

  • Graphics: 2-dimensional signs, decals, banners, outdoor exhibits, and intricate lettering can all be cut, trimmed, or routed within minutes.

  • Display & POPs: 3-Dimensional product displays by contour cutting, trimming, routing and creasing for both rigid and flexible media.

  • Packaging: Samples for corrugated, folding carton, and other packaging needs are produced easily with automatic cutting and creasing on materials such as paperboard, chipboard, corrugated, and much more. Optional packaging design software is available

  • And more!

Supported Media:

  • Foam Board

  • Gator Foam

  • Acrylic/Plexi

  • Styrene

  • PVC/PVC Foam

  • Wood/MDF

  • Textile/Fabric

  • Coroplast

  • Paper/Card Stock

  • Honeycomb Board

  • Vinyl

  • Aluminum

  • Aluminum Composite

  • Canvas

Don’t Forget About Software

An important consideration in making finishing investments is software. If investing in a cutter, it’s important to understand the software that runs the cutter, and if it is compatible with a company’s design software. In addition, how user friendly is the software with operators — if there is a problem in the cut file, how easy is it to address?

There are many different flatbed cutters on the market that pretty much do the same thing. Some may route better while others are better at knife cutting.

The software that runs the cutter is what sets it apart. For example, the Colex Sharpcut features intuitive software and is compatible with a wide range of design software and RIPs. Colex reports its Sharpcut is capable of getting a polished edge on the first pass with an inexpensive carbide bit compared to competitors’ devices that require multiple passes using a diamond-polishing bit. This feature saves users time and money on consumables.

Successful print service providers stay ahead of the competition by offering innovative products, anticipating customer demands, and meeting customer requirements for quality, turnaround, and pricing. As the range of wide-format options continues to expand, determining the best equipment investments for long-term profitability can be a challenging task. GFI Digital understands the difficulty print providers may encounter when making wide-format finishing investment decisions and are offering support.

We can help customers select equipment aligned with their unique business goals and objectives. To help customers better navigate the equipment decision process, our experts evaluate a customer’s operation and business goals to recommend wide-format finishing options that power productivity, enhance customer value, and yield profitability.


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