How Wide Do You Go?
Guest Blog by Brian Eastin, RJ Young Wide Format Equipment Specialist
“Wide Format” is a term that to most people has almost no meaning. But mention “plotters”, “blue prints” or “poster printer” and most people will have an idea of the type of products covered by the term “wide format equipment.”
Generally speaking, wide format equipment is any device used to print, copy or scan documents larger than 11 x 17 in size. But in that definition, the two main types of wide format documents are “small format” and “large format”. To put it another way, most Excel spreadsheets would get printed on 11” x 17” paper (small format) and most posters need to be printed on something bigger, such as 2’ x 3’ paper (large format). For my purposes and this blog, when referencing wide format, I will speak to large format printing.
Examples of Wide Format Documents
Wide format documents, and equipment, have practical application for a wide range of businesses. If you’re an architect, engineer or contractor, you routinely use construction drawings or “blue prints”. These documents are also commonly used in manufacturing and in government agencies for mapping or GIS (“Geographic Information Systems”).
Many businesses, educational institutions and government entities often use wide format equipment to print posters. Messages, information and graphics displayed on large format posters, and in color, can make a much bigger impact than other forms of communication. Included in the broader category of “posters” are vehicle wraps, indoor banners, outdoor banners, retail point-of-purchase materials and even billboards.
Wide Format Equipment Options
Like wide format documents, the equipment permutations to produce wide format prints, copies and scans is available in an array sizes, capabilities and costs. Several of the top wide format printer manufacturers are Océ, Canon, HP, Ricoh and Contex. These machines typically range from 17” to 60” in width. The capabilities of current wide format printers are vast, ranging from basic functions with standard paper mediums, to flat bed printers capable of printing on rigid materials (think wood!) up to 48” x 96” in size.
Support for Wide Format Applications
Equipment is only part of the equation when it comes to achieving high quality wide format printing documents. The software used in manipulating and generating documents is critical to a successful workflow. Proper supplies such as ink and media type must also be tailored to produce the desired output.
Your technology provider should have specialists in each of these areas to assist you in getting the right equipment, software and supplies to maximize the amount and quality of output from your wide format printer. They should also have a service team, which has specialized training to support wide format equipment, providing a total solution for your needs.