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当前位置:首页 > 杂志 > 2017年11月杂志——如何选择合适的入门级宽幅数码印刷机



If you are new to the wide-format business and are in the market for an entry-level wide-format printer for your shop, there are a number of questions you must first ask yourself and some criteria that must be met to ensure that any new machine you choose will be a good fit for your business model. Among the first and most important questions to ask is what is the right entry point for wide-format digital printing for your business? What print volumes will you need? What are the ideal price points?


Well, to answer these questions properly, it really depends on where you’re trying to enter—from a market, volume or production standpoint. Whether you anticipate modest or medium production demands, there is a quality entry-level printer out there that can meet your businesses needs.


To get a better handle on the entire buying process, we spoke with a number of the top wide-format printer manufacturers and queried them regarding some of the most important considerations and questions to ask when purchasing an entry-level wide-format printer. 


David Conrad, director of marketing, North and Latin America, at Phoenix-based Mutoh America, says this is a really good time to look for an entry-level printer.  “The entry-level wide-format printing market is seeing better, simpler machines being introduced that require a shorter learning curve for operators.”

位于凤凰城的Mutoh America公司的北美和拉丁美洲市场总监大卫·康拉德(David Conrad)表示,此刻是寻找入门级印刷机的真正好时机。“入门级宽幅印刷市场看起来非常好,并且只需要引入简单的机器设备加上短时间的操作学习,你就可以熟练上手。

Targeting Your Market


“Regardless of the printing system, it all boils down to your business plan, what your target market is, and what your plans are for achieving growth,” reports Lily Hunter, product manager, Textiles and ConsumablesRoland DGA, Irvine, California.

加利福尼亚州尔湾罗兰DGA公司的纺织和消费品的产品经理Lily Hunter说:“无论这个打印系统是否适合你的业务计划,你的目标市场以及你的计划始终是实现增长。

She points out that if you purchase a really inexpensive inkjet, you may be disappointed. While the initial cost may be less, she says, it’s possible that you’ll need to replace it in a couple of years as output demand grows. “The other option is to spend a little more on a higher quality printer that can support your business growth over a longer period," she says. "The bottom line is that it’s important to consider the total cost of ownership and not just the sticker price.”


Jay Roberts, product manager, UV printers also at Roland DGA, adds when selecting an entry-level wide-format printer, it’s extremely important to first consider the markets you want to target. “Like a lot of newcomers, you might want to get into the banner and sticker industry. Or, maybe you’re more interested in poster printing and photographic reproduction. You might even want to get into the vehicle wrap business. For any of these applications, an eco-solvent printer or printer/cutter would be a great choice. On the other hand, if you’re just starting up and you want to print awards, cell phone covers or personalized gifts, a small UV-cure printer would be the way to go. With such a wide array of markets to choose from, start-up print service providers need to think about what’s profitable now, and also what may be available and profitable in the future,” he says.

罗兰DGA公司也有UV印刷机生产业务,其产品经理杰·罗伯茨(Jay Roberts)在选择入门级宽幅印刷机时补充说:“首先考虑清楚你要的市场定位是非常重要的。就像许多新加入这个行业的人一样,你也许想要涉足横幅和贴纸业务这方面,也或许你更喜欢海报印刷和相片打印,你可能甚至想尝试汽车包装印刷这方面的业务。以上选项无论是哪一种,一个环保溶剂型印刷机或者印刷切割机将是一个不错的选择。另一方面,如果你刚刚开始你的业务,你想要打印奖状、手机盖或个性化礼品,那么一个小型的紫外线固化印刷机就足够了。有了这么多的机型种类可供选择,新兴的印刷服务供应商就需要思考如何获取利润,以及预估什么业务在未来是有用以及有利可图的。

“There are three distinct types of printers to consider," Roberts adds, "eco-solvent, dye-sublimation and UV-cure. Each type has its own unique traits. With this in mind, understanding the capabilities and limitations, and knowing how each type of printer works for each market, will help ensure a smart purchasing decision,” Roberts adds.


Models With Print/Cut Options


Printers with built-in vinyl cutting capabilities have been a very popular choice among smaller shops looking to get the most versatility from a single unit while still maintaining a small footprint and an affordable price point.


“As printer price points move downward, we’re also seeing an increase in capabilities for more diverse applications," says Josh Hope, senior manager, Industrial Printing Business Development & Marketing at Mimaki USA, Suwanee, Georgia. "For example, a few years ago, an entry-level printer may have been an aqueous- or eco-solvent-based printer marketed to produce posters and signage. While that is appealing in its simplicity, some entry-level printers now can do much more—such as print/cut devices or dye sublimation with fluorescent inks.”

佐治亚州苏万尼Mimaki美国工业印刷业务开发与市场部高级经理Josh Hope说:“随着印刷机的价格下滑,我们也看到了更多样化的应用功能的增加。例如,几年前,入门级印刷机可能是以水性油墨或生态溶剂为基础的印刷机,可以生产海报和标牌。虽然这种机型简单易用,但现在一些入门级印刷机可以做更多的工作,例如印刷切割功能兼具或使用荧光油墨进行染料升华。


Hope adds that with a print-and-cut device, users can print onto a variety of media to create labels, posters-to-size, even T-shirt transfers using eco-solvent inks. “The dual-capabilities of a print-cut device reduces costs, as only one unit is required to do both functions; plus, it saves valuable floor space particularly for shops watching their overhead.”


Daniel Valade, product manager, color products at Roland DGA points out that eco-solvent printer/cutters like Roland’s TrueVIS series give entry-level users a wide range of choices at different price points to suit their budgets and specific needs. “The TrueVIS printer/cutter family includes entry-level devices like the 30" SG-300 which is perfect for those looking to break into print/cut applications or add print/cut to their existing applications.”

Roland DGA公司彩色产品经理Daniel Valade指出Roland的TrueVIS系列一样的环保溶剂印刷切割机可以为入门级用户在不同的价格方面提供广泛的选择,以满足他们的预算前提和具体需求。TrueVIS印刷切割机系列拥有的入门级设备,如可以印刷30英寸幅面的SG-300机型,非常适合那些希望使用印刷切割应用程序或添加印刷切割功能到现有应用程序的用户。

However, Matt McCausland, product manager, professional imaging, Epson America, Long Beach, California, says that as wide-format printing technologies continue to advance in terms of speed, productivity and versatility, he's found that the entry-level customer has to keep one eye on the future when deciding on hardware.

不过,加利福尼亚州长滩的爱普生美国专业影像产品经理Matt McCausland表示随着宽幅印刷技术在速度、生产率和多功能性方面的不断发展,他发现入门级客户在决定购买印刷机硬件产品时,必须将眼光放长远一些。

“This is particularly true when evaluating print/cut machines versus a separate printer and cutter," McCausland explains. "Costs being similar, it makes more sense for the future of their business to have the increased production capacity that a standalone printer and separate cutter offer. This is a trend we’ve started to see, especially as the prices of standalone 64" printers—our SureColor S40600 for example—have come down to a level where a printer and cutter can be purchased for the same price as a 54" print/cut machine,” he says.

McCausland解释说:“在评估印刷切割机与独立的印刷机和切割机时尤其如此。在成本相似的基础上,提高独立印刷机和切割机的生产能力,对于公司未来的业务更有意义。这是一个我们可以看到的趋势,特别是64英寸的独立印刷机(例如SureColor S40600系列)的价格已经与54英寸印刷切割机的价格相持平了。


Ink Choices are Important


Fabrizio Soto, general manager, Industrial Business Unit at OKI Data Americas, Escondido, California, points out that one of the most important things to consider when deciding on a new wide-format printer is the ink type. “Will you go with eco-solvent, latex, aqueous, UV-cure? There are pros and cons to each. And while there are ‘no one size fits all' solutions, there are certainly machines that will serve certain applications better than others.

加利福尼亚州埃斯孔迪多的OKI Data Americas公司的业务部总经理Fabrizio Soto指出“更换一个新的宽幅喷墨印刷机之后,你要思考的最重要的事情就是选用何种类型的墨水。生态溶剂型墨水、乳胶墨水、紫外线固化墨水皆有利有弊。虽然没有一劳永逸的解决方案,但是总有一种机型是比其他的机型能更好地服务我们正在进行的业务的。”

“For example, if any of your work goes outdoors, durability is king. Finding a printer that is versatile but can provide outstanding durable prints with or without lamination will be important,” he says.


Understanding the different types of printers—and their ideal output—goes hand-in-hand with market research, Soto says. “Once you begin to recognize how your shop can fit into the market it will become more obvious which ink type will best serve your needs.”


He adds that another important factor is color gamut. “Today, most printers are pretty good with color, but the trick is to ensure that you get that same great color every day, no matter the print mode. Shops that are just getting started tend to look at only the immediate future and how they can get into the market as inexpensively as possible. Many will outgrow their printer faster than expected. When productivity picks up, they find themselves stuck with an inefficient printer that has a life expectancy of only two to three years. Instead, consider a more versatile printer that allows you to grow into it,” he says.


Entry Points and Applications


McCausland says that, depending on the applications needed, the “entry point” for wide-format digital printing should be somewhere around $12,000 for the printer, plus whatever finishing equipment is required. “Again, customers have started to make decisions in the entry-level space with an eye to the future, so they want to get a good balance of production with low capital investment and/or lease payment.”


Conrad points out that, again, depending on the application, the entry point for wide format digital printing can be under $10,000. "With just a small 24" eco-solvent printer a small 24" cutting plotter, a small heat press and some simple software, you can be in business for applications such as vinyl printing, stickers small banners indoor and outdoor signage, labels and transfer textile printing," he says.


“We believe it’s important to find out what the business owner’s target applications are, before discussing an entry point,” Hope says. “Different technologies serve an array of applications—what suits one may not suit another. Getting a good handle on target applications, volumes and growth forecasts is necessary. Will the primary applications be for indoor or outdoor? Will it be used for signs and banners? Soft signage? Rigid graphics or printing on objects? What’s the minimum width required? What are the projected volumes in three, six, 12 months and beyond? A qualified, manufacturer-authorized dealer can be the best guide in determining the right entry-level product, based on these and other factors.We strongly recommend working with only authorized dealers to help determine the best technology, format, ink, media, software and supplies to get started,” he adds.



Justifying Costs vs. ROI


Roberts points out that justifying the cost of the printer is actually a poor way of looking at the investment. “You really need to look at the return on investment (ROI). The ROI for any printer starts with what is going to be printed.Regardless of the type of printer, the minimum desired ROI should equal the monthly payments on the inkjet, plus overhead. But again, the type of market will define how the ROI is achieved, and better yet, how the profits beyond the ROI are achieved.


“There are simple calculators available based on the number of printed products that can be produced in one hour. The retail price minus the cost of the materials (media and ink or blank product and ink) is multiplied by the hours in the day typically spent printing (usually six is factored).”


Roberts says that essentially, you take the cost to produce and subtract that from how much you can sell the product for, and then multiplying that by the hourly production rate. “Roland works very closely with dealers and end-users to show the cost and ROI of printers,” he adds.


Hope says that there’s great variance and too many components to provide a comprehensive answer to this question. Location (overhead costs), labor rates, financing, machine and ink type, consumables, software, media, finishing, etc., can all affect the production cost to varying degrees. “Low cost-of-entry doesn’t always translate into better value because of hidden consumables, service or other printer-related expenses. Once a printer/ink type is determined, we recommend preparing an ROI that takes into consideration monthly costs for equipment, labor and overhead, and calculate that to return a ‘cost-per-day’ to run. Then determine a realistic ‘sellable-per-day’ square footage rate from that data, to get a good idea of production needs, costs and return. This is a highly simplistic model but will help start the conversation about how much is needed to sell to achieve a good ROI. Printer manufacturers and experienced dealers can be very helpful in developing an ROI based on an individual business,” he explains.


What Types of Projects and Volumes are Required?


Conrad says that print volume requirements are very dependent on the market you’re going after and the customer base you're serving. Also the margins available for the product to be produced should be considered.


“Dye sublimation and some specialty UV printing will allow for higher margins and a faster return on investment, and it may not be as competitive as traditional sign market is," Conrad says. "Again, it's important to understand what your ROI is, your material costs, what your labor and overhead are going to be, and what pricing the market will bear that will allow you to be competitive and still make money—and seeing who your competitors are, what are they selling, and to who. Understanding all of these will help you be successful in your venture,” he adds.


McCausland also reports that projects and volumes vary widely depending on the applications the printer will handle. “This is why we see many shops trying to differentiate their print offering to provide better quality, unique application and different media where they can charge a higher price for the final print, and therefore would be either more profitable or be able to sustain their business with less initial volume. We have found that many customers can justify the price (and in some cases even pay off the entire printer) with one or two jobs.”