Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 39

in Irvine, Calif., explains that the category
is generally defined based on the width
of the printer, with wide-format being
anything from 30 to 64 inches. Any
printing wider than 64 inches is often
called a grand format, but we're including
those sizes here as well. Ultraflex and other
companies have long been printing PVC
products with machines that can go five
meters wide (197 inches), but 10- to 16-foot
machines are now being used on softer
fabrics as well.
At the most basic level, wide-format
printing allows large products with fewer
seams, says Schleicher. But there are other
advantages as well.
"Wide-format gives you a lot of
versatility in the production footprint,"
explains Leonard Marano, vice president
of product management and marketing
at Gerber Technology, which makes
production hardware, including printers,
in Tolland, Conn.
"From a throughput standpoint, wideformat makes a lot of sense," says Marano.
"You can bundle like jobs together,
optimizing material usage. So it's not just
about being able to be bigger and bolder-
it's about better efficiency too."

The exteriors of sports arenas used to be plain, but today they often display
large graphics promoting athletes and events, like these from Ultraflex
Systems Inc. in Randolph, N.J. Photo: Ultraflex Systems Inc.

Wide-format printing may require special equipment, but it provides
"a lot of versatility in the production footprint," says Leonard Marano
of Gerber Technology, in Tolland, Conn. Photo: Gerber Technology.

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Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020

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