The flatbed printer revolution and what it means for your business.
By Jay Roberts, Product Manager for UV Devices at Roland DGA.
When discussing flatbed UV printing, the statement “what can’t you print on!” is probably more appropriate. With the right flatbed device, there are not many items you can’t directly print on. For sign shops and other design and print businesses, UV flatbed printing represents a massive increase in production capabilities.
Reasons to Choose Flatbed Printing
Flatbed technology has not always been easily accessible to most sign shops and printer service providers. But things have changed and print and sign shops are realizing that flatbed technology is more affordable and versatile than ever and presents an opportunity to quickly realize a return on investment and ultimately achieve significant profits. Here are some reasons why flatbed printing has proven to be good for business:
- With a decrease in the initial price point, flatbed printing is now more accessible than ever
- Users save time, effort and running costs when compared to traditional methods which require more complicated setup and operation
- It’s no longer perceived as the “novelty” it once was and shops are realizing the massive growth potential
- It enables the production of unique custom and personalized products, especially when combined with other plotting and cutting device capabilities
- The commercial world is evolving and modern clients are constantly looking for new and interesting ways to promote their brands – flatbed printing allows you to supply this demand
- Flatbed printers are perfect for upselling customers on all the wealth of specialty displays, POPs, and branded products with unique features
Let’s take a further look at some of these advantages, and some specific examples:
Devices like the Roland LEJ-640FT Flatbed UV Printer have wide enough beds to print on full sheets of MDF, acrylic, foam board and even tables and doors, you can even print on media like this guitar case that’s up to 6-inches thick!
With the ability to print directly onto full-sheets, wide-format machines like the Roland LEJ-640FT are truly effective machines for handling displays, POP’s, advertising materials and other everyday big print items.
Flatbeds are not limited to big and heavy items either, and have the added value of printing directly onto hundreds of USB drives and iPads or distinct items with irregular surfaces like softballs and glass bottles. Once you have a print jig, you can quickly set-up and print multiple designs and multiple orders.
Because flatbed UV print technology can print on curved and textured surfaces, putting a logo on golf balls is no problem – offering distinct services like this has proved to be highly profitable for many print and sign shops.
Print on multiple leather-bound menus at once and offer products that few of your competitors will be able to produce as fast or that look this good.
Custom branded salt and pepper shakers are another restaurant product idea to offer clients – the ability to print onto glass opens up a whole new category of custom labeling and artwork.
Safe and direct printing onto items such as laptops and other products with huge markets is now possible – this example shows the clear coat UV effects that can be added to give amazing textured finishes.
This wedding decoration is an example of the craft and artistic applications that are possible with a flatbed – putting art and designs on rough wood and items with highly textured surfaces is a breeze.
An example of specialized printing for high-end jewelry packaging– printing directly onto acrylic with different ink and UV effects adds another level of sophistication to your print offerings.
With devices like the LEJ-640FT, you can quickly create gallery-sized art and décor by printing directly on double-thick canvasses, wood panels and a host of other art mediums – with the right flatbed machine, a new world of art and design products is possible.
Limitations to Flatbed printing do exist of course. Some substrates are too curved to print fully, but with proper file sizing and creativity, they can be easily overcome. It is truly an open palate with flatbed printing on devices like the LEJ-640FT.
Flatbed printing is no longer in its infancy and is now considered a fully-fledged technology that gives print shops, design studios, event companies, arts and craft producers and other innovative businesses the ability to simply do more and make more.
Jay Roberts is Product Manager for UV Devices at Roland DGA and is a foremost knowledge on large-format flatbed printing and UV technology.