Printers are a steadfast staple in offices throughout the U.S. and the world over. On the other hand, the wide format printer has had more limited audiences, with design, marketing and advertising firms being the only agencies to use them to their fullest potential. But more and more businesses are discovering the benefits of owning or leasing a wide format printer.

Perhaps you’re wondering if a wide format printer suits your business needs. Read on and learn the basics about these unique printers and what they can do for you.

What Is a Wide Format Printer?

Chances are you’re already familiar with the average multifunction printer and its features. But a wide format printer goes well beyond the capabilities of the typical printer found in most offices.

Simply put, a wide format printer’s forte is printing materials much larger than the 11×17-inch documents that are the limit of ordinary printers. These materials range from 12 inches to 100 inches or more in width, making them ideal for printing banners, maps, blueprints and other documents too wide for ordinary multifunction printers to handle.

Another big difference between wide format printers and their ordinary counterparts is the type of paper they use. These printers rely on large rolls of paper instead of sheets, making those wide documents possible to print. It also gives a continuous, uninterrupted feed until the roll is completely exhausted.

The vast majority of wide format printers use inkjet technology. However, the inkjets used are a little different from those found in ordinary devices. In addition to using higher quality ink, wide format printers also use more colors. More colors mean a higher degree of color accuracy, which translates to better image and document quality.

Some wide format printer models use laser printing technology to produce crisp, high-quality materials. However, inkjets remain the dominant technology for wide format printing.

Wide format printers aren’t just limited to paper. They can handle many other printable materials, including textile fabrics and vinyl. That gives wide format printers greater diversity in the products one can make in-house.

How Your Business Can Thrive with An In-House Wide Format Printer

What is the main advantage of having a wide format printer? You can design and create a multitude of wide format products without outsourcing to a third-party print shop. These products include:

  • Banners, flags and backdrops– Need a backdrop for a photo or film shoot? Or a wide banner for an upcoming event? If your business regularly needs these and similar materials, having a wide format printer could prove an incredible advantage.
  • Trade show displays – Whether you need eye-catching wall graphics, breathtaking pop-up displays or a gorgeous table cloth featuring your organization’s logo, a wide format printer can tackle these materials and much more.
  • Blueprints and maps – Wide format printers are already a staple of architectural firms, design agencies and construction companies. These devices are tailor-made for printing high-quality blueprints, layouts and Geographical Information System (GIS) maps.
  • Wall decals – Wide format printers are also helpful for printing vinyl wall decals. They´re also useful for promoting major sales or filling in blank wall spaces with eye-catching graphics that also advertise your business and its products and services.
  • Photo canvas prints – Wide format printers are also popular for printing high-quality photo images on canvas – ideal for photography firms looking to expand their options with large-scale prints.

Is It Right for Your Business

Wide format printers can be a boon for a broad range of businesses, organizations and industries. Take outdoor advertising, for instance. A large format printer fits perfectly if your business sells advertising signs and billboard space. Those in education may also be interested in wide format printers for creating large banners and backdrops for various school events.

Despite the various benefits that a wide format printer offers, they’re not always a perfect match for every business. If you’re considering one for your small-to-medium enterprise, then it pays to keep the following in mind:

  • Print Workflow – What does your workflow normally consist of? If you regularly outsource large-format print jobs, then a wide format printer may be worth owning or leasing. The more large-format jobs your business finds itself with, the more sensible a wide format printer purchase or lease becomes.
  • Size – True to their name, most wide format printers are sizable machines. You’ll need plenty of room in your office to accommodate one without imposing a burden on your workforce. Keep this in mind if you have a limited amount of office space to work with.
  • Upkeep and Training – Compared to ordinary multifunction printers, wide format printers require a higher level of maintenance and upkeep. Your employees may also need more comprehensive training to be more familiar with and more proficient at operating their new equipment.
  • Upfront Costs – Of course, a wide format printer will cost your organization more to purchase or lease than a comparable multifunction printer. However, the increased upfront costs may be worth it, depending on your use case.

A wide format printer could be just what your business needs to achieve further success, but it all depends on your specific requirements and overall workflow.

If you’re looking into acquiring a wide format printer for your Northeast Wisconsin or Milwaukee area business, contact Wisconsin Document Imaging today and speak to one of our specialists for more information.