Instant and Mail In Rebates on Canon Inkjet Printers at LexJet

Canon iPF8400S Inkjet PrinterCall a LexJet printer specialist at 800-453-9538 to take advantage of the following instant and mail-in rebates on Canon imagePROGRAF (iPF) printers through Sept. 30, as well as the personal support and service and fast product delivery you always get from LexJet… First up, get a mail-in rebate of $800 on the Canon iPF8400 44″ wide format inkjet printer until Sept. 30. This versatile printer comes complete with a Print Plug-in for Photoshop, and canvas gallery wraps are a breeze with the Gallery Wrap feature. And, you’ll get a wider color gamut, smoother gradations and more scratch resistance with the 12-color LUCIA EX pigment ink set. Buy or lease a new Canon large format inkjet printer from LexJet before Sept. 30 to take advantage of these instant rebates:

For more information about Canon’s rebates, special bundle deals from LexJet, and anything you need help with, contact a LexJet customer specialist at 800-453-9538. Click here for a video overview of how and why Canon printers pay off almost immediately.

Savings and Rebates on Canon Wide Format Inkjet Printers through September

Canon iPF8400 Inkjet PrinterCanon is offering special pricing on its imagePROGRAF (iPF) printers through Sept. 30, including introductory sales prices of up to $1,500 on the new SE Series (click here to read more about the SE Series).

You can also pick up a mail-in rebate of $800 on the Canon iPF8400 44” wide format inkjet printer starting now through Sept. 30. This versatile printer comes complete with a Print Plug-in for Photoshop, and canvas gallery wraps are a breeze with the Gallery Wrap feature. And, you’ll get a wider color gamut, smoother gradations and more scratch resistance with the 12-color LUCIA EX pigment ink set.

Buy or lease a new Canon large format inkjet printer from LexJet before Sept. 30 to take advantage of the special pricing, and the SE Series sales price, which include…

For more information about Canon’s rebates, special bundle deals from LexJet, and anything you need help with, contact a LexJet customer specialist at 800-453-9538. Click here for a video overview of how and why Canon printers pay off almost immediately.

How to Make Canvas Printing Work for You, Part 3: Latex, Solvent, UV-Curable Printing

Canvas with the HP Latex Printer
Printing Sunset by Fredrix Gloss Canvas SUV on the new HP Latex 360 printer.

In the previous installment we detailed canvas printing using aqueous-ink printers. Here, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of latex, solvent and UV-curable printers for canvas…

Latex Layout
HP pioneered the use of latex inks in wide-format printing, and recently released its next generation of HP Latex 300-series printers. There are other latex printers out there, but HP’s Latex printers are the standard and best suited for canvas printing since you don’t need to coat the canvas after it’s been printed. Latex inks provide more durability and scratch resistance than aqueous inks and are touted as environmentally-friendly. For super-high production, the HP Latex 3000 provides all the benefits of latex printing, plus higher speeds at billboard-sized widths. Click here to find out what LexJet’s technical support director, Adam Hannig, found as he put the new HP Latex 360 through its paces.

Cost: The cost for the new 64-inch wide printer (the HP Latex 360) is priced around $20,000, which offers the most quality and flexibility within the HP 300 series. Ink and media costs are about the same as they are for aqueous and solvent printers since latex inks work with many of these media types.

Operation: It takes awhile for the heating element on older latex printers to get to the right temperature for printing, but this time has been cut down dramatically with the new HP Latex 300 Series. With latex, you can laminate right away since the ink is dry and outgassed once printed.

Durability: As mentioned with solvent printing, the additional durability of the latex inks allows you to skip the coating step for most applications, though the customer may like the look of a coated print and request it.

Quality: The HP Latex 300 Series also promises to boost quality, inching ever closer to aqueous-quality levels. The fact is that most wide-format inkjet printers will produce the quality you need for high-volume décor canvas printing. If you have a pickier clientele for more custom canvas work you should request samples from the manufacturer/distributor of the printer you’re interested in using files you supply them.

Maintenance: Latex requires less maintenance than a solvent or UV-curable printer, but more than an aqueous printer, though the HP Latex 300 Series includes new features like a maintenance cartridge, instead of a maintenance tank, making maintenance easier and faster.

Solvent Solutions
Solvent printing was a godsend to the sign industry when it first arrived on the scene. Commercial sign makers were continually carping about outdoor durability and the lack of it before solvent printers were introduced to the signmaking scene.

Sunset by Fredrix Satin Canvas SUV
Sunset by Fredrix Satin Canvas SUV printed on a low-solvent printer.

Printer manufacturers rushed to meet this demand and developed a solvent ink set designed to permeate and penetrate vinyl. Aqueous inks are anchored to the surface by an inkjet coating, so the ink sits on the surface, making it less permanent. One way to look at this relationship between ink and vinyl is that solvent ink is like a tattoo and aqueous ink is more like a sticker.

Most of those early solvent inks were hard solvents that were rather caustic and as such could bite into just about any material. Since then, the industry has moved to low/eco solvent inks, so the media designed for these inks requires some sort of treatment or coating to ensure ink adhesion.

As such, more high-volume fine art and décor reproduction companies are migrating to solvent since it eliminates the need for post-print coating; just pick the canvas finish – gloss, satin or matte – and go straight to stretching and finishing.

There is a great range of printer types, from entry-level units that are 54 in. to 72 in. wide and cost between $16,000 and $30,000 to giant 16-foot super-high production printers that can cost up to half a million bucks.

For the purposes of the following solvent printer discussion, we’ll use the Epson SureColor S70670 64-inch low-solvent printer as our benchmark as it sits in that entry- to mid-level range, provides near-aqueous quality printing, and is similar in cost and overall capabilities to those in the same range manufactured by Mimaki, Roland, and Mutoh…

Cost: As mentioned earlier, solvent printers have a higher average entry cost. For typical operation, ink and media costs are generally lower than they are with aqueous printers. But again, media represents only a small percentage of a print operation’s overall cost, so it’s not a significant factor.

Maintenance: The latest generation of solvent printers typically require only an hour or less of maintenance once a month.

Operation:  Outside of minor maintenance, solvent printers will run continuously and similar to an aqueous printer. However, there’s usually a recommended drying and outgassing time recommended before lamination based on the printer model.

Durability: Solvent prints are extremely durable, opening up a wider range of applications that don’t require lamination or coating, including canvas.

Quality: Solvent printers, particularly Epson’s, have made great strides in quality. Though you’re not likely to find the same quality as you will with aqueous printers, there are certain models that come very close to aqueous quality. It’s also important to keep in mind that quality is not only a function of the printer, but of the color management workflow and the media being printed to.

Printheads: Most solvent printers use piezo printheads, which are more durable and long-lasting than the thermal printheads typically found on aqueous printers (excepting Epson’s aqueous photo printers, which also use piezo heads).

Curing Time
For some, UV-curable printing represents the Holy Grail of sign printing because it’s the only wide-format technology that allows direct printing to board materials, such as Coroplast, Gator Board, Sintra, and even doors and tabletops. UV-curable inks are cured or set using UV lamps that are built into the printer so the inks adhere to more materials.

And, with the advent of hybrid UV-curable printers – those that can switch from flatbed to roll-to-roll, such as the CET Color X-Press – the printing potential becomes almost limitless. But with this seemingly limitless capability is an attendant complexity.

Moreover, UV-curable inks are generally not designed for the canvas printing process. The inks are simply not flexible enough for the stretching process, but should be fine for mounted or framed canvas prints.

Applications: A UV-curable printer eliminates the painful application step for board applications; simply print and go. Almost everything, excepting vehicle graphics and stretched canvas, is fair game for a UV-curable printer, allowing more opportunities to make a difference with specialty graphics.

Durability: The durability of UV-curable rivals solvent, and rarely needs lamination, unless you’re looking for a different texture or more rigidity for roll materials.

Quality: For canvas printing, UV-curable printers are really a last resort. If the bulk of your work is direct-to-board printing and you have an occasional canvas project you could certainly do it, particularly if you aren’t planning to stretch and frame the canvas. Some shops print directly to a pre-stretched blank canvas, but in that case you have to paint the edges as most people expect either a gallery wrap (where the image continues onto the edges of the frame, usually mirrored) or a museum wrap (a solid color on the edges).

Cost: Low-end UV-curable printers start at around $60,000 and range up to half a million dollars for a high-quality production printer. The hybrid CET Color X-Press and others like it were designed to strike a balance between economy, production and quality as the lower-end machines are not as sturdy and reliable, while the higher-end industrial printers represent an extraordinary capital investment. You can also use less-expensive uncoated materials and UV-curable inks are generally less expensive.

Maintenance: UV-curable printers require more detailed and time-consuming maintenance about once a month.

Operation: Because of the relative complexity of UV-curable printing, and the need to adjust the printhead height based on the material running through the printer, the variables in the process increase proportionately. Plus, you may need an additional operator, at least part time. High-performance, high-volume printers burn through material quickly, and the material used is often quite heavy. Where a roll of 36 in. wide material is easily loaded on an aqueous or solvent printer by one person, a 300 ft. roll of 60 in. material can weigh around 100 lbs., so someone else will need to be available to help load heavy materials or big boards onto the printer.

For the rest of this series, click on the following links:

Part 1: Materials, Finishes and Textures

Part 2: Printer Technologies for Canvas

Part 4: Coating Canvas

Part 5: Canvas Wrap Options

How to Make Canvas Printing Work for You, Part 2: Printer Technologies for Canvas

Sunset Reserve Bright Matte Canvas Print
Printing fine-art photography on Sunset Reserve Bright Matte Canvas with the HP Designjet aqueous printer at Art Warehouse, Chattanooga.

Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. As noted in the previous installment, your clientele and market focus will ultimately dictate the choices you make regarding canvas materials and finishes. And so it goes with your choice in printer technology.

Though the volume you produce in canvas is an important element, it’s only one element of many that need to be considered to find the right printer. Those elements include:

  • Your current print production and application mix
  • What you want that print production and application mix to be in the future, and the clientele you aim to capture
  • The expectations of your clientele: do they require almost perfect fidelity to the original, are they more concerned about producing multiple prints at an economical price with short turn-arounds, or somewhere in between?
  • Your capital equipment budget, both initially and over the long haul of the printer’s life
  • How much post-print finishing you’re willing to do and how much finishing adds to your overall production time and costs

The choices in wide-format printing used to be fairly simple, but this simplicity also brought limitations. With the introduction of more affordable and reliable printers using solvent, latex and UV-curable ink sets, the potential applications became much more varied and print durability became less of an issue.

Canvas by AW Artworks
Point of sale gallery wraps by AW Artworks printed on Sunset Production Matte Canvas with a Canon iPF8300 aqueous inkjet printer.

Each wide-format printing technology – aqueous, solvent, latex and UV-curable – has certain characteristics that need to be taken into account based on each print shop’s goals, capital equipment budget and operating environment. While there may not be such a thing as the perfect printer, there is an ideal printer waiting to be used to its full potential.

Water Works: Aqueous-Based Printers
Aqueous-based printers, so called because the ink used is primarily water mixed with either dyes or pigments, are widely used for canvas printing and typically offer the best image quality. Most print shops have moved to pigmented inks because these inks provide a more durable print than dye inks; pigmented inks are now the standard.

Often referred to as UV inks for their ability to resist UV light, they should not be confused with UV-curable inks, which are discussed in the final section of this installment. The advent of pigmented inks for aqueous printers eliminated much of the laminating previously needed for prints using dye-based inks for short-term outdoor and long-term indoor applications.

However, it is still recommended that you coat aqueous inkjet canvas prints so they’re protected from environmental factors and to help ensure they won’t crack on the edges when they’re stretched.

Film laminates are rarely used for canvas prints, mainly due to aesthetic reasons. Liquid coatings enhance the canvas texture and provide a more “painted” or artistic look, and come in gloss, satin and matte to provide different finishes.

Film lamination is recommended for other print materials when you need extra rigidity, a different texture, protection from people picking or chipping away at the graphics, specialty applications (floor and vehicle graphics, for instance) or to gain about 20 percent added durability for longer-term outdoor signage (more than six months).

Along with the development of pigmented inks, there have been a plethora of printable media – from photo papers, polypropylenes and polycarbonates to fabrics– optimized for these inks that provide excellent color reproduction and greater longevity.

In other words, if you’re doing a variety of applications, including canvas prints, aqueous printers will fill the bill for most of those.

Following is a rundown of aqueous-based printing’s strengths and weaknesses, based on the latest printers from Canon, Epson and HP

Cost: Aqueous printers have a significantly lower cost of entry. You can get a 42-inch or 44-inch wide printer for $3,000-$8,000 or a 60-inch unit for $10,000-$13,000, as opposed to $16,000-$30,000 for an entry-level solvent printer, around $20,000 for a latex printer, and more than $60,000 for an entry-level UV-curable printer. The greatest cost will be on the finishing side. You don’t have to coat aqueous prints, but as noted above it’s recommended that you do. From print to ship, expect to add at least 48 hours to production since you should wait 24 hours before coating and 24 hours before stretching. The coating step obviously adds labor and the cost of the coating to the equation as well. There are a lot of companies that run multiple aqueous printers to keep up with demand, but have usually added automation in the finishing department, such as coating machines and canvas stretching machines, which will be discussed in subsequent installments. Even with automation, the lag time between printing and shipping is an important consideration. The most important element in the cost-to-print equation is finishing since time and labor are the largest cost factors in the print process. Some studies of the cost-to-print put ink and media as less than 10 percent of the total operation costs.

Maintenance: Aqueous printers require little maintenance, other than keeping the production area as clean as possible.

Operation: They are virtually plug-and-play, so there is very little time lost tweaking the printers for different materials. Because of their relatively simple operation, they are the most reliable printers over the long haul. Moreover, with the more complicated latex, solvent and UV-curable printers the addition of a RIP (Raster Image Processor) software is necessary, requiring additional training and knowledge.

Quality: You typically get a nicer-looking print with a wider color gamut at production speeds than you do with other printing technologies. The wider the color gamut, however, the slower the print speed. When you’re researching printers ask about speeds in the highest-quality mode.

Applications: Though aqueous is versatile enough for almost any application, including canvas, specialty applications like vehicle wraps are more difficult and time-consuming to accomplish than they are with solvent and latex printers (UV-curable printers are not ideal for vehicle graphics, or stretched canvas, since the ink tends to crack when stretched around corners or rivets and over stretcher bars in the case of canvas).

Speed: This is actually somewhat of a wash when compared to entry-level solvent printers, particularly with the latest technology, which prints about twice as fast as the previous generations. Basically, upgrading to any new printer – be it aqueous, solvent, latex or UV-curable – will increase production speed significantly.

Printheads: HP and Canon use thermal printheads, which don’t last as long as the piezo heads used in Epson’s printers and in most solvent printers. Fortunately, the cost of each thermal printhead is relatively low, and significantly lower than the cost to replace a piezo printhead.

For the rest of this series, click on the following links:

Part 1: Materials, Finishes and Textures

Part 3: Latex, Solvent and UV-Curable Printing

Part 4: Coating Canvas

Part 5: Canvas Wrap Options

 

Upgrade to (the New HP) Latex and Get Cash Back on HP Printers

HP Latex 300 Series

Expand your business, boost capacity and exceed client expectations with production speeds ideal for handling urgent jobs with the new HP Latex 360 Printer.

And, get $1,000 cash back when you purchase or lease the new HP Latex 360 Printer, which is now available through LexJet, and trade in an eligible solvent, aqueous or latex printer by June 30. All you need to do is submit a photo of the printer with the model and serial number to cash in. For details, go to www.hp.com/go/upgradetolatex.

If you’re looking for a wider print area, HP is also offering $6,000 cash back on the HP Latex 280 104″ inkjet printer when you trade in an eligible solvent or aqueous printer by July 31. The HP Latex 280 allows you expand your offerings to include high-quality grand-format backlits, banners and soft signage.

If you’re looking to upgrade your aqueous inkjet printer, HP has a great deal for you with its HP Designjet Cash In & Trade Up promotion. When you trade in a qualifying printer you can get up to $2,500 cash back.

HP Designjet printers to which you can trade up include the HP Designjet Z6200 42-inch printer (up to $2,500 back), HP Designjet T1500 36-inch Post Script technical printer (up to $1,000 back) or HP Designjet T1500 36-inch technical printer (up to $750 back).

We use the phrase “up to” since you’ll need to provide a serial number and return the formatter board or motherboard for your qualifying trade-in printer to receive the maximum. You can also provide just the serial number for less cash back ($250). The Designjet Cash In & Trade Up promotion runs through June 30.

To find out more, including qualifying trade-in printers, bundle deals on the HP Z5400 and HP Z5200, and for direction on what printer would work best for you, contact a LexJet customer specialist at 800-453-9538.

Epson Inkjet Printer Mail-in and Instant Rebates

Epson Inkjet Printer RebateThe latest rebates from Epson are good through May 31. Here are the rebate details, grouped by printer type (Stylus Pro aqueous, SureLab D-Series, SureColor low solvent and Technical printers)…

Epson Stylus Pro Mail-In Rebates

Epson Stylus Pro Instant Rebates

Epson SureLab D-Series Mail-in Rebate: $2,000

Epson SureColor Instant Rebates

Epson SureColor T-Series Instant Rebates

For more information about the latest rebates, contact a LexJet customer specialist, who can also tell you about special bundle deals, at 800-453-9538.

And, to learn more about how to set up and operate Epson printers, go to the Epson Printers and Workflow playlist at LexJet’s YouTube Channel.