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Why UV Gel Ink Is the Best Technique for Large Format Printing

Large format printing jobs need to have a level of craftsmanship many other printing jobs don’t require. Banners, posters, trade show displays, window graphics and other wide format printing projects are often meant to be displayed and have more permanence than other documents a business regularly prints.

The quality of the product begins with one of the most elemental components: the ink. UV gel ink is revolutionizing large format printing by providing outstanding image quality, efficiency, cost savings and safety measures.

The efficiency of UV printing has appealed to professionals for several years. When printer ink hits the substrate — or base material — UV lights closely follow, curing the ink. Now, UV gel ink is making a preferred method even better.

Canon introduced its UV gel ink in 2016, and the Canon/Oce Colorado is one of the best large format printers on the market using UV gel ink. The ink is in a gelled, solid state when at room temperature. When heated, it turns liquid enough to be jetted by inkjet printheads and transferred onto the substrate. Commercial printers consider UV gel ink the Cadillac of printing methods. Here’s why.

Quality

The image quality provided by UV gel is second to none. When the ink hits the media on which it’s printed, it reverts to a gel. This means that there is no overlap between ink droplets, but the droplets are able to seize onto the substrate. Colors don’t bleed into each other or across the material, so the image maintains vibrant color with crystal-clear quality.

The technology also works when printing on a variety of media, allowing image quality upgrades on wallpaper, wall and floor graphics, light coverings, window film, canvases, fabric and vinyl banners and posters and many other materials.

Efficiency

Because the curing process is so quick, machines are able to print at extremely high speeds, which is important for production printers who know that time is money in the commercial printing industry. The LED-UV curing system is able to move independently from the printing carriage. This ensures that curing is uniform and doesn’t slow down the printing process.

Printers also use up to 40 percent less ink when outfitted with UV gel ink because less ink soaks into the material, according to Canon.

Cost savings

Not only can companies save on ink costs with this new technology, but they also could save on energy costs. The low temperatures used in the curing process make the machine more energy efficient. Additionally, the ink allows printers to use the most cost-effective materials because the gel adheres well to a vast majority of substrates. The gel ink also doesn’t contain water, and the lack of heat used in the curing process means that there is no swelling or damage to the printing media.

Safety

Because it contains no water and exists in a gelled state, UV gel ink cannot splash or spill like regular ink. This feature means the ink doesn’t pose as much of a risk to employees. The gel ink is also low-odor, making it safe for constant use in a closed workspace.

The Colorado series of Canon/Oce printers has some of the best models on the market that use UV gel ink. To learn more about how UV gel ink and the Colorado printer can revolutionize your production printing process, message us at InfomaxOffice.com.

The Benefits of Leasing an Office Printer

Has your office needed a new printer for a while, but the cost and dizzying number of options on the market are holding you back? Leasing an office printer could be the secret to a much-needed equipment upgrade.

Limited overhead costs

What would you do with a budget surplus? Small and medium-sized business owners and managers probably have a long list of answers. Sadly, many organizations don’t have extra funds that are not already allocated for the fiscal year. Multifunction printers, or MFPs, can cost a few thousand dollars, and prices change with the market. Leasing allows you to obtain new office equipment today and gather funds as you use it, not scrape for the full amount or max out credit limits to buy a printer. Budgeting also becomes easier: businesses can plan on the same monthly payments for a year or two instead of guessing as to what their budget should be for a new printer paid in full.    

Updated technology

Technology develops at a breakneck pace, and your office needs equipment that matches your businesses’ advancements. Companies that have a high volume of specialized print jobs have the flexibility to upgrade their equipment for the most effective and efficient tools when their contract is up.

And while some organizations may not be looking for the most tricked-out new printer to enter the market, your office will be better off with a system that runs and uses ink as efficiently as the newer models do. Additionally, new MFPs have increased security measures. Manufacturers are making printers that protect sensitive information by requiring users to sign in before gathering their documents.

Smooth transition

When you lease a new MFP, providers typically take care of set up, connecting it to Wi-Fi and other devices in your office. Infomax also performs test runs and on-site training to ensure employees are able to use the equipment to its full capacity.

Easy upkeep

Most equipment providers offer maintenance plans that make fixing printer jams or other production snags a breeze. This means your business can avoid the hassle of searching for service technicians and exorbitant bills each time your MFP needs servicing. Regular ink cartridge and toner changes also are typically included in a leasing package.

Painless disposal

When you lease a printer from a third-party provider, you can avoid the hassle of selling or disposing of your old model when you want to upgrade. Gone are the days when old technology could be sent out with the trash. Today, companies must ensure their data is secured and need to comply with safe, environmentally friendly regulations regarding disposal. When you lease, disposal issues are the responsibility of the lessor, not yours.

To learn more about Infomax’s leasing options, message us online or call 1-800-727-4629.

2020 Printing Trends

Inkjet printers have only been a workplace mainstay for about 30 years, but each new decade brought vast advancements in printer, copier and scanner technology. The start of the ‘20s is sure to do the same.

Learn about printing trends we expect in 2020 and how they’ll affect your workplace.

Personalization

The rise in consumers’ desires for printed décor, signage and other large format printing projects are ushering in a demand for advanced multi-function printers, such as the Oce Colorado.

The desire for more personalized printed products means production printing operations need efficient and long-lasting large format printers that can keep up with demand. Equipment must also be versatile enough to handle printing on a variety of media, everything from thin wallpaper, window film and cloth to thick paper or vinyl for signs. 

Security

Cyberattacks are one of the biggest threats businesses face, and the frequency and severity of cyberattacks won’t slow in the next year or decade. Consider how many documents containing sensitive information roll off the printer, copier or scanner at your organization each day.

Because most multifunctional printers are connected to a business’ servers, they’re at risk for cyberattacks. In 2020, we’ll see even more manufacturers release machines with software and hardware offer more security, such as programs that require employees to verify credentials before printing or collecting documents.

Cloud Storage

Storing reams of documents in countless filing cabinets is so 2000. As we head into the 2020s, workplaces will demand more efficient processes. Cloud storage services, such as Infomax’s uniFLOW document management system, will allow workplaces to print faster and store documents easily. These programs also allow remote printing. System administrators can also set document permissions for specific users, increasing security for sensitive information. We’ll see more workplaces use document management systems to connect to various devices throughout the next year.

Crisp Imaging

The minimalist aesthetic that ruled the late 2010s will continue to dominate design in 2020. For printers, simple design could mean fewer headaches with clashing ink colors and complex overlaid graphic elements.

However, understated designs could bring their own set of challenges, whether printing on inkjet or laser printers. The few elements on a printed document will need to have clean lines and crisp images. 

Environmental Sustainability

Many industries champion environmental sustainability causes, and the printing industry is no exception. Customers have long chosen to print on recycled paper, but we’ll see more printer manufacturers nod to green practices a nod in 2020. It’s possible that more printers will use soy and vegetable-based inks instead of petroleum-based substances. New machines will also be more energy efficient.

To outfit your office with equipment suited for the next decade, message us online or call 1-800-727-4629.

What to Look For in a New Office Printer

Your business is as unique as the market and clients you serve. When it comes to office equipment, you need a printer individualized for your exact needs. There are many printers on the market, so determining which one is the right fit for your office can be difficult. We’re here to help you clear through the clutter.

It’s important to understand the role your printer needs to play and the frequency at which your business will use it. Businesses that print thousands of documents per month may value a machine with high printing speed and durability. A printer with high image quality and four ink wells may be more important for companies printing more colorful documents and images. 

Consider these factors before purchasing your next office printer.

Functionality

Most businesses opt for multifunction printers, or systems that can print, copy, scan and fax. Why? Small and medium-sized businesses need a printing solution that reflects themselves: efficient, versatile and reliable.

Budget

Size, imaging, speed and additional features affecting the price of a printer. When determining your budget for a new printer, it’s important to understand that the upfront costs could be compounded by the price of replacing ink. It’s common for inexpensive printers to have costly ink replacement fees. The reason: manufacturers make their money that way.

Leasing printers has become a popular option for businesses. Monthly leasing costs are easier to factor into a budget than the one-time cost of purchasing a multifunction printer. Leasing also allows companies to update their equipment as printer technology advances.

Quality

Your office printer will likely use an inkjet or laser printer. Inkjet printers use ink and are best for low-volume printing, while laser printers use toner and are suited for high-volume printing. Whichever you use, you want professional print quality. Both are measured in dots per inch — or DPI. Laser printers usually have between 600 to 1,200 DPI, while inkjet printer resolutions usually begin at 1,200 DPI.

It’s also worth checking if you can use third-party ink cartridges for your printer and if refilling cartridges is an option. Be aware that using unapproved ink cartridges might void your warranty.

Speed

If your office frequently prints reports or documents with multiple pages, you’ll want to pay attention to the printing speed on your new machine, measured in pages per minute — or PPM. Though printers will have slight variance in PPM for images and text, the measurement will allow you to determine what best fits your business’ needs.

Wireless Access

Most offices have on-the-go employees who want to print from laptops or cellphones. Printers with wireless or Bluetooth access provide more functionality. The feature also allows the machine to access a document management system. Users can use the printer to access electronically stored files without having to send the files through a computer.

 To learn more about print and technology solutions that best fit your organization’s needs, contact us here.

What You Need to Know About Large Format Printing

You may have spent hours online creating custom wallpaper for an accent wall, but have you considered how that wallpaper was created? How about the large banner you had printed for an event? These projects wouldn’t be possible without large format printing techniques.

Large format printing is defined as printing on materials anywhere from about two to 15 feet in size. We sat down with Infomax’s John McGill, solutions engineer, to hear about some of the trends in the large format printing industry.

Customization

Banners and signs have traditionally been popular large format printing projects. They’ve long been used for everything from business advertising to personal display pieces. However, consumers are wanting more customization than ever. Customers can design their own wallpaper through online programs, which are then printed on a large format system. Artwork is also popular with sticky-sided vinyl portraits and pictures printed on canvas on the rise. The desire for more custom jobs means printers must be more versatile, transitioning from one job to the next.

Material

Growing in popularity is printed window perforated film. The medium is being used more and more as a creative means for advertising or informative signs. Floor graphics — printed on material with one adhesive side — are increasingly being used in the same way.  Currently, printing on fabrics is a bit of a fad. However, John warned that the material can often be finnicky.

Ink

Ultraviolet ink will soon reign supreme in the large format printing industry. Previously, eco-solvent inks were used, which could be messy and required a certain amount of time for the ink to cure — or outgas — before the printed material could safely be handled without smudging. Most recently, latex inks were used. However, the advent of UV ink is saving printers time and money. When a printer uses this type of ink, a UV light passes over the just-printed section, instantly drying the surface. Additionally, about 35 to 50 percent less UV ink is needed to cover a printing job than is required for eco-solvent or latex ink.

Efficient equipment

Many companies that provide large format printing are working with Infomax to secure technologically advanced systems for the best value, such as the Canon-brand Colorado printer. Clients know this machine is built with quality and value in mind. It also saves printers time with its automated creep and crawl correction. Unlike other printers that could set the project lopsided, newer large format printers, such as the Colorado, will automatically correct the material if it starts to go out of alignment.

Inside look: Q & A with an Infomax printer technician

At Infomax, we solve our clients’ printing problems as soon as possible. While we have 24/7 remote support, some system snafus are best solved in person. Our technicians travel across the state to get your printer, copier and scanner systems fixed so your employees can get back to work.

Want to know more about how we do it? We sat down with technician Mike Cobb to learn more.

Mike Cobb has been a printer technician with Infomax since 1994.

Q: How long have you been working at Infomax? 

A: I’ve been working with Infomax since January 1994. I’ve seen a lot change with technology since then. In the late 1980s and ‘90s, most office printers were laser models. Now, inkjet has replaced most of the laser printers because they’re less expensive and are better at printing color documents. 

Q: Where did you learn about printer and copier systems?

A: My first job out of college was working on copiers in 1991. I worked at three other dealers in the Cedar Rapids area before I decided to move to Des Moines. 

Q: What are some of your favorite aspects about your job as a technician?

A:  I love traveling and seeing different parts of the state. We travel all through central Iowa and the rest of the state to service systems for our clients. I also love the feeling of fixing a problem and making the customers happy.  

Q: Have you had a challenging moment? 

A: Working on copiers and printers can be very challenging at times when you are stuck on a call and you can’t fix it. And while it can be frustrating, I also love a challenge and the feeling I get when I find a way to fix the problem. 

Q: What is something about your career that might surprise us? 

A: Good customer relation skills are a key to being a good technician. Facing printer and copier system problems aren’t on any business’ to-do list, so when they encounter an issue, it can hold up workflow in an office and cause stress. When I come to their office, I do my best to put them at ease and get them back to work as soon as possible. 

Q: What should business owners and employees know about printer repairs? 

A: Sometimes it takes a bit to find the problem, but a good technician will take it one piece at a time instead of replacing multiple items hoping that something fixes it. We want to fix systems with precision, not guess at what a problem may be. Anyone can turn a screwdriver, but not everyone can fix a customer. We do a great job of fixing all of the customer’s needs. 

The Future of Printing in 2019

The last decade has brought numerous changes in technology and how it affects an office workspace, and the last year of 2010s will be no different. Though consumers often think of how technological advancements affect their computers, many overlook a process they complete daily: printing. We asked Greg Bailey, Infomax’s director of sales, to discuss printing trends in 2019. Here are some of those trends.

Security

Cyberthreats keep pace with the growing number of devices connecting to the internet. All businesses print confidential information, such as employees’ or customers’ personal information, sensitive company data or financial documents. It’s possible for hackers to tap into networks and see documents that are sent to presses. For these reasons, security is going to be one of the biggest demands in the printing industry for years to come, Greg said. Infomax’s printer and document management services provide multiple layers of protection.

Pay-as-you-go models are going to be more popular in coming years so clients have more flexibility in printing and know budgeting costs before they complete a print job. The perk is that businesses and administrators can monitor who is printing and which types of documents are printed. For some of these models, users will sign in before printing or use an ID badge to collect classified documents. Infomax’s print services also track and allow usage-based billing for individual clients, departments or projects so companies know where much of their printing costs originate. Additionally, more printers have document capture services that are adding more security by storing sensitive documents when they are printed. Print-to-voidance — which prevents sensitive documents from being stored on a system after they’re printed — could also gain in popularity. 

Artificial intelligence

Technology continues to advance, no matter the medium or method. Printers are no exception as artificial intelligence enters the industry. AI is generally defined as the ability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior. Though it might sound fanciful, AI technologies are already helping to make printing processes more effective and efficient.

Printers already use AI to automate more routine tasks, freeing up time for employees to work on more strategic work. Some of those routine tasks include direct mail and catalogs, according to Xerox. As more data about mail recipients becomes available, AI can use data to create more relevant content in mailings to specific recipients. Additionally, software allows a printer to optimize document layouts to minimize waste. Data about a printer also can be sent back to manufacturers to compare data to expected performance, determining if software updates or adjustments need to be made. However, the use of AI in the industry is not yet widespread.

“Manufacturers are beginning to use artificial intelligence, but they’re still in the infancy of that,” Greg said. “There are peaks and valleys.”

Flexible format

Though it used to be a luxury, color printing has taken over. Businesses and their clients want the eye-catching visuals that come with color-printed products. And inkjet printers reign supreme in their abilities to create crisp visuals as well as text-based documents. The next few years will also bring a growth in large-format printing that allows marketers to reach a bigger audience through printed banners, stickers and posters. Clients will have easier accessibility to large format printers, such as the Canon Oce Colorado, one of the large-format printers Infomax currently has in the showroom.

Changing technology

Here’s one thing we can always count on: technology will advance. Many businesses want to stay on top of current trends and outfit their offices with updated systems that save money, perform better than previous models and provide more security. That’s why Infomax provides printer leasing options for their clients, and Greg said he only expects that program to gain in popularity. Most clients take advantage of that program and upgrade their presses after a few years.

Call us today to learn more about our printing services at 1-800-727-4629.

What to Look for in An Office Printer Before You Buy

Office-Printer-Guide

It’s uncanny how an office printer can become a valuable part of your team. The right office printer can make a world of difference.

 

Technological advancements have made it easier and more efficient to run day to day operations digitally, however, the need for print production and office printers has not completely gone by the way side. Whether you have a small, medium or large company, it is imperative to choose the best office printer for your needs. What initially may seem like a minor investment, could turn into costing your company more in the long run. The right printer saves time but, with all the options that are available, can make it difficult to decide which is the right printer for you.

No two offices have the same requirements for printers. In order to ensure you select the best office printer, Infomax believes these are a few important questions to ask first.

How many of your employees require access to the office printer?

The first step is to determine how many employees in your office require access to the office printer on a daily basis. Some smaller businesses do not require high-volume, multifunction printers that are being utilized by numerous employees, on a daily basis. On the contrary, a desktop printer may not meet the demand of large operation companies.

What primary functions does the office printer require?

Multifunction office printers that combine printing, copying, faxing and scanning are a great addition to most offices and can cut down on maintenance and supply costs. However, if your company never faxes or hardly scans documents, you will not need to invest in a multifunction printer and can operate sufficiently with a single-function printer.

Would your company benefit from mobile printing capabilities?

Th advancements in mobile technology not only allows your employees to access documents, on mobile devices, from anywhere they are but also the ability to send projects to your office printers from those devices as well. If your operations require this form of functionality, you will need to select a printer that is equipped with a reliable, easy to use interface.

Do you need an office printer that tracks usage?

A selection of office printers come equipped with software programs that monitor and track usage, helping companies save money. If your company needs to track supplies, usage, order history, and service history, you will need to select an office printer that is capable of interacting with analytic software.

If your company is in need of office printers, contact Infomax today and our specialists will ensure you select the right office printer for your company.

MPS Myths Busted

Many businesses have some reservations about making changes to their printing processes. This is common. After all, change is hard. But, even top-level decision makers can be hesitant about making the switch to MPS because it can be difficult to separate the myths from the facts.

In order to clear some of the fog surrounding MPS, we’ve busted some of the most common myths surrounding MPS below.

Myth 1: MPS is too expensive.
MPS might, at first, seem like a frivolous expense. After all, “Managed Print Services” even sounds expensive. However, one of the major goals of MPS is to help businesses achieve significant, long-term savings. MPS can be easily customized to your business, so this myth really has no grounding in reality. No matter the size, MPS can help your business save money by reducing printing expenses by up to 30%.

Myth 2: MPS will interrupt workflow.
Many businesses are resistant to integrating MPS into their business environment because they believe it will disrupt the company’s workflow and will cause more trouble than it’s worth. But the truth is that MPS actually simplifies operations of the entire print fleet while minimizing interruptions to the company’s workflow. MPS is designed to free up more of your employees’ time. With MPS, your admin staff won’t have to spend time ordering consumables, troubleshooting error messages, or maintaining your devices—that will all be done for them.

Myth 3: MPS is just an up-sell.
MPS is not just some fad—it’s a legitimate solution that allows businesses to focus on core competencies. Top businesses who have adopted MPS into their workflows have found that its benefits are significant and permanent. Gone are common inefficiencies and overly complex printing environments. MPS will streamline your print processes and maximize the efficiency of your entire team.

Myth 4: My IT staff does just fine.
In reality, your IT staff is probably already stretched too thin. With MPS, your they can focus on more important projects, instead of tending to a jammed printer or updating the settings on your multi-function device. MPS proactively maintains your printer fleet, freeing up more of your IT staff’s time.

Myth 5: All of our printers are essential.
No, they are not. A common misconception is that there are few costs associated with personal printers. But, smaller machines are inefficient, wasteful, and can chew through costly consumables quickly. With an MPS solution, your standalone devices would be replaced with fewer, more efficient machines, targeted for specific tasks—resulting in the ability to control printing waste and reducing consumables across your entire organization. MPS provides a solution that’s good for your budget, your workflow, and the environment.

Contact Infomax today to learn more about how MPS can benefit your business.

Going Green Starts with Your Office Equipment

There are plenty of ways to “go green” in your office. Many of these eco-friendly practices are intuitive, such as turning off your computer at the end of the day, and using the appropriate waste bins to separate trash from recyclables.

That said, more and more eco-conscious companies are making smarter hardware decisions to meet their green initiatives. Investing in efficient office equipment—such as printers, copiers, scanners, and MFPs—saves energy without sacrificing quality.

Here are some tips for choosing greener hardware for your office:

  • Invest in efficiency. Typically, office equipment usage accounts for up to 40 percent of a company’s energy bill. Highly efficient machines are simply better for your business in the long run—and also provide immediate cost savings. Be sure to select high-efficiency equipment, usually indicated by the ENERGY STAR symbol. This tells you that you’re purchasing an eco-friendly product, and can potentially reduce the energy used by your business’s hardware by up to 60 percent.
  • Consider the features. Does the MFP you are considering offer duplex printing, advanced sleep mode, and other eco-features? If not, you may want to keep looking. These features are essential for reducing energy consumption and chopping that electricity bill.
  • Buy local. In addition to supporting your local economy, buying or leasing your equipment from a local vendor ensures less gas is used for transportation. Big box office retailers use huge amounts of energy in the shipping of equipment from centralized warehouses to your office. Local inventory also means our machines are available for expedited delivery and installation, with on-site training for your staff.
  • Remember to consolidate. Do you really need separate devices for your printer, scanner, and fax machine? Instead of multiple devices that take up too much energy and office space, consider an MFP, or multi-function printer. Multi-functions systems ensure all of your document imaging needs are met, and consume about 40 percent less energy than offices with standalone devices.

These are just a few of the ways smart hardware decisions can help save the planet and your pocketbook. To learn more, contact Infomax today.