Thinking Bigger at WSU

Brian Nicholson (left) and Steve Rigby hold up a vinyl canister banner being printed on University Publishing’s new Epson Stylus Pro 9900.

The new Epson Stylus Pro 9900.

Washington State University Publishing has long been ahead of the curve in the in-plant world. Winner of the In-Print 2013 Best of Show award, the in-plant was handling Web site design, html email templates, PURL campaigns and content management long before other in-plants even dreamed of such things. University Publishing was also the first in-plant to earn its FSC chain-of-custody certification.

But in the wide-format printing arena, Director of Printing Steve Rigby readily admits his operation was a little slower than others to dive in.

That changed recently when the 45-employee Pullman, Wash., in-plant installed an 11-color 44˝ Epson Stylus Pro 9900 wide-format printer and started cranking out posters, banners, backlit films, table wraps and more. In the first two months the in-plant has had the machine, Rigby says, it has pumped out well over 200 posters and other projects.

“We’ve really turned it up a notch,” he proclaims.

The in-plant’s Epson Stylus Pro 9000 ran out of steam a few years ago, Rigby says, and its Stylus Pro 7800 is mostly a proofing device, so the shop has been brokering out wide-format printing jobs. Noticing an increase in this type of work, Rigby decided to give wide-format printing a shot.

“It’s not that expensive to get into,” he discovered; for the server, EFI Fiery color software, printer, installation and training, the in-plant paid about $15,000, he says. In return, it is getting business from such high-profile clients as the athletic department, which orders scores of wall wraps and banners.

“It really opens up opportunities,” Rigby says.

He likes that the 9900 can print on a wide range of substrates, at resolutions up to 2,880×1,440 dpi, thanks to Epson UltraChrome HDR pigment ink technology combined with new Epson AccuPhoto HDR screening technology and MicroPiezo TFP print heads. The in-plant also mounts, laminates and adds grommets to wide-format pieces.

“We want our clients to have one-stop shopping, whether it’s wide-format or digital or offset, it doesn’t matter,” he says.

Though the in-plant hasn’t officially started marketing its wide-format capabilities yet, Rigby says the planned marketing campaign will have the theme “Thinking Bigger.”

Related story: Washington State University: Ever Green

Bob has served as editor of In-plant Graphics since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited more than 130 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Graphics.
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