Many of the current “desktop” dye sublimation production companies are now considering taking the next step up to a wide format sublimation set-up. It may make sense if you are one of those busy shops that are currently using the Ricoh printers with Sawgrass ink cartridges.
If you are one of these companies, then what is the Return on Investment (ROI) for making the switch? Excluding a heat press the calculations are pretty simple. If you are currently buying Ricoh SubliJet ink in cartridges at $ 126.00 per 60ml cartridge then your liter ink cost is $2,100.00. The liter ink cost for wide format sublimation ink is $ 125.00.
Figure that for most full color images you will use between 1 ml to 1.5 ml of ink per square foot. The ink cost of a square foot of printing for the small format solution is between $ 2.10 and $3.15. For the Wide Format solution the ink cost will be between $ .125 and $.1875 per square foot.
So, say the wide format printer package costs $ 7,495.00. How many square feet of printing do you need to do to justify the initial price based on ink cost alone? Using the higher coverage number of 1.5 ml per square foot then if you print 2,530 square feet of transfers, then you will be able pay for the initial cost of the wide format sublimation printer. If you average about ½ of a square foot for your image on a t-shirt, then, when you print 5,060 shirts you will have paid for the printer.
Adding to the savings is the fact your paper costs are much lower. The cost of the wide format sublimation paper is from $ .10 to $ .12 per square foot while the small format sublimation paper is about $ .20 per square foot. This is an additional savings of $ 08 to $ .10 per square foot of paper usage.
Here is another way to look at the ROI to help you justify a wide format sublimation printer:
Wide format printer packages start at $7,495.00 including 4 liters of ink, paper, bulk feed system, and RIP software with profiles.
60 ml of Ricoh SubliJet ink costs $ 126.00. So if you were to use 60 SubliJet cartridges (or only 15 sets of CMYK) equal the same amount of ink (4 liters) that you will get with the initial wide format package. Those 60 cartridges @ the $126.00 price per cartridge = $ 7,560.00. Basically that is the cost of a new faster wide format printer that includes an equal amount of quality sublimation ink. Who doesn’t want a FREE wide format printer?
There are many advantages to stepping up to the wide format solution for your sublimation production including:
- Ability to produce overall shirt transfers with a wide format heat press
- Ability to produce cut and sew garments and uniforms
- Better work flow with use of the Wasatch software RIP
- Can archive previous jobs in the RIP
- Faster print speeds
- Excellent color management
- Great support and warranties
- Ability to print multiple jobs at the same time
- Conserve paper with smart nesting and using only what you need
- Can print unattended for overnight printing with a take up system
- Industrial Grade equipment that will last many years
Coastal sells and supports both the Epson and the Mutoh printers for wide format sublimation production and have printers from 44” to 104” and can help you design the exact solution that is best for your specific requirements.
If you think you are ready, contact our Professional Solutions department to speak to an expert.