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I am looking to offset print a poster and can't find a service that does above 36"x48". Is this the largest size offset printing can accommodate? What's the cause of this limitation?

  • Sheetwise, the paper sheet size is the limitation. There's web offset that prints with rotary plates on rolls of paper or plastic. – Stan Jan 19 '17 at 5:16
  • @Stan but you still have the plate/roller limitation. I doubt there are many web presses with custom rollers to handle extra-long plates. – DA01 Jan 19 '17 at 6:16
  • It's getting harder and harder to find 40" presses these days. I've heard of bigger sheet fed presses but they are rare. The cost and volume of work just isn't there to sustain these big boys these days. What kind of volume are you looking to print? – GoofyMonkey Jan 19 '17 at 21:21
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  • The big size of the machines?

  • The low demand for bigger sizes?

  • The maximum paper size?

Actually depending on the country you live there is a chance you can not find a suitable paper, for example more than 72x102cm.

But for example some Heilderberg machines can print up to 121x162 cm https://www.heidelberg.com/global/en/products/press/sheetfed_offset/speedmaster_xl_145___xl162/technical_data___equipment_11/technical_data___equipment_22.jsp

In case you find a printer that big, you need to see the minimum ammount of units they are willing to print.

The bigger the machine, the bigger the number of thousands you need to print, because it cost a lot to have them paused mounting the new plates.

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  • This is good information. I'm sort of amazed not one online service seems to offer prints at that size. At least none I can find. – Lucent Jan 19 '17 at 5:26
  • @Lucent the bigger the press, the more expensive it is to buy, maintain, and the more room it takes up on the production floor. There's just not enough of a demand for offset printing beyond standard poster sizes for it to be profitable to run presses that large (let alone paper suppliers to stock paper cut to that size). – DA01 Jan 19 '17 at 6:15
  • One of thoose machines is arround 5 digits... – Rafael Jan 19 '17 at 16:12
  • @Rafael or 6+ digits depending on the options – GoofyMonkey Jan 19 '17 at 21:24
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    "The big size of the machines" is certainly significant LOL - the bigger the press the more people can stand on it! - i.imgur.com/Yq3hbmc.jpg – Billy Kerr Sep 5 '17 at 17:42
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I discovered about a dozen offset printers doing 64" and 81" in the United States. The secret was to search for the specific machines that can print at these sizes, like the KBA 164 (64"), KBA 145 (57"), KBA 185 (73"), and KBA 205 (81").

Printing companies more often advertise their acquisition of one of these expensive machines than their maximum sheetfed offset capability. You'll also find press releases mentioning the machines that'll lead you back to the companies.

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