Last year, inside our round-up of your latest in latte coffee printer, we discussed how recent introductions have, a minimum of in part, been intended to help move work from analog technologies like offset to digital wide-format, specifically stuff like posters, POP/POS displays, and the like. In past times year, there’s been a smaller amount of an emphasis on shifting work from a single technology to another, plus more of merely one on creating unique print applications which had never before been possible. Printing on atypical rigid substrates and three-dimensional objects has become the raison d’être for today’s flatbeds, and manufacturers’ product portfolios have huge variations from small table- or benchtop units made to print on stuff like golf balls and smartphone cases, as much as massive behemoths through which one could run large sheets of wood, corrugated board, and other such materials, even objects like footballs.
Flatbed units can also be during this process of blurring the line between commercial and industrial printing. (Industrial printing is printing which is done included in a manufacturing process, including the control labels in the front of an appliance just like a dishwasher, a car dashboard, the gradations and measurement units on syringes or other medical items, and other kinds of printing that are different from the usual “print for pay” applications.)
The majority of the flatbed units available today use UV (ultraviolet) cured inks, it being the ink technology containing made such versatility possible. (Trivia question: what exactly is the one substrate that UV inks-thus far-can’t print on? Teflon. It seems sensible when you consider it….) The most up-to-date trend in UV inks is very-called cold-curing UV, or UV inks that cure under contact with LED lamps instead of the traditional mercury vapor lamps. It’s not much of a new technology, however the costs than it are coming down. LEDs run much cooler than mercury vapor, leading them to be more suitable for thin plastic substrates. LEDs are also said to be energy-efficient which implies cost benefits. EFI specifically has become a highly active proponent of LED UV and has announced its intention to completely secure the technology in every its UV offerings.
We are also visiting a greater proliferation of hybrid units, flatbed printers that may also serve as roll-to-roll devices for printing on flexible materials. Where once hybrids were regarded as “jacks of all trades, masters of none,” they may have improved to the level where they are respectedly considered as methods for giving shops the versatility to consider numerous types of print projects. (Take into account, though, the same UV inks will not be ideal for all materials given the respective dyne amounts of ink and surface. Some surfaces could also require pre- or post-treatment to obtain UV ink to adhere.)
Earlier this year with the International Sign Association (ISA) Sign Expo, HP launched several new flatbeds in the Scitex line. The 64-inch HP Scitex FB550 and 120-inch FB750 hit the sign and display sweet spots
HP Scitex 11000 Industrial Press is definitely the follow-around the HP Scitex 10000 platform launched 2 yrs ago, even though the HP Scitex 15500 Corrugated Press is designed for short-run corrugated packaging and so forth, helpful for prototyping, related POP graphics, and personalized/customized/short-run corrugated applications.
HP has recently announced the Scitex 17000, intended for short- and medium-run corrugated printing. Furthermore, it features the HP Scitex Corrugated Grip, a media handling system designed to facilitate printing on warped corrugated boards.
For HP, the prevailing trend is toward more automation and improving productivity, which is not merely an issue of speed, and also of obtaining materials off and on press as soon as possible and improving automation.
“The focus is actually how you can make digital production more productive, and we’re trying to push the break-even point so customers can move printing from analog to digital,” said Isaac Meged, Worldwide Marketing Manager for HP Scitex Industrial Presses. “This is probably the reasons we developed the 17000 press. It’s not only the printing speed, the development workflow is certainly a important element. Consumers are looking for automation both on the prepress side along with the finishing side.”
“We have found in general a trend toward lower-cost flatbed printers, especially low-end,” added Joan Pe´rez Pericot, Marketing Director for HP’s Large-Format Sign and Display Division. “Smaller customers wish to jump into rigid, along with the marketplace is polarizing involving the high-end presses doing a growing number of volume and the smaller devices which can be doing very short runs.”
Mind Your Throat, Please
Roland DGA has long offered its tabletop VersaUV LEF-12 and LEF-20 UV flatbeds plus the VersaUV LEJ-640 hybrid printer. Earlier this coming year, Roland launched its first big flatbed, the 64-inch VersaUV LEJ-640FT flatbed UV printer. This new flatbed includes a “throat” (yes, that’s a real term) big enough that materials around six inches thick might be fed with the printer. In the Sign Expo, targeted traffic to the booth could witness the organization running footballs throughout the printer.
“Print companies are looking for ways to differentiate and expand their businesses-opportunities that flatbed printers certainly provide,” said Jay Roberts, Roland DGA’s Product Manager, uv printer. “Roland’s new VersaUV LEJ-640FT expands this capability a little bit more with its unique six-inch printing clearance. The LEJ-640FT, along with smaller benchtop flatbeds including Roland’s LEF series printers, unlock a whole new world of printing possibilities for PSPs. Now, the question isn’t a whole lot ‘What can you print on?’ but ‘What can’t you print on?’ We’re constantly amazed by the creativity of people using our technology to produce stunning images on substrates and objects that couldn’t be printed on before.”
Joanie Loves Tchotchkes
Mimaki’s JFX Series UV LED flatbed printers (comprising the 51-inch JFX200 along with the 82.7-inch JFX 500) are targeted for such applications as backlit displays, signs and posters, interior décor, and glass and metal decorative panels, to list but a few. Mimaki also provides smaller tabletop UJF Series UV LED printers for that tchotchke-printing market: smartphone covers, pens, lenticular panels, membrane switch panels, wine bottles, and a lot of other novelty and specialty print objects.
“Customers are looking for feature-rich, high-quality versatility that allows them to replace labor- and waste-intensive processes and print direct-to-substrate, while adding value with higher margin applications for example personalized products and package prototyping,” said Ken VanHorn, Director, Marketing and Business Development, Mimaki USA.
Océ Could You See
The latest models in Canon Solutions America’s (CSA) Océ Arizona 6100 Series-launched last year-are the six-color (CMYKLcLm) Océ Arizona 6160 XTS and seven-color (CMYKLcLm white) Océ Arizona 6170 XTS. Like several of its brethren, the Arizonas are designed for printing on an array of rigid media applications, multi-layer and double-sided prints, and big prints tiled over multiple boards. In addition they support edge-to-edge printing. These new printers are purpose-created to be board printers; they are doing not have a roll option.
The newest Arizona printers take CSA right into a new space, said Randy Paar, Marketing Manager of Display Graphics for CSA. “We’ve been popular from the mid-volume area, and also this takes us for the top quality of your mid-volume, or the low end in the high-volume,” he stated. “It’s taken us into new markets and new clients. They either come with an Arizona or possibly a similar product now and so are growing their business and are searching for an even more economical printer to incorporate a little bit of capacity but additionally not tie up their high-volume press.”
At its fastest, the brand new machines can print a maximum of 33 boards one hour. “We had a fascinating customer event where we passed out stopwatches to all of the visitors,” said Paar. “We printed a variety of boards, and had each one time them. Sure enough, we were directly on the money.”
As I mentioned earlier within this story, EFI has become dedicating itself to LED curing technology due to its UV lines, specially the company’s latest product, the EFI H1625 LED, a mid-level production printer which also functions as being a flatbed or possibly a rollfed.
“One of the largest opportunities in rigid substrate/flatbed printing is available in the chance to transition analog try to digital with higher-volume equipment,” said Ken Hanulec, V . P ., Marketing, Inkjet Solutions, at EFI. “So, beyond developing imaging systems that approach offset quality, EFI is taking a progressive stance inside the material handling needed for a real analog-to-digital transition in higher-volume print with semi- and full-automation feed and delivery systems for our VUTEk HS100 Pro hybrid inkjet press. Businesses that get into high-volume digital require the most ROI from automated materials handling. Those are the companies from the screen or offset print space who want to change a selection of their analog capacity to digital, and they is only able to achieve that when they are hitting maximum throughput with a digital production line.”
Last June marked the 10-year anniversary of EFI’s acquisition of VUTEk, and while tin or aluminum may be the traditional 10th anniversary gift, for EFI it’s apparently equipment manufacturing companies. On July 1, as this story was being finalized, EFI announced it had acquired Matan Digital Printers, an Israel-based manufacturer of grand-format (aka superwide) hybrid UV printers. Obtainable in 3m and 5m widths, Matan’s flatbed and hybrid product portfolio is designed for outdoor and indoor applications. The Matan Barak 8QW was picked as being a Wide Format Imaging magazine 2015 Product of the season.
The Jig is Up
Mutoh has several options within the tabletop and wide-format proper categories. The 19-inch ValueJet 426UF UV LED tabletop printer was designed to print on various materials, especially 3D objects, as much as 2.75 inches thick. The 64-inch ValueJet 1626UH is a hybrid UV LED printer which comes in CMYK plus White and Varnish, whilst the 64-inch ValueJet 1617H hybrid uses, rather than UV, Mutoh’s Multi-Purpose ink, a type of eco-solvent ink derived largely from plant-based materials and designed to be an eco-friendly ink option.
“The marketplace for flatbed and hybrid printing remains strong and with the amount of applications coming to the top it isn’t surprising to discover sales of the machines increase,” said David Conrad, Director of promoting, for Mutoh America, Inc. “Additional application opportunities for printing on almost any substrate around almost three inches thick on our desktop version make the ability to purchase one of these brilliant machines very alluring to many markets including awards and engraving, trophy shops, industrial printers and specialty shops that supply many different items that can be personalized with digital printing. Look for thicker print capabilities, faster speeds, and more custom jig choices to drive demand and start much more unique applications with this technology.”
Durst offers many different flatbeds in the Rho group of UV machines. The most up-to-date introduction was the t-shirt printer, which handle media as much as 8 feet wide. The Rho P10 series is geared towards high-end applications like backlit displays for windows or light boxes, particularly for luxury goods, outdoor and indoor signage, POP and POS displays, and small to medium-sized packaging.
“In accessory for the most obvious speed and productivity, flexibility and durability are what printers need,” said Christopher Guyett, sales and marketing coordinator for Durst Image Technology. “They need flexibility when it comes to having the capability to quickly switch between materials and jobs to take care of lead times, plus they need robust design and manufacturing to generate with a 24/7 schedule. Customers and PSPs would like to produce every possible application or product 03dexqpky their flatbeds, therefore they require the flexibility to manage complex client projects that come along with little notice, and require an instant turnaround.”
It appears fitting to round out this roundup with all the latest model from Inca Digital, the company whose Inca Eagle 44 kicked off the flatbed wide-format market way back in 2001. The Onset series debuted in 2007, and earlier this season Inca introduced the Onset R40LT, a 3.14m (123.6-inch) by 1.6m (63-inch) flatbed that can be found in either four-, five, or six-color configurations. It may handle substrates up to two inches thick.
Be sure you have a look at these and also other models at Graph Expo as well as at November’s SGIA Expo in Atlanta.
It appears fitting to complete this roundup with all the latest model from Inca Digital, the corporation whose Inca Eagle 44 kicked off of the flatbed wide-format market way back in 2001. The Onset series debuted in 2007, and earlier this season Inca introduced the Onset R40LT, a 3.14m (123.6-inch) by 1.6m (63-inch) flatbed that is available in either four-, five, or six-color configurations. It can handle substrates around 2 ” thick. Inca Digital wide-format printers can be purchased through Fujifilm, its global distribution partner.
The Return in the Jeti
Also on the ISA Sign Expo last spring, Agfa Graphics introduced the flatbed Jeti Mira along with the hybrid Jeti Tauro. The former is a true 2.7-meter (105 inches) flatbed, while the latter is actually a 2.5-meter hybrid. These newest models complement Agfa’s extensive Anapurna line of flatbeds and hybrids.
“We discover that some print companies prefer dedicated flatbed printing systems and some benefit from the flexibility of a hybrid device, so that we carry both technologies,” said Larry D’Amico, Vice-President Digital Imaging, Agfa Graphics. “We offer roll-to-roll choices on a number of our true flatbed equipment so an alternate is available with a number of our printers. Currently, I see a mixture of both dedicated and hybrid devices being purchased and so i see this trend continuing. Everyone’s application and product mix is distinct so it is important to know what you primarily want to do with this equipment and select the technology that meets this anticipated combination of work.”