At the ISA Sign Expo in Las Vegas, EFI exhibited six existing machines in its wide-format inkjet portfolio, as well as the company’s first inkjet inks for thermoforming and corrugated-plastic applications. EFI also introduced new 3M MCS warranty-certified inks for VUTEk GS Pro series printers and offered technology demonstrations of its upcoming SmartSign Analytics software.
Hardware and inks
EFI’s line up of wide-format, UV-based inkjet systems at ISA included: VUTEk HS100 Pro; VUTEk QS2 Pro, a 2-meter hybrid printer with variable-drop grayscale and white-ink print capabilities; VUTEk GS2000LX Pro, a LED UV-curing machine with grayscale and white ink; VUTEk GS3250r, a 3.2-metre roll-to-roll printer with 1,000 dpi capabilities; R3225, an entry-level roll-to-roll printer; and the entry-level hybrid H652 printer.
At ISA, EFI provided printed samples of its new thermoforming inks that can be used to produce thermoplastic sheets for forming into custom signs, POP displays, vending/gaming panels and like applications. The process is based on a patented eight-colour ink system, with white-printing capabilities. According to EFI, the thermoforming inks are designed to help users eliminate costs associated with screen printing, hand-painting and vinyl lettering in thermoformed object decoration. The inks can be employed through specially modified versions of EFI’s GS Pro models, including the VUTEk GS3250 Pro-TF and GS2000 Pro-TF.
EFI also introduced new inks for corrugated plastic printing. Designed to solve inkjet adhesion problems in applications like yard signs, these inks, according to EFI, are compatible with all brands of white corrugated polypropylene and will run on the VUTEk GS2000 Pro-CP and GS3250 Pro-CP printers.
At the Las Vegas Sign Expo, EFI announced a new VUTEk GS 3M Premium UV inks for its VUTEk GS Pro series printers. These inks carry the 3M MCS Warranty, which covers lifetime issues of graphics like fading, cracking and peeling. Co-branded EFI and 3M inks for the VUTEk GS2000, GS3200, GS3250, GS3250r, GS5000r and EFI R3225 printers all qualify for the warranty, which is also to be made available for the VUTEk GS2000LX and GS3250LX LED UV-curing printers in the near future.
EFI’s primary product introduction at ISA was SmartSign Analytics (SSA), which is scheduled to enter beta-testing this quarter. The company describes SSA as software that captures and reports analytic data on signage viewership to help marketers measure campaign effectiveness. “Print can drive relevance, revenue and profit in the age of big data, and this technology demonstration can show how that will happen with signage,” stated Mark McGowan, Director of EFI Online Product Solutions.
A single SSA unit includes a Webcam attached to a sign, connected to a computer or tablet running third-party facial recognition software and EFI’s proprietary SSA software for data organization and reporting. In a retail implementation, EFI believes most marketers will likely deploy multiple units to measure, compare and improve signage performance at different stores or at different in-store locations.
The SSA system’s Webcam and software combination detects the presence of people within viewing range and determines which of them are actually looking at a sign. Eye-tracking tools on the SSA system also allow it to calculate how much time is spent viewing signage. Facial pattern algorithms are designed to assign a gender and age range to each viewer.
Continuing in the software category, EFI exhibited its new Version 5 of Fiery XF with Web Control Center digital front end with colour management, as well as its range of Management Information System software like PrintSmith Vision and Pace.
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