Wide-format Inkjet
Lucas Crossley, Regional Manager, Canada, Mimaki, discusses advances in wide-format-inkjet imaging technologies.
Keith Soya, Application Specialist with Zund America, discusses advances in cutting technologies.
Durst Phototechnik AG has worked in partnership with Serom to create Digital Patternware technology that allows inkjet label printers to produce patterns, security lettering and textures on most any inkjet substrates. The patterns printing is done simultaneously with the main printing on the Durst Tau UV inkjet label press.

Digital Patternware forms a print pattern using different heights of digital printing with the Tau UV ink on the surface to form patterns and shapes giving 3-dimentional effects. The various texture effects and patterns change depending on angle of light, and watermark patterns and characters for the security reasons can also be done digitally on the Durst Tau 330 Series platform. Patternware allows for the watermark, variable code, image, pattern or logo to be hidden.

Durst explains conventional technologies used to create textured effects include the lenticular method, engraving or embossing the printing roll or using a specially textured printing medium. The company explains these conventional methods have limitations like lack of accuracy, low productivity and high development cost.
Nustream Group, which previously announced in February the creation of a new business focus on the sign and display market, is introducing two large-format substrate collections in this segment, including  the Veramax Large-Format Aqueous-Coated Collection and the Veramax Large-Format Solvent-Coated Substrate Collection.

The Veramax Large-Format Aqueous-Coated Collection provides substrates for Canon, Epson and HP water-based inkjet printing. The line is aimed at applications like labels and signage in addition to current proof or CAD prints.

The Veramax Large-Format Solvent-Coated Collection provided a larger variety of substrates, as it is compatible with most solvent, eco-solvent, Latex or UV-curable inkjet printers available from manufacturers like HP, Mimaki, Mutoh, Roland and Seiko among others.
CET Color, a manufacturer of wide-format UV flatbed and hybrid printers based in Atlanta, Georgia, has introduced the 3200UVRTR printer, which is a 126 inch roll to roll UV printer. It leverages two Kyocera print heads and can include up to four. This unit has the capability of C, Y, M, K, Lc, Lm and WW ink configurations and supports Onyx or Caldera RIP software.

The unit is able to print on various substrates like banner, backlit, mesh and vinyl. It also has a built in light source so users can back light their material before it goes to the take up reel, aimed at the UV market.  

Javier Mahmoud, CET Color Vice President of Sales and Marketing, said, “The market demand feedback from our dealers has been very strong on a roll to roll UV solution. We are very proud to announce this 126-inch roll to roll UV that has the capability of printing dual rolls of media at the same time.”

CET Color offers a line of wide format UV printers, as well as a recently introduced flatbed cutter.
In May, swissQprint introduced two updated large format printer models with new curing options in the Impala LED and Nyala LED. The company explains there are also a range of mechanical improvements in Impala LED and Nyala LED. Two examples: the beam architecture has been reworked for even better stability, and swissQprint has ensured that the flatbed is indeed perfectly flat over its entire surface – 3.2 × 2 metres with Nyala LED and 2.5 × 2 metres with Impala LED.

The Nyala LED achieves a maximum of 206 square metres per hour, Impala LED 180 square metres. Impala LED and Nyala LED are flatbed printers, expandable with options as required. There is a roll to roll option. swissQprint launched what the company calls a 4×4 version of its existing Impala and Nyala series in early 2017. Impala LED and Nyala LED are optionally available in this version as well, meaning that they come configured with quadruple CMYK at high printing speed.
Tilia Labs Inc., of Ottawa, Ontario, creator of tilia Phoenix for planning and imposition automation, has released its new automatic layout solution for wide format printers, called tilia Griffin. The software was first announced just prior to drupa in May 2016.

tilia Griffin is a prepress solution to automate the layout creation process for wide format printing. It features what the company describes as a modern, ultra-responsive interface and intuitive design. Griffin leverages the Phoenix nesting engine to create true-shape tightly nested layouts, explains Tilia, helping drive down substrate costs, reduce errors, and increase throughput.

The workflow in Griffin is simple, explains Tilia, and can be mastered with minimal training. To start out, artwork files are input into the system with various production information such as quantity, shape and size. Users can then select from a library a substrate board or roll size and automatically generate nesting. Once nesting has completed, marks such as registration, barcodes, and grommets are automatically added. Finally, output can be generated for printing and cutting using presets for different devices.

“The release of tilia Griffin today marks a big milestone for our company. It is our second product to roll out into the market, and it also shows our dedication to the wide format segment, which we feel has a lot of room to grow and we have a lot of value to offer,” said Sagen de Jonge, CEO of Tilia Labs. “Initial testing with beta customers has been very positive so we’re excited to now begin offering to the general public and confident customers will enjoy fast return on investment with the time savings and advantages it has to offer.”
At Fespa 2017, which began yesterday, HP Inc. introduced the new HP Latex 3600 and 3200 printers, flexible signage printing option for the HP Scitex 17000 press, and HP PrintOS for Latex and Scitex HDR presses.

Introduced in 2009, water-based HP Latex technology now has more than 40,000 Latex printers installed worldwide. HP also introduced the HP Latex 300 Series Print and Cut solutions at ISA Sign Expo 2017 in April.
 
The 3.2 meter HP Latex 3600 and HP Latex 3200 printers support higher volume printing and an improved monthly duty cycle. The HP Latex 3200 is geared toweard PSPs that want to produce a range of applications with high productivity, in high quality for retail/outdoor advertising, events/exhibitions, vehicle graphics, and interior décor.

The HP Latex 3600 is designed for even larger PSPs needing long-run, uninterrupted printing. It can handle production peaks of up to 35,000 square meters per month and is well suited for dedicated application production, such as banners, backlits, wallcoverings, and retail or event signage.

The new HP Latex 3600 and HP Latex 3200 printers offer a special tiling mode, with an improved colour consistency; reduced media waste, saving up to one linear meter per roll, using the HP Latex Media Saver; and lower labour costs, a single operator can manage up to four printers simultaneously.

The new 54-inch HP Latex 315 Print and Cut and 64-inch HP Latex 335 Print and Cut are dual-device solutions for simultaneous printing and cutting in a single workflow.

HP also announced commercial availability of HP Durable Backlit Fabric that can resist damage during post-processing or light box installation. HP Durable Backlit Fabric will be available in October in a variety of widths up to 2.95 m (116 inches). Widths of up to 3.2 m (126 in) are expected to be available by the end of 2017.

Paper-based signage production for indoor and outdoor applications using flexible substrates is now supported with the Flexible Media Loader for the HP Scitex 17000 Corrugated Press.
Mutoh America, Inc. has announced its new 75-inch, four-head, dye-sublimation printer, the ValueJet 1948WX with print speeds up to 2,199 square feet per hour and dual heaters for fast dry times.

The VJ1948WX also comes with adjustable pressure rollers, 4- or 8-colour ink capabilities, and automatic sheet off. It is equipped with Intelligent Interweave printing technique, DropMaster ink technology and ValueJet Status Monitor for smart printing.

IQDEMY Holding, which operates in the inkjet arena, is showcasing its recently introduced Maglev 1228 UV-LED printer at Fespa 2017 (May 8 to 12, 2017) in Hamburg. Maglev 1228 features a print table of 1.2 x 2.8 metres and can accommodate heavy materials up to 400 kg, including stone, marble and glass.

Its honeycomb table is divided into six vacuum zones operated independently to help reduce power consumption when only some parts of the table are used. The UV-LED printer is equipped with levitation technology, which enables printing without noise, according to IQDEMY.

The printing system uses eight different dot sizes achievable via a combination of Variable Dot technology and Technology of Invisible Dots. Able to print with eight colours (CMYK+W+LM+LC+V) the Maglev also has a white ink recirculation system and 10 tanks for ink supply featuring ink level sensors. Its LEDs, according to the company, can operate for up to 10,000 hours without having to be replaced. The printer comes with a warranty for up to five years.

Another feature of the Maglev 1228 is its ability to produce layered printing. This is sometimes also referred to as 3D-print in the large-format sector, as different amounts of ink layers enable a haptic feeling, thus images and prints, for example wood reproduction.

“Maglev 1228 is our best solution in the context value for money,” said Vladislav Mirchev, CEO of IQDEMY. “Maglev 1228 has been designed especially for medium scale production. Advertising, including signboards, backlit projects, exhibition booths and POS, among others, are its primary application. In addition, the UV-LED printer enables printing on glass, furniture, stone, wood, marble as well as metals.”
Roland DGA has launched its new CAMM-1 GR series large-format cutters, including the following features:
  • An “L-shaped” integrated machine and stand design that provides stability even when cutting at speeds of up to 58.5 inches per second (1,485 millimetres per second);
  • Up to 600 gf of down force;
  • Dual-position tool carriage for seamless transition between kiss-cutting and perforating;
  • Capability to read crop marks from industry-wide software;
  • Pinch rollers electronically adjustable to 10 pre-set levels;
  • Up to 10x overlap cutting;
  • A tangential emulation function for precise corner cutting;
  • Advanced media feeding system;
  • Built-in media basket for easy cut sheet collection;
  • Ethemet connectivity; and
  • A choice of 64-, 54- and 42-inch cutting widths.
The CAMM-1 GR series cutter also incorporates Roland CutStudio software:
  • Perforating Cutting function for creating pop-out stickers and decals;
  • Cut-by-Colour function for designs with multiple coloured sheets;
  • New functionality that creates weed lines to facilitate weeding after designs have been cut; and
  • Plug-in software enabling direct outputting from Adobe Illustrator® and CorelDRAW.
Esko will focus on efficiency at this year’s ISA Sign Expo, running from April 20 to April 22 in Las Vegas, with software and hardware intended to help companies get the most out of their production workflows, equipment and staff.

The display will include:
  • Automation Engine Avant, a wide format workflow software bundle that combines wide format workflow automation with the tasks of preflighting, file editing, adding cutting paths and optimal nesting on a sheet;
  • Device Manager, Esko’s new software which is used to track job status and manage jobs based on cutting time estimates and substrate selection;
  • ArtiosCAD, Esko’s packaging structural design software;
  • A demonstration of the Kongsberg X24 and Kongsberg C64 finishing tables.
"We have demonstrated that by offering solid, integrated operational control and management tools, operators spend up to 30 percent less time in job preparation," Greg Stewart, Esko Digital Finishing Product Marketing Manager, says.

Electronics For Imaging is launching into the commercial market two new high-volume, roll-to-roll UV LED inkjet printers in the VUTEk 5r and VUTEk 3r. The company first introduced the systems back in January 2017 and has already installed 3r and 5r printers with customers in North America, Europe and the Middle East. Sandy Alexander of Clifton, New Jersey, became the first company in North America to install the VUTEk 5r back in February 2017.
 
The 3-metre-wide VUTEk 3r reaches speeds up to 3,715 square feet per hour and the 5-metre 5r reaches speeds up to 4,896 square feet per hour. In addition to LED curing, the new printers feature resolutions up to 1,200 dpi and EFI UItraDrop technology leveraging seven-picoliter print heads with multi-drop addressability. This system uses a colour distribution algorithm aimed at providing economic advantages with ink usage, explains EFI, whereby one litre of ink can cover up to 1,600 square feet, on average, across all print modes.

Available options for the printing systems include inline roll-to-sheet cutting, slitters and a sheet collector kit aimed at improving throughput by reducing the need to handle printed jobs on separate finishing tables. The VUTEk 3r and 5r also offer optional features like automated double-sided backlit and block-out printing; a mobile app for remote printer monitoring; multi-layer white ink imaging; and additional light colours for extended-gamut imaging.
Canon Canada Inc. introduced its new UVgel technology platform aimed at providing new levels of speed, quality, automation and cost of operation for large-format print providers. The first UVgel-enabled Canon system is the 64-inch Océ Colorado 1640, a roll-to-roll inkjet printer for producing both indoor and outdoor graphics. This product will have its first public debut in North America at the ISA International Sign Expo, running from April 19 to 22, 2017, in Las Vegas, which is when the first units will be commercially available.

“We are very excited about this revolutionary new game-changing technology” said Patrick D’Souza, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Professional Printing Solutions Group, Canon Canada. “This new technology will help large-format-print providers to increase their print production while lowering their operating costs, enabling them to profitably grow their business.”

At the heart of the Océ Colorado 1640 is Canon’s recently unveiled UVgel technology. Canon explains UVgel combines a radically new UV curable ink from Canon that instantly gels on contact with the media, advanced self-aware piezoelectric printhead technology, an LED-based UV system that cures without adding any damaging heat to the media, and continuous printhead nozzle monitoring and performance compensation. Canon explains these unique technologies combine to create a 64-inch roll-to-roll printer with high standards for quality, productivity, automation, application range and operating costs.

Canon also describes the Océ Colorado 1640 as the fastest 64-inch printer on the market, with a top speed of 1,710 square feet per hour and another setting to produce high-quality, point-of-purchase prints at 430 square feet per hour.

As UVgel ink instantly gels on contact with media, Canon explains this results in precise dot gain and positional control, perfectly repeatable images, and instantly cured, durable prints. The system’s low temperature LED-UV curing technology moves independently from the printing carriage to help establish uniform post-print UV curing that contributes to print speed and quality.

The Océ Colorado 1640 features a heavy-duty drawer mechanism that holds up to two rolls of media at one time, each weighing up to 110 lbs. The two rolls can be of the same media type and size or different media, and once initialized, the print engine can switch jobs between rolls without operator assistance for an ability to run unattended printing.

If an unknown media is loaded, Canon explains the printer will automatically measure its thickness and adjust the print gap accordingly. This helps with print quality and also reduces the risk of printhead crashes. This information is then stored in the media library along with other media parameters so that the next time this type of media is loaded, the printer knows how to handle it.

The UVgel printheads incorporate patented continuous nozzle monitoring to detect and correct any underperforming nozzles. During each and every printing pass, Canon’s patented nozzle monitoring technology automatically checks all nozzles using acoustic sampling and even detects whether nozzles are going to misfire before they actually do. In the event of nozzle failure, corrective maintenance is automatically performed.

Canon explains the Océ Colorado 1640, suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications, provides a large colour gamut similar to solvent inks but combines this with the environmental benefits and safety profile of latex and UV-cured systems. The result, according to Canon, is nearly odorless, VOC-free, durable, colourfast, high quality prints even on thin, heat-sensitive media. Canon’s UVgel technology features ultra-thin ink dispersion with, explains the company, almost no discernible physical profile on the media surface.

Canon continues to explain that the Océ Colorado 1640’s UVgel technology features ink consumption that is as much as 40 percent lower than competitive technologies. “Canon Canada is looking forward to the North American debut of this product at the ISA Show in April,” said D’Souza. “We know that there has been a lot of anticipation around this technology and we are very excited about what the future will bring.”
Agfa Graphics launched its Jeti Ceres RTR3200 UV LED roll-to-roll printer for what the company describes as mid- to high-end applications. The new engine can include a combination of optional white printing and primer for producing higher-end image quality and durability.

The Jeti Ceres, leveraging Agfa’s UV LED inks and thin ink layer technology, is a dedicated 3.2-metre roll-to-roll printer capable of printing on single- and dual-roll medias at speeds of up to 186 square metres per hour.

“The Jeti Ceres RTR3200 LED could be considered the roll-to-roll equivalent of the renown Jeti Titan series,” said Reinhilde Alaert, Marketing Product Manager, Sign & Display High-End. “Our goal with this new engine is to maximize productivity while staying true to Agfa Graphics’ industry-leading image quality and low ink consumption, which is why we bring a roll-to-roll alternative in the Jeti product family.”

The Jeti Ceres can print on heat-sensitive medias like self-adhesive sheets and PVC without warping or wrinkling them, which opens up new opportunities and allows printers to reduce the costs.  The new printer is equipped with white ink circulation that extends along the entire ink line. “Agfa Graphics’ thin ink technology results in wide-gamut, vibrant images – no matter the substrate. Our inks’ high pigmentation, along with our deep understanding of the physics of ink jetting, keeps ink consumption low, extremely precise and waste-free,” said Alaert.

Agfa Graphics’ Jeti Ceres also adds a primer option for durability when printing on unusual or difficult roll-based media. The engine pre-prints a layer of primer automatically before depositing ink, preparing the top layer for surface tension to better receive ink.

Asanti, Agfa’s wide-format printing workflow software, comes with the Jeti Ceres system, which also makes it compatible with Agfa’s cloud-based PrintSphere for flow of information between customers, colleagues, freelancers, departments and other Agfa printing solutions – streamlining file sharing and enhancing data security.
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