Wide-format Inkjet

Gandy Digital unveiled what it calls "the next generation of grand format digital" to the North American audience at the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association Expo. Called the Pred8tor, the machine leverages 30 years expertise of founder James Gandy, formerly of Gandinnovations.

According to Gandy Digital, the 6.2-metre-wide Pred8tor will print a 1.22m (4ft) x 2.44m (8ft) sheet of rigid material (up to 50mm (2 inches) thick) in under 1 minute. Roll to Roll printing is also achieved with the optional rewind unit and will print at speed and high quality on all flexible materials with a roll width up to 2.44m (8ft) and up to 40cm (16 inches) diameter rolls, including heavy vinyl's and mesh.

The Pred8tor can also accommodate rigid materials larger than the bed size with the Print Extension Table option where users can print up to 2.44m (8ft) wide and any length rigid material. Backlit printing is attained with the built in back light camera that detects the print on both sides of the material and matches it up.

The machine is controlled via a touch-screen interface in the form of Apple's iPad. Users can step and repeat, rotate, delete ripped images, create jobs and more. The iPad application will also contain video tutorials and a new feature called iMediaMarket, which in addition to linking the user with consumables suppliers, will also keep track of inventory and warn when supplies get low.

Gandinnovations was sold to Agfa Graphics at the start of this year after it filed for bankruptcy protection in May of 2009.  Today, Agfa continues to sell the Jeti line, which first introduced at SGIA Expo in 2002. Gandy Digital operates out of two locations: San Antonio, Texas and Oakville, Ontario.

At SGIA's trade show for large-format-printing, currently underway in Las Vegas, Agfa introduced quality and speed enhancements to its industrial-scale :M-Press Tiger press.

Based on an inkjet printing process, the :M-Press Tiger can now output up to 13,640 f2/hr (1267 m2/hr), while Agfa's latest UPH 2 (Universal Print Head) greyscale technology enables the :M-Press Tiger to print with variable drop sizes as small as 10 picolitres.

According to the company, incorporating these revised print-heads adds another production mode to the machine, with a new "fine art" capability joining pre-existing modes that are referred to as photo, high quality and express.

The :M-Press Tiger works with both flexible and rigid materials with a thickness of up to 10 mm. "The :M-Press Tiger has been designed and constructed as a true replacement for traditional graphics screen printing," stated Richard Barham, VP for Inkjet Systems at Agfa Graphics.

New Canon imagePROGRAFs

Canon Canada introduced two new large-format printers to its imagePROGRAF line. Scheduled for a late-October release, the inkjet-based imagePROGRAF iPF605 and iPF815, both in 5-colour configurations, are designed for technical-document markets like Geographical Information System (GIS); Computer-Aided Design (CAD); Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC); and Reprographics.
According to the company, both 1,200-dpi models can produce two full-density D/A1-sized (23.4 inches x 33.1 inches, or 59.4 centimetres x 84.1 centimetres) colour plots in less than one minute, along with being capable of producing 120 D/A1-sized plots per hour.

The new printers can also be paired with an optional in-line 44-inch (111.8-centimetre), 300-sheet paper stacker. The imagePROGRAF iPF825 comes equipped with two media rolls supporting multiple media types, while the imagePROGRAF iPF815 includes one roll unit.
As a new addition to the imagePROGRAF iPF825 and iPF815 printers, Canon's Accounting Manager cost-tracking software generates data in sections like job logs and printing costs, while also holding a built-in Economy Print Mode.

Durst has introduced what it refers to as "the world’s first industrial inkjet printer for the textile/soft signage markets." Designed to handle light-weight media amid the growing demand for more environmentally progressive large-format production, the new 10.5-foot-wide Rhotex 320 uses water-based dye inks and on-board hot-air dryers on a printing platform that can produce "POP-quality" output at up to 775 square feet per hour.

Scheduled for commercial release in the fourth quarter of 2010, the Rhotex 320 is built around Quadro Array print-head technology, as well as a linear magnetic drive system. The 6-colour printer – CMYK + Lc, Lm – includes an automated Capping Station that automatically covers all print-heads when the sled is in "park position" to eliminate evaporation of the printer’s water-based inks.

Durst also released a new 80-inch-wide UV inkjet device, Rho 750, for UV-based printing at output speeds of up to 1,930 square feet per hour. The Rho 750 is available in three models: Basic, Presto and Rapid. Both the Basic and Presto models are upgradeable, while the machines are available with an optional corrugated printing system for material handling.

Fujifilm at this year's FESPA show in Munich has introduced a larger version of its Acuity Advance HS. Dubbed the Acuity Advance HS-X2, the new device has an imaging area of 98 x 120 inches, which is more than double the size of the HS.

"This is great for those customers who need to print on a 5 x 10-foot substrate or want to optimize their throughput with two 4 x 8-foot sheets," said Jeffrey Nelson, Product Marketing Manager of Fujifilm North America's Graphic Systems Division. "This is a cost effective solution not only for POP and graphic display printers but also for offset printers and commercial photo labs who are interested in expanding their product offerings through UV digital flatbed printing."

The production speed of the HS-X2 is up to 700 square feet per hour in express mode (or POP production speed of 462 square feet per hour.) A new feature allows the operator to prepare a rigid substrate on the flatbed while the machine is printing in roll-media mode. A dual-zone vacuum also allows the machine to print in one zone while setting up the second.

The HS-X2 shares printhead and ink technology with the HS, which is employs Fujifilm's Uvijet inks. According to Fujifilm, the HS-X2 will ship in August.

At this year's FESPA (Federation of European Screen Printers Associations) 2010 show in Munich, Agfa launched a new wide-format flatbed/roll-to-roll device known as the :Anapurna M 2050. The UV-curable machine, according to the company, combines the new 2.05 metre width with Agfa's latest M-series G2 inks and :Anapurna M2 speeds. This machine slots in between Agfa's popular 1.6-metre-wide offerings and the :Anapurna XL²/2500 LED series, which have a maximum width of 2.5 metres.

The :Anapurna M 2050 prints six colours plus white, a capability shared with its sibling, the :Anapurna Mw. It has eight printheads with a total of 8,192 nozzles firing 12-picolitre drops. The result is a resolution of 720 x 1440 dpi at speeds of 24 square metres per hour in four-pass bi-directional mode. The machine can print on rigid substrates in sizes up to 3 x 2 metres and up to 4.5 centimetres thick.

"Amongst the print options available on the :Anapurna M 2050, Agfa has also integrated a higher speed uni-directional mode for photographic quality," said Willy Van Dromme Business Line Manager for Wide Format Inkjet at Agfa Graphics. "Every application requests a different balance between speed and quality, and the system must allow for the best-fit printing mode."

At the ISA tradeshow in Orlando, Agfa Graphics today unveiled its :Jeti 1224 UV HDC device, with the first customer shipments scheduled to begin in June 2010. The inkjet- and UV-based :Jeti 1224 is said to provide grayscale printing at speeds of up to 1,182 square feet per hour (f2/hr).

This is the first machine to be branded under the Agfa name, after the Belgium company purchased the Jeti assets from Gandinnovations, which first released its Jeti version in July 2008 with a speed of 450 f2/hr in 6-pass production mode.
The :Jeti 1224 UV HDC (HDC = High Definition Color) is built on a solid-steel platform and includes a linear motor driven vacuum bed for accurate dot placement in both flatbed mode or with the optional roll-to-roll (RTR) feature. This is also the first :Jeti printer to use the Ricoh Gen 4 variable grayscale print-head technology.

Agfa has also introduced its :Anuvia HD ink technology to drive the Ricoh heads up to 30 KHz in binary and 13 KHz in grayscale. The system can fire ink drops as small as 8 picolitres. With 4-colour and white as its standard ink set, the :Jeti 1224 UV HDC is said to deliver resolutions of up to 1,200 dpi. 
In addition to its top-rated speed of 1,182 f2/hr, the :Jeti 1224 has a production-mode speed of 582 f2/hr and a quality-mode speed of 390 f2/hr. The device’s flatbed architecture, according to Agfa, can print on substrates of up to two inches thick and can support media rolls up to 250 pounds.

Canon Canada Inc. has introduced two new models in its imagePROGRAF line of large-format printers, designed for producing photographic prints, proofs and general commercial work.

Both of the new machines, the 112-centimetre (44-inch) imagePROGRAF iPF8300 and the 61-centimetre (24-inch) iPF6300, use Canon’s 12-colour LUCIA EX pigment ink set. Canon claims this new ink set increases the colour gamut by approximately 20 percent relative to its previous imagePROGRAF iPFx100 series machines, while also enabling over 90 percent coverage of PANTONE colours.
The company continues to state that the LUCIA EX ink set is well-suited for photographic prints, because of the ability to produce crisper blacks and smoother colour gradations, while also reducing bronzing and metamerism.

Each new imagePROGRAF model uses 2.5-centimetre printheads, which hold 2,560 nozzles per colour and output a resolution of up to 2,400 x 1,200 dots per inch.

Canon has also developed a Media Configuration Tool to work with Canon and third-party substrates. ICC profiles of media types from Intelicoat, Ilford, LexJet and Moab will be available for download when the new printers are released.

Fujifilm today introduced its new Acuity Advance HS flatbed printer, with the HS designation standing for high-speed. The company states the UV-based machine provides “photographic quality printing” at production speeds of 430 square feet per hour (40 m2/hr). 

The Acuity Advance HS, available with a roll-media option, also includes what the company calls express mode to produce print at over 700 square feet per hour (67m2/hr). The machine uses Fujifilm’s Uvijet inks with Micro-V dispersion technology.

Canadian commercial shipments of the Acuity Advance HS are set to begin in March 2010, while the machine will be displayed at upcoming events like the International Sign Association tradeshow in Orlando (April 7 to 10), Western Grafik’Art show in Vancouver (April 22 to 24) and at Ipex in Birmingham (May 18-25).

EFI today unveiled the VUTEk QS220 flatbed printer, which is described as a direct-to-substrate machine with “High-Definition Print” (HDP) capability. The 2-metre wide, UV-based printer uses EFI’s HDP technology to produce a resolution of up to 1,080 dpi.

“The QS220 is an all-in-one printer; it has the speed to print 16 4x8-foot boards per hour as well as the ability to print in high definition,” stated Dick Wissenbach, EFI VUTEk’s Senior VP and GM, in a press release.

The speed of the machine can reach up to 750 square feet (70 square metres) per hour. It can print directly to substrates up to 2-inches thick and 80-inches wide. It is available with a roll-to-roll optional.

The QS220 produces 4- or 6-colour images, and includes a seventh channel for six variations of white ink. EFI claims this is a unique configuration, capable of printing colour and white in three independent layers.

Japan-based Mimaki Engineering Co. Ltd. unveiled its new large-format direct and dye-sublimation printer, called the JV5-320DS. The machine, which is to enter the commercial market on January 8, 2010, enables direct printing on polyester substrates at a width of up to 3.2 metres.

The JV5-320DS machine is based on the solvent JV5-320S device, which was introduced in 2007 for the outdoor signage market. Mimaki released its new machine, with the “D” designation, because of what it sees a major growth in demand for signage on polyester textiles, for example, such as flags and banners – so-called soft signage.

JV5-320DS is newly equipped with an ink catcher to prevent inks from penetrating the fabric and staining the backside of the project. A new fan is designed to dry inks directly after printing. The machine also features Mimaki’s new Spray Suppressor System. The company’s MBIS (Mimaki Bulk Ink Supply System) feature is an option that enables an ink load of 2-litre containers for longer print runs.

JV5-320DS can hit a maximum resolution of 1,440 dpi. Print speeds range from 60.3 sqm/h at 540 x 720 dpi (for long-range viewing) to 44 sqm/h at 540 x 1,080 dpi (for short-range viewing).

Last night Mondrian Hall, a division of Unisource, toasted the season with a special event held at the Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge in Vaughan, Ontario. The event saw 60 people gather to learn about HP's wide-format devices, with much of the focus placed on the HP L25500 device. This machine runs HP's latex inks, which the company positions as an environmentally progressive option relative to solvent-based printers.

At the SGIA exposition, Durst introduced its new Rho 900 large-format printer, which is built around a 98-inch-wide, UV-inkjet imaging platform using Durst’s Quadro 30D Array printhead technology.

The company is highlighting the printer’s media handling abilities, including an auto-feed table with belts, sheet-feed gate with guides for parallel board printing, and automatic 2-point pin registration system for better accuracy in front-to-back registration.

Durst also claims that the Rho 900 features “process-colour additions… printed in the same mode as its CMYK,” with orange and green or orange and violet options: “These additional colours can be printed, even with white ink or light colours, with no loss in output speed.”

Top speed of the 6-colour Rho 900 can reach up to 72 4 x 8-foot boards per hour, according to Durst, while the speed for POP-quality printing is 34 boards per hour. The Rho 900 also can print varnish.

At PRINT 09, EFI will showcase two new superwide inkjet printers, the 5-metre roll-to-roll VUTEk GS5000r and the 3.2-metre hybrid GS3200, introduced in March 2009. The GS3200 is an 8-colour (plus white) machine that can be switched into a 4-colour printing mode, which allows the machine to print at 2,400 square feet per hour (f2/hr). In 8-colour mode, the GS3200 can reach speeds of up to 1,200 f2/hr, while hitting dual resolutions settings of 600 or 1,000 dpi.
EFI GS5000r
The 5-metre GS5000r can also switch between 4- or 8-colour printing modes, which account for top speeds of 1,600 or 3,100 f2/hr, respectively. This larger GS wide-format-inkjet machine, which has a unique ability to simultaneously print on up to three 60-inch rolls, can reproduce resolutions of up to 1,200 dpi. EFI plans to highlight its other inkjet systems like Jetrion 4000 UV and Rastek systems at the tradeshow.

Also at PRINT 09, EFI plans to introduce its new Web Control Center, which is a Web-based colour-management tool with remote proofing. The application fits into the company’s MIS packages, such as Pace, Monarch and PrintSmith systems.

EFI will also higPrint 09hlight its new Fiery Command WorkStation 5 (CWS5), compatible with Macintosh and Windows operating systems, as well as Fiery System 6. Released in March 2009, the controller updates automatically to EFI’s new SeeQuence Suite, which is an optional set of makeready software tools for composition and imposition.

Making its North American debut at PRINT 09, the new :Anapurna Mw from Agfa is an UV-based inkjet press (roll and rigid) that builds on the existing :Anapurna series by adding single-pass pre-white and multi-pass post-white, which allows for printing on transparent or backlit materials – or printing white as a spot colour. Other recent :Anapurna machines include the :Anapurna M2, notable because it prints at 247 square feet per hour, and the :Anapurna M4f, which is a 63-inch, 4-colour, UV-based engine.Agfa Dotrix

Also at PRINT 09, Agfa will be showcasing the latest incarnation of :Dotrix Modular, which is an inkjet-based, narrow-web press (25.6 inches) designed to work with a range of substrates, including paper, multi-wall, biodegradable plastics, PE, PP, BOPP, PET heat and pressure-sensitive materials. The :Dotrix can be configured roll-to-roll or roll-to-sheet.

The company will also make the North American debut of :Apogee Suite 6.0, which, employing a drag-and-drop graphical user interface, allows for the import and conversion of different file formats into a PDF, which can then be directly sent to a Web portal for soft approval, to a page or imposition proofing device, to an impaging device (CTP), a toner-based press, or export into another prepress system.

P09The company also plans to highlight enhancements to its industrial-scale :M-Press TIGER, which is a flatbed inkjet press – co-developed by Thieme and Agfa – featuring new printhead technology, auto-head positioning and tuning. The press, suited for screen printing-like work, can run at speeds up to 17,000 feet per hour.

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