Wide-format Inkjet

Tips on entering the dynamic vehicle graphics printing market

The commercialization of wide-format-inkjet printing in the 1990s signaled the beginnings of a technological evolution into what is today one of the printing industry’s most intriguing and fastest- growing applications, vehicle graphics. Inkjet printing shifted the production of these mobile billboards away from laborious screen-printing techniques reserved for large vehicle fleets, as well as specialized one-off lettering jobs.

Leveraging the maturation of inkjet systems and inks, materials science is now the key driver of the vehicle graphics market, pushing incredible and effective new applications and business models. Printing professionals who were in Miami Beach in late-February for the Graphics of the Americas trade show surely noticed the dozens of ATV-like taxis running people around through the night. “They were all lit up on the sides with a material that was backlit and printed,” recalls Brian Phipps, Vice President and General Manager of Mutoh America.

Phipps continues to describe the growing use of OLED technology applied to thin vehicle films, a boom in paint replacement with pure coloured vinyl holding a metallic flake feel, and car dealerships running inkjet systems in-house by adding the cost of graphics into the leasing of van fleets. Ford recently bought one of Mutoh’s printing systems to apply its logo to corporate semi-trailers.

“[This sector] is more around doing commercial graphics for fleet vehicles and panel trucks, potentially cars too, but it is more about the commercial side… the bigger side of the market,” says David Hawkes, Group Product Manager, Sign Products and Textile Printers, Roland DGA. Marketers and businesses alike are realizing vehicle graphics rule the economics of out-of-home advertising, which is no longer solely pegged to static billboards, as determined by the Cost Per Thousand (CPM) metric relating large-format- advertisement location to eyeballs.

“Vehicle wraps, whether it is on the side of a truck or a car, are the lowest cost form of advertising available,” says Jeffrey Uzbalis, National Distribution Accounts, 3M Commercial Graphics. “Its CPM is around 50 cents versus 20 bucks [for prime TV advertising]. It is cheaper than Internet banner ads.” The advances in wide-format technologies have developed the out-of-home playing field for the betterment of print. Uzbalis explains this is why 3M films are used to display Smirnoff ads on the brick and concrete walls around Toronto’s BMO soccer pitch, where hard-drinking 19- to 34-year-old males congregate.

“Everybody is so focused on social media and mobile that what they often overlook is physical graphics actually get results,” says Uzbalis. “If you put a floor graphic in a supermarket that say Chips Ahoy! you can actually influence consumer behaviour at the point of decision making.” He explains 3M now commissions audited studies to generate hard data points to illustrate the cost effectiveness of printed wraps to marketers. It is part of the company’s massive R&D investment in the sector to tap deeper into one of the strongest printing opportunities.

“People shouldn’t think this is a mature market or that it is too late – it is not. It is growing and there are a million things to do,” says Phipps. “The media companies are driving this a lot with the different materials that are coming out.”

Mastering materials
An 18-year veteran with 3M’s Commercial Graphics division, Uzbalis is a true subject-matter expert on wide-format printing and specifically vehicle graphics. He has seen the wrap-materials evolution mirror the digital revolution from his position with arguably the world’s most-powerful adhesives company, which generated revenues of $32 billion in its most recent fiscal year with some 90,000 employees.

With its Canadian headquarters based in London, Ontario, 3M’s introduction of Controltac graphic film approximately 20 years ago marked a significant step forward for vehicle graphics application. Labeled by 3M as adhesive performance, Controltac allowed users to move away from heavy permanent adhesive that was slow and expensive to use. “Controltac really revolutionized the industry because the adhesive wouldn’t stick immediately,” explains Uzbalis. “You could move it around, slide it around, position it and then apply it with a squeegee.”

3M’s second major wrap innovation came around a decade ago with the introduction of Comply air-release technology, based on micro-replication science that was developed to make better stamp paper. The technology was applied to wrap material to make a special liner with a series of ridges. When the liner is pulled away from the back of Comply film it leaves impressions in the adhesive, which provide routes for the air to escape ahead of an application squeegee – preventing the formation of bubbles. 3M’s newest film advancement, called Envision, adds material stretch and a wider operating temperature to the innovations of Comply and Controltac.

“Really, for [commercial printers] it should be about wrapping in general, whether it is the side of a building or a glass curtain wall or the windows and floors, in addition to vehicle wraps, because there is a well-established vehicle wrap business out there,” says Uzbalis.

Images of the amazing artistic work of vehicle-wrap specialists can be seen across every social media platform, which is intimidating for commercial printers thinking about entering the sector. This is compounded by the fact that print is not the most significant component of such projects.

“It is not just a printer, it is a department,” says Uzbalis. “With wide-format printing, once you have printed [the job] it is only the beginning. Now that graphic has a second life… it has to be applied to somebody else’s private or public property. It has adhesive on the back of it and this is a key difference – it often has to be removed.”

Investing wisely
Commercial printers, however, are becoming more accustomed to value-add business models, where print is not the sole revenue source for a communications project, whether this means data management, specialty finishing or some other tangible expertise.

“There is certainly an art to both the design and the application if you are doing a full vehicle wrap,” says Hawkes. “There are plenty of third-party providers out there who would be more than happy to wrap vehicles for you; and do it under your name… there are ways to put your toe in that market to see if there is interest in your customer base.” Hawkes emphasizes vehicle wraps are often just a component of a client’s overall promotional needs, which may also include out-of-home products like signage, apparel or more standard collateral work.

Commercial printers thinking about entering the wrap sector, therefore, must consider their most viable investment route. “The good news for commercial printers is that they are used to spending a million or half a million dollars and they see our printer for $15,000 or down as low as $6,800,” says Phipps. Mutoh’s proclaimed “Wrapper’s Choice” printing system costs US$18,995 list. “So, at least it is not a shock from the cost standpoint. It may be from the learning curve.”

Uzbalis recalls, when he started out in the wrap sector 18 years ago, it cost around half a million dollars to get into the business. Today, a printer in theory can get into vehicle wraps without spending a dime based on outsourcing, instead focusing on sales. Commercial printers, however, do have specialized colour and production management skills they can leverage with relatively inexpensive equipment, while outsourcing installation.

“A large percentage of the installers do not do any printing at all,” explains Phipps. “They either come to your place if you have a bay, or you can have it done at their place.”

Roland, which builds its expertise in the wrap sector through print-and-cut technology, also focuses on producing decals, smaller format vehicle graphics instead of full wraps. “There is also something called partial wraps,” says Hawkes. “Some companies getting into it will just do tailgates on trucks or maybe back windows with perforated – things that are easy, decals for the door of a plumbing truck. That is a whole business on its own.”

Producing partial graphics can also lower equipment investment needs, in terms of printing system width. However, Hawkes, Phipps and Uzbalis all suggest focusing on investing in 60- to 64-inch printers, again relating to the relatively low cost and available network of installers. “It doesn’t have to be a $70,000 printer that you bring in in order to do this stuff. We have our 640 RF printer and that can handle it,” says Hawkes. “It is print only, but you can do a full vinyl wrap job with it and people do that all the time and that printer is less than $20,000.”

“Sixty-four inch is the magic size,” says Phipps. “Most of the media you are going to use in the wrap business is 60 inches.” This size, explains Phipps, can produce work for a lot of different parts of a vehicle, such as one-piece hoods and tailgates. “You want to shy away from having a seam down the middle if you can. It is becoming less and less acceptable especially when you are getting into higher-end wraps.”

Phipps also explains 60-inch media is the ideal size for a single operator to handle during installation, avoiding the costly need for a second installer. “From an application standpoint one person can handle 60 inches,” he explains, “and secondly it will cover most vehicles in one piece.”

If a commercial printer does decide to enter the sector by purchasing a wide-format system engine, they will also require a laminator, which might cost as little as $5,000. Phipps explains a laminator will typically outlast all of the other wrap equipment by at least two or three times. He warns, however, that it is vital to purchase a good-quality laminator, because an inexpensive machine is likely to lose its pinching ability over time, for applying an even, crinkle-free laminate. “There is nothing worse than spending the time designing the file, then printing it on expensive vinyl… and having it crinkle up and then having to start all over.”

Making margins
After the initial capital outlay for the printing engine and laminator, the ongoing investment concern revolves around media costs, particularly given the current advances in the technology. Printers have the natural tendency to look at these expensive films as a means to control margins on their jobs, but, unlike specifying papers for commercial work, the wrong substrates can turn into very costly mistakes.

This often relates to specialized adhesives and to the use of calendared or cast vinyl, the latter being more expensive. “Calendared vinyl is basically when you take a big lump of heated vinyl [and] roll it flat and then cut it off to get the piece that you want. Well, the problem is that it has memory and over time those corners peel up,” explains Hawkes. “A cast vinyl is just what it sounds like: You are pouring into a mould and so it doesn’t have memory. You always want to print with a cast vinyl, but at the same time there are so many inexpensive places to buy vinyl these days.” Calendared vinyl is also a thicker film, usually 3 1/2 to 4 mils, relative to cast materials.

Uzbalis warns it may be tempting to save $500 on the front end to purchase a vinyl that is cheaper because of its adhesive, which may not be engineered for a specific application. “Profit can quickly turn into a loss when a $2,000 invoice shows up for broken storefront windows,” he says. “Worse, what is my reputation now with that client?”

One of the more important aspects of working with wrap materials is to ensure the production team has the ability to properly estimate the job, which is certainly a strength of commercial printers. “Measuring and estimating the job is one of the more important parts,” says Hawkes, “because if you have to print another 10 feet of vinyl and apply another 10 feet of vinyl, because you forgot the back of a truck or something, that is a big expense in product and time.”

At the same time, Phipps explains the amount of work involved in producing wraps, from design and printing to laminating and installation, provides substantial revenue avenues for printers. “There is a lot of opportunity to show value to the customer. You are not just selling a piece of paper. There is a lot more involved,” he says.

Uzbalis emphasizes revenue potential goes hand in hand with a dynamic market that is constantly presenting new applications. “It is a market that has relatively better margins than ink on paper so it is very attractive to commercial printers,” he says. While it is easy enough to throw calendared vinyl on a piece of Coroplast, which does happen often for short term installations, commercial printers can also leverage their craft-based abilities to add value to what is becoming a powerful and cost-effective form of advertising.

“It is the same with all types of printing. You can find people who are willing to do this for a song and make next-to-no margin,” says Hawkes. “I never really understood the thought process behind that. Or you can find the people who turn around and say, ‘I have the ability to do quality graphics. I use quality materials and I stand behind what I wrap.’ Those are the people who make the margins. It doesn’t happen overnight necessarily, but those are the people who do the best long term.”

Gandy Digital of Mississauga officially launched its new Gladi8tor UV flatbed inkjet printer during the FESPA 2015 trade show in Cologne, Germany. The system features what the company refers to as an inline 8-blade print head configuration, which allows for a double CMYK set-up to deliver twice the speed – up to 240 square metres – relative to the company’s Domin8tor and Pred8tor models.

The new Gandy Gladi8tor provides a double white ink capability to address issues of white ink density on transparent or non-white substrates. It also offers a new layered print option for the production of multi-layered colour images and white. Gandy explains the Gladi8tor’s ability to sandwich white or doubled-sided banners with white and black between images, allows for the production of new applications like backlit jobs.

The new Gladi8tor, incorporating a vacuum table, is available in two print widths. The Gladi8tor 1224 has a print size of 1.22 x 2.44 metres (4 x 8 feet) and the Gladi8tor 2030 has a print size of 2 x 3.05 metres (6.6 x 10 feet). The Gladi8tor 1224 also comes with a 2.44-metre (8-foot) wide roll-to-roll option.

Using 6-piolitre variable dot Ricoh printheads, the Gladi8tor is available in two production settings, with the first using six colours (CMYK&LM&LC) plus double white and the second using eight colours and a double CMYK set-up to deliver twice the speed. With automatic head height adjustment, customers can also print on a range of substrates of up to 50 mm (two inches) thick.

HP unveiled plans to launch three new printing systems, scheduled to hit the market this August, including two Latex 3500 and 3100 wide-format printers and the Scitex 17000 corrugated press.

The 3.2-metre (126-inch) HP Latex 3500 and 3100 printers join a portfolio with more than 26,000 Latex printers already installed worldwide. The new systems feature what HP describes as heavy-duty roll handling of 300 kg (660 lb) and 10 litre ink supplies, meaning the systems are capable of unattended, overnight printing. The machines also hold dual-roll split spindles for what HP describes as safer handling of oversized rolls; as well as inline slitters to reduce bottlenecks in finishing; and built-in LED lights to support on-the-fly proofing.

HP describes its Latex 3100 printer as being well suited for large sign and display operations that handle a range of work. It prints at indoor quality at speeds of up to 77 m2/hr (830 ft2/hr). The HP Latex 3100 and 3500 printers, and complementary HP Latex mobile app, are expected to be available worldwide in August 2015. A new bright white, FSC-certified HP Premium Poster Paper for use with HP Latex printers will also be available worldwide through licensing partner Brand Management Group (BMG).

HP also introduced the new Scitex 17000 corrugated press, driven by the company’s HDR Printing Technology, features the recently introduced HP Scitex Corrugated Grip and HP HDR230 Scitex Inks. Also scheduled for release in August 2015, the Scitex 17000 is designed to reach speeds of up to 1,000 m2/hr (10,764 ft2/hr).

Prints made with the HP HDR230 Scitex Inks on a representative coated media, according to HP, have been independently certified as having Good Deinkability. HP is also introducing the HP Smart Uptime Kit for HP Scitex Presses, a cloud-based inventory management system enabling customers to log parts, track usage and extract reports.
Inca Digital introduces the new Inca Onset R50i wide-format, flatbed UV printer, which features 14 picolitre Fujifilm Dimatix Spectra printheads and an eight-channel, dual CMYK configuration.

Distributed exclusively by Fujifilm, the new system prints at 600 m2/hr with automation. It is positioned between what Inca describes as the high-quality 400 m2/hr, six-colour Onset R40i and the high-speed 720 m2/hr Onset S50i. The new Onset R50i, Inca explains, is designed for firms who produce a mix of graphics for long and short-distance viewing, as the system provides both quality and speed.

“This new Onset ticks all the boxes for many companies because it extends the range of jobs they can handle,” said Heather Kendle, Inca Digital’s Director of Marketing and Product Management. “Plus, its ability to produce both sharp text and smooth block colours with all the added advantages of digital print flexibility will appeal to companies with XXL offset presses.”

The full-width array flatbed Onset R50i is supplied with a choice of Caldera or Colorgate RIPs and prints an apparent resolution of 1,000 dpi onto substrate sizes up to 3.14 x 1.6 metres (123.6 x 63 inches) and 50 mm (two inches) thick at a rate of up to 120 full-bed sheets an hour.

Depending upon specific job requirements, users can choose between uni-directional, bi-directional and high-quality or high-productivity modes. The Onset R50i is equipped with a 15-zone vacuum table, a UV sensor system and mechanical substrate height detectors.
Agfa Graphics, during last week’s ISA Sign Expo in Las Vegas, introduced two new large-format inkjet systems in the Jeti Tauro and Jeti Mira, as well as new features in Asanti 2.0 software and new UV inks. The company also introduced the new Anapurna M3200i RTR White and new automation options for Anapurna M2500i.  

The 98-inch (2 1/2-metre) Jeti Tauro is positioned as a high-end hybrid UV inkjet press – for both rigid and flexible material – with 32 print heads in a 6-colour system, in addition to an optional white or primer. Jeti Tauro offers optional semi or full media load/unload automation.

Jeti Mira is a 6-colour and white UV inkjet flatbed printer with optional varnish or primer. Also aimed at high-end production, it features moving gantry architecture and six vacuum zones with automatic and independent control of the front and back vacuum zones. Jeti Mira is available in two table versions: 2.7 x 1.6 metres and 2.7 x 3.2 metres (8' 9" x 5'2"/10'5"). Agfa explains its Print and Prepare feature makes the Jeti Mira unique for printing on both small objects or larger board sizes.
 
Today, Agfa Graphics’ UV-curable inks deliver large-gamut high-quality prints with the lowest ink consumption per square meter in the industry, thanks to the ‘thin ink layer technology’ in both the Jeti Tauro and the Jeti Mira.

The new UV inks, leveraging what Agfa refers to as thin ink layer technology, for Jeti and Anapurna systems target flexible applications, special substrates and outdoor signage printed on polypropylene or styrene based media types and provide image longevity.

Asanti v2.0 also features new options for printing white on transparent substrates. The software provides for file handling, colour management and preflighting, while also working with the Asanti StoreFront Web-to-print solution.

Canon is introducing its Poster Designer Plus software for use with the company’s imagePROGRAF product line of inkjet printers. Poster Designer Plus is Web-to-print plug-in software that adds a large-format poster design engine, shopping cart and checkout functionality to an existing Website.  

This cloud-hosted printing storefront, explains Canon, gives print service providers tools to take advantage of  industry trend towards the online ordering of wide-format printing. Canon points to a recent study by InfoTrends, which predicts the online print business will double to US$70 billion in online transactions by 2017.

Canon Canada plans to highlight Poster Designer Plus software at the upcoming Graphics Canada trade show, taking place from April 16 to 18 at the International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.

 

Canon unveiled the Océ ColorWave 700 wide-format printer, scheduled for a March 2015 commercial release, which is described as an entry-level system aimed at reprographers and in-plant shops. The printer is suited for applications like posters, pop-up banners and wallpaper, while also handling CAD and GIS documents.

The Océ ColorWave 700 uses Océ MediaSense technology, providing the ability to print on thicker media of up to 32-mil. Canon explains the system is rated to print up to 640 posters or 1,800 A1/D-size CAD drawings per working day.

In line with its versatility tag, the system allows for up to six different rolls of media to be loaded simultaneously. With an optional Take-Up Module, users can choose between roll-to-finished sheet or roll-to-roll printing. The ColorWave 700 also includes the Océ ClearConnect multi-touch user panel, which works like a tablet to ease an operator’s learning curve.

ColorWave 700 allows for printing from a desktop via Océ Publisher Select software, with embedded Adobe PDF Print Engine (APPE) architecture. Optional ONYX Thrive software provides pre-flighting and colour management tools.

Patented Océ CrystalPoint technology produces what Canon describes as water-fast prints with sharp lines, high readability of fine details and smooth, even area fills.

 

Inca Digital launches the Inca Onset R40LT wide-format, flatbed UV printer, sold exclusively by Fujifilm. The printer is positioned as a standard mid-range machine that carries the full-width array of print heads used on higher end Onset systems.

The field upgradable Onset R40LT base model starts as a manual 3.14 x 1.6-metre (123.6 x 63 inches) flatbed printer in a choice of four, five or six colours. It can eventually reach up to eight colours through upgrades. The Onset R40LT is rated to reach speeds of up 265 m2/hr on substrates up to 50 mm (two inches) thick, which Inca describes as being equivalent to producing 40 full-beds sheets per hour.

The Onset R40LT printer has all the design features of the existing Onset R40i, including 14 picolitre Fujifilm Dimatix Spectra printheads, a 15-zone vacuum table, a UV sensor system and mechanical substrate height detectors.

Based on the Onset Scaleable Architecture platform, the Onset Series now features a choice of 18 different models and three different handling systems.

The first R40LT units are currently being installed at Imperial in New Berlin, United States, and at Daelprinting in Ypres, Belgium.



Hewlett Packard has released a new 100 percent knitted polyester fabric for its Latex wide-format printing systems.

The substrate, called HP Light Fabric, is described as being wrinkle-resistant, rub- and scratch-resistant, and soft to the touch for producing high-profile display applications.

HP explains the new Light Fabric has been tested for harmful substances and is certified according to the Oeko-Tex Standard 1001, and is REACH-compliant2, which means the material poses no health risks when used as intended. It is also fabric flame-retardant to B1, M1, and NFPA 701 standards3.

It is designed to allow printing companies to produce lightweight, high-quality banners and display for special events, retail displays and exhibits, among other applications. It is suitable for pack and ship work.

HP describes the materials as presenting an alternative to PVC for banners and displays. HP Light Fabric is available in 42-, 54-, and 60-inch widths.



Agfa Graphics, to extend its portfolio in signage and display markets, has added an automatic cutting plotter for use with its Anapurna and Jeti wide-format printing systems.

“Delivering POP/POS materials is more than just printing on the right substrate,” said Dominiek Arnout, VP for Inkjet at Agfa Graphics. “We are developing and all-integrated approach in which our customers can add an extra in-house finishing step, all driven from Asanti.”

Acorta is designed to finish both rigid and flexible sheet media. The company points to the system's auto recognition system, which automatically localizes the printed objects and the position of the reference points on the cutting table, as well as the substrate’s height.

Acorta features cutting speeds of up to 102 metres per minute with maximum automation and minimum operator intervention. Its 40 vacuum zones are automatically activated where and when needed.

Acorta is available now and will make its worldwide debut at the SGI 2015 tradeshow in Dubai from January 11-13, 2015.

Agfa Graphics’ Jeti Titan HS wide-format-inkjet printing system, which is manufactured in the company’s Mississauga, Ontario, facility, was named as a Product of the Year for its production-size category at last week’s 2014 SGIA Expo in Las Vegas.

Agfa’s Mississauga facility is one of the Belgian company’s three primary facilities for manufacturing inkjet systems. Agfa also builds its entry-level machines in South Korea and mid-range machines in Belgium.

The SGIA’s Product of the Year competition evaluated 139 entries from 68 companies in 25 different categories. The products include equipment and supplies currently on the market that are advancing the specialty imaging industry. Each product was judged during the 2014 SGIA Expo and put on display in the Golden Image Gallery on the Expo floor.

The Canadian-built Jeti Titan HS is a 122 x 79-inch, six-colour plus white (CMYKLcLmWW), flatbed UV printing system (with FTR option). It is equipped with two rows of 1,280-nozzle Ricoh Gen 5 print heads and available with a new primer designed to extend the durability of prints created for outdoor signage.

“We are extremely pleased to have been selected for this prestigious award. The competition was particularly fierce and this award is testament to the hard work of many people at Agfa Graphics all over the world to bring the Jeti Titan HS to market,” said Deborah Hutcheson, Director of Marketing, Agfa Graphics, North America.
 
White printing on the Jeti Titan HS supports different modes including overprint, under-print, spot, under-spot, fill and over-spot for rigids and pre-white for roll media. The Flat-to-roll (FTR) option gives users the ability to print flexible media at the maximum media width. The “S” version of the Jeti Titan has a single row of print heads, but is field upgradeable to add the second row.

During SGIA, Agfa also made the global debut of its new Anapurna M2500i system with an optional automated board feeder (ABF). The Anapurna M2500i is a 98-inch (2.5 m) wide, 6-colour plus white UV-inkjet printing system designed for sign shops, digital printers, photo labs and mid-size graphic screen printers.

It prints on rigid and flexible media including boards/sheets, roll-to-roll and roll-to-sheet. Multiple boards or borderless printing increases productivity even more. The system’s automated board feeder can provide increase productivity by allowing for volume printing of small board sizes (up to five boards can be printed in parallel).

The Anapurna M2500i features six Konica-Minolta KM 1024i Grayscale print heads for colour and two KM 1024i heads for white. It prints at a maximum resolution of 1,440 x 720 dpi and has a maximum speed of 1,238 ft2/hr (115m2/hr).

Durst, during last week’s SGIA Expo in the Las Vegas, introduced the automated Rho 1312 system with what the company describes as “unprecedented media handling,” as well as the Rhotex HS system for soft signage applications.

The 98-inch (250 cm) Rho 1312 prints at speeds of up to 6,600 square feet per hour and provides what Durst describes as a higher gloss finish. The system has been engineered with unique media handling flexibility, particularly with difficult and heat-sensitive media. It uses Durst's Quadro Array print head technology, applying droplets of 12 picolitres.
 
The 1312 also incorporates what Durst brands as Gradual Flow Printing, which includes media transportation advances such as a stronger vacuum, a wider transport belt and improved media registration.

The Rhotex HS reaches production speeds of more than 4,300 square feet per hour (400 m²/hr.), which Durst equates as “the fastest digital soft signage printer on the market.” It has an image resolution of 1,200 dpi and is equipped with Durst´s patented QuadroZ print head technology, which is also utilized in the Durst Kappa series.

With a print width of the 130-inch (330 cm), the Rhotex HS uses water-based dispersion inks, which are odourless and free of volatile organic compounds.

The Graphic Systems division of Fujifilm North America Corporation at SGIA 2014 in late-October plans to demonstrate the Inca Onset R40i, with the Hostert automation system, and the Acuity F.

As Inca Digital’s exclusive worldwide distributor, Fujifilm describes the Onset R40i and Hostert systems integration as a North American debut. Fujifilm previously showcased the R40i in May at FESPA Digital 2014 in Munich, Germany.

The Onset R40i – a UV flatbed machine – uses Fujifilm’s Dimatix Spectra print heads to deliver a 14-picolitre drop size and at 400 square metres per hour. Based on Inca’s Onset Scaleable Architecture platform, the new Onset is available with a range of colour options (CMYK, Lm, Lc and white). Customers can also modify their machines from a 4-colour configuration to five, six or seven colours (up to eight ink channels, including two for white ink). They can also later adopt other key elements for the printer, such as the UV curing lamps, automation, speed modes, electronics and software.

A choice of uni-directional, bi-directional and high-quality print modes can be selected depending on specific job requirements. Onset R40i produces a maximum output resolution of 1,200 dpi on media of up to 3.14 x 1.6 metres (123.6 x 63 inches) and up to 50 millimeters (two inches) thick. It is rated to run at 80 full-bed sheets per hour. The Hostert system includes an automated feeder and alignment table, along with Inca Digital’s proprietary material load/unload system.

Also to be demonstrated at SGIA, the new Acuity F is a UV flatbed printer series that runs a maximum media size of 120 x 98.4 inches. The top machine speed is rated to run at 1,668 square feet per hour. Fujifilm also plans to showcase its Acuity Advance Select running Uvijet KV inks that are designed for the production of decorative print in deep draw thermoforming applications. A CR Clarke 750FLB Vacuum Former will also be a part of live thermoforming demonstrations during the Las Vegas trade show.

Fujifilm will also showcase its Uvistar Pro-8W roll-to-roll inkjet system with new capability to print with light inks (Lk, Lm, Lc) and white. The company explains the printer, available with 4 x 8- and 5 x 10-foot tables, can be converted back to 4-colour work by pushing one button. The Acuity LED 1600 roll printer will also be on the booth, along with Fujifilm’s edition of ColorGATE’s Production Server 8 (PS8) and Pressero Web-to-print software developed by Aleyant Systems.

Mimaki has expanded its JV printer series and CJV cut-and-print series with new JV150 and CJV150 devices, designed for light production signage and graphics, or textile and apparel environments.

The JV150 Series of printers is based on the JV300 Series platform introduced earlier this year. The inkjet system is available in two sizes, including the 54-inch JV150-130 and the 64-inch JV150-160.

The JV150 Series is based piezo technology print heads capable of print speeds of up to 605 square feet per hour. These printers can use either SS21 eco-solvent inks or Sb53 dye-sublimation inks.


Roland, at SGIA 2014 taking place in late-October, will introduce the 64-inch Texart dye-sublimation transfer system available in four- or eight-colour ink configurations. The system will leverage ErgoSoft Roland Edition RIP software.

“Both the printer and our new specially formulated inks are highly innovative,” said Lily Hunter, Roland Product Manager. “Previously, colours sublimated to fabrics could look distorted with dull blacks, missing grays and fuzzy details. The RT-640’s variable droplet technology in combination with Roland Texart dye sublimation ink displays bold, vibrant colours and rich velvety blacks, as well as subtle gradations and fine details.”
 
The Texart RT-640 incorporates a gold-plated, anti-static print head capable of printing seven different droplet sizes. A new feed adjuster, which in combination with a more powerful fan and an included TU-3 take-up system, is designed to provide stability for high-speed printing at up to 351 square feet per hour.
 
Roland’s RT-640 is equipped with the Roland Ink Switching System allowing users to load a fresh pouch without stopping the printer. In four-colour CMYK mode, this system provides two liters per colour and automatically switches to a backup ink pouch when the primary pouch runs out.

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