Wide-format Inkjet


Epson today at Labelexpo in Brussels launched PrecisionCore as its next-generation inkjet printing technology. PrecisionCore forms the heart of new SurePress L-6034V and L-6034VW presses, as well as Epson’s new SureColor F2000 direct-to-garment printer.

The SurePress L-6034V and L-6034VW also represent Epson’s first inkjet-based label presses to employ LED UV-curing ink, jetted by a PrecisionCore print-head array that fits within the company’s existing MicroTFP print-head brand. This single-pass industrial press line, scheduled for commercial release in summer 2014, is available with a white ink channel, SurePress L-6034VW, or without the white ink channel, SurePress L-6034V. Both systems include inline varnish.


Epson is producing the PrecisionCore print-heads in a Micro-Electromechanical Systems (MEMS) industrial facility. The manufacturing scalability and robustness behind Epson’s new print-head, which the company describes as a print chip, allows it to be deployed across a range of sectors from industrial and commercial printing to office products. This is also based on PrecisionCore’s ability to jet a variety of inks onto various marking materials.



“PrecisionCore represents a leap forward in printing performance,” said Minoru Usui, Epson’s global President. “We continue to deliver outstanding quality thanks to superior dot control, and have introduced a new system to ensure reliability. At the same time, scalability allows us to fully leverage our historical strengths of ink flexibility and print-head durability.” 


Epson, the imaging industry’s long-standing dominant force behind piezoelectric, relates the development of PrecisionCore to advances in its high-performance thin-film piezo technology, which is supported through the MEMS chip production for manufacturing scale, quality and cost effectiveness.

“For the first time, one printing technology offers the performance and scalability to fundamentally change how business approaches printing,” said Keith Kratzberg, Senior VP, Epson America. “While today’s industrial printing announcements from Epson showcase the power of PrecisionCore in the prime label and packaging industry, the technology will soon extend to a full range of PrecisionCore-based products designed for today’s office printing environments.”

The SurePress L-6034VW includes six array lineheads which are comprised of 11 PrecisionCore print chip modules (totaling 52,800 nozzles) with multi-size dot control and high native resolution. The linehead is designed to work with Epson’s new low-energy LED-cured UV ink and in-line digital varnish technology, which can ultimately image at a 600 x 600-dpi resolution at up to 49.2 feet per minute. The press works with standard film and paper label substrates between 3.15 to 13-inches wide up to 0.013-inches (0.32 mm) thick. In addition, it enables printing onto heat-sensitive substrates like polyethylene.
 
“The SurePress L-6034VW joins Epson’s current SurePress L-4033A/AW and puts Epson in the unique position to offer two very different digital label press solutions with two different ink sets – aqueous for short-run labels, especially on uncoated and textured paper, and now UV for short- to mid-run labels on a wider range of substrates,” said Mark Elsbernd, North American Region Sales Manager, Epson America. “Prime label and packaging converters now have two options to best suit their client portfolios.”


Xanté will premiere its new Excelgraphix 4200 P series inkjet printer and a new version of its iQueue Workflow at its PRINT 13 booth next week. 

"Chicago's winds of change are blowing from the South this September at PRINT," says Xanté CEO Robert Ross. "Our new Excelagraphix Series is going to turn wide format inkjet inside out, effectively upping the ante on every function that matters, beginning with truly blazing fast speed.”

The Excelagraphix 4200 P printer is a wide format system that uses Memjet’s Waterfall Printhead Technology to produce upwards of 3 billion drops of ink per second. The device is particularly well suited to extremely thick media, including corrugated board up to 1/2” thick.

The newest Xanté iQueue workflow software features an all-in-one RIP workflow and colour handling “that puts five- and six-figure workflows to shame.” The system is engineered specifically for digital colour printing and is bundled with all of Xanté’s devices. 

At the show, Xanté will also show its Excelagraphix L850 Digital Narrow Web Press as well as the company’s Ilumina 650GS series.

Fujifilm North America has added a new model to its Acuity Advance Select series of wide format printers, the Acuity Advance Select HS.

The new model, which comes in four variations between four and six ink channels as well as a choice of two bed sizes, features a higher production speed compared to other machines in the Acuity Advance Select line. The new printers are capable of 535 square feet per hour in Fujifilm’s Production Squared mode.

The six-channel Acuity Advance Select HS-6 printers can be configured with either clear + white or white+ white channels, for varnish and backlit applications or even extra cyan and magenta nozzle capacity. The two bed sizes are 4x8 feet and 8x10 feet; an optional roll media kit will also be available.

The Acuity Advance Select HS printers are optimized by Fujifilm’s Uvijet inks, which incorporate the company’s proprietary Micro-V dispersion technology. Fujifilm claims Micro-V technology helps to create better adhesion to substrate, improved durability and more vibrant colour.
 

Canon Solutions America has announced a new series of Océ Arizona 600 UV flatbed printers. The new line will consist of four models, the Arizona 640 GT, the Arizona 640 XT, the Arizona 660 GT and the Arizona 660 XT.

The primary difference in the machines lies with the number of independent ink channels and bed size. XT models feature an extra-large table size while the 660 printers feature six independent ink channels versus the four channel of the 640 printers.

The six channel devices can be configured to print either White+Varnish or Double-opacity White. These configurations can produce backlit prints or to print on unusual media for industrial applications.

Océ Arizona 600 Series GT models feature the standard table size of 49.2 by 98.4 inches, and Océ Arizona 600 Series XT printer offers the extra large table size of 98.4 by 120 inches. A Roll Media Option is available for all models to print on flexible media up to 86.6 inches wide.



At FESPA 2013, running June 25 to 29 in London, Agfa Graphics launched its Anapurna M3200RTR wide-format system and a new workflow solution called Asanti for the display-graphics sector.

The Anapurna M3200 RTR is a 3.2-metre, roll-to-roll device, which features a six-colour, UV-curing ink system. It supports dual-roll printing and produces a maximum 1,440-dpi resolution, while working with flexible materials like banners, self-adhesive vinyls, and front- and back-lit graphics.

“Most UV-curable production printers designed to ease the transition away from solvent-based engines carry a heavy price tag,” stated Willy Van Dromme, Director of Marketing Wide Format at Agfa Graphics. “We have developed the Anapurna M3200 RTR to be a reliable and good quality system at a sensible and attractive cost.”

Also at FESPA, Agfa, building from its long-standing Apogee software, introduced new Asanti workflow for wide-format production. Asanti is a PDF-based workflow for tasks like colour management, file editing, RIPping and pre-flighting. It includes the Asanti StoreFront, a web-to-print application based on cloud technology.





HP has announced a new device in its Scitex flatbed system lineup which is aimed at production of corrugated and display graphics. The HP Scitex FB10000 Industrial Press makes its debut at FESPA in London this week and will arrive in November.

The six-colour FB10000 has a bed size of 1.6 metres by 3.2 metres. According to HP, the machine can produce up to 125 full-sized sheets per hour, or 1,001 B1-sized sheets in less than two hours.

"To date, digital printing customers have had to choose between productivity and quality, always sacrificing one feature for the other," said Stephen Nigro, Senior Vice President, Graphics Solutions Business, HP. "The HP Scitex FB10000 industrial press changes the game, providing a unique combination of speed, quality and versatility to cost-effectively meet the standards set by offset while taking advantage of the short runs, personalization and quick turnarounds possible with digital."

The company describes the FB10000 as a new platform featuring unique technologies for high speed and quality work. Central to this technology is what HP calls High Dynamic range (HDR) printing, which uses variable drop sizes to print both solid coverage and high detail areas in one pass. Droplets of 15, 30 and 45 picolitres are created from HP’s new HDR300 printheads to minimize tone breaks in printed images. Each nozzle produces up to 24,000 droplets per second and the FB10000 has 312 printheads (52 per colour) of 192 nozzles each, leading to production speeds of up to 625 square metres per hour.

The FB10000 also employs HP HDR240 Scitex UV-curable inks, which features new qualities such as high durability as well as 300 percent elongation, meaning it is very suitable to corrugated POP displays which require creasing. The inks are also Greenguard Gold certified, meaning they are suitable for sensitive indoor environments. The ink also features properties that allows it to adhere to more substrates, including plastics, without pretreatment.

HP says its current Scitex FB7600 will continue to be sold, aimed at the screen printing market. The Scitex FB10000 will place above it in its flatbed lineup.




Agfa Graphics is launching the new Jeti TitanX at FESPA 2013 taking place London, England, from June 25 to 29. The new system joins Agfa’s existing Jeti Titan series of UV-curable wide-format printers based on moving-table flatbed technology (now holding seven different system configurations).



The Jeti TitanX is described by Agfa as a highly flexible system, which allows for fast switching between four (CMYK) to six-colour (CMYKLcLm) imaging on a job-by-job basis. Both modes also allow for laying down white ink, with eight dedicated white print heads out of the system’s 48 total.

The Jeti TitanX has a bed size of 3.1x2 metres with a table with a tolerance of only ± 0.05 mm over the complete surface. The system also features what Agfa refers to as Table Topology Compensation, a set of measurement and jetting compensation algorithms to help reduce variations. An optical camera is used to scan the bed to create a topographical map of the imaging area. The algorithms then make velocity compensation calculations for optimized dot placement.
 
The Jeti TitanX jets Agfa’s Anuvia UV-curable inks that are designed specifically for high-end production platforms.


Inca Digital and Fujifilm will present an addition to its Onset line: the Q40i, at FESPA in London later this month. The companies describe the Q40i as an ultra-high-quality flatbed UV inkjet printer.

The Q40i will use Fujifilm’s Spectra Dimatix QS10 printheads to image media up to 3.14 meters x 1.6 meters up to 50 mm thick. Compared to the 27 picolitre drop size on the S40i model, the Q40i has a 10 picolitre drop size, leading to an apparent resolution of 1,200 dpi. The Q40i prints at up to 310 square metres per hour, or 62 full bed sheets.

“The Inca Onset Q40i combines outstanding quality with high-volume capabilities for critical print applications such as backlit cosmetics displays, fashion and other closely-viewed graphics,” said Heather Kendle, Inca Digital, Marketing Director. She goes on to say the Q40i’s output is comparable to offset litho. 

The Q40i will be available in four- or six-colour configurations, bringing the Onset’s lineup to 20 different configurations in the range.


HP plans to introduce a new wide-format inkjet system, called the HP Latex 3000, to the worldwide market by mid-August. The company also announced the rebranding of its Designjet and Scitex printers and supplies into what the company describes as a new sub-brand known as HP Latex.

HP’s latex printing systems were first introduced in 2008 as a water-based alternative to solvent ink technologies. The company reports more than 15,000 HP Latex printers have been shipped worldwide, which have produced over 100 million square metres of print. HP expects these numbers to triple by 2016.

“As the leader in large-format printing, HP is offering latex solutions that give our customers a unique advantage to cost-effectively address these challenges with new levels of productivity, quality and application versatility,” stated said Xavier Garcia, VP and GM, Large-Format Sign and Display Division, HP.

The HP Latex 3000 system, according to the company, is to provide the ability to work with a greater range of medias, including heat-sensitive substrates, based a new ink solution called the HP Latex Optimizer. This new inking technology is designed to provide curing at lower temperatures and with less energy than previous HP Latex systems. 



The new Latex 3000 will jet third-generation HP 881 Latex Inks and feature production speeds of 830 ft2/hr (77 m2/hr) for indoor applications and 1,290 ft2/hr (120 m2/hr) for outdoor applications.
 
The new HP Latex branding results in the following portfolio:

HP Latex 260, formerly Designjet L26500
HP Latex 280, formerly Designjet L28500
HP Latex 820, formerly Scitex LX820
HP Latex 850, formerly Scitex LX850
HP Latex 3000 Printer (August 2013 release)



Fujifilm, which is the exclusive global distributor for Inca technology, announced the launch of a new inkjet solution for POP corrugated board applications. The technology package is a combination of the Inca Onset S40i, Fujifilm’s new Uvijet OC inks, and a new handling system that was previewed back in January 2013.

The new Uvijet ink system and system for handling corrugated substrates are designed to address challenges in the inkjet production of corrugated board, including distorted or bowed substrates. Fujifilm points out that because of the absorbent nature of various corrugated materials, there is a tendency for ink to sink in (leaving an uneven matte finish) and for companies to then compensate by over varnishing. Uvijet inks, according to the company, help to overcome these challenges, while the handling system eliminates further potential distortions.


Fujifilm also points out the Uvijet ink system builds on the company’s history of developing screen inks for POP corrugated board applications, as well as its history with UV inkjet inks. The new inks are described as offering a range of finishes from low-glare satin to high gloss in corrugated applications, while also allowing users to store and then later finish printed POP work.

The new handling system for the Inca Onset S40i is based on a fully automatic vacuum-to-vacuum transfer method. It utilizes a robotic arm and camera system to distinguish the location and orientation of a stack (within 0.5 mm), separate the top sheet and transfer it to the vacuum bed of the Onset without any gripping or squeezing, which can leave marks on outer edges. 



This system, according to Fujifilm, enables the transportation of uneven materials (which could have up to a 20 mm difference per linear metre in distribution end-to-end), to be held flat on the table with no marks affecting the printed area. According to Fujifilm, this eliminates the need for an excessive gap between print heads and substrate, which helps users maintain text and image quality on difficult surfaces.

When printing is complete, a second automated head also utilizing a vacuum system picks up the printed sheet and drops it onto a delivery stack. With both heads working simultaneously, the productivity of the Onset is increased to over 500 m2/hr.

“This combination of printer, ink and handling system enables our customers in the corrugated display market to be confident that they can produce an even higher class of POP displays than ever before, as there are no longer any compromises to be made," stated Tudor Morgan, Marketing Manager, Fujifilm. "We are confident that bringing this solution to market will open up new business opportunities for these printers and give the industry a new standard to work to.”



At the ISA Sign Expo in Las Vegas, ended Saturday April 6, Fujifilm exhibited its recently released Acuity Advance Select 8 flatbed printer and the Acuity LED 1600 hybrid printer.

The Acuity Advance Select 8 is a UV-based flatbed inkjet system that, building on the existing Acuity Advance series, offers more colour options through an eight-channel set, including white and clear ink options. The Acuity Advance four- and six-channel models were introduced back in late-2012. The new Select 8 also includes two additional production print modes for increased throughput, as well as a new print-bed vacuum system for greater zoning capability.

At ISA, Fujifilm demonstrated the Acuity Advance Select 8 by running unique substrates for applications like poker chips, textured print, playing card tins, Visual Magnetics, wood signs, clear PETG, white Styrene, black Sintra, Innova framed art and Ultraflex poplin fabric.

Fujifilm also showcased its Acuity LED 1600 wide-format hybrid inkjet printer, designed with a unique curing system for creating higher value graphic displays, signs and banners. The printer employs a patent-pending UV-LED ink curing system for both roll and rigid substrates. Those companies that have been integrating LED curing speak to benefits like lower energy consumption and longer lamp life when compared to traditional metal halide UV curing technology.

The Acuity LED 1600 reaches printing speeds of up to 215 square feet per hour and comes standard with an eight-channel set, including CMYK plus light cyan, light magenta, white and clear. This system allows for printing white or clear ink in a single pass. At ISA, the Acuity LED 1600 was demonstrated with Ultraflex Illumisol backlit signs, Sihl clear film, Catalina Graphic Films’ Mojave wall paper, Fujifilm poster paper, clear textured printing, packing printing with playing card cases, and decal/label printing.


At the ISA trade show in Las Vegas, Durst Phototechnik AG unveiled two new versions of its Rho 1000 continuous inkjet wide-format systems with the Rho 1012 and Rho 1030 models. Durst also introduced its new 10-picoliter Variodrop print-head technology, now available on all P10 Series printers, which the company believes to hold important implications for greyscale printing.

The Rho 1012 – equipped with Durst’s 12-picoliter Quadro Array print-heads – reaches speeds of up to 5,000 square feet per hour. The Rho 1030 reaches production speeds of up to 10,000 square feet per hour, which, when applied to fully automated configurations, allows for long-run production of large-format UV applications.

The Rho 1000 platform is available in various configurations, including a fully automated stack-to-stack board-printing option, registered ¾ automation, roll-to-cut sheet or roll-to-roll.

“The introduction of the 1012 and 1030 is a natural result of what we’ve been hearing from the production printing segment,” stated Christopher Howard, Senior VP of Sales & Marketing for Durst U.S.  “By adding the capabilities of our two new printers, along with the automation solutions, we make this a very strong solution for many of our print partners.”

At ISA, Durst also introduced its new 10-picoliter Variodrop printing technology featuring what the company refers to as multi-pulsing.

Durst explains the Variodrop’s multi-pulsing technology is based on delivering two voltage pulses, with the second pulse pumping precise amounts of ink into the droplet before it detaches from the nozzle plate – without forming any satellites. Conventional greyscale relies heavily on the accuracy of drop placement, according to Durst, which can be affected by the uniformity of drop velocity and variations in print-head conditions can lead to a mismatch of greyscale drop velocities.

“Compared to the often uneven droplets that are formed from a not-well-tuned greyscale wave form, this double-pulse drop shape we produce is perfectly uniform and the placement is always evenly spaced with Variodrop,” stated Dr. Richard Piock, CEO of Durst Phototechnik AG.

Durst is demonstrating its Variodrop printing technology on a Rho P10 320R UV system at the Las Vegas Sign Expo event, which continues until April 6. The company is also teaming up with Zund America and Caldera to demonstrate a complete production workflow – from ripping to printing to cutting.


At the ISA Sign Expo in Las Vegas, continuing until April 6, HP introduced new ink and media options for its large-format portfolio, including an ink upgrade system and Color-Logic metallic option for the Scitex FB7600 printing system. HP also introduced the first two partners within its ColorPRO strategy and a new global medias distribution partner.

The Enhanced Color Pack (ECP) upgrade for the Scitex FB7600 and FB7500 systems is described by HP as a scalable ink option geared toward point-of-purchase (POP) applications. Available for six-, seven- or eight-colour configurations, the first two inks (orange and light black) of EPC are expected to be available worldwide on May 1.

HP FB225 Orange Scitex Ink expands the printer’s colour gamut for what HP describes as more realistic skin tones, while also naturally increasing the available spot-colour range for brand-based work. HP FB225 Light Black Scitex Ink, according to HP, creates smoother grey solids and improves neutrality. This ink can be added to the printing system’s six process colours. This Enhanced Color Pack can be employed by existing HP Scitex FB7600 or upgraded FB7500 users.

HP used the ISA show platform to announce the availability of a previously introduced metallic colours effect application, supported by HP software partner Color-Logic, for the Scitex FB700 and FB500 printers. The Color-Logic software enables customers to produce metallic effects for applications like retail signage and package prototyping. It requires the Color-Logic Printers Design Suite & License, HP FB251 Scitex White Ink and HP-approved media for metallic substrates.

At the ISA Sign Expo, HP announced it has entered into a licensing agreement with Brand Management Group (BMG), a company specializing in media distribution worldwide. HP states this move is to improve service quality and availability of its sign and display media for HP Latex Inks. BMG is expected to begin distributing HP-branded media through its global network of dealers on May 1, 2013.

HP also announced at ISA Sign Expo that Aurora Specialty Textiles Group Inc. and Cooley Group are the first external companies to introduce sign and display medias engineered with ColorPRO technology. In 2012, HP introduced its ColorPRO strategy as a set of substrate specifications to meet performance standards, primarily for its large-format portfolio and the HP Inkjet Web Press series.

Aurora Specialty Textiles and Cooley have now committed to develop, manufacture and distribute textile substrates for use with HP Latex Inks and non-PVC banner solutions for use with HP Latex and UV ink products, respectively. These new media options are expected to be available in late summer 2013.


M.T.L Print Ltd. of Israel, founded by inkjet-tech veterans Kobi Markovitch and Moshe Nur, is set to unveil the 5 x 10-foot NURStar 305D wide-format printing system at ISA, April 3 to 6, in Las Vegas.


M.T.L Print introduced its first machine, the NURStar 304D, in 2012, with what the company refers to as a unique interchangeable table, which is to be a hallmark feature of NURStar product line. Since that time, M.T.L Print has also established a North America headquarters in Kennesaw, Georgia.

"M.T.L. Print is riding high on customer momentum,” stated Ran Emanuel, CEO of M.T.L. Print. “Our service team is growing hand-in-hand with the installed base of the NURStar 304D, which was introduced early last year. We already have customers ordering their second machine, which is the best evidence of NURStar 304D's performance and value to its owners.”

The new NURStar 305D – like the 304D version – reaches speeds of up to 2,700 square feet per hour, employing variable dot size print-heads in a six-colour system. The NURStar line employs XAAR 1001 HSS heads, each containing 1,000 nozzles.



The 305D is available with an option for white-ink printing. The interchangeable table of the NURStar line is patent-pending technology that allows operators to load/unload as they print.


Agfa Graphics plans to exhibit four large-format inkjet systems at the ISA International Sign Expo, running from April 3 to 6 in Las Vegas, as well as related medias like the company’s new Duratex fabric for UV curable, latex, solvent and eco-solvent printers.

Agfa Graphics' booth is being presented as a "Six Strings Classic Blues Lounge," which means to replicate a New Orleans Jazz nightclub created with the company's inkjet media portfolio and equipment. “Almost every surface, image and promotional item was created using inkjet," states Deborah Hutcheson, Director of Marketing, Agfa Graphics North America. "The Six Strings Classic Blues Lounge is a stunning visual application lab of all the creative things that can be done with inkjet printing technology.”

Duratex PolyFab is making its North America trade show debut at Sign Expo. It is described by Agfa as a crease-free and water-repellant fabric that is highly stretchable for expansion over frame systems. Agfa’s inkjet systems on display at Sign Expo 2013 are to include:

:Anapurna M2050 – A high-speed, six-colour plus white, UV-curable inkjet printer with the ability to print in both uni- and bi-directional modes. It produces a maximum resolution of 1,440 dpi and accommodates rigid materials and rolls.


:Anapurna 2540 FB – An entry-level flatbed, UV-curable inkjet system designed for screen printers, photo shops and sign shops. Agfa states the system produces near-photo quality and can print on most rigid and sheet materials.


:Jeti 1224 HDC – A UV-curable system designed for display producers, sign-makers, screen-printers and print bureaus who work with a range of medias. This system’s FTR (roll-to-flat) opens up an application range with vinyl, canvas, self-adhesive vinyl, polyester-based films, fabrics and papers, as well as rigid boards, foam-core, corrugated and aluminum composites, and wood.


:Jeti 3020 Titan – A field-upgradeable system with a base configuration of 16 heads that can be expanded up to 48 heads to reach speeds of 2,432 square feet per hour. With 40 heads, the system allows for CMYK printing with enhanced white throughput.

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