Wide-format Inkjet

The Eastman Kodak company has announced it will divest itself from the production of consumer inkjet printers as part of its restructuring in the effort to emerge from bankruptcy protection in the first half of 2013. The announcement came as the company also filed a motion to the Bankruptcy Court to extend until February 28, 2013, its exclusive right to file a plan of reorganization.

"Kodak is making good progress toward emergence from Chapter 11, taking significant actions to reorganize our core ongoing businesses, reduce costs, sell assets, and streamline our organizational structure," said Antonio M. Perez, Kodak Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Steps such as the sale of Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging, and the Consumer Inkjet decision, will substantially advance the transformation of our business to focus on commercial, packaging & functional printing solutions and enterprise services. As we complete the other key objectives of our restructuring in the weeks ahead, we will be well positioned to emerge successfully in 2013."

The company will continue to produce and sell ink for its install base, but will wind down the sales of its consumer inkjet printers. Kodak previously announced efforts to exit or sell unprofitable and declining businesses, such as the digital camera and online photo services businesses, as well as its Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging businesses. Kodak has also cut 2,700 jobs so far in 2012, with 1,200 still to come, representing a 23 percent reduction in its workforce and a savings of more than $340 million per year.


Inca Digital, in conjunction with its exclusive worldwide distributor, Fujifilm, has launched the Inca Onset S20i wide-format UV flatbed inkjet printer. This new introduction follows the launch of the Onset S40i announced in May 2012.


The Onset S20i features a full-width print-head array with 26 individual Fujifilm Dimatix print-heads per colour. This array equates to production speeds of up to 310m2/hr (3,340ft2/hr), which is equivalent to 62 full beds per hour. Producing resolutions of between 600-dpi and 1,000-dpi, the machine has a six-colour system, including white ink and matte, satin, and high gloss finishing effects.



The machine handles both flexible and rigid materials up to 3.14 x 1.6 metres (123.6 x 63 inches), as well as a material thickness up to 50 mm (0.59 inches) thick, or 10 mm (0.4 inches) when using full automation.

The Onset S20i is  available with Inca Digital’s optional automation system, allowing users to operate the machine manually or with semi or three-quarter automation from the same configuration. It also supports Inca’s Print Run Controller (PRC) software module to incorporate variable-data printing.

The Inca Onset S20i includes a new 15-zone vacuum table to reduce bed-masking requirements for substrates less than 3-mm thick. It also includes a new auto-sensor system that constantly monitors the UV dose and informs the operator about when to initiate the Onset S20i’s automated cleaning procedure.


Canon has unveiled five new models in its line of imagePROGRAF printers, including: the iPF9400, iPF9400S, iPF8400, iPF6450 and the iPF6400. The line is designed for professional photographers, artisans, proofers and print-for-pay users.

"Canon has developed a unique and innovative solution to provide colour consistency across the entire series of new imagePROGRAF models to meet the needs of photography and graphics professionals," said Sam Yoshida, VP and GM, Marketing, Business Imaging Solutions Group, Canon U.S.A. "The introduction of this new line of imagePROGRAF printers solidifies Canon's commitment to providing imaging professionals with the necessary tools to showcase their work."

The new imagePROGRAF printers are configured as follows:

iPF9400 (12-colour, 60-inch), 
iPF8400 (12-colour, 44-inch), 
iPF6450/6400 (12-colour, 24-inch). and 
iPF9400S (8-colour, 60-inch).

New features of the introduced imagePROGRAF printers, include: 

Multi-Sensor: An enhanced multi-sensor for improved density accuracy and stability over previous models. According to Canon, this new sensor, along with the included software, helps to achieve colour consistency across all new imagePROGRAF 12-colour models.

Colour Calibration Management Console: Using the calibration function equipped in the new line of imagePROGRAF devices, it is possible to execute and monitor the calibration status of multiple printers on a network from one PC.

Media Configuration Tool: This software allows the user to update and customize the printer and drivers with new Canon and custom media information.
 
The new imagePROGRAF printers also feature a sub-ink tank system which Canon claims minimizes waste. The ink cartridges can also be replaced while the printer is running. This system is further enhanced for the imagePROGRAF iPF6450 and iPF6400 printers with a new 300ml tank size.
 
The 12-colour, 24-inch Canon imagePROGRAF iPF6450 printer is available with an option to add  onboard spectrophotometer, introducing the ability to obtain colour consistency across multiple iPFX400 series printers.

The new Canon imagePROGRAF models are scheduled to be available in September with a retail price of US$11,995 for the iPF9400, $9,995 for the iPF9400S, $5,995 for the iPF8400 printer, $3,695 for the iPF6450, $2,995 for the iPF6400, and $1,795 for the SU-21 Spectrophotometer.



Mutoh has added a new model to its line of eco-solvent inkjet printers: the ValueJet 2638. The machine is designed for indoor signage, billboards, POP displays, fleet wraps and more.

Featuring a 104-inch print width, the seven-colour inkjet printer produces print at up to 1,168 square feet per hour. The staggered dual-head system produces print at a maximum resolution of 1,440 dpi. 

The machine will be shown for the first time at the SGIA Expo in Las Vegas this October. The machine will start shipping in November with a suggested retail price of US$49,995, which includes a heavy-duty feed and take-up system, PhotoPrint SAi RIP software, media-roll cradle, and installation.

Options for the ValueJet 2638 include SpectroVue VM-10 spectrophotometer, ColorVerify Pro and one litre ink bags for high-production environments.


Océ has announced a new series of inkjet eco-solvent printers known as the CS9300. Available in two sizes, 64-inches (CS9360) and 54-inches (CS9350), these machines are the successor to the company's CS9160 and CS9050, respectively.

“This refreshed line of printers brings more productivity to print service providers that produce outdoor-durable work,” said Attilio Mainoli, CEO of Océ Display Graphics Systems. “There are still many applications that are well served by eco-solvent printers particularly in the growing out-of-home advertising category, which includes items such as posters, transit advertising and convenience-store advertising.”

The two machines feature intelligent interweaving technology which reduces or eliminates typical artifacts in conventional inkjet printing, such as horizontal banding, step mismatch banding, and the visible effects of missing or misfiring nozzles.

The CS9360 can print at speeds of up to 29 square metres (312 square feet) per hour, about 60 percent faster than the model it replaces. The CS9350 nearly doubles the print speed of the CS9050. The printers include a standard media take-up system as well as a sheet-off function to accommodate individual shops’ print and finishing workflow. An optional off-board winder unit is available to support volume printing.

 
Mutoh has announced a new addition to its dye-sublimation and aqueous printer line called the ValueJet 1624W.

The 64-inch, four-colour inkjet system prints at up to 600-square-feet per hour and has a maximum resolution of 1,400 dpi. The new printer holds what the company calls "Smart Printing features," including Intelligent Interweave to eliminate banding, and ValueJet Status Monitor, for remote printer monitoring.

The printer is available immediately for shipment and has a MSRP of US$18,995, including a take-up system.


At drupa 2012, in addition to a series of previously announced innovations, Fujifilm launched the Uvistar Pro8 wide-format printer. The company also unveiled a new inkjet web press and, in cooperation with Inca, enhancements to the Onset S40 platform. Fujifilm also introduced a new surface treatment technology, called MultiGrain Z, that is to be used in the manufacture of its processless printing plate.

Adding to its series of Uvistar wide-format printers, Fujifilm describes the new Uvistar Pro8 as being particularly well suited to produce applications for both display POP and outdoor advertising markets on flexible and rigid media. The Uvistar Pro8 platform includes a set of light colours within the ink set based on what the company calls Parallel Drop Size (PDS) technology. This system, using Fujifilm’s brand new Uvijet QN inks, allows the Uvistar Pro8 to produce high-quality display graphics at speeds in excess of 300 m2/hour.

Other improvements to the Uvistar design include: an auto media handling system for rigid media; an automated backlit printing option; the ability to switch between 4- and 8-colour printing modes, and a new operator interface.

In addition to Fujifilm’s earlier announced sheetfed Jet Press models, the company announced plans to launch a new inkjet web press that enables duplex printing within a single tower design. The company explains this design results in an extremely compact footprint, while retaining a maximum printing speed of 127 metres per minute.

The inkjet web press uses Fujifilm’s new VIVIDIA ink, which has been engineered to produce high-density images at high speed, with less ink transfer from sheet to sheet. A variety of ink types, including both pigment and dye-based inks, have been developed for use with this press.


In cooperation with Inca Digital, Fujifilm unveiled the Inca Onset S40i flatbed UV inkjet printer, shown for the first time at drupa 2012. The Inca Onset S40i uses 168 new-generation, user-replaceable print heads (28 per colour) on a full-width print array, delivering a 28 picolitre drop size. This latest Onset machine features reduced bed masking: A new 15-zone vacuum table reduces bed masking requirements for substrates thinner than 3 mm.



The Onset S40i also includes a new UV sensor system that constantly monitors the machine condition and informs the operator when automatic cleaning of the print heads is required. It also includes a new substrate height detector.

At drupa, Fujifilm also announced a new surface treatment technology called MultiGrain Z that will be used in the manufacture of its processless printing plate. This new manufacturing process, unique to Fujifilm, allows for more effective surface area of the plate, which the company states is to result in up to a 50 percent improvement in run length for its new Brillia HD PRO-T3 processless plate. This new plate manufacturing will be implemented in 2013.



EFI has debuted the latest model in its popular VUTEk line. Known as the VUTEk HS100 Pro, the machine is a 3.2 metre UV inkjet press that is capable of imaging up to 100 boards per hour. It is a device aimed at screen printers looking to transition to inkjet.

The HS100 Pro utilizes EFIäs new Orion OS platform, which the company claims provides more precise ink laydown and increased colour gamut. The machine can be equipped with up to eight colours, including white and other special inks.

"This nex generation EFI VUTEk press should win every side-by-side comparison with e4xisting digital presses in terms of offering the best combination of speed, output quality and return on investment," said Scott Schinlever, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Inkjet Solutions at EFI. The printer brings greater flexibility and workflow integration, with streamlined and versatile production on longer run lengths. Combined with advanced production features, warning and detection systems, and the Fiery XF proServer, the HS100 Pro is a true 24/7 solution ideal for the most demanding production environments."

 

 



Agfa Graphics’ released details about its presence at the upcoming drupa tradeshow with technologies like :Apogee version 8, new cloud-based software called :Apogee StoreFront, :M-Press Leopard, :Anapurna and :Jeti systems, and further developments to its ThermoFuse prepress systems.

Focusing on offset and inkjet printing, the company plans to highlight four key industry sectors: industrial printers, sign and display printers, commercial printers and newspaper publishers. “The star of our 7-strong product showing will be the unique and versatile :M-Press Leopard flat bed press,” said Stefaan Vanhooren, President of Agfa Graphics. “It will be running live demonstrating its exceptionally wide range of capabilities.”

In the industrial print sector, drupa will represent Agfa's first trade-show demonstration of the massive :M-Press Leopard. This inkjet-based system includes new functionalities and the ability to print on various substrates up to 5-cm thick, in any size up to 1.6 x 3.3 metres.

In the sign-and-display sector, Agfa will demonstrate its wide-format :Anapurna series and two recently introduced :Jeti 3020 Titan UV systems. One of the two :Jeti 3020 Titans will be shown in a 36-head configuration, with a white-ink application (pre-, post- and spot white). This machine’s 2 x 3 metre mounting bed supports both rigid and thin flexible material. The second :Jeti 3020 Titan on display will feature a 48-head configuration, using eight heads for each colour (CMYKLcLm). It prints at the same speeds for roll-to-roll and rigid materials.
 
In the commercial printing sector, Agfa Graphics is extending its patented ThermoFuse technology for high-volume printers, including the .:Azura TS  and the :Azura CX125 COU (Clean-out Unit), which is designed to handle plate volumes up to 40,000 m2 per year.

In software development, the newest version of Agfa Graphics’ workflow management suite, :Apogee 8, supporting 64-bit systems, will also be demonstrated. The company will also highlight :Apogee StoreFront as a new cloud-based solution to set up online stores for both printed and non-printed products.

In the newspaper sector, Agfa Graphics is introducing two new platesetters for the high-volume newspaper market. The :Advantage N PL HS (Pallet Load, High-Speed) and the :Advantage N TR HS (Trolley Load, High-Speed), both produce up to 350 printing plates per hour. At drupa, the :Advantage N PL HS will be running live, imaging Agfa Graphics’ :N94 VCF chemistry-free violet plates. With a completely new design, it can store more than 6,000 plates configured on two pallets of 3,000 plates each plus an additional cassette, in a fully automatic setting.

Agfa will also demonstrate :Arkitex Eversify. Using HTML5 for the reproduction of images, audio, video animation and other content, :Arkitex Eversify is a Software as a Service solution designed for publishers to convert print content for mobile digital publishing.


Inca Digital Printers has announced it will be adding a new print mode to its Onset S20 machines. A new 20-pass print mode now joins the existing 12, 16, and 25 pass modes.

The 25 pass mode has also been improved, speeding up the production by 24 percent. The new 20-pass mode sits between the existing 16- and 25-pass modes and gives a productivity increase of 26 percent compared to the latter. The upgrades are available as a free upgrade to existing Onset S20 customers and will be included standard on new machines.

“Inca continually looks for ways to improve its technology in order to give customers the best value and performance,” says Dr Linda Bell, Inca Digital CEO. “Different jobs require different levels of image quality, depending on their content and the viewing distance, which translates into different numbers of printhead passes during printing.

Epson America announced a new line of printers called SureColor. The first machine in the series, the SureColor S30670, is a four-colour 64-inch solvent printer and the first to employ Epson's MicroPiezo TFP print head.

"Our first generation solvent printer – the EPSON Stylus Pro GS6000 – has been a game changer in the signage market over the last four years, bringing advanced image quality and an ink technology with less impact on the environment to the industry to open up a new range of applications for solvent printing," said Reed Hecht, Product Manager, Professional Imaging, Epson America, Inc. "The new SureColor S30670 offers advancements in print head and ink technology to deliver higher quality printing, faster and better, at an extreme overall value."

The SureColor S3070 is a design that is new from the ground up and includes many automation features such as nozzle checks, media feed adjustments, and complicated print head alignments. Epson's new MicroPiezo TFP print head delivers droplets as small as 4.2 picolitres and doubles the nozzle density of Epson's previous solvent printers. The one-inch wide print head contains 720 nozzles per colour and is capable of printing up to 619 square feet per hour in draft mode (205 square feet per hour in normal signage production).


The machine uses Epson's UltraChrome GS2 inks and works on "virtually all" standard coated or uncoated solvent media, and can also print on canvas. Developed by Epson, UltraChrome GS2 includes a newly formulated yellow ink that can produce prints with up to three years of outdoor durability without lamination. In addition, these new inks deliver virtually odorless printing without the need for external dryers, special ventilation or air purification systems, and do not contain Nickel (Ni) compounds, helping to reduce impact on the environment and potential harm to employees.

The SureColor S30670 will be available in April at a MSRP of US$16,995. The machine will make its debut at Graphics of the Americas in Miami, March 1-3.


HP has introduced two new products which further expands the scope of its Latex Ink technology. The HP Designjet L28500 is a 104-inch-wide printer while the new Designjet L26500 is a 61-inch machine aimed at the soft-signage market.

Both systems use the new HP 792 Latex Designjet Inks, which, according to the company, produce rich blacks and glossy results on banners and self-adhesive vinyl, as well as compatibility with more than 500 media solutions.

“With about 9,000 HP Latex Ink systems installed worldwide, HP is offering a superior alternative to eco-solvent solutions that delivers the versatility and ease of use our customers demand while lowering their impact on the environment,” said Santiago Morera, VP and GM, Large-format Printing Business, HP.

The new machines produce 1,200-dpi output with outdoor display permanence of up to three years unlaminated or five years laminated. The output also dries inside the printer, boosting productivity for double-sided print jobs, and allowing immediate finishing or use.

Availability of the HP Designjet L26500 Printer will vary by region beginning November 3rd. The HP Designjet L28500 Printer is expected to be available January 20, 2012.


During the recent 2011 SGIA Expo in New Orleans, HP introduced three new wide-format printers, HP Scitex FB7600, XP5500 and XP2500, as well as enhancements to its existing portfolio in this sector.



The HP Scitex XP2500 and XP5500 printers are scheduled to be available worldwide on November 1 and December 15, respectively. HP will also offer HP Scitex XP5300 and XP2300 upgrade packages for existing customers.

The six-colour HP Scitex FB7600, running new UV curable HP FB225 Scitex inks, is described as an industrial press that reaches a maximum print speed of 5,380 ft²/hr or 95 full-size sheets per hour. Hitting a top resolution of 600 dpi, the machine handles both rigid and flexible sheets of up to 65 x 126 inches.


HP’s 16.6-foot (five-metre) Scitex XP5500 system, with a top resolution of 360 dpi, includes new billboard print modes. The UV-curable machine reaches a maximum printing speed of 3,500 square feet per hour.


HP’s 10.5-foot (3.2-metre) HP Scitex XP2500 system is described as delivering up to 15 percent more throughput than its predecessor. The four-colour, UV-curable system reaches a maximum speed of 2,852 ft²/hr and resolution of 360 dpi.

During SGIA, HP also introduced enhancements to its HP Scitex Print Care program, which is designed for printers to help customers maximize uptime and serviceability.  HP also introduced workflow enhancement between the EskoArtwork i-cut Suite and its Scitex machines.



At SGIA in New Orleans, Agfa Graphics made the North America debut of its newest :Anapurna inkjet printing system. The UV-curable :Anapurna M2540 FB is a flatbed machine for printing on rigid substrates. It is based on a six-colour system with white-ink options (CMYKLcLm).


The :Anapurna M2540 FB reaches a maximum print speed of 484 ft2/hr, while carrying a format size of 8.3 x 5 feet and working with substrates of up to 1.77 inches thick. The system also features 11 retractable register pins for media transfer.

"We paid very close attention to details such as the versatile vacuum bed, register pins, and the ability to load and off-load jobs quickly and easily,” said Deborah Hutcheson, Director of Marketing, Agfa Graphics, North America. “As a result, the :Anapurna M2540 FB simplifies working with rigid substrates that need to be completely stable during production, yet also permit for quick changeover.”

Hutcheson continues to explain that the M2540 FB employs a vacuum bed with two zones and that each zone has four switchable compartments with a reverse airflow function for removal of finished prints and moving of heavy substrates.


At the Specialty Graphic Industry Association Expo 2011, beginning October 19 in New Orleans, Fujifilm North America will debut its second generation of wide-format Uvistar printers, based on a UV, roll architecture. The first Uvistar systems were introduced in 2010.

The new Uvistar2 series is available in 3.5- and five-metre models, employing Uvijet QK inks for both indoor and outdoor applications. An optional flatbed table is available for printing rigid materials.

“In just over a year, the Uvistar series has filled a need for low-cost production of billboards and banners,” stated Mitch Bode, VP of Wide Format and Specialty Ink Systems for Fujifilm North America. “Uvistar2 offers enhanced capabilities and functionality for cost-effective production of high quality point-of-purchase displays.”

One of the major new advancements with Uvistar2 is the use of “Parallel Drop Size” (PDS) technology. According to Fujifilm, PDS technology allows an increase in print quality without compromising speed or ink coverage. This also allows for the use of larger 40 picoliter drops together with smaller 20pl drops, which provides for ink coverage and density, as well as producing finer details, without a reduction in print speed.

The Uvistar2 includes a new Linear Encoder that monitors print-head location for accuracy of drop placement, while upgraded electronics offer better control over print-head heating (more uniform ink density).

As well, large files can be RIPped to the Uvistar2 in smaller sizes and then scaled up on press, while the new printers feature software for making ink adjustments on the press. Uvistar2 allows users to work simultaneously on as many as three rolls up to 65 inches wide, with cores of varying weights, widths, and diameters.


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