Wide-format Inkjet

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.

Fujifilm has added four new models to its Acuity Advance Select series. The new machines, the Select-4 and Select-6 (both available in X2 configurations) are the latest in the company’s UV flatbed printers line. The existing Acuity Select-8 was launched in late October during the SGIA show.

The four-colour Acuity Advance Select-4 uses CMYK channels only for applications where clear and white inks are not required. For the Select-6, the two additional channels can be used for clear + white or white + white.

The two machines are also available with two different flatbed sizes, a standard 4' x 8' table or an X2 version with an 8' x 10' table. All Acuity Advance Select models have an optional roll media kit for printing onto  flexible materials. The printers also feature additional vacuum zones, further reducing manual masking, improving productivity.
The Acuity Select-4 can be field upgraded to a Select-6 and the Select-6 can be upgraded to the Select-8.  

Océ, a Canon Group Company, has announced four new additions to its Arizona 400 series line of UV flatbed printers: The Arizona 460 GT, Arizona 460 XT, Arizona 440 GT and Arizona 440 XT. The new machines join the Arizona 480 GT and Arizona 480 XT introduced in October.

The Arizona 400 series now has devices with four, six or eight independent ink channels for two different flatbed sizes. The machines have Océ’s VariaDot technology that can create images with sharpness equivalent to 1,440 dpi or higher as well as text as small as 2 point. According to Océ, the devices are also upgradable, designed to grow with the user’s business.

Océ Arizona 460 GT and Océ Arizona 460 XT models include six independent ink channels with the first four configured for standard CMYK printing. Channels five and six can be configured in two ways to meet the demands of various jobs, as described by the company below:

Varnish + White: Using white ink, print service providers can produce prints on a variety of non-white substrates – including backlit prints – that can command premium prices. Varnish can be used as a spot or flood decorative element for attention-getting results at high-value prices.

Double-White: Alternatively, when not required for use in printing varnish, the sixth channel can be used as an additional white ink channel to provide double the opacity in a single printing pass for higher productivity when printing white ink jobs. This is particularly beneficial for backlit and industrial applications.

The Océ Arizona 440 GT and Arizona 440 XT models include CMYK ink channels only. This is well suited for those shops that do not initially need the capacity for Varnish or White Ink printing or already have that capability elsewhere but just need to increase CMYK capacity.

Fujifilm at the SGIA 2012 show this month in Las Vegas introduced a new member of its Acuity wide format line. Called the Acuity Advance Select UV, the machine features eight independent ink channels that allows it to produce a wider range of applications.

In addition to the standard CMYK channels, the Acuity Advance Select has white and clear ink channels that can be configured to print clear + white, white + white, as well as to lay down additional cyan and magenta to increase productivity. The Acuity Advance Select also has new print modes to further improve print speed.

"The Acuity Advance Select, with white and clear ink options, sets a new standard for creating wide format, photo-realistic, fine detail prints with more versatility than ever," said Todd Zimmerman, Vice President and GM, Fujifilm North America Corporation, Graphic Systems Division. "The Acuity Advance Select delivers stunning quality while printing at high production speeds. It can produce both rigid and flexible point-of-purchase signage that hold up visually, even at the closest of viewings, and can be used on practically any substrate, allowing printers to expand their capabilities and create new sales opportunities."

The device also has an optional roll media kit as well as additional vacuum zones to reduce manual masking.

Océ announced it will premiere the latest in its Arizona line, the 480 GT and the 480 XT, at the Specialty Graphic and Imaging Association show this week in Las Vegas.

The new Arizona 480 has eight independent ink channels with support for varnish or double-opacity white ink printing, including additional cyan and magenta channels for higher print quality at faster speeds. The two machines also feature a new system to increase image sharpness called active pixel placement compensation, which adjusts the location of individual pixels to account for localized variations in flatbed or platen height.

The Océ Arizona 480 GT printer offers the standard table size of 49.2 by 98.4 inches and the Océ Arizona 480 XT printer offers the extra large table size of 98.4 by 120 inches. Both can print on rigid media up to two inches thick. A roll-media option is available for both models to print on flexible media up to 86.6 inches wide.

In addition to the standard CMYK channels, channels five and six can be configured in two ways: Varnish + White and Double-White. The seventh and eighth channels add extra cyan and magenta nozzles to increase performance. The two machines have print speeds of up to 272 square feet per hour. The printers are aimed at production capacities of 53,800 to 107,600 square feet per year.

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.

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