Wide-format Inkjet

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.



Mutoh America has announced a replacement for its ValueJet 1618 64-inch printer; the new ValueJet 1638 will make its debut at this year's SGIA show and will have print speeds of up to 545 square feet per hour.
 
The 1638 includes a staggered dual head print technology that allows users to print jobs that typically call for the production capacity of two or more printers. It prints on coated and uncoated roll-to-roll substrates. Mutoh’s SpectroVue VM-10 spectrophotometer can be equipped to utilize the on-board and Internet based ColorVerify process control systems, including an on-printer ICC profile creation.

Standard on all ValueJets, the 1638 includes Mutoh’s i2: Intelligent Interweave print technique that lays down the four color (CMYK) Eco-solvent inks in a wave pattern, virtually eliminating banding.


Fujifilm has unveiled its newest wide-format printer, called the Acuity LED 1600, with both roll-to-roll and flatbed production. The 8-colour Acuity LED 1600 is built around a LED light source for curing UV-LED inkjet inks.

The new machine, with a 1,610-mm width, runs at a production speed of 20 square metres per hour. It reaches a resolution of up to 1,200 dpi.

Fujifilm describes the device, based on its LED curing, as capable of handling a range of substrates, including PET, acrylic, and polycarbonate materials.

Based on its 8-colour configuration (cyan, magenta, yellow, black, light cyan, light magenta, white and clear), the Acuity LED 1600 can print both colour and clear inks in a single pass, which allows for high-gloss applications.

Fujifilm will highlight the Acuity LED 1600 later this month at the Chicago-based Graph Expo 2011 trade show.

 


HP unveiled an upgrade package, set for commercial release on September 15 of this year, to expand the range of media that can be used on its inkjet-based Scitex XP2300 wide-format printer.



According to HP, the upgrade package is designed for high-volume print service providers who are interested in a UV-curable alternative to solvent-ink production. The HP Scitex XP2300 machine now offers billboard print modes for printing directly on what the company refers to as inexpensive banner materials.

With these print modes, designed for HP Specialty Billboard Scitex Inks, customers can achieve a glossy or matte finish while using a single ink set. Customers who install the upgrade also begin receiving support through HP Scitex Print Care, a set of tools and services to handle technical issues, enable remote diagnosis and provide performance information.

“Since introducing the HP Scitex XP2300 Printer, we have been working closely with our customers to identify the features that would enable them to move more jobs from their solvent devices to this proven, UV-curable platform,” said Yariv Avisar, VP and GM, Scitex Large-format Solutions, HP.



Following the 2009 launch of its :M-Press Tiger inkjet press, Agfa is now introducing a new member of the :M-Press family, the :M-Press Leopard. The machine will be formally introduced at the Fespa show in Hamburg later this month.

The :M-Press Leopard is designed to provide :M-Press technology at a lower price point than the Tiger. It prints at sizes of up to 1.6 by 2.6 metres. The machine features a simplified feed system, co-developed with Thieme, to handle substrates up to 20 kg/m2. The design allows for more applications which require more manual handling.

The Leopard uses Agfa's UPH 2 (Universal Print Head) greyscale variable drop technology and prints are instantly cured, according to the company.



Mutoh has added two new machines to its ValueJet line-up, the ValueJet 1324-54" and the ValueJet 1624-64". Both will be featured during this week's International Sign Expo in Las Vegas.

The two devices will replace the previous ValueJet 1304-54" and 1614-64" respectively. Improvements include a new print head that increases print speeds to 300 square feet per hour (313 square feet per hour on the 1624-64"), easier maintenance through an added service door, automatic sheet off function and the optional Spectrovue-VM10 colour measurement tool. The 1624-64" also includes a movable ink cartridge holder that accommodates both 220ml and 440ml cartridges.

Mutoh will also showcase its new MP Ink on its ValueJet 1608HS-Hybrid machine, which uses 60 percent bio-based materials for increased environmental-friendliness.



Belgium-based Agfa Graphics yesterday introduced its new large-format :Anapurna M1600 system. Based on a UV inkjet process, the M1600 is a 4-colour device with an additional white-ink channel that can reach a maximum resolution of 720 x 1,440 dpi.



According to the company’s assessment of its large-format portfolio, the M1600’s white-ink printing capabilities are based on the :Anapurna Mw and :Anapurna M2050 system, while also providing higher production speeds associated with its :Anapurna M2050 and :Anapurna M2 systems.

“:Anapurna M1600 is a production workhorse designed to guarantee consistent high quality output even under peak workloads,” said Willy Van Dromme, Marketing Manager for Wide Format Inkjet at Agfa Graphics. “This system gives the best-fit printing mode because every application requires a particular balance between speed and quality. We also made the :Anapurna M1600 easy to use.

"Media loading and changing from rigid to flexible materials is fast and straightforward, and the system features a very intuitive operator interface. In fact we integrated all the best features from the :Anapurna M2050.”

The :Anapurna M1600 works with rigid medias up to 4.5-centimetres thick and a width of up to 1.58 metres. The system also features a 2-zone vacuum table for media-handling flexibility.



Inca Digital Printers yesterday introduced a third model within its Onset line of wide-format, UV-based flatbed inkjet printers. The new Onset S40, distributed in Canada by Fujifilm, reaches a maximum printing speed of 470 square metres per hour (5,059 sqft/hr).

This Onset S40 machine fits between the high-end Onset S70, which runs at a top speed of 750 sqm/hr (8,073 sqft/hr), and the Onset S20, with a top speed of 310 sqm/hr (3,340 sqft/hr).

 The S40’s top-rated speed is equivalent to producing 94 full-bed sheets (3.14 x 1.6 metres) per hour, with substrates of up to 50 mm (2 inches) thick.

The Onset S40 jets Fujifilm’s UVijet ink through as many as 168 user-replaceable printheads (28 per colour), which allows it to produce 600-dpi resolution in either a 4- or 6-colour machine configuration. 



An optional materials handling system from Inca provides the S40 with manual, semi- or three-quarter automation from the same configuration.



Fujifilm Dimatix, which develops industrial inkjet printheads, components and systems, introduced its new Dimatix Materials Printer (DMP), described as a large-format, non-contact, fluid deposition system capable of jetting functional fluids.


The DMP-5000 has a printable area of 500 x 500 mm and, according to Fujifilm, maintains a positional accuracy and repeatability of ± 5 µm and ± 1 µm, respectively. The DMP-5000 uses a temperature controlled vacuum platen to register, maintain and thermally manage substrates during printing. These substrates include plastic, glass, ceramics, and silicon, as well as flexible substrates ranging from membranes, gels, and thin films to paper products.

The printer includes an integrated drop visualization system that captures droplet formation images, as droplet ejection parameters are adjusted to produce a tuned printhead and fluid combination. The printhead can be calibrated on a per-nozzle basis to compensate for channel-to-channel variability. A second camera system allows substrate measurements and alignment, observations of fluid drying behavior, with droplet measurement and placement calculations.

“With the addition of the new DMP-5000, combined with our broad range of interchangeable printheads, wide range of drop volumes and application specific capabilities, Dimatix now provides the most comprehensive solutions in the industry for process, fluids and product development for materials deposition applications,” said Martin Schoeppler, CEO and President of Fujifilm Dimatix, Inc.


The DMP-5000 joins the DMP-2800 and DMP-3000 printers introduced in 2005 and 2009, respectively.


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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



New Canon imagePROGRAFs

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

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



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

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

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




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