Technology Guide: Wide Format Printers

Technology Guide: Wide Format Printers
Adding a wide format printer is one of the best ways of creating a new revenue stream, ProPrint looks at some of the latest solutions on the market
Agfa Anapurna H3200i
The recently launched the Anapurna H3200i LED printer is a six-colour plus white platform which uses Konica 1024i print heads, enabling speeds up to 129sqm per hour and 1440dpi photorealistic quality.
 
This hybrid platform enables the user to print boards like Foamex, foam core, aluminium composite, polypropylene and acrylic, in sizes up to 3200mm wide by 3200 in length. Multiple boards can be placed across the printing width and a continuous feed option can be activated which in turn will increase productivity levels. H3200i offers the user the capabilities of printing roll stock like SAV, paper, foils and PVC banner up to 3200mm wide. Agfa says Anapurna is an affordable device and coupled with Agfa’s new1500 inking system the client has a greener solution due to the reduction in ozone levels.
 
Agfa says the curing solution offers excellent adhesion to problematic heat sensitive substrates like coreflute and display card. While only using 1KW of power per module compared to traditional methods that draw approximately 4KW. Agfa’s LED curing system offers a minimum of 10,000+ hours of printing, whereas it says traditional UV mercury systems tend to need replacing after only 500 to 1000 hours. This makes the new solution cost effective. Agfa’s build quality remains, as the Anapurna H3200i weighs in at an impressive 2.8 tons. So 24/7 productivity is not an issue, as the machine has been built to stand the test of time.
 
Anapurna benefits many businesses especially those who specialise in commercial, screen, signs, exhibition and POS markets. This style of device is also available in a 2500mm and 2050mm wide system.
 
Specs at a glance:
Colours: CMYKLcLm + white
Max resolution: 720x1400 dpi
Printer dimensions (H x W x L): 177 x 572 x 193cm 
Weight: 2.800 kg 
Speeds: 129sqm/h (draft) – 9sqm/h (high-quality)
Max width: 316cm (rigid), 320cm (flexo)
Max length: 320cm (rigid with extention table), n/a (flexo)
 
Canon Océ Colorado 1640
Based on disruptive UVgel technology, the Océ Colorado 1640 is the first wide format graphic arts roll-to- roll printer developed by Canon. It prints 64” wide on all sorts of flexible media, coated and uncoated. Canon says it is designed for breakthrough productivity, offering never seen before automation capabilities, superior image quality in a wide application range.
 
UVgel ink technology takes the best of eco solvent, latex and UV to produce a high quality wide gamut odour free instant drying ink. It has a top speed of 159sqm per hour in production mode, and delivers high quality POP prints at 40sqm, faster than any competing system in this segment says the company.
The Colorado 1640 also produces instantly-cured prints on a wide variety of media including heat sensitive media and saves money with segment leading low operating costs.
Canon is pitching it between the lower cost eco solvent printers and the high cost UV inkjet systems. Pricing has not been finalised but it is expected to be under $100,000. Ink costs per litre will be comparable with other inks, but Canon says in real terms printers will be paying between 20 per cent and 40 per cent less for their ink.
 
Colorado 1640 caters for both indoor and outdoor applications. It delivers a large colour gamut, similar to solvent inks but combines this with the environmental benefits and safety profile of latex and UV-cured systems. Resulting in odourless, VCL-free, durable, colour-fast, high quality prints even on the thinnest, most heat- sensitive media. The UVgel technology features thin ink dispersion with almost no discernible physical profile on the media surface.
 
The new UVgel technology is a UV curable ink that instantly gels on contact with the media. Canon says it is has an advanced self-aware piezoelectric printhead technology, an LED-based UV system curing without adding any damaging heat to the media and continuous printhead nozzle monitoring with performance compensation.
 
Specs at a glance:
Max media width: 1,640mm
Max print width: 1,630mm
Max media thickness: 0.8mm
Process: Piezo-electric inkjet with UVgel ink
Ink drop size: 10 picolitres (binary)
Colours: CMYK
Curing lamps: LED-UV 
Resolution: 1,800x600dpi
 
Screen GP Truepress Jet W3200UV 
SCREEN GP will be running live sign and POP work on the latest version of the Truepress Jet W3200UV MkII flatbed UV printer, with roll-to-roll option, on stand D67 at PacPrint. The R2R option prints full 3200mm roll widths and when not in use, tucks neatly away under the bed.
Now capable of up to 230sqm/hr in billboard mode, where images are viewed from distances of five metres or more; for sellable close-inspection commercial work, 150sqm/hr is achievable. The 3200UV Mk II’s finest resolution is a 22-pass superfine photo mode for what Screen says is stunning photo-realistic results at 15 sqm/hr. The seven-colour inkset is CMYK,Lc,Lm plus white and, by controlling the UV ink curing speed with the use of a shuttered system, matte, silk and gloss surface effects can be achieved from the same inkset. 
 
Standard bed size is 3200mm x 1600mm, but a new option is a larger bed skin that boosts maximum size up to 3200 x 2000mm. The twelve 3200s already installed in the ANZ region all feature automated nozzle mapping and cleaning which saves considerable time and operator intervention.
 
The bed of the W3200UV is ultra-flat and features retractable register pins with six-zoned vacuum areas for perfect registration of printed boards. Vacuum levels can be controlled to ensure lay-flat of lightweight materials and even boards that may be distorted and require heavier vacuum to hold down.
 
Screen GP backs the W3200UV with local factory-trained technicians and access to Screen and Inca’s global resources. Comprehensive training is provided at each new site, with a new one to be announced shortly in Melbourne.
 
Built by Screen GP’s Inca Digital subsidiary in the UK, the device uses Screen’s own inks for flexibility, adhesion and wide colour gamut.
 
Specs at a glance:
Type: UV-cured flatbed inkjet printing system
Media size: max width 3,200mm, 
max length 1,600mm
Output size: max width 3,200mm, 
max length 1,600mm
Media thickness: max 50mm
Head: Piezo on-demand printhead
Productivity: Truepress Jet W3200UVII HS: Max. 184 m2/hr, Truepress Jet W3200UVII: Max. 85 m2/hr
Print modes: Truepress Jet W3200UVII HS: 
8 modes, Truepress Jet W3200UVII: 4 modes
Resolution: up to 600dpi
Inks: Truepress inks, standard CMYK, option Lc/Lm, white
Weight: 3,500kg
 
Fujifilm Inca X3
Inca Digital printers are aimed at the high-quality signage, POP and display market, with the newly branded X series pushing productivity up to 900 sqm/hr which equates to what the company claims is a class-beating 180 full sized (3.2x1.6metre) beds per hour.
 
The new X-series range provides an opportunity for businesses to get started with an Onset model that suits their needs and their budget, and later on to scale it as the business changes. The X-1 Light runs at up to 200 sqm/hr, the X-1 up to 560sqm/hr; the X-2 up to 725sqm/hr and the pinnacle X-3 up to 900sqm/hr.
 
Onsite scalability from the X1 to X3 is a major advantage. All Onset X-models incorporate a choice of 9, 14 or 27 picolitre high-performance Fujifilm Dimatix printheads, depending on whether the applications are focused on quality or speed.
 
Inca’s X-series features a new 25-zone vacuum table that eliminates bed masking and crucially, the UV printheads are protected using new high speed UV lamp shutters and side shutters. Up to 14 ink channels can be configured to suit each customer’s individual requirements. The fastest version, the X-3, has triple CMYK ink channels plus white ink or orange if desired. The X-1 and X-2 support light magenta, light cyan, white and orange where close-inspection near-photographic tones and smooth gradations are called for.
 
Scalability is the key at the top-end of the flatbed UV sector. Fujifilm says printers need not be locked in to mid-level productivity when demand increases, as this would mean a whole new machine. The X-1/2/3 upgrade path, plus custom ink set-ups means that businesses can plan for growth and reduce their overheads while doubling their capacity.
 
Several hardware and software advances have been incorporated in the new X- series including storage of frequently-used formats that can be instantly recalled by the operator to save set-up time and increase productivity. A newly-developed GUI provides a powerful yet simple-to-use printer and job management tool. The operator can finalise and initiate jobs, save settings, create print queues and manage and optimise every stage of the print process from the touch-screen.
 
Specs at a glance:
Maximum Substrate Size: 3.22m x 1.6m
Maximum Substrate Thickness: 50mm in manual mode, 18mm using automation
Maximum Substrate Weight: 80kg in manual mode, 10kg using automation
Print Area: 3.22m x 1.6m 
 
Starleaton Zünd G3-L
Zünd’s most popular size and model in cutting for most graphics application is the G3-L which has a bed of 1800 x 2500mm to fit the majority of standard-size boards; or a 3200mm larger version.
The G3-L, which will be displayed working at PacPrint is a versatile CNC machine with over 20 cutting, routing and scoring tool options. It can be configured as a stand-alone manual feed cutter or with fully automated board loading and unloading for 24/7 non-stop operation. This is useful in the corrugated box market where, as with printing, runs are shortening, on-demand and new prototypes needed constantly.
 
The G3 cuts materials up to 110mm thick down to thin roll-fed printed materials such as vinyl, polypropylene, foils and textile. The cutting zone can be extended with optional extensions for extra half or full area.
 
Every material has its own characteristics for cutting and the G3-L’s range of tools is without parallel. A universal cutting head will serve most materials used in graphics, but an Oscillating tool will be needed for soft and flexible materials, for example. Then there are Wheel-knives, Scorer-cutters and Vee-cut tools for foamboards, corrugated and composites. Kiss-cutting will be needed for adhesive-backed facestock which is peeled-off by the user, such as labels and decals. A new routing tool, the RM-L, changes the cutter into a powerful routing machine.
 
Specs at a glance:
Floor load requirements: 200 kg/sqm
Interface: RS232C/V24, Ethernet 10/100Mbit
Max material weight: 30 kg/sqm (manual loading) (can affect the evenness of the working surface)
Max speed: X/Y-axis 1414 mm/s 
Max speed: Z-axis 500 mm/s 
Max rotation speed: T-axis 44.2 rad/s
 
Epson SureColor S80600
Epson’s signage and décor printers have been designed to produce superior output with faster, more efficient, and cost-effective operation. They are compatible with an enhanced range of media including the full range of paper, canvas, film and vinyl substrates. Epson says they produce images that are brighter, and more durable, have a higher gloss level and gamut range than competitors, and can be used for producing indoor POS or outdoor signage, back-lit displays or window decorations, banners or vehicle decals, wallpapers or floor finishes, posters or labels, our printers can do it. A range of models suit different production volumes and output requirements, all with easy loading, simple operation and reduced running costs.
 
Performance produces output quickly with Dual Print Heads, an extended nine colour ink set, and optional white or metal ink. It comes with media support, supporting paper, canvas, vinyl and film stocks, in widths up to 1626mm and thicknesses up to 1mm, in rolls up to 45kg and 250mm in diameter.
 
It has a nine cartridge Epson UltraChrome GS3 ink enables prints with high gloss and a colour gamut Pantone certified at up to 98 per cent. It can also be configured with additional white or metallic ink.
 
It uses the latest PrecisionCore Printhead, new UltraChrome GS3 ink, improved MicroWeave and LUT, self-agitating ink lines, improved paper path with upgraded feed management and a new Advanced Auto Tension Control System.
 
Epson says SureColor uses superior integration, compact design with flexible networking, suits installation in a wide variety of operational environments, runs off a standard 240V power supply, and can be driven by a variety of third party rips.
 
It is easy to use as it can be loaded by a single operator with auto media set-up and skew correction, new see-through platen cover with integrated lighting, upgraded control panel and new Epson control dashboard management software.
 
It needs less maintenance with its new self-cleaning printhead and air circulation system with mist extraction.
 
It has reduced production costs using new low cost 700ml ink cartridges with reduced ink and power consumption, ships with an integrated auto take-up and drying unit, supports remote management, remote auto status and error reporting. 
 
Specs at a glance:
Print head: Dual PrecisionCore TFP with VSDT and integrated headguard
Print operation: Auto head alignment, nozzle check, head-cleaning, media setting and skew control
Print modes: uni and bi-directional
Nozzle configuration: 360 x 2 colour per head
Max resolution: 1440dpi x 1440dpi
Ink type: Pigment based solvent
 
HP Latex 570 
The HP Latex 570 is a 1626mm wide printer, using HP 871 Latex inks in 3-litre bulk ink cartridges. Prints are cured inside the printer and come out dry without the need for out-gassing, so they ready for finishing, dispatch or immediate application.  According to HP instant-ready prints and indoor high-quality speeds of 23 sqm/hour, mean the HP Latex 570 enables printers to deliver amazing results blazingly fast.
 
HP’s third generation Latex inks provide hard-solvent like scratch resistance on SAV and PVC banner, with the benefit of being water-based with a low environmental impact.  Achieving Greenguard Gold indoor air quality certification – even for full room wallcoverings - odourless inks, low VOC’s and no hazardous air pollutants, both operators and end customers appreciate the environmental appeal of HP Latex.
 
The new media loading and take-up system accepts heavy rolls up to 55kg – and operate on an easy to use pivot mechanism which is also spindle-less.  Making loading a breeze, the electronic pinch rollers correct skew automatically, and can enable roll loads in under a minute.
 
Predictive supplies alerts allow greater levels of unattended operation, ensuring there is enough ink and media loaded to print the job.  The free HP Latex Mobile app provides alerts via a mobile phone or tablet that inks or media are running low – and printers can even check that their job is printed and the current printer status – from anywhere in the world! (internet access required).
With the HP Applications Centre - incorporating HP WallArt Suite and HP Signage Suite - printers can tap into the lucrative custom printed décor market, or add simple online design and ordering of common signage applications.  HP Applications Centre can be integrated into an existing website, allowing end customers to create wallcoverings, canvas, decals, pull-up displays, banners and posters – optionally linking with e-commerce solutions for online payment.  The 
HP Applications Centre is free for printers with HP Latex systems, as well as selected HP Scitex and HP Designjet printers.
 
Finance options for the HP Latex 570 are available making, says HP, the highly-productive HP Latex printing even more affordable.
 
Specs at a glance:
Print resolution: Up to 1200 x 1200 dpi 
Margins: 5 x 5 x 0 x 0 mm (0.2 x 0.2 x 0.0 
x 0.0” without edge holders)
Ink types: HP Latex Inks Ink cartridges Black, cyan, light cyan, light magenta, magenta, yellow, 
HP Latex Optimizer Cartridge: size 3 liter, 775 ml Printheads 7 (2 cyan/black, 2 yellow/magenta, 1 light magenta/light cyan, 2 HP Latex Optimizer) 
Color consistency: 17 Average <= 1 dE2000, 95% of colors <= 2 dE2000 
Media: Handling Roll feed; take-up reel; wiper roller; roll lifter; automatic cutter (for vinyl, paper-based media, backlit polyester film) 
Media types: Banners, self-adhesive vinyls, films, fabrics, papers, wall-coverings, canvas, synthetics, mesh, textiles
Roll size: 254 to 1625-mm  
Rolls: 580 to 1625-mm rolls with full support 
Roll weight: 55 kg 
 
EFI Vutek FabriVU 340 digital fabric printer
EFI says that the Vutek FabriVU 340 digital fabric printer (on show for the first time in Australia at PacPrint 2017 on the Starleaton Stand E30), offers everything needed to produce high quality images at production level speeds—all while keeping running cost low and profit opportunity high. 
 
According to the company print providers can now drive their businesses growth with soft signage and produce dazzling displays, high-density backlit signs and more with ultra-high resolution, ultra-high speed printing. Thanks to sophisticated EFI inkjet print technology, this printer produces robust soft signs and fabric displays that retain the drape and soft hand customers prefer, while still, according to EFI, creating spectacular graphics that can be washed and dried without wrinkling, folded without leaving marks, and that can be reused time and time again.
 
The EFI FabriVU 340 can print direct to textile or onto transfer paper, and changeover from one to the other is fast and simple. This means users can offer customers more choice in textiles while also saving money by using lower cost substrate materials. The FabriVU range of printers use genuine EFI water-based CMYK disperse dye inks to print on fabrics weighing from 40 to 300gsm, and paper weighing from 40 to 160gsm, to produce dramatic, four-colour fabric display graphics with a wide colour gamut and deep colour saturation. EFI says it is ideal for producing flags, banners, wall coverings, backlit displays and other high-end display graphics. 
 
EFI FabriVU innovations include a patented ink recovery system giving up to 95 per cent of ink saving, direct to fabric or paper transfer, printing speed up to 400/500sq m/hr, a small footprint, automatic self-cleaning functions, high efficiency dryer, and a wrinkle detect protection system against costly head strikes.
 
The EFI Vutek FabriVU 340 offers maximum production speeds up to 500 sqm per hour, production image quality of 250 sqm per hour and POP image quality at 165sqm/hr. 
 
Specs at a glance:
Fabric weight: 28 to 140 gr/sqm
Entry and Exit: standard roll unwinder/rewinder up to 450mm outside diameter
Dryer: Heated platen
Resolution: up to 2,400dpi
Max production speeds: 500sqm/h
Production image quality: 250sqm/h
POP image quality: 165sqm/h
 
Fuji Xerox Acuity LED 1600 II – UV Hybrid Printer
Fuji Xerox says the latest generation of the successful Acuity LED UV hybrid printer is a faster and more versatile production machine built to produce exceptional print results in an environmentally friendly way.
 
The LED 1600 II uses low energy LED UV curing technology producing little heat, meaning it works effectively on heat-sensitive media. Fuji Xerrox says the LED UV lamps require no warm up time, consume far less energy than conventional UV lamps and last up to ten times longer. Daily maintenance is minimal and the Uvijet inks and curing system are safe and kind to the environment. The purpose-designed ink, printhead and curing systems work in harmony to deliver smooth, near-photographic prints with excellent coverage and strong vibrant colours at impressive print speeds of up to 33sqm/hr.
 
The standard eight-colour Uvijet ink set incorporates cyan, magenta, yellow, black, light cyan, light magenta plus white and clear. Clear ink allows prints to be highlighted or enhanced with high gloss spot finishes. High density white ink can be used to produce creative effects on clear and coloured media. The LED 1600 II can now print colours plus white and clear inks simultaneously and colour-white-colour layers in one pass for two sided images on transparent material. LED UV cures the ink instantly so there is no need to wait for the prints to dry before finishing or shipping.
Uvijet inks offer adhesion to a wide range of flexible and rigid media (up to 13mm) including standard display materials such as self-adhesive vinyl, paper, PVC banner and film as well as flute board, foam board, textured boards, coloured media, mirror board, wood and aluminium composite and many more. Popular applications include display graphics, signage, decals, posters, window displays, backlit signs, indoor and outdoor signs, point of purchase, architectural graphics and packaging prototypes.
 
The Acuity LED 1600 II can be installed in most production environments as it produces no solvent fumes, no VOCs, no ozone and no surplus heat making it suitable for use in an office, studio or workshop.
 
Fuji Xerox bundle the LED1600 II with Caldera rip software and comprehensive installation and training services plus a service support agreement. Vinyl cutters and customised options for digital cutting tables are available to suit most applications. 
 
Specs at a glance:
Inks: LED UV
Inkset: Eight colours
Max print speed: Up to 33sqm per hour 
Rigid media depth: Up to 13mm
 
Ricoh Pro L4100 Series
The Ricoh Pro L4100 Series of large format roll-fed inkjet printers feature new eco-friendly, durable latex inks to enhance productivity and image quality, enabling print providers to expand their indoor and outdoor sign display offerings.
 
The aqueous resin (AR) latex ink has been developed by Ricoh to deliver what it says is a sharper, richer, colour on a wider range of substrates with faster drying times and reduced energy consumption. Ricoh’s new AR latex inks are available in CMYK, plus orange and green for an expanded colour gamut. White ink is also available to enhance printing on transparent or dark substrates. The inks are ideal for a wide range of uses, from posters and point of purchase to window applications and outdoor banners. According to Ricoh excellent spot colour simulation with six-colour process printing improves the ability to reproduce corporate colours and other special colours with high fidelity, and enables accurate printing of package proofs and other colour-critical projects. High black density results in sharper details and richer colours and improved glossiness creates more dramatic and eye-catching images.
 
The ability to print white ink as a foundation colour layer on transparent or dark material enhances the natural vividness of colours. With three-layer printing, where white ink is printed between colours, images are visible on both sides of transparent substrates even though the printing is only on one side. This enables more dramatic and impactful colour with backlit and other transparent signage.
 
Ricoh’s AR latex inks dry quickly for more efficient production, enabling operators to quickly move to secondary processes such as laminating and installation. Using cold cure at 60°C, the inks can be used with a variety of lighter weight and heat-sensitive media. Supported media includes film, coated paper, PET, tarpaulin, PVC, polyester cloth, cotton, wallpaper, transparent vinyl and more. In addition to substrate flexibility, cold cure saves money by reducing power consumption.
Ricoh’s new AR latex inks also offer strong environmental performance, having been awarded the Greenguard Gold certification by UL Environment in recognition of low chemical emissions and improvement in air quality where the inks are used. This signifies that Ricoh AR latex inks are suitable for use in sensitive environments such as educational and medical facilities. The inks also have minimal VOCs and odour, eliminating the need for special ventilation. Ink is delivered in reusable ink cartridges and eco-friendly ink packs.
 
When combined with Ricoh’s own print heads and jetting technology that deliver multiple drop sizes as small as four pico-litres, Ricoh’s new AR latex inks deliver excellent image quality and reliability while reducing ink consumption.
 
Print service providers are able to choose between the Pro L4130 – with a maximum media width of 1371mm  – or the Pro L4160, with a media width of up to 1620mm. Both models can be configured with up to eight cartridges for the ideal ink colour configuration.
 
Specs at a glance:
Print process: On demand Piezo inkjet 
Ink type: Eco-friendly Aqueous Latex 
Resolution: 900dpi, 1200dpi 
Usable ink: CMYK, Or, Gr, W 
Ink configurations: 4 colours – CMYK; 6 colours - CMYK, Or, Gr; 6 colours and white - CMYK, Or, GR+W 
Media types: Thin coated paper, PET, tarpaulin, weatherproof PVC, window film, polyester, cloth, cotton, duratrans. 
Print speeds: 6.6sqm/hr to 195.9sqm/hr 
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