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Wide-Format Ink-Jet — Digital Printing Goes Flat

September 2008 By Mark Smith Technology Editor

Inca Digital Printers’ Onset is another CMYK, UV flatbed ink-jet and handles up to a 126x60˝ sheet. It is marketed in the United States by Fujifilm Sericol, which makes the Uvijet ink used in the printer.

Onset features 24 print units each containing 24 piezoelectric printheads to achieve a 6,458 square feet per hour top speed, with the recently introduced bi-directional printing mode. The imaging unit can be mated to a semi-auto or automatic material handling system to maximize production.

More Options on the Table

The two companies also have a relationship through Fujifilm Graphic Systems U.S.A., which distributes the Inca Spyder 320 flatbed UV ink-jet printer (126x63˝ format, 1,000 dpi resolution and 860 square feet per hour). At the same time, Fujifilm is selling the Acuity HD 2504 flatbed machine that outputs a maximum 96x38˝ sheet size at up to 174 square feet per hour.

Adding another twist to the business relationships, Inca was acquired in 2005 by Dainippon Screen, which is the parent of Screen (USA). Screen, however, entered the market at Drupa 2008 with its own Truepress Jet2500UV ink-jet printer that is a combination flatbed and roll-to-roll system. It outputs a maximum 1,500-dpi resolution on media up to 98.4˝ wide. The unit prints in CMYK, with the option of adding light cyan and magenta or white ink, at speeds up to 726 square feet per hour.

Also at Drupa, EFI previewed the VUTEk DS (digital screen) series flatbed UV printer that outputs up to 6,000 square feet per hour with a maximum 63x96˝ sheet size. It is designed with a fixed array of printheads and a moving bed to support print resolutions up to 1,200 dpi in four- or eight-color mode. The initial ink set will include CMYK, along with light versions of each color. White and clear inks are to be offered in the future.

An optional material handling system provides automatic loading/unloading of rigid media from a pallet for continuous operation. The complete VUTEk DS system isn’t scheduled for introduction until sometime in 2009, but EFI already offers the VUTEk PV200 and QS series flatbed machines.

Gandinnovations likewise added to its line of flatbed printers in Düsseldorf with the launch of its NanoJet UV “true” flatbed digital printer that uses 24 Spectra UV ink-jet heads to print a maximum 48x96˝ format at up to 220 square feet per hour. This six-color system has a top resolution of 1,200 dpi. The company offers a range of flatbed models, capped off by the Jeti 2030 X-2 that is capable of printing a maximum 78x120˝ format and 1,510 square feet per hour.

The new Océ Arizona 200 GT UV-curable flatbed printer is based on the existing Arizona 250 GT platform, but is configured for light production environments. It has a true flatbed architecture that can print rigid media up to 49x98˝, with printing done across the long axis for increased productivity. Both models use Océ VariaDot imaging technology and CMYK inks in a piezoelectric ink-jet unit. The Arizona 200 has a maximum print speed of 101 square feet per hour and can be upgraded to the 250 GT model (172 square feet per hour).

Not Strange Bedfellows

HP gained entry to the flatbed segment through its acquisition of Scitex Vision and more recently expanded its offerings by acquiring MacDermid ColorSpan. It completed the integration of the latter product line earlier this year, with the high-volume flatbed model given the HP Scitex brand (FB910: 98.4x80˝ format and 811 square feet per hour) and the others now called HP Designjet printers. The company’s latest wide-format product introduction was environmentally friendly HP Latex Inks for thermal ink-jet, which initially will only be offered with the new roll-to-roll Designjet L65500 model.

Ink-jet applications in CTP and label printing headlined Mimaki Engineering’s Drupa introductions, but it also displayed the JF-1631 UV flatbed machine that prints a 63x122˝ format at up to 1,200 dpi.

Just to illustrate the broad capabilities of ink-jet, it’s worth noting that Durst Phototechnik opted to display even more diverse solutions, including a flatbed printer for wood decoration and another that prints on ceramic tiles. PI

For More Information on the flatbed, wide-format ink-jet printing systems mentioned, visit and enter the numbers below.

Agfa — 530

EFI — 531

Fujifilm — 532

Gandinnovations — 533

HP — 534

Inca/Fujifilm Sericol — 535

Mimaki Engineering — 536

Océ — 537

Screen (USA) — 538


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