Mal Baboyian and the New Canon Océ Colorado 1640
Mal Baboyian has 45 years of industry experience, an extremely long job title, and a lot of responsibility at Canon. He’s the Senior Vice President of Canon U.S.A.’s Business Imaging Solutions Group for Océ Product Marketing and Support. This covers a wide range of Océ-branded products, including two exciting new devices: the ProStream continuous-feed color inkjet printer and the 64″ Colorado 1640 wide-format UVgel roll-to-roll printer.
During the One Canon press/analyst event (March 7-9) in Boca Raton, Fla., Canon unveiled worldwide the Colorado 1640 and Baboyian thinks it is Océ’s most important wide-format graphic arts product introduction in 25 years. To say that he’s excited about this product would be an understatement — and this is a man who has seen quite a few wide-format products. For one, he has helped Canon Océ to reach 6,000 unit placements worldwide in the very successful Arizona product line.
Here’s a quick summary of why Baboyian is so excited about the 1640. First off, it is very fast and quite affordable (MSRP, $58,000). Ink consumption and overall running costs are projected to be at quite attractive levels. In addition, the new Canon-developed UVgel inks have a large color CMYK gamut, give off little or no odor, dry immediately, and use low-temperature LED curing. Some very innovative supply and quality control features (to be explained shortly) top off the list.
The UVgel technology was unveiled at SGIA (only the concept, not any product specifics), but at the One Canon event the product was on display and running live. It will be shown at the ISA International Sign Expo in April, and at that point order-taking will begin, with deliveries starting in the second half of the year. Baboyian thinks that sales will likely be split 50/50 between dealers and the direct channel. He is very excited for the opportunity to target his latex competition.
UVgel is a UV-curable ink that gels on contact with the media. Canon says that the ink placement can be accurately controlled to reduce dot gain and produce repeatable images on a range of media, including both thin and heat-sensitive ones. The thin ink layer also leaves a very smooth surface. Through judicious ink consumption, Canon claims a reduction in ink/printing costs of up to 40% compared to ink technologies like latex.
One of the first things you notice about the product is the way the ink is laid down and dried. Two shuttling carriages—one for printing, one for drying—move simultaneously in opposite directions when the device is in operation. (It is easier to see this than explain it, so here is a short video of the process.) The movement is mesmerizing and fast. The device is capable of speeds from 210 to 1,710 sq. ft. per hour. For point-of-purchase (POP) signage, the 1,640 prints at 430 square feet per hour.
A few other features stand out:
- Two-roll supply drawer: The supply drawer can handle two 110-lb. rolls of media at a time. These can be the same or different media type, but either way the print engine can switch between rolls without operator intervention.
- Acoustic nozzle clog detection: The Canon-developed printheads employ a patented nozzle monitoring method that uses sound waves to detect clogged nozzles. The idea is to detect nozzles that may misfire before they actually fail so that corrective maintenance can be performed automatically.
- Real-time media step adjustment: Tiny index marks, printed in yellow at the edge of the media, provide the basis for optical feedback that allows the media handling system to track the advance of the media as it is stepped through the system. This provides the system with real-time data so it can automatically correct any issues with the media feed.
- Automated daily maintenance: The machine does its own daily maintenance. Operator maintenance is required about once a month.
With the Océ Colorado 1640, Canon intends to address a gap in the sign and display market that they see between high-end latex and UV printers (at sizes in the range of 10 ft./3 meters) and lower end 64″ eco-solvent, latex, and UV products. They are excited about this opportunity and they have a right to be — this will be a compelling product.