EFI vice president of worldwide marketing, Ken Hanulec, has given away some clues at EFI Connect in Las Vegas about the company’s direction in industrial and display graphics.
“As we move with Single Pass across all of our portfolio, the one printer you don’t see Single Pass in right now is display graphics. So if you connect the dots, maybe you can see where we’re going with the technology,” he said.
EFI Inkjet Single Pass Technology has been a major rollout for the company across industrial building materials, industrial packaging and industrial textile.
“We believe that we have the broadest inkjet product range. We have got a robust display graphics line. We’re just getting started with Single Pass and you’ll probably soon see Single Pass extend to display graphics,” he said.
“I foresee Single Pass to be the dominant technology that wins in the end at drupa. Anybody in the production environment will see value in Single Pass and we have a leadership in this position, which is why it’s critical that we talk about it.
“Single Pass only works if you have a world class printer and world class ink. The only way to make Single Pass work is if you also have the workflow and digital front end tools available to keep up with those production speeds.”
Hanulec also spoke about digital thermoforming, which he said is a high-value application for EFI.
“Industrial application opportunities in digital thermoforming include leather printing, luxury vinyl tile printing, industrial applications, and membrane switch printing. These are a couple of applications that are enabling us to expand beyond graphics-based applications,” he said.
VUTEk 32h hybrid printing solution unveiled
In addition, EFI unveiled its VUTEk 32h hybrid printing solution.
“Over the years, we’ve put 1400 GS printers into the marketplace and after eight years, we’re retiring that product. This is the product that will be a replacement for that,” Hanulec mentioned.
From the entry-level wide-format category, it prints 2400 square feet per hour or 60 boards per hour. It has the capabilities of CMYK, has the capacity to do both four and eight colour printing, and has the ability to add white and clear ink like its newly launched mid-volume roll-to-roll VUTEk D3r and D5r LED inkjet printers.
“We see clear ink as a high value proposition and we aim to include that across our portfolio.”
Hanulec also provided an industrial packaging update for its new Nozomi C18000 and D18000 printers.
The units measure 1.8m wide, have CMYK capacities with optional white, optional orange and optional lilac.
“The D18000 has a top feeder and an over print varnish application station. What’s critical about the latter is that you can print on both porous and non-porous substrates,” he said.
“They are derivative printers. The specs aren’t perfect for display graphics yet but we know where the gaps are and can value add. In the next year or so, we will be able to talk about another product that we’re intending to add on to this printer list.”
Hanulec also hinted at three big trends that he expects to see at drupa, including automation in both the digital and physical sense, advances in inkjet, and developments in the packaging space.
“In order to have all these hyper efficient printing presses, all these Single Pass technologies that I have been talking about, the way you make that all work is with sophisticated automated digital workflows,” he said.
“You can’t make any money if you throw people at it. You need sophistication on the back end to make it a reality. That’s a big theme that you’ll see from EFI and other companies as well.”
Also at drupa, Hanulec is expecting advances in inkjet.
“You’ll probably see some new inkjet head technologies that will be launched, along with some new ink technology specific to inkjet around water-based. And then, there’s packaging – you can’t have a market in the year 2020 without the praise of digital in this space,” he added.
Sprinter travelled to Connect in Las Vegas as a guest of EFI.
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