The Eagle 44 is a general-purpose large format printer ideal for high quality, point-of-sale material and signage using rigid and flexible display material. The printer is designed for industrial production in a range of run lengths and it can handle a wide range of image formats.
Like all of Inca’s printers, the Eagle 44 has the capability of printing directly on many different substrates, including paper and board, wood such as MDF and plywood, textiles, flexible and rigid plastic and glass. Inkjet technology is suitable for substrates with uneven surfaces, so the printer can achieve excellent results even on corrugated board and foam.
This ability to print directly on the surface of a rigid material, using instantly curable uv inks, means that finishing processes that have previously had to be carried out when printing inkjet on to a reel – such as mounting on board and sealing – are eliminated.
“Digitally printed point-of-sale posters and signs are often mounted on foam cored board or corrugated materials to provide support”, says Inca managing director Bill Baxter. “Printing directly on to rigid substrates saves significant amounts of time and materials. There are also several specialist applications that can be handled only with a flatbedby printers of this type, for example, dispensing reagents into micro titre platepcb etch resist, applying light emitting polymers on to glass to make OLED displays and using thermoplastic resins to build 3D prototype parts”.
All Inca printers have fixed inkjet heads and moving beds. The Eagle 44 can handle work up to 2.44 x 1.6 metres, in resolutions from 360dpi to 720dpi. The machine can print edge-to-edge, with the level of precision allowing images to be printed to bleed, removing the need for subsequent trimming.
The Eagle 44 offers speeds of more than 75 sq m an hour depending upon resolution. Substrates can be up to up 40mm thick, which provides enormous versatility in terms of what can be printed upon. It is also very easy to proof a job on the material on which it will finally be produced.
The printhead consists of a modular 16-head print assembly, containing four printheads per colour, attached to a lift and traverse gantry situated above the moving vacuum table. The printheads can be moved laterally to print the whole table width and be adjusted vertically to allow printing on different substrate thicknesses.
Inca can supplysupplies a powerful Wasatch 4.4 RIP with each printer, and this accepts all common files, processing jobs at high speed ready for output. The Wasatch RIP has excellent colour management capabilities, from the use of ICC profiles, spot colour replacement and the specification of input profiles for proofing.
For all their sophistication, Inca printers are extremely easy to operate and require minimal set up time. The substrate to be printed is simply positioned against a set of air-cylinder operated register pins, and this accurate job positioning enables immediate printing. Jobs consisting of only one copy are cost effective on an Inca printer, as well as run lengths of several hundred. With all job information handled digitally, changes and updates can be made at the last minute or even during a print run.
“One of the reasons why digital printing, whatever the output technology, has become so popular is the ability to produce customised and variable data print”, says Baxter. “This makes it economical to print just one copy, or a job where the information alters throughout the run.
“Wastage is drastically reduced as there is no need to produce overs to compensate for bad prints or allow for subsequent finishing processes. Digital printing eliminates the need for the cylinders, plates or films used in conventional printing. It also slashes lead times and in the signage market this is a major advantage”.
In October 2002 Inca launched the Eagle H, which provides all the benefits of the Eagle 44 plus the ability to produce fine quality text and graphics, making it ideal for close up POS work and photo lab jobs, as well as for applications such as gaming machine and backlit displays. The level of accuracy offered by Inca’s printers means that it is straightforward to print both sides of the material, in register and this can even be die-cut before loading on the bed.
Like the other models the Eagle H has a vacuum table made from aluminium honeycomb, which holds the substrate securely during printing. The moving table and printhead drive are operated by linear motors. Moving parts are mounted on linear bearing tracks to reduce wear and tear, as well as maintenance costs.
The largest flatbed printer in Inca’s range is the Columbia, which provides a format of 3.2 x 1.6m, with variable speeds of more than 120 sq m per hour. The machine will handle materials weighing as much as 40kg. Resolutions are between 800 – 1200 dpi. Even this giant format machine is very straightforward to operate, with only two day’s training generally required upon installation. The ease of use is aided by the simple to operate control console, which provides all job information. The customer can even control cleaning operations from the console.
Safety is a major feature of the Inca printers, and they all incorporate laser scanners. These can be set for each individual customer, providing operator protection while not impeding the practical operation of the printer. The lasers ensure there is a safety zone around the machine during production, and printing will be stopped immediately if anyone or anything enters this zone.
Inca has worked closely with screen ink manufacturer Sericol, which has developed the Uvijet range of uv inks for use in the flatbed printers. The inks cure instantly when passed under the uv lamps incorporated within the Inca printers, but remain stable in the printhead, ensuring reliable reproduction. A UV lamp cooling and fume extraction system is provided with each printer, while a mechanical shutter shields the substrate and operator from the lamp.
The four-colour process inks provide excellent colour reproduction. They benefit from Sericol’s unique Micro-V dispersion technology, which helps to create vibrant, durable ultra-wide gamut colours, using automotive grade pigments with the highest light-fastness. This results in prints that are durable outdoors for two to three years. Inks are supplied in 5kg containers and these can easily be used to refill the main ink tank on the printer.
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