Technology Guide: Wide-format

Welcome to ProPrint’s new Technology Guide section. Every month, we will ask the leading suppliers in a certain sector to offer their views on one product that could make the biggest difference to a printer’s business. First cab off the rank is the wonderful world of wide-format.

 


 

Epson

SC-F6000

The Epson SureColor SC-F6000 dye-sublimation printer is the first in a new range of dye sublimation printers that offers print shops the opportunity to expand their services and products with minimum investment.

The SureColor Fabric series is the first dye-sub printer range in which all components – from the printhead to the production platform, ink and supply system – have been developed together and are supplied by a single company. This makes it cost-effective to operate, flexible to work with and easy to maintain. The manufacturer claims it is also the only 44-inch wide dye sublimation printer on the market with a factory warranty. Epson provides a full parts and labour warranty on the hardware.

The SureColor F6000 uses Epson’s patented MicroPiezo printhead with variable sized droplet technology for precise half-toning and optimised ink application/consumption.

The SureColor F6000 can handle high-quality soft signage, fabric production (sportswear, clothing and materials), surface treatments (the outside doors on kitchen cabinets, wall panels, table tops, bed heads, etc) and merchandise finishes (custom covers for mobile phones, mouse pads, mugs and pens).

Depending upon the application, the F6000 can output at speeds up to 30sqm per hour, and features an integrated, high-capacity, 1.5-litre continuous ink supply system.

Single-operator media loading and set-up features, such as automatic media tensioning, an intuitive LCD control panel and optional automatic take-up reel allow maximum uninterrupted production runs with minimal downtime for maintenance.

It is supplied with ErgoSoft RIP software, and is backed with a full factory warranty.

Main specs

• Resolution: up to 720×1,440dpi in CMYK

• Enhanced gamut with high Dmax Epson UltraChrome DS ink

• Supports roll-based media 254-1,118mm wide

• Spindle-less loading and integrated cutter

• 4 x 1.5L continuous ink supply system

• Ink refill packs priced at $110 per litre

• Compact design with all front loading consumables

• Colour LCD control panel with in-built help

• High-speed Ethernet support

• ErgoSoft RIP software

• $14,295 (ex GST) for standard system with two-year on-site service

• $15,495 (ex GST) for Professional version with additional workflow and two-year on-site service

 


 

Fujifilm

Acuity LED 1600 roll-to-roll wide-format printer

The Fujifilm Acuity LED 1600 is a large-format hybrid printer designed to give “exceptional print results” while using less power than comparable machines. It does this through use of long-life LEDs and by printing on recyclable polyolefin films to offer an environmentally friendly solution.

It is the first printer in a new series launched at Drupa 2012. By the end of the year, Fujifilm expects that a dozen machines will be installed in Australia.

The Acuity LED 1600 is suitable for offices, studios and workshops, and will print onto a wide range of roll or rigid media using an eight-colour ink set, with CMYK plus light cyan, light magenta, white and clear. It can print colours, white or varnish together in one pass.

Fujifilm’s purpose-designed ink, printheads and curing system give smooth, near-photographic results at impressive print speeds, and Fujifilm’s spot colour matching software and RIP are included.

Fujifilm VersaDrop multi-pulse jetting delivers droplets of different sizes according to the definition needed by the image. This gives both smooth changes in tone and rock-solid spot colours. VersaDrop achieves phenomenal accuracy by forming droplets at the nozzle rather than in flight to the substrate, where they can be disturbed by air turbulence above the media.

The Acuity LED 1600 uses flatbed feed and receive tables.

Main specs

• Printing technology: LED UV inkjet

• Printhead: Fujifilm Dimatix Q-class printheads

• Inks: Fujifilm Uvijet UV inks, Fujifilm Uvijet LL LED UV curable inks in eight colours (cyan, magenta, yellow, black, light cyan, light magenta, white, clear)

• Max print width: 1,610mm

• Max resolution: 1,200×1,200dpi

• Max speed: 20sqm per hour (600x500dpi)

• Max media thickness: 13mm

• Max media weight: rigid 12kg; roll 25kg

• List price: $80,000

 


 

Fuji Xerox

DocuWide C842

This new offering from Fuji Xerox Australia, the DocuWide C842, was launched in April 2013, with its first public viewing in Australia at PacPrint13 in May. It is a major step for FXA, growing on the reseller arrangements it has had with Epson and Mutoh since expanding into the wide-format sector.

According to the vendor, the machine’s ease of use, rapid speed, high quality and variable data input differentiates the DocuWide C842 from competing products. It cost-effectively delivers customised posters and point-of- sale materials in quantities as few as one, up to hundreds.

The DocuWide C842 is designed and engineered from the ground up by Fuji Xerox in Japan. The company works with a number of partners on software and high-speed print technology, including the use of Memjet printheads. 

Since launching, Fuji Xerox Australia has installed devices in more than half a dozen sites, with interest growing steadily. The first customer to be announced was Pegasus Print Group in Sydney.

Unlike a typical wide-format inkjet printer with a moving printhead, the DocuWide C842 has five fixed heads arranged in a zigzag formation. These heads simultaneously produce jets of four colour inks (CMYK) to enable one-pass printing, thereby enabling the high-speed output of over 320sqm per hour.

The speed of the device would be fast enough to cover a standard doubles tennis court (260.87sqm) in under 50 minutes, an Olympic-sized swimming pool (1,250sqm) in just over four hours, or an average Australian home (230sqm) in 41 minutes. This is the fastest wide-format device currently available in the market.

A newly developed ink circulating system eliminates air bubbles and impurities, contributing to the consistent print quality of 1,600×1,600dpi. 

The cost of the C842 depends on the configuration. Prices start from $80,000 ex GST for the two-roll printer only. From there you can select from three software solution configurations to meet application needs and add stacking, or move up to the four-roll configuration. Fuji Xerox Australia says that the total cost of operation is relatively low and will challenge predecessor technologies.

Main specs

• Max resolution: 1,600×1,600dpi or equivalent

• Data processing resolution: 800x800dpi

• Printheads: five units (common to each colour), 70,400 nozzles/head

• Ink: four colours, water-based dye ink (cyan, magenta, yellow, black)

• Ink capacity: 500ml/colour

• Continuous print speed: A0: 7 sheets/min; A1 Landscape: 12 sheets/min; Portrait: 9 sheets/min

• Paper supplying system: four-roll model = two-roll unit, manual feeding; two-roll model = one-roll unit, manual feeding

 


 

HP

Latex 260

It would be hard to question the success of the HP Latex 260 printer, which was formerly known as the HP Designjet L26500. According to IDC market share data, more HP Latex 260 printers were sold in Australia in 2012 than any other production signage printer.

Using water-based HP Latex ink technology, which was first introduced to the market in 2008, the 260 produces durable, vibrant prints for outdoor or indoor use, ready for finishing, mounting or application as soon as they come off the printer. There is no need for outgassing or further curing before use, delivering a time saving benefit in this market of ever tightening deadlines. HP says that this unique feature sets its Latex printers apart.

At 1,550mm wide, the HP Latex 260 printer is ideal for signage production, as well as copy shops and commercial printers looking to enter the wide-format market. HP’s Latex inks allow print service providers to produce much more than just PVC banners and self-adhesive vinyl, with the versatility to print on everything from bond papers through to uncoated textiles.

The HP Latex 260 printer ticks a number of “green” boxes as well. For indoor air quality, HP Latex inks achieve Greenguard certification for hospitals and schools. They are also the first ink to receive the UL certification for environmental sustainability. To round out its green credentials, this printer is Energy Star-certified. The HP Latex 260 can be turned off when not in use, over the weekend or over the Christmas break – another first in the signage market.

With user-replaceable printheads to reduce downtime, water-based HP Latex inks delivering ready to use prints, unmatched media versatility and its long list of environmental certifications – the HP Latex 260 printer offers real versatility to printers considering a new wide-format production printer.

Main specs

• Print speed: up to 22.8sqm/hr

• Media handling: roll feed, take-up reel, automatic cutter (for vinyl, paper-based media, backlit polyester film, thin banners)

• Roll size: 58-155cm, up to 40kg

• Printing modes: four-pass bidirectional = 22.8sqm/hr; to 16-pass bidirectional = 6.3sqm/ hr

• Print resolution: 1,200×1,200dpi

• Printheads: 6 (two x yellow/black, two x cyan/light cyan, two x light magenta/magenta)

• Nozzles: 2,112 per printhead (two colours per printhead, 1,056 nozzles per colour)

 


 

Mimaki

CJV30-160

The Mimaki CJV30 range of integrated printers/cutters is available in four different widths (60, 100, 130 and 160cm) and after its introduction in 2008 has proven to be a tried and tested, reliable workhorse for the print and signage industry.

Originally available with four-colour ink sets, the Mimaki CJV30-160 is still available in four colours but is now also in six colours (CMYK and light cyan, light magenta) with white and 
silver ink.

This, combined with the integrated print and cut features, allows the CJV30-160 to be one of the most versatile printers in the wide-format market capable of producing banners, stickers and labels, posters and vehicle wraps.

According to DGS Mimaki, with a single CJV30-160, a factory is able to produce all these elements and allow for a fast return on investment. The vendor also hails the machine’s low initial purchase price and lower running costs than in previous years, thanks to the reduction in cartridge costs.

Mimaki printers have long been associated with quality and this is evident not only in the print quality of the CJV30-160 but also in the cutting quality. The ability to print and cut longer runs has always been the goal of wide-format printers, and this is now possible with the Mimaki CJV30-160. The CJV30-160 also utilises features from the high-quality production printers including Mimaki’s UISS ink supply system for longer uninterrupted printing.

The Mimaki CJV30-160 offers a versatile platform for the wider printing industry. At home in the signage industry, the supplier says it is also very easily adapted to offset and print-for-pay environments, to add value to printers’ current offerings with poster and sticker production. The unit is also widely used in the label market for short-run label production, custom cut labels and prototyping. This unit is one of Mimaki’s highest-selling products due to its versatility, performance and cost. 

Main specs

• Maximum printing width: 1,610mm

• Media width: 1,620mm

• Thickness: less than 1.0mm

• Roll weight: less than 25kg

• Print resolution: 540dpi, 720dpi, 1,440dpi

• Print modes: 540x720dpi; 540x900dpi; 540×1,080dpi; 720x540dpi; 720x720dpi; 720×1,080dpi; 720×1,440dpi; 1,440×1,440dpi

• Ink type: Solvent ink ES3

• Max cutting speed: 30cm per second

• Cutting force: 10-350g

 


 

Roland DG

Soljet Pro4 XF-640

The new 64-inch (1,620mm) Soljet Pro4 XF-640 is Roland’s fastest wide-format printer to date.

The Pro4 XF-640 incorporates dual printheads and redesigned media take-up and handling systems, plus a host of other features for high-quality imaging at a maximum print speed of 102sqm per hour.

With the Pro4 XF-640, new print control technology uses an advanced printhead in a staggered design for maximum productivity. The dual mirrored CMYK ink configuration virtually eliminates banding for consistent colour imaging when handling large graphic files. The new heads are also designed to fire high-density ink for strong, rich and saturated colours. Roland’s newest nickel-free eco-solvent ink, Eco-Sol Max2, dries quickly and delivers an expanded colour gamut for exceptional image quality.

The Pro4 XF-640 features several new performance upgrades. Durable construction with its unique bearing rail and frame firmly support and stabilise the head assembly for precise ink droplet delivery. A total of 16 pinch rollers and a new grit roller system ensure flawless media feeding. Additionally, a redesigned media take-up system and heater reduce the time required for printing and drying graphics during high-speed, volume production.

The Pro4 XF-640 specialises in producing quality print at high speeds. The technology employed in this model allows users to produce quality, sellable work at speeds of 20-36sqm per hour for self-adhesive applications, and 24-63sqm per hour for banner and paper applications.

The machine adapts well to production dye-sublimation applications where it can produce work at 35-63sqm per hour and up to 102sqm per hour for volume production.

Released in April 2013, the Pro4 XF-640 has been well received by the industry, and sales both locally and worldwide have exceeded expectations.

With a price tag starting at $29,995 plus GST, and loaded with Roland VersaWorks Server Edition RIP and an extended five-year warranty, the XF-640 offers a new development in wide-format printing.

Main specs

• Print technology: Piezoelectric inkjet

• Media width: 259-1,625mm

• Media thickness: max 1.0mm with liner

• Roll outer diameter: max 210mm

• Roll weight: max 40kg

• Printing width: max 1,615mm

• Ink cartridge: Roland Eco-Sol Max2; 440cc

• Colours: Four (CMYK)

• Print resolution: max 1,440dpi

• Max print speed: 102sqm/hr (banner 360x360dpi); 4sqm/hr (artistic on vinyl; 1,440×1,440dpi

• Price: from $29,995 plus GST

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