A week ago, we kicked off 2017 with an introduction to the roll-to-roll latte printer landscape. In the week, we’ll carry out the same for flatbed printers. There hasn’t been as much action in flatbeds like rollfeds; textile printing has largely been driving rollfed printers, not so much flatbeds. (Actually, you can print textiles on a flatbed UV device, but flatbeds are not designed or sold specifically for fabric printing.)
Flatbed devices almost universally use ultraviolet (UV) inks, or inks that cure by being exposed to ultraviolet light. Traditionally, UV curing continues to be done using mercury vapor lamps, however the past a long period have observed an “ink migration” to cold curing, or UV inks that cure under exposure to LED lamps. The main advantages of LED UV curing are less heat (mercury vapor lamps can run very hot), and much less energy necessary to run them, energy that’s wasted in the form of everything heat. LED also permits printing on very thin plastic materials which could warp or discolor when in contact with hot curing lamps, although an effective vacuum system might help avoid warpage when using thin substrates no matter heat.
The brand new models who have appeared out there lately boast faster speeds-like virtually any new equipment-and also some extent of automation. We’re also starting to see more models appearing in the mid-volume range, and many more entry-level machines. There is also a greater proliferation of hybrid flatbed/roll-to-roll machines. (We’ll look specifically at hybrids inside a future feature.)
Durst Imaging’s Rho 1000 flagship series comprises the 282-inch (7.2-meter) Rho 1012/1312 and 1030/1330, UV flatbeds whose ink sets include CMYK plus light magenta and light-weight cyan, along with orange and green or orange and violet, hitting the gamut of brand and Pantone colors. The 1012/1312 boast higher resolution compared to 1030/1330, even though the latter ups the pace to as quickly as 1,250 square meters hourly. The 1000 series complements the industrial-level Rho P10 series, comprising the 200/250 and hybrid 200/250HS, the HS models being hybrids. These 154-inch (3.9-meter) machines offer ink sets including CMYK plus light magenta and light cyan, white, along with a “Process Colour Addition (PCA),” and therefore are targeted toward outdoor and indoor signage and POS/POP, as well as packaging and backlit applications.
The Durst Rho 1030 offers fully automated production.
Historically, Inca Digital launched the flatbed printer category a lot more than 16 yrs ago together with the Eagle, and introduced the Inca Onset X flatbed laser printer line in Fall 2015. The subsequent fall saw the launch of your 127-inch (3.2-meter) Inca Onset X3, the easiest model yet inside the Onset series, thought to print as much as 9,600 sq . ft . (180 boards) each hour. Colorwise, it supports CMYK plus white or orange.
Inca Roads-The Onset X3 is definitely the fastest Onset yet.
Inca flatbeds are distributed by Fujifilm, which has its own longstanding group of flatbeds, namely the Acuity series. The latest entry, introduced just last year, will be the 49.6-inch (1.25-meter) Acuity Select HS 30, believed to print at speeds as high as 620 sq ft hourly. It can print on a wide array of substrates around 2 ” thick. It print six colors (CMYK plus light cyan and light magenta, plus white or clear). This past year, Fujifilm also introduced the latest from the Uvistar line, the Uvistar Hybrid 320, a 127-inch (3.2-meter) phone case printer with speeds said to be approximately 2,100 sq . ft . hourly, and supports CMYK plus light cyan, light magenta, and orange.
The Select HS 30 is definitely the latest in Fujifilm’s Acuity number of flatbeds
As of late, Fujifilm has been touting its new Fujifilm Inkjet Technology (FIT), a combination of inkjet printheads, fluids, and software based upon the company’s Samba single-pass piezo printheads and Uvijet inks. Employing a broad variety of inks and color management software, the objective of FIT is image optimization, speed, and suppleness.
In 2016, Canon Solutions America (CSA) launched two new Océ Arizona number of wide-format UV flatbeds. The Océ Arizona 1200 series includes the 49-inch (1.2-meter) GT and 121-inch (3.1-meter) XT models. The 1240 prints approximately four colors, the 1260 around six colors, and the 1280 as much as eight colors. The Arizona 1200 series printers are mid-volume flatbeds targeted toward sign and display shops, specialty printers, and photo labs.
Also within the mid-volume production category, CSA also introduced the Océ Arizona 2200 series, available too in GT (49-inch/1.2-meter) and XT (121-inch/3.1-meter) models. The 2260 can be a six-color machine and also the 2280 is surely an eight-color machine. The key distinction between the 1200 and 2200 series is speed; the 1200 XT units top out at 377 sq ft each hour along with the 2200 XTs at 691 sq ft each hour.
These new mid-volume printers fit involving the entry-level 318 GL and 365 GT, and the top-of-the-line 98.4-inch (2.5-meter) Océ Arizona 6100 series, comprising the six-color 6160 XTS and seven-color 6170 XTS. The 6100 series can print as much as 1,668 sq . ft . each hour.
The Océ Arizona 6100 series is Canon Solutions America’s top-of-the-line flatbed line.
In 2015, Roland launched its first flatbed model, the VersaUV LEJ-640FT LED UV flatbed. It uses Roland Eco-UV inks, such as gloss and white for effects and textures. It could print on flexible or rigid substrates up to 63.2 x 98 inches (1.6 x 2.5 meters) and 5.9 (.15 meters) inches thick. Attendees on the SGIA Expo in 2015 may have seen it printing on footballs. Roland also offers the 64-inch (1.6-meter) hybrid VersaUV LEJ640.
The VersaUV LEJ-640FT is Roland’s entrée to the UV flatbed market
A few years ago, Mimaki launched the 82.7-inch (2.1-meter) JFX500-2131 flatbed LED UV unit, believed to print as much as 675 square feet each hour. A year ago, it absolutely was joined from the JFX500-2131, a reduced footprint version. Both can print CMYK plus white, clear, along with a primer for substrates that require it. Just last year, Mimaki announced the 98.4-inch (2.5-meter) JFX200-2531, which doubles paper part of its predecessor, the JFX200-2513.
Mimaki’s JFX200-2531 is actually a dual-zone flatbed which allows for printing in one part of the bed even though the other has been prepped
Agfa Graphics’ latest UV flatbeds are definitely the 106.3-inch (2.7-meter) Jeti Mira MG 2732 HS and also the 98.4-inch (2.5-meter) Jeti Tauro H2500, the second in which gained an autoboard feeder a year ago, as the former gained a whole new roll-to-roll option. In other Agfa hybrid flatbed/roll-to-roll news, the Anapurna H3200i LED UV printer is another hybrid; other Anapurnas range from the Anapurna H2500i and H2050i (in Agfa nomenclature, H represents hybrid and RTR for roll-to-roll.) You may recall from last November that we was very much taken with Agfa 3D Lenses, a means of printing lenticular images about the Jeti Mira by using a software suite and clear varnish.
Agfa’s Jeti Mira prints in six-color plus white or clear, and varnish might be layered to produce lenticular effects
EFI has experienced lots of irons inside the fire recently-especially post-Reggiani-and it has been paying attention to the hybrid market. In 2015, the company launched the 126-inch (3.2-meter) hybrid VUTEk HS125 Pro also launched the entry-level 64.9-inch (1.65-meter) hybrid EFI H1625-SD UV printer, which will come with EFI SuperDraw UV ink for near-photographic imaging on thermoformable substrates. EFI comes with an extensive number of in its entry-level EFI and mid-range and high-volume VUTEk lines. EFI is a strong proponent of LED curing and virtually its entire portfolio is already LED-based.
EFI’s H1625-SD UV printer can print on plastic substrates suitable for thermoforming applications
I include in the flatbed printer category “benchtop” or “tabletop” UV printing units, which are designed for specialty printing applications, like 3D objects like pens, golf balls, smartphone cases, and in many cases cylindrical objects like water bottles and YETI cups.
Roland has long offered its tabletop VersaUV LEF-12 and LEF-20 UV printers, and just last year the corporation introduced a large brother: the VersaUV LEF-300 Benchtop UV Flatbed Printer, which may print entirely on 3D objects as much as 3.94 inches thick and 30 x 13 inches wide. Also, it is capable of higher-capacity runs than its smaller siblings. A week ago, Roland announced the subsequent-generation of LEF-20, the VersaUV LEF-200, a 20-inch benchtop UV printer that prints CMYK plus white and gloss. The gloss channel can be replaced from a new primer option, for those unusual substrates that need it. Roland also upgraded the LEF-12 with all the new 12-inch VersaUV LEF-12i, which adds the newest primer option.
Roland also recently added its RotaPrint add-on accessory for the VersaUV tabletops, which supports printing on cylindrical objects.
The Roland VersaUV LEF-300 is ideal for printing on 3D objects including golf balls, smartphone cases, and several other considerations
A year ago, Mimaki launched the UJF-7151 flatbed printer intended for specialty printing onto substrates and 3D objects as much as 28 x 20 inches (.71 x .51 meters) and up to 6 inches thick. This unit joins the UJF-3042HG and also the UJF-6042 tabletop units that, by having an accessory termed as a Kebab, can print on cylindrical objects from 30 to 330 millimeters long and 10 to 110 millimeters in diameter.
Mimaki’s Kebab accessory enables printing on cylindrical objects like bottles
Mutoh even offers a collection of tabletops, for example the 19-inch ValueJet 426UF UV LED, capable of printing on a number of 3D objects approximately 2.75 inches thick and geared towards the packaging prototyping market. These join Mutoh’s hybrid UV LED printers, the 64-inch (1.6-meter) ValueJet 1617H, ValueJet 1626UH, and ValueJet 1638UH printers. The previous uses Mutoh’s UV Alternative Bio-Based Ink, whilst the latter two use LED UV inks.
HP is fairly quiet on the Scitex flatbed front lately, but also in 2015 launched the 64-inch (1.6-meter) HP Scitex FB550 and 120-inch (3.-meter) FB750. The HP Scitex 11000 series industrial press has replaced the 10000 platform.
I’m not inclined to incorporate corrugated equipment in the flatbed printer category, but do wish to no less than mention in passing how the HP Scitex 15500 and 17000 are 2 of HP’s corrugated inkjet presses, while finally year’s drupa, EFI announced its very own Nozomi C18000 single-pass corrugated press, while Durst announced the Rho SPC single-pass corrugated and label solution. Also at drupa, Screen and BHS Corrugated announced a partnership to develop the BHS Corrugated Inline Digital Printing Solution.
Flatbed printers are among the most exciting areas of the wide-format market since their killer app is simply because they can print on practically any surface (although, it needs to be stressed, not “right from the box”; sometimes the surface needs to be pre- or post-treated) making them well suited for a myriad of high-margin specialty printing on unusual substrates.
Ink layering and varnishes can impart textures or other 3D effects, and also print Braille. You’ll would like to get feelings of the ink cost and printing time before embarking on most of these projects, however.
Of course, the first question to inquire when shopping for a flatbed is, what would you like to print? Large POP as well as other rigid display graphics? Smaller ad specialties like smartphone cases? A mix of several different product types as possible? That will figure out what size machine you’ll need. Remember, you don’t need to have a specific benchtop unit in order to print 3D objects; any flatbed is going to do, you’ll simply need additional accessories, that will be more affordable than investing in a whole separate unit.
Perhaps the biggest question even before you have a look at models is, have you got room for a flatbed inside your current shop? If not, could you justify acquiring extra room to accommodate it? Interestingly, we found in our WhatTheyThink Business Conditions Survey (the outcome which are supplied within our new Forecast 2017 special report) dexmpky54 15% of mid-size printers planned to purchase dtg printer, and 14% said they were planning to buy “additional space/new location.” Correlation is not really causation, of course, and that we don’t know from what extent they’re the same 14% to 15%, but, you know, these units will get pretty big. Just sayin’.
Another question to question will be the flip side of a single I suggested when looking at rollfeds: do you need roll-to-roll printing too? Hybrids are good options if you intend to possess a mixture of flexible and rigid substrates, but get a sense of precisely what the ink costs could be. UV inks might be more costly than other sorts of inks, so when you have a higher volume of things like vinyl graphics, you may be more well off by having an ecosolvent machine.
Because I had advised in last week’s rollfed roundup, be aware of “under the hood” types of issues, like the details of the warranty, what it really covers, how long it lasts, and in case there are things which might nullify it, like using third-party inks, replacing a printhead, or damaging the heads by printing on unusual or downright wacky materials or objects. Particularly with flatbeds, find out what sort of training might be involved.