A week ago, we kicked off 2017 with a review of the roll-to-roll latte coffee printer landscape. This week, we’ll perform same for flatbed printers. There hasn’t been quite as much action in flatbeds as in rollfeds; textile printing has largely been driving rollfed printers, not so much flatbeds. (Actually, you are able to print textiles with a flatbed UV device, but flatbeds are not designed or sold specially for fabric printing.)
Flatbed devices almost universally use ultraviolet (UV) inks, or inks that cure by exposure to ultraviolet light. Traditionally, UV curing is done using mercury vapor lamps, nevertheless the past many years have experienced an “ink migration” to cold curing, or UV inks that cure under contact with LED lamps. The benefits of LED UV curing are less heat (mercury vapor lamps can run very hot), and less energy necessary to run them, energy that’s wasted such as everything heat. LED also enables printing on very thin plastic materials which may warp or discolor when in contact with hot curing lamps, although a great vacuum system will help avoid warpage when utilizing thin substrates regardless of heat.
The newest models who have appeared in the marketplace lately boast faster speeds-like practically any new equipment-along with some extent of automation. We’re also beginning to see more models appearing in the mid-volume range, and a lot more entry-level machines. Additionally there is a greater proliferation of hybrid flatbed/roll-to-roll machines. (We’ll look specifically at hybrids in 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, going to the gamut of brand name and Pantone colors. The 1012/1312 boast higher resolution than the 1030/1330, as the latter ups the pace to as fast as 1,250 square meters hourly. The 1000 series complements the industrial-level Rho P10 series, composed of the 200/250 and hybrid 200/250HS, the HS models being hybrids. These 154-inch (3.9-meter) machines offer ink sets that include CMYK plus light magenta and light cyan, white, plus a “Process Colour Addition (PCA),” and 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 years ago with the Eagle, and introduced the Inca Onset X flatbed inkjet 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 in the Onset series, believed to print approximately 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 possesses its own longstanding combination of flatbeds, namely the Acuity series. The latest entry, introduced this past year, is definitely the 49.6-inch (1.25-meter) Acuity Select HS 30, believed to print at speeds as high as 620 sq . ft . hourly. It might print on a wide range of substrates around 2 ” thick. It print six colors (CMYK plus light cyan and light magenta, plus white or clear). A year ago, Fujifilm also introduced the latest from the Uvistar line, the Uvistar Hybrid 320, a 127-inch (3.2-meter) phone case printer with speeds reported to be approximately 2,100 sq . ft . per hour, and supports CMYK plus light cyan, light magenta, and orange.
The Select HS 30 will be the latest in Fujifilm’s Acuity combination of flatbeds
As of late, Fujifilm continues to be touting its new Fujifilm Inkjet Technology (FIT), a mixture of inkjet printheads, fluids, and software based on the company’s Samba single-pass piezo printheads and Uvijet inks. Using a broad selection of inks and color management software, the aim of FIT is image optimization, speed, and adaptability.
In 2016, Canon Solutions America (CSA) launched two new Océ Arizona series 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 around four colors, the 1260 approximately six colors, and also 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 in the mid-volume production category, CSA also introduced the Océ Arizona 2200 series, also available in GT (49-inch/1.2-meter) and XT (121-inch/3.1-meter) models. The 2260 is a six-color machine and also the 2280 is undoubtedly an eight-color machine. The primary difference between the 1200 and 2200 series is speed; the 1200 XT units top out at 377 sq . ft . per hour and the 2200 XTs at 691 sq . ft . per hour.
These new mid-volume printers fit between the entry-level 318 GL and 365 GT, as well as 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 up to 1,668 square feet per 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, including gloss and white for special effects and textures. It may print on flexible or rigid substrates as much as 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 might have seen it printing on footballs. Roland now offers the 64-inch (1.6-meter) hybrid VersaUV LEJ640.
The VersaUV LEJ-640FT is Roland’s entrée into the UV flatbed market
Not long ago, Mimaki launched the 82.7-inch (2.1-meter) JFX500-2131 flatbed LED UV unit, said to print up to 675 sq ft each hour. A year ago, it absolutely was joined through the JFX500-2131, a reduced footprint version. Both can print CMYK plus white, clear, and a primer for substrates which require it. A year ago, Mimaki announced the 98.4-inch (2.5-meter) JFX200-2531, which doubles paper section of its predecessor, the JFX200-2513.
Mimaki’s JFX200-2531 can be a dual-zone flatbed that permits for printing in a single part of the bed even though the other is now being prepped
Agfa Graphics’ latest UV flatbeds are the 106.3-inch (2.7-meter) Jeti Mira MG 2732 HS and the 98.4-inch (2.5-meter) Jeti Tauro H2500, the second that gained an autoboard feeder this past year, as the former gained a 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 add the Anapurna H2500i and H2050i (in Agfa nomenclature, H represents hybrid and RTR for roll-to-roll.) You might recall from last November i was very much taken with Agfa 3D Lenses, an easy method of printing lenticular images about the Jeti Mira employing a software suite and clear varnish.
Agfa’s Jeti Mira prints in six-color plus white or clear, and varnish can be layered to generate lenticular effects
EFI has experienced a great deal of irons inside the fire as of late-especially post-Reggiani-and it has been focusing on the hybrid market. In 2015, the business 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 comes with EFI SuperDraw UV ink for near-photographic imaging on thermoformable substrates. EFI has an extensive amount of in their entry-level EFI and mid-range and high-volume VUTEk lines. EFI is a strong proponent of LED curing and virtually its entire portfolio has become LED-based.
EFI’s H1625-SD UV printer can print on plastic substrates meant for thermoforming applications
I use in the flatbed printer category “benchtop” or “tabletop” UV printing units, which are designed for specialty printing applications, including 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 a year ago the company introduced a large brother: the VersaUV LEF-300 Benchtop UV Flatbed Printer, which may print right on 3D objects up to 3.94 inches thick and 30 x 13 inches wide. It is additionally capable of higher-capacity runs than its smaller siblings. Last week, Roland announced the next-generation of LEF-20, the VersaUV LEF-200, a 20-inch benchtop UV printer that prints CMYK plus white and gloss. The gloss channel could be replaced by way of a new primer option, for anyone unusual substrates that require it. Roland also upgraded the LEF-12 using the new 12-inch VersaUV LEF-12i, which adds the newest primer option.
Roland also recently added its RotaPrint add-on accessory for that VersaUV tabletops, which supports printing on cylindrical objects.
The Roland VersaUV LEF-300 is designed for printing on 3D objects for example golf balls, smartphone cases, and a lot of other considerations
A year ago, Mimaki launched the UJF-7151 flatbed printer made for specialty printing onto substrates and 3D objects approximately 28 x 20 inches (.71 x .51 meters) and up to six inches thick. This unit joins the UJF-3042HG and the UJF-6042 tabletop units that, with the 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 also provides a type of tabletops, for example the 19-inch ValueJet 426UF UV LED, able to printing on various 3D objects as much as 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 former uses Mutoh’s UV Alternative Bio-Based Ink, whilst the latter two use LED UV inks.
HP has become fairly quiet around the Scitex flatbed front lately, but 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 include corrugated equipment from the flatbed printer category, but do wish to at the very least mention in passing the HP Scitex 15500 and 17000 are two of HP’s corrugated inkjet presses, while eventually 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 formulate the BHS Corrugated Inline Digital Printing Solution.
Flatbed printers are some of the most exciting aspects of the wide-format market since their killer app is because they can print on virtually any surface (although, it needs to be stressed, not “right out of your box”; sometimes the surface should be pre- or post-treated) causing them to be ideal for all kinds of high-margin specialty printing on unusual substrates.
Ink layering and varnishes can impart textures or some other 3D effects, along with print Braille. You’ll have to get a sense of the ink cost and printing time before embarking on these kinds of projects, however.
As usual, the initial question to question when looking for a flatbed is, what do you need to print? Large POP along with other rigid display graphics? Smaller ad specialties like smartphone cases? A mix of as many different product types as is possible? That can determine what size machine you’ll need. Remember, you don’t need a specific benchtop unit if you want to print 3D objects; any flatbed will do, you’ll simply need additional accessories, that is to be less costly than buying a whole separate unit.
Perhaps the biggest question even before you take a look at models is, are you experiencing room for any flatbed inside your current shop? Or else, can you justify acquiring extra space to accommodate it? Interestingly, we found in our WhatTheyThink Business Conditions Survey (the outcomes that are offered in our new Forecast 2017 special report) dexmpky54 15% of mid-size printers planned to buy textile printer, and 14% said that they were planning to get “additional space/new location.” Correlation will not be causation, of course, and we don’t know from what extent they’re a similar 14% to 15%, but, you understand, these devices could possibly get pretty big. Just sayin’.
Another question to inquire about may be the flip side of just one I suggested when looking at rollfeds: do you need roll-to-roll printing at the same time? Hybrids are perfect options if you are planning to possess a mixture of flexible and rigid substrates, but get a sense of just what the ink costs are likely to be. UV inks may be more costly than other kinds of inks, when you have a much higher volume of stuff like vinyl graphics, you may well be better off by having an ecosolvent machine.
When I had advised in last week’s rollfed roundup, focus on “under the hood” sorts of issues, such as the specifics of the warranty, what it covers, how long it lasts, of course, if you can find things that 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, learn what kind of training could be involved.