A week ago, we kicked off 2017 with an overview of the roll-to-roll coffee printer landscape. This week, we’ll carry out the same for flatbed printers. There hasn’t been quite as much action in flatbeds like in rollfeds; textile printing has largely been driving rollfed printers, not much flatbeds. (Actually, you may 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 contact with ultraviolet light. Traditionally, UV curing has become done using mercury vapor lamps, nevertheless the past many years have experienced an “ink migration” to cold curing, or UV inks that cure under being exposed to LED lamps. The benefits of LED UV curing are less heat (mercury vapor lamps can run hot), and fewer energy needed to run them, energy that’s wasted by means of everything that heat. LED also enables printing on very thin plastic materials which may warp or discolor when exposed to hot curing lamps, although an effective vacuum system will help avoid warpage when using thin substrates regardless of heat.
The latest models who have appeared on the market as of late boast faster speeds-like virtually any new equipment-in addition to some extent of automation. We’re also beginning to see more models appearing within the mid-volume range, and many more entry-level machines. Additionally there is 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 lightweight cyan, along with orange and green or orange and violet, going to the gamut of logo and Pantone colors. The 1012/1312 boast higher resolution in comparison to the 1030/1330, whilst the latter ups the speed to as quickly 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 come with CMYK plus light magenta and light-weight cyan, white, plus a “Process Colour Addition (PCA),” and they are targeted toward indoor and outdoor signage and POS/POP, and also packaging and backlit applications.
The Durst Rho 1030 offers fully automated production.
Historically, Inca Digital launched the flatbed printer category more than 16 years back together with the Eagle, and introduced the Inca Onset X flatbed inkjet printer line in Fall 2015. The next fall saw the launch of your 127-inch (3.2-meter) Inca Onset X3, the fastest model yet in the Onset series, believed to print up to 9,600 sq . ft . (180 boards) an hour. Colorwise, it supports CMYK plus white or orange.
Inca Roads-The Onset X3 may be the fastest Onset yet.
Inca flatbeds are distributed by Fujifilm, which features its own longstanding series of flatbeds, namely the Acuity series. The most recent entry, introduced this past year, is the 49.6-inch (1.25-meter) Acuity Select HS 30, said 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). Just last year, Fujifilm also introduced the newest in the Uvistar line, the Uvistar Hybrid 320, a 127-inch (3.2-meter) uv printer with speeds reported to be around 2,100 sq ft hourly, and supports CMYK plus light cyan, light magenta, and orange.
The Select HS 30 is the latest in Fujifilm’s Acuity number of flatbeds
Recently, Fujifilm continues to be touting its new Fujifilm Inkjet Technology (FIT), a mixture of inkjet printheads, fluids, and software based upon the company’s Samba single-pass piezo printheads and Uvijet inks. Utilizing a broad number of inks and color management software, the objective of FIT is image optimization, speed, and flexibility.
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 around four colors, the 1260 approximately six colors, and also the 1280 around eight colors. The Arizona 1200 series printers are mid-volume flatbeds targeted toward sign and display shops, specialty printers, and photo labs.
Also from 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 is actually a six-color machine and the 2280 is surely an eight-color machine. The principal difference between the 1200 and 2200 series is speed; the 1200 XT units top out at 377 sq ft an hour along with the 2200 XTs at 691 square feet per 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 approximately 1,668 sq . ft . 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, such as gloss and white for special effects and textures. It could print on flexible or rigid substrates approximately 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 could possibly 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
Not too long ago, Mimaki launched the 82.7-inch (2.1-meter) JFX500-2131 flatbed LED UV unit, said to print as much as 675 sq . ft . an hour. This past year, it absolutely was joined through the JFX500-2131, a lesser footprint version. Both can print CMYK plus white, clear, plus a primer for substrates that need it. A year ago, Mimaki announced the 98.4-inch (2.5-meter) JFX200-2531, which doubles paper area of its predecessor, the JFX200-2513.
Mimaki’s JFX200-2531 is actually a dual-zone flatbed which allows for printing in a single portion of the bed even though the other has been prepped
Agfa Graphics’ latest UV flatbeds are 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 of which gained an autoboard feeder a year ago, while 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 yet another hybrid; other Anapurnas include the Anapurna H2500i and H2050i (in Agfa nomenclature, H is short for hybrid and RTR for roll-to-roll.) You may recall from last November which i was quite definitely taken with Agfa 3D Lenses, a means of printing lenticular images around 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 make lenticular effects
EFI has experienced plenty of irons inside the fire lately-especially post-Reggiani-and it has been focusing on 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 has an extensive quantity of in their entry-level EFI and mid-range and-volume VUTEk lines. EFI is a huge 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 designed for thermoforming applications
I use in the flatbed printer category “benchtop” or “tabletop” UV printing units, which are equipped for specialty printing applications, like 3D objects like pens, golf balls, smartphone cases, and also cylindrical objects like water bottles and YETI cups.
Roland has long offered its tabletop VersaUV LEF-12 and LEF-20 UV printers, and this past year the corporation introduced a major brother: the VersaUV LEF-300 Benchtop UV Flatbed Printer, that may print directly on 3D objects up to 3.94 inches thick and 30 x 13 inches wide. Also, it is competent at higher-capacity runs than its smaller siblings. A week ago, Roland announced another-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 with a new primer option, for those unusual substrates which need it. Roland also upgraded the LEF-12 with the new 12-inch VersaUV LEF-12i, which also adds the brand new 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 like golf balls, smartphone cases, and lots of other things
Just last year, 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) or higher to six inches thick. This unit joins the UJF-3042HG along with the UJF-6042 tabletop units that, having an accessory known 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 brand of tabletops, such as the 19-inch ValueJet 426UF UV LED, competent at 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 previous uses Mutoh’s UV Alternative Bio-Based Ink, even though the latter two use LED UV inks.
HP has been fairly quiet on the Scitex flatbed front as of late, nevertheless 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 desire to a minimum of mention in passing that this HP Scitex 15500 and 17000 are two of HP’s corrugated inkjet presses, while finally year’s drupa, EFI announced its 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 produce the BHS Corrugated Inline Digital Printing Solution.
Flatbed printers are one of the most exciting aspects of the wide-format market since their killer app is that they can print on practically any surface (although, it must be stressed, not “right from the box”; sometimes the top needs to be pre- or post-treated) causing them to be perfect 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 need to get a feeling of the ink cost and printing time before starting these types of projects, however.
Of course, the initial question to question when looking for a flatbed is, what would you like to print? Large POP and also other rigid display graphics? Smaller ad specialties like smartphone cases? A mixture of as many different product types as is possible? That will determine what size machine you’ll need. Remember, you don’t want a specific benchtop unit if you want to print 3D objects; any flatbed will work, you’ll just need additional accessories, which will be less expensive than getting a whole separate unit.
Maybe the biggest question before you even take a look at models is, do you have room for a flatbed inside your current shop? Or else, can you justify acquiring extra room to accommodate it? Interestingly, we present in our WhatTheyThink Business Conditions Survey (the results that are offered in your new Forecast 2017 special report) dexmpky54 15% of mid-size printers planned to purchase t-shirt printer, and 14% said that they were planning to purchase “additional space/new location.” Correlation will not be causation, naturally, so we don’t know as to what extent they’re a similar 14% to 15%, but, you already know, these units can get pretty big. Just sayin’.
Another question to inquire about will be the flip side of a single I suggested when examining rollfeds: do you really need roll-to-roll printing too? Hybrids are perfect options if you intend to get a blend of flexible and rigid substrates, but get a feeling of exactly what the ink costs could be. UV inks can be more pricey than other kinds of inks, so if you have a higher volume of things like vinyl graphics, you might be better off having an ecosolvent machine.
Because I had advised in last week’s rollfed roundup, be aware of “under the hood” sorts of issues, such as the details of the warranty, what it really covers, how much time it lasts, and if you can find stuff 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, find out what form of training may be involved.