Flatbeds & Hybrids 2013 Report
Offerings from 20+ companies to expand your shop’s job mix.
The most profitable print shops, it could be argued, are chameleons. They are able to change, seemingly at will, into the type of technology provider that’s necessary to take on and do a variety of jobs. Shops without this morphing ability can quickly become typecast into a particular niche of print work – and see all other jobs land elsewhere.
Enter the flatbed and hybrid printers. Capable of printing on just about any type of material – from paper, vinyl, and plastic to wood, metal, glass, and more – these machines are the perfect tool for the print provider seeking to diversify the type of jobs and projects it needs to run. They can take on thick substrates, generally up to 2-inches deep (the standard for most entry doors), and some models can accommodate even beefier media. Plus, because they’re typically running UV inks, the flatbed or hybrid printer will also give the shop a sustainable operational and sales advantage versus their non-green counterparts.
On the pages that follow, we appeal to the chameleon in you by highlighting various flatbed printer models from more than 20 printer OEMs across the marketplace. All information is current as of us assembling this list, just after this spring’s ISA Expo 2013 and prior to FESPA Digital in London. Most of the details you’ll see here are from our own original reports on these printer models when first introduced (we’ve updated the specs and indicated new additional features); some model information has been newly generated just for this report. Also: We’ve tended to concentrate here on printer OEMs that have primary US distribution.
Looking for our annual flatbed printer charts? These will appear in our special 2013 Printer Sourcebook; scheduled for release later this year as a digital-only resource, the Sourcebook will contain detailed specs on more than 250 printers in all (flatbeds as well as rollfeds).
The Anapurna M2540 FB UV flatbed, CMYKcm + white, features a quick-change vacuum-bed divided into two table zones of four different compartments, allowing the use of different-sized media without having to tape off the whole vacuum bed; (the vacuum can also be reversed in order to aid lifting of large substrates after printing). The printer accommodates media up to 61 x 101 in. and up to 1.77-in. thick. The M2540FB also features: a max. print speed of 484 sq ft/hr in Express mode (279-301 sq ft/hr in Production mode); borderless-printing capabilities; ionizer elements to prevent the buildup of electrostatic charge on media; shuttle safety sensors on both sides of the print carriage to protect printheads from hitting the media; Wasatch SoftRIP standard; and more.
The 63-in. hybrid UV Anapurna M1600 offers 4 colors (CMYK) plus white (with dedicated white-ink mixing and circulation system), and utilizes Agfa flexible inks. The M1600 can accommodate roll media as well as rigid media up to 1.77-in. thick and features a two-zone vacuum table for dealing with a variety of substrates. Top print speed is 500 sq ft/hr in Express mode; its Production mode offers 305 sq ft/hr. A Wasatch SoftRIP Agfa edition is standard. Top resolution is 720 x 1440 dpi.
Other Agfa models include the Anapurna M2050, M4f, Mw, and M2; also, the Jeti 1224 HDC FTR, and Jeti Titan 3020 FTR, plus the M-Press.
The company’s Ajet Plus is a UV hybrid capable of handling media up to 65-in. wide (65 x 130-in. sheet) and 2.5-in. thick. Standard inkset is CMYKcm + W, with optional varnish. Top speed is 301 sq ft/hr, while max. resolution is 1440 dpi. Onyx ProductionHouse RIP is standard.
Canon Solutions America
The Océ Arizona 480 GT UV flatbed offers a table size of 49 x 98 in., while the Océ Arizona 480 XT model offers a 98 x 120-in. table size. Both printers feature the company’s Océ VariaDot imaging technology, offer eight independent ink channels, can print on rigid media up to 2-in. thick, and offer a Roll Media Option.
Other features on the pair of 480 models include: Eight independent ink channels (the first four for standard CMYK; channels five and six for varnish + white or white + white for double opacity; and channels seven and eight for additional cyan and magenta); active pixel placement compensation to achieve optimum image sharpness, density, and uniformity over the entire printing area; a precise vacuum system (six vacuum zones on the 480 GT and seven on the 480 XT); batch mode operation; and more. Max. print speed is 368 sq ft/hr (XT Express mode; 353 sq ft/hr on the GT); Production Squared mode is 272 sq ft/hr on the XT (264 sq ft/hr on the GT).
The Océ Arizona 440 GT and 460 GT flatbeds feature standard-sized tables. Both can accommodate rigid media up to 49 x 98.4 in. and 2-in. thick. The 440 GT has four ink channels (CMYK) and is upgradeable to the 440 XT, which has six ink channels (which, in turn, is upgradeable to the 480 GT); white ink and varnish are standard on the 460 GT (the sixth channel can be used as an additional white-ink channel). Both the 440 GT and 460 GT offer Production speeds of 219 sq ft/hr and Express speeds of 353 sq ft/hr.
The Océ Arizona 440 XT and 460 XT offer extra-large tables. Capable of handling media up to 98.4 x 120 in. and 2-in. thick, the XT models can hit Production speeds of 226 sq ft/hr and Express speeds of 368 sq ft/hr. The 440 XT has four ink channels, while the 460 XT has six ink channels (white ink and varnish standard); both models are upgradeable. All of the 400 Series of UV printers feature the company’s Océ VariaDot imaging technology producing a sharpness equivalent to 1440 dpi or higher, the company reports.
The Océ Arizona 318 GL UV flatbed prints on rigid media up to 49.2-in. wide x 98.4-in. long and up to 1.89-in. thick. It offers print speeds up to 194 sq ft/hr in Express mode (163 sq ft/hr with its Roll Media option), producing more than 20 2 x 3-foot boards/hr, Océ reports; in Production mode, speeds are 131 sq ft/hr, and 68 sq ft/hr in Fine Art mode. The 318 GL is 4-color standard (Océ UV-curable inks in quick-exchange, 800-ml bags), with a factory-installed White Ink option. The printer features the company’s VariaDot imaging technology that can simultaneously jet droplets ranging from 6 to 42 picoliters in size.
Other Arizona flatbed models include the 550 GT and XT.
The X-Press 1000K flatbed and the X-Press 1000HK offer Kyocera printheads that deliver five-level grayscale imaging and true 600-dpi resolution; they print 4.25 in. with each pass. Both models can accommodate media up to 60 x 120 in. Available inksets are CMYK and CMYK + White. Top print speeds are 800 sq ft/hr in Production mode; 669 sq ft/hr in Standard mode.
Other CET models include: the Q-Series 500 flatbeds (X-Press 500Q and X-Press 500QY); the 49 x 99-in. X-Press 500QE-4X flatbed; the X-Press 500/500Y and 1000/1000Y flatbeds; and the X-Press 500H and 1000HL hybrid printers.
Durst Image Technology
The Rho 1012 and Rho 1030 are both equipped with Durst’s Quadro Array printhead technology; offer an 8-ft printing width; are CMYK standard (with optional light cyan and light magenta, or process color addition – orange/green or orange/violet); have integrated ink tanks with 10-litre capacity/ink (refillable during the printing process); and Durst Rho software and an external Caldera RIP server. Both can be configured with full corrugate and roll-to-sheet options. The Rho 1012 utilizes Quadro Array 12M printheads (12-pL drop size) and can print at speeds up to 5000 sq ft/hr and offers a top resolution of 1200 dpi. The Rho 1030 uses Quadro Array 30M printheads (30-pL drop size) and boasts production speeds up to 10,000 sq ft/hr and a top resolution of 600 dpi.
The Rho P10 Series comprises the 80-in. Rho P10 200 and 98-in. Rho P10 250 flatbed/hybrid printers, both 10-picoliter machines. The printers feature Durst’s Quadro Array 10 printheads, which utilize silicon-based MEMS technology to produce image quality with up to 1000-dpi print resolution; the printers also boast Durst’s magnetic linear drive carriage transport for consistently accurate output. The printers are 4-color standard (CMYK), with optional light cyan, light magenta, white, and process color addition (orange, violet). Top speed on the Rho P10 250 flatbed is 2100 sq ft/hr. Standard max. thickness is 1.58 in. (2.75 in., industrial version). A Caldera GrandRIP+ external RIP server is standard on all P10 printers.
Other Durst machines include the Rho 1000 and 1000L; Rho 900, 800 HS, 800 Presto, and the Rhopac 160 Corrugated Display printer. Specialty printers include the Sol Gel (glass decoration); the Rho 750 HS (corrugated display); the Gamma Series and Pictocer HD (ceramic tile); and Rho SP 60 (wood decoration).
The Vutek GS3250LX is a production-level UV LED hybrid that features an 8-color inkset (CMYKcmyk) + white, a selectable dual resolution of 600 or 1000 dpi, and a print speed up to 2400 sq ft/hr in Fast-5 (4-color+white) mode (1200 sq ft/hr in 8-color+white mode). It can accommodate flexible or rigid substrates up to 126.5 in. and up to 2-in. thick; it is also multi-roll capable (two 60-in. rolls). Other features include: instant on/off; a precision alignment fence of accurate board alignment; an enhanced Fiery XF RIP; and more. Options include a heavy-duty unwinder, extension table, and small-depth extension table. The Vutek GS3250LX Pro is the upgraded, grayscale version; it delivers 0-36 pL drop sizes to generate better image quality and more accurate PMS color matching, and utilizes EFI’s Orion OS for faster production speeds.
The EFI Vutek QS3 Pro features: variable-drop grayscale technology (0-36 pL drop sizes); 6 colors plus white; three-layer print capability; multi-queue functionality; advanced ICC color management; and native JDF connectivity. The QS3 Pro is driven by EFI’s Orion OS, which controls a combination of the machine’s software and hardware. Media handling: up to 126-in. wide and 2-in. thick max. Roll-to-roll capability is optional.
Other models include the Vutek HS100 Pro, GS3250, GS2000LX, GS2000, QS3 Pro, QS2 Pro, QS2000, QS3220; plus the entry-level EFI H652 and EFI T1000 models. Also available: the EFI Cretaprint tile printer.
Fujifilm North America
The Acuity Advance Select UV flatbed builds on the company’s Acuity Advance platform and includes eight independent ink channels. The eight-channel model includes CMYK with an additional channel for cyan and magenta, and the option of two channels of white (allowing for in-line double-strike white capability) or white plus clear ink. Available in two sizes: Select (49 x 98 in.) and Select X2 (98 x 120 in.); both models can accommodate media up to 1.9-in. thick. A roll-media kit is optional (86-in. wide max). Print resolution: 1200-dpi equivalent. Top speed is 353 sq ft/hr (Select flatbed); production speed is 219 sq ft/hr (Select flatbed). ColorGate ProductionServer7 Fujifilm Edition RIP.
The company’s Acuity Advance LT, billed as an entry-level UV flatbed, is a 4-color printer that features variable dot imaging, can accommodate rigid media up to 49.6 x 98.4 in. and up to 1.89-in. thick (it can also handle roll media up to 86.6-in. wide, as an option) Top speed is 132 sq ft/hr in Production mode; 91 sq ft/hr in Quality mode. The Advance LT utilizes KO or KI-series inks, packaged in 2-liter bags. The LT can be upgraded to the standard Advance or to Advance with white.
Also available are the Acuity LED 1600, Acuity Advance, and Acuity Advance HS, and Acuity Advance HS-X2. The company is also the exclusive North American distributor of Inca Digital products (see listing).
The Pred8tor is a 5-color (CMYK+W) UV flatbed with a roll-to-roll option. It offers a resolution up to 1200 dpi (apparent) and a top speed of 1920 sq ft/hr in Production mode (400 sq ft/hr in Extra Fine mode). Max. print size is 48 x 96 in. (rigid), and the Pred8tor can accommodate media up to 2-in. thick. The machine’s touch-and-drag GUI runs on the WiFi-enabled Apple iPad, which comes loaded with video tutorials and a live diagnostic system; also available is a materials inventory-control ordering system. A print extension table is optional.
The LED UV Viper digital pad printer is capable of handling materials up to 12-in. high. It features a 24 x 24-in. print area and offers these color options: CMYK; CMYKcm; CMYK + clear; CMYK + W + clear; and CMYK + W + W. Top resolution is 700 x 900 dpi. The machine features an interchangeable jig to accommodate a variety of substrates and objects.
Also available: the Domin8tor UV flatbed, which offers a 78 x 120-in. print area.
The 6-color (CMYKcm) HP Scitex FB7600 can print up to 5382 sq ft/hr at top speed (1937 sq ft/hr in Text mode), provides a resolution of 600 dpi, and can handle rigid and flexible media up to 65 x 126 in. (up to 25-mm thick). The machine uses HP’s FB225 Scitex inks, which are designed to better adhere to plastics and possess improved flexibility on corrugated media; the pigmented UV-curable inks also are Greenguard Children & School certified. A Caldera GrandRIP+ or Onyx ProductionHouse RIP is standard; multi-sheet loading table (simultaneous printing of up to four sheets) is optional. An optional Hostert Automatic Loader is engineered to allow high-volume print shops that produce long repeating runs to reduce production costs, improve turnaround time, and create an automatic working environment with stack-to-stack operation. The recently introduced Enhanced Color Pack upgrade includes HP FB225 Orange Scitex Ink (for a broader gamut for vivid colors with more realistic skin tones and improved spot matching) and Light Black Scitex Ink (for smoother gray solids and improves neutrality).
The Scitex FB500 UV printer can accommodate media up to 64-in. wide and offers a top speed of 398 sq ft/hr in Express mode (177 sq ft/hr in Indoor Signage mode). With a CMYKcm (W optional) inkset, the FB500 features max. resolution of 600 x 1200 dpi, HP White Ink Homogenizer to maintain ink stability, an embedded Web Sever, and more. A Roll-to-Roll Upgrade Kit is optional.
Also available: the Scitex FB700 printer (98-in. wide) and the Scitex FB10000 industrial press.
The Inca Onset S20i UV flatbed boasts a full-width printhead array with 26 individual Fujifilm Dimatix printheads per color, providing users with production speeds up to 3340 sq ft/hr. Available in two color configurations – CMYKcm or CMYK + white – the S20i uses an enhanced range of Fujifilm Uvijet inks engineered to provide improved adhesion, stability, and finishing properties, the company reports. It can accommodate materials up to 63 x 123.6 in. and 2-in. thick (0.4-in. thick using automation). Top resolution is 1000 dpi. Other features include: a multi-zone vacuum table, a UV sensor system, and a substrate-height detector; a flexible automation system is optional as is Inca’s Print Run Controller (PRC) software module.
The Inca Onset S40i utilizes 168 new-generation, user-replaceable printheads (28 per color) on a full-width print array, delivering a 28-picoliter drop size. The 6-color printer (CMYKcm) offers: a 15-zone vacuum table; an auto sensor system; a substrate-height detector; and a Fujifilm Uvijet ink system. Max. print area is 63 x 124 in.; the S40i can handle substrates up to 2-in. thick in manual mode. Top throughput is 5059 sq ft/hr (with automation), and max. resolution is 600 dpi.
Also available are the Inca Onset (original), the Spyder V, and the Spyder 320 printers. Fujifilm (www.fujifilmusa.com) is the exclusive distributor of Inca printers in North America.
The MD1000 UV flatbed printer is designed for short-run production of decorative tins, containers (plastic, corrugate, and carton), and more. The MD 1000 offers: CMYK+W inks (or clear); 900 x 1200 resolution; a production speed of 317 sq ft/hr (105 sq ft/hr in Quality mode); and a max. media thickness of 2 in. Onyx PosterShop is standard (ProductionHouse optional).
The Jetrix 1212FK UV flatbed is a 4 x 4-ft machine (CMYK + White) capable of reaching print speeds of up to 284 sq ft/hr. It offers a resolution of 1440 dpi; the printer features six Konica 1024 printheads, 6-picoliter drop sizes, and three-layer white capability. Seiko (seiko-i.com) is the exclusive North American distributor for the Jetrix 1212FK printer, as well as other new Jetrix models. The Oldham Group (oldhamgroup.com) distributes other printers in the Jetrix line, including the Jetrix 2513FRQ and 3015FQ flatbeds.
Matan Digital Printers
Matan’s Barak 8Q, an 8-color UV hybrid, is available in 11.4- and 16-ft versions. The Barak 8Q features the company’s Parallel Drop Size technology that enables printing of 20- and 40-pL drops in the same printing pass to smooth images while also achieving ink coverage and density. It uses Barak UV low-odor pigmented inks and supports a wide range of environmental media (including PE). Top speed on the Barak 8Q is 3800 sq ft/hr and it offers a 600-dpi max resolution (1200 dpi apparent). Its front-end software includes a Media Saving Wizard. Options include: automatic double-sided printing an automatic rigid-media loader and unloader; a wrinkle analyzer that identifies wrinkles caused by media manufacturing and then adjusts the carriage height; and an Inline Finishing system designed to automate trimming and cutting simultaneously with printing. Also from Matan is the Barak iQ, available in 11.4- and 16-ft versions.
The JFX500-2131 UV LED flatbed features a print area of 83 x 122 in. and a top speed of 645 sq ft/hr. The CMYK+W printer offers two ink options: high-speed LUS-150 (flexible up to 150%, reports Mimaki) and LH-100 (hard, scratch-resistant). Top resolution is 1200 dpi, and the printer can accommodate media up to 2-in. thick. The JFX500-2131 features: variable-dot printing; an Intelligent Microstepping System for accuracy; Mimaki Advance Pass System to reduce banding; and more. RasterLink RIP software is standard.
The JFX-1631 plus and JFX-1615 plus models both feature a post-cure unit and offer a top speed of 254 sq ft/min (at 600 dpi); both machines feature a top resolution of 1200 dpi. The 1631 plus can handle media up to 65 x 126 in., while the 1615 plus can handle media up to 65 x 63 in.; they accommodate substrates up to 2-in. thick. Two inksets are available: Hard (CMYK+W+Clear) and Flexible (CMYK+White). RasterLink RIP is standard; a roll unit is optional.
The UJV-160 is an LED UV hybrid capable of printing on both roll-fed and rigid materials. Media up to 64-in. wide and 0.4-in. thick can be printed on the machine. The UJV-160 UV uses CMYK inks specially formulated for flexibility that will support expansion of up to 200% without cracking, the company reports. Max. resolution is 1200 dpi. RasterLink RIP is standard.
Also available are the UJF 706 printer and the JF Series (JF-1610 and JF-1631) flatbeds.
The NurStar 305D, a 5 x 10-ft, 4-color UV flatbed, offers variable-drop-size technology, can reach a top speed of 2700 sq ft/hr in Signage mode (1080 sq ft/hr in P-O-P High Quality mode), and offers a resolution of 1440 dpi. It can accommodate media up to 1-in. thick. Optional white ink. Also available is the NurStar 304D 4-color UV flatbed: top speed of 2153 sq ft/hr in Signage mode; 1080-dpi resolution max.; substrates up to 1-in. thick.
The ValueJet 1617H hybrid is a 64-in. printer featuring the company’s MP bio-based inks (CMYK + W), Intelligent Interweave to eliminate banding, and a half-inch print height. Other features include: speeds up to 300 sq ft/hr; a top resolution of 1440 dpi; ValueJet Status Monitor; and ColorVerify color-checking system. An integrated spectrophotometer is optional.
Mutoh’s 64-in. 1608HS also runs the MP bio-based inks (CMYK) and can hit print speeds up to 120 sq ft/hr; top resolution is 1440 dpi. Capable of handling media up to 10-mm thick, the 1608HS features Intelligent Interweave technology, three heaters, takeup system, and more.
The Synergia H/UV is a 126-in. hybrid press offering Spectra Q class printheads with a 10-30 pL variable drop; 4-color standard ink system (optional colors include cmykW, orange, gray, red, blue, and violet); the ability to handle media up to 2-in. thick; iPad integration; and an apparent resolution of 2400 dpi. Its Redwood Warp Engine allows the Synergia to hit speeds up to 3000 sq ft/hr in Production mode, the company reports. A Caldera Grand RIP+ is standard.
The Abacus 25 and 35 UV printers are 98- and 138-in. hybrids that offer: 6-color printing (CMYKcm, with white as a spot color), a choice of 30- or 80-pL printheads; 1200-dpi resolution; and the ability to image substrates up to 3.7-in. thick. Print speed on the Abacus 35 ranges from 2153 to 3229 sq ft/hr; on the Abacus 25 the print speed ranges from 1507 to 2799 sq ft/hr (both with 80-pL printhead (slower with the 30-pL printhead). A feed system for rigid substrates is optional. The company is also the exclusive US distributor of SwissQPrint products (see listing).
Roland DGA’s 64-in. VersaUV LEJ-640 UV-LED hybrid is offered in three Eco-UV ink configurations (CMYK + white + clear; CMYK + white + white; and CMYK + clear + clear); it’s also available with Eco-UV S inks for increased flexibility (CMYK + white + white). Capable of handling roll media as well as board stocks up to a half-inch thick, the LEJ-640 features a top print resolution of 1440 dpi and can hit speeds up to 133 sq ft/hr in CMYK mode. Other features include the Roland OnSupport system for remote monitoring of production activities; an automated white-ink circulation system; built-in sensor to check media thickness; an advanced media-takeup system; and a VersaWorks RIP. X-Rite color-management tools are optional.
Also available is the VersaUV LEF, a 12-in. UV LED benchtop printer for imaging onto media as well as three-dimensional objects up to 3.94-in. thick. Features include: Eco-UV inks (CMYK+W+clearcoat), a built-in laser-alignment system, a Roland VersaWorks RIP, and more.
Screen’s TruePress Jet W1632UV is a high-speed, UV flatbed that provides a throughput of up to 1012 sq ft/hr while supporting media up to 63 x 126 in. and approximately 2-in. thick. Employing 12-pL micro-droplet printheads, the W1632UV can produce a resolution up to 900 dpi (1200 dpi apparent). The 4-color printer (with optional light cyan and magenta) utilizes Screen’s TruePress inks and features an automated cleaning station and on-board nozzle mapping.
The TruePress Jet2500UV hybrid can accommodate a range of rigid and flexible substrates and media up to 98.6-in. wide and nearly 2-in. thick. Max. print speed is 67.5 sq m/hr; it offers a top resolution of 1500 dpi. Flexible UV inks; CMYK standard (optional light cyan and magenta).
Signs International Distributor
The 5-color (CMYKK) SID Neutrino, based on Memjet printhead technology, is equipped with five Memjet printheads, each with 70,400 nozzles with a 1.2-pL drop size; it can hit print speeds up to 12,600 sq ft/hr and offers a top resolution of 1600 dpi. Utilizing water-based dye inks, the single-pass Neutrino offers a max. print width of 42 in.
The SID UV 165P is a 6-color hybrid (CMYKcm) that can handle rigid substrates up to a 0.5-in. thick and offers a 65-in. print width. Top resolution is 720 x 1440 dpi; print speed is up to 559 sq ft/hr (one-pass).
The Impala hybrid UV printer features a standard inkset of CMYKcmk + white, and adds options including primer, varnish, or spot colors including orange, green, and violet. It supports drop sizes from 12 to 42 pl, offers resolution up to 1440 dpi, a top speed is 1399 sq ft/hr, and a max. print area of 63 x 98 in. A Silk Gloss print mode was introduced in 2012; a Board Option is available to hold oversized panels and difficult roll media in place.
Also available is the Nyala: Similar to the Impala, but the machine offers an extra-large max. print area of 63 x 126 in., and adds a Tandem function; speed range is 1507 to 2153 sq ft/hr. The company’s Oryx printer offers a max. resolution of 1350 dpi and top speeds of 828 sq ft/hr in draft mode.
The TS-600 flatbed offers 6-color printing (CMYKcm + W + varnish), 800 x 1600-dpi resolution, and a 65-sq-ft image area; it can print directly onto materials up to 5.9-in. thick. Other features include: an eight-zone vacuum bed with pin-register system and Caldera GrandRIP software; a 54-in. roll system is optional. The TS-600 utilizes AuroraTeck UV inks; specialty inks for ceramics, glass, acrylics, and thermoforming are also available. The 4 x 8-ft TS-300 is also available; it can accommodate materials up to 1.98-in. thick and offers an optional 72-in. industrial roll-to-roll option.
The Excelagraphix 4200 is a 5-color (CMYKK) 42-in. printer that utilizes dye-based aqueous inks. Developed in partnership with printhead producer Memjet, the 4200 utilizes five Memjet printheads running Memjet Waterfall Technology and is designed for short-run and variable-data color print work. It can accommodate a wide range of media up to 3/8-in. thick, including foam board and corrugated board, and offers a top speed of 12 in./sec at 800 x 1600 dpi or 6 in./sec at 1600 x 1600 dpi (its top resolution); it can run variable data at full speed. The printer runs Xanté’s iQueue 5.0 prepress Colorsmart workflow, which offers independent CMYK density control, spot-color matching, imposition, job-cost estimating, and more.