Surveying your UV machine options.
UV offers a range of advantages when it comes to producing wide-format graphics, including but not limited to: the ability to print onto a broad range of media and substrates, few environmental issues, and increased productivity and image durability.
Print shops have apparently taken notice. Shipments of UV-curable printers will grow at a double-digit pace beyond at least 2012, reported Lyra Research's Adam Florek in our Industry Roundtable from late last year ("The Wide Road Ahead," October). "The recent proliferation of rollfed and low-end UV-curable products is a major reason for these booming sales. In particular, small print shops that only recently bought a UV-curable printer are driving growth," he stated.
If you're considering investing in UV technology for your shop, one of your first tasks should be examining the UV universe. What machines are available to you, and which might work best for your company's particular needs? To help you, we provide here capsule summaries of the UV machines that have made their market debut in the past 12 months or so (for full reports on each printer, visit our products section).
Keep in mind that this report only details recently released UV machines; our Rollfed Printer Charts (July issue) and Flatbed/Hybrid Printer Charts (August) will include all machines on current company rosters.
Mimaki UJV-160 UV: Mimaki's (mimakiusa.com) UJV-160 is a 4-color 60-in. UV-curable hybrid inkjet printer that uses UV-LED technology as well as flexible UV ink (the latter developed in conjunction with 3M). The printer is designed to broaden UV-printing applications, points out Mimaki. Its UV-LED technology allows the printer to accommodate heat-sensitive media such as PVC, reports the company, while the flexible UV inks allow for the printing of vehicle wraps and like applications.
The printer offers resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi, and prints in three variable-drop sizes; it can hit a speed of approximately 75 sq ft/hr at a standard print mode (600 x 600 dpi, 4-pass). It can accommodate media up to 64-in. wide. The UJV-160 comes standard with feed and delivery tables (which are foldable), enabling the printing not only roll-to-roll but also rigid materials, so output on foam boards and other lightweight materials up to a thickness of 10 mm (0.4-in.) is possible.
The environmental aspects of the machine, reports Mimaki, are threefold: The inks themselves contain no VOCs; the LED lamps do not generate ozone; and the lamps' energy consumption is about half of conventional UV-curing lamps, the company reports.
The printer comes standard with RasterLink Pro4SG RIP software with 16-bit rendering. Also standard are temperature-controlled pre-print heaters.
Fujifilm Acuity Advance, Advance X2: Fujifilm's (fujifilmsericol.com) Acuity Advance is a 4-color UV flatbed that can hit a print speed of up to 233 sq ft/hr in Production mode, while in High Quality mode the speed is 165 sq ft/hr (in Fine Art mode, the speed is 135 sq ft/hr, while in Fine Art Matte mode, the speed is 118 sq ft/hr). The Advance also adds an optional white-ink module. It has a print area of 49 x 98 inches and can print onto substrates as thick as 1.98 inches. Incorporating small-drop, grayscale printhead technology, it can jet droplets as fine as 6 pl, allowing for crisp images and smooth transitions.
The flatbed design employs a zoned vacuum table to hold all types of media, including irregularly shaped or uneven surfaced material, to ensure accurate registration even on multiple passes. A roll-to-roll module is optional. Other Acuity Advance features include an ink sensor, white-space skipping to increase throughput, and a vacuum wand to clean printheads. Onyx ProductionHouse RIP v7 is optional.
Fujifilm's Acuity Advance X2 doubles the size of the print bed from the Acuity Advance, enabling printing onto substrates as large as 120 x 98.4 inches and as thick as 1.88 inches. And, the dual zoning system with independent vacuum control allows the printing of an image in one zone while setting up another image in the second zone, thereby increasing throughput. The X2 incorporates the same modified printhead array as the Acuity Advance and is designed to produce high quality at print speeds of 237 sq ft/hr. It's available in a 4-color CMYK offering or CMYK plus white (can be upgraded in the field). A roll-to-roll module is optional.
Gerber Scientific Solara ionV: The Solara ionV printer from Gerber Scientific (gerbersolara.com) boasts similar features to the company's ionX, including the utilization of GerberCat cationic UV inks and Gerber's Cold Fire Cure process. This latest generation of Gerber's flatbed UV inkjet printer, however, costs approximately 30% less than the ionX.
A 4-color UV flatbed printer (CMYK), the ionV can accommodate materials as wide as 64 in. The new machine provides one printhead per color (the ionX features two printheads per color) and offers a top resolution of 720 dpi; the ionV's throughput ranges from a top speed of 181 sq ft/hr (360 x 360 dpi, 2-pass Performance speed) to 9.5 sq ft/hr (720 x 720 dpi, 8-pass, Ultra-High Quality speed).
Accommodating substrates up to 1-in. (25mm) thick on its vacuum table, the printer has a sensor to automatically detect media thickness. To eliminate alignment errors, the substrate stays stationary during printing while the gantry moves the printheads across the media. The ionV has double-sided printing capability but, unlike the ionX, it does not include a roll-to-roll printing system. The CMYK cationic inks, available in 1-liter pouches, provide good adhesion on materials traditionally problematic for inkjet printers such as glass and textiles. The ionV is compatible with RIPs from Onyx, SAi, Wasatch, ErgoSoft, and CADlink.
EFI Vutek DS Series, GS3200, GS5000r: The Vutek DS Series flatbed UV printer from EFI (efi.com) has been designed with a fixed array of printheads, a bed that moves back and forth, and a UV-curing system that “has been newly designed from the ground up." The system can print in 4- or 8-color mode; initial inksets include CMYK, as well as light cyan, light magenta, light yellow, and light black. The machine can hit a high-end speed of 6000 sq ft/hr (at 600 dpi) while producing a top resolution of 1200 dpi.
The DS flatbed is compatible with a wide range of rigid and cut-sheet materials, and can print on paper, film, rigid board, and a variety of specialty substrates. Its maximum media size is 63 x 96 in., and it can accommodate media up to 2-in. thick. It also boasts a user-controllable zoned vacuum table and it supports simultaneous printing of multiple various-sized substrates. An advanced material-handling system, allowing for automatic loading and unloading of substrates is optional.
Other features of the DS Series: continuous ink supply with a secondary ink reservoir to operate continuously for an entire 8-hour shift; Vutek Print Manager, which combines the RIP, job management, and printer management; automatic printhead maintenance; support for both stochastic and rosette screening; accurate front-to-back registration; and an optional advanced material-handling system capable of loading and unloading a pallet of rigid media material.
EFI also recently released the Vutek GS3200 hybrid and GS-5000r roll-to-roll UV printers. For a full report, see page 12.
LexJet Legend 72HUV: The Legend 72HUV from LexJet (lexjet.com) is a 72-in. rollfed/rigid UV-curable printer that reaches speeds of 655 sq ft/hr and features eight Spectra Galaxy 256 (2 per color), which produce 50-pl drops. Its ColorWide UV-curable CMYK inks are stored in 2.3-l tanks and cured with two on-board Mercury lamps.
Offering bi-directional printing and resolutions from 200 x 200 to 800 x 1600 dpi, the Legend's print speeds include: 655 sq ft/hr in 2-pass mode at 300 x 200-dpi resolution; 254 sq ft/hr at 300 x 600-dpi resolution in 6-pass mode; and 104 sq ft/hr in 16-pass mode at 300 x 1600 dpi.
The Legend features a platen with friction-feed pinch rollers to accommodate roll and rigid media; this platen has industrial vacuums providing suction to hold down media. Printing edge-to-edge on rolls up to 72-in. wide, the machine will hold rolls that weigh up to 250 lb and image onto rigid media up to 1-in. thick and 96-in. long.
The Legend includes ConsistaPrint custom color management as well as LexJet's Prime software system, which reminds customers when it's time to perform basic maintenance, such as replacing filters. It also has a built-in AutoServe Printhead Service Station that automatically primes, cleans, and caps the heads to extend the printhead life and reduce ink waste.
Standard equipment includes a complete inkset, banner material, an Abatement Technologies Predator 600 portable air scrubber and more. The latest version of Onyx PosterShop or ProductionHouse RIP is required, but not included.
Agfa Anapurna XLS, Anapurna Mv and M4f: The Anapurna XLS by Agfa Graphics (agfa.com) is specifically designed to cope with heavy workloads while providing photographic quality at high-production speeds. The UV-curable machine can accommodate rigid material as well as rollfed up to 100-in. wide and thicknesses up to 45 mm (1.77 in.), while hitting speeds as fast as 44 sq m/hr (approximately 474 sq ft/hr). Applications include billboards, posters, P-O-P, fleet graphics, exhibit and stage graphics, and more.
The XLS, configured as 2 x 4 CMYK, is built around Agfa’s Universal PrintHead (UPH) technology, a piezo shared-wall printhead with resolutions ranging from 720 to 1440 dpi. Each head has 764 nozzles.
XLS features include: Flush brush: An automated maintenance system that removes debris and ink residue; accurate media transport: The transport system features a special clamping system to prevent media from slipping or moving, whether printing roll material or rigid; high ink autonomy: 5-liter cans per color plus an internal ink buffer system containing an additional 5 liters per color; external lamp chilling: An external chilling system keeps the temperature of the printer’s three UV lamps within range and manages the heat dissipation within the system; and a head-positioning device to keep the nozzle plate of all heads 100% parallel with the substrates at all times.
The Anapurna Mv and Anapurna M4f printers can accommodate a maximum media width of 62.2 in., produce a high-end resolution of 1440 dpi, and boast a print speed of 14 sq m/hr [approximately 151 sq ft/hr]. Both the Mv and M4f printers also use 14-picoliter Konica-Minolta printheads as well as Agfa-made UV-curable Anapurna inks. The flatbed/rollfed Mv is a 6-color printer (CMYKcm) that also adds two extra printheads dedicated to jetting varnish, providing the capability to add gloss effects to enhance the look and feel of a graphic. Varnish can be added in spot areas as well as overall varnish.
The M4f, CMYK-configured, is positioned as a rigid printer only, with roll-to-roll as an option.
All three Anapurna machines feature an Agfa Edition Wasatch RIP. Borderless and dual-board printing are standard on all three machines.
HP Scitex FB7500, FB950, and TJ8550: The HP (hp.com) Scitex FB7500 is a UV flatbed inkjet capable of printing at speeds from 1500–5280 sq ft/hr, depending on the print mode. Designed for close-view, high-quality applications such as point-of-purchase and point-of-sale, the machine has 312 HP Scitex X2 piezo printheads (52 per color) with MEMS technology that support a maximum image resolution of 500 dpi.
The FB7500 prints on rigid and flexible media up to 65 x 126 in. and 1-in. thick and features HP Scitex FB220 low-VOC UV inks in six colors (CMYKcm) that are reported to provide two years outdoor durability. The machine also features a three-quarter automated loading system to increase productivity. Onyx I-RIP Plus software for HP Scitex drives the printer. The front-end software allows for loading new files during printing; queuing; step and repeat; and double-sided printing.
The HP Scitex FB950 is a 6-color (CMYKcm) flatbed industrial UV inkjet with optional roll-media printing capabilities. Four print modes are supported by the system to provide output speeds from 113–861 sq ft/hr. The FB950 can produce double-sided prints and full-bleed graphics at a maximum resolution of 1200 x 600 dpi. Media up to 98.4 x 80 in. and 2.5-in. thick can be printed on the machine. It comes with a media-loading system to minimize sheet-loading times and allows simultaneous printing on up to six sheets of rigid media.
Inks are in three-liter containers; interactive technology tracks and displays the amount of ink remaining for each color, allowing the operator to monitor the ink and plan ahead prior to long print runs. Other FB950 features include an onboard camera-based printhead alignment system, automatic printhead maintenance, and a touch-screen user interface. Roll-feed and take-up system is optional, as is a second set of roller tables.
The HP Scitex TJ8550 printer is a 6-color UV inkjet designed for high-speed printing of flexible media. Built on the company’s TJ8500, the roll-fed device offers a higher print speed and better ink coverage than its predecessor, HP reports, and also has a new dedicated inkset.
The TJ8550 offers three standard print modes that provide output speeds of 1076, 3228, and 5166 sq ft/hr. The printer provides a top resolution of 600 dpi and produces a maximum print size of 61 x 144 in. The machine can print on nearly any sheet or roll-fed material up to 0.5-mm thick, including uncoated or untreated materials such as paper, self-adhesive vinyl, banner, canvas, and paper-back flag; it can also print on uncoated synthetics such as Tyvek and Yupo. A Double Sided upgrade is optional, allowing for high-quality, two-sided printing. (This option can also be made in the field to existing TJ8500s.)
The Onyx I-Plus RIP for Scitex is included; features include enhanced color management, the ability to work in parallel on two separate files simultaneously, and more.
RolandVersaUV LEC-300 Printer/Cutter: The VersaUV LEC-300 inkjet printer/cutter from Roland (rolanddg.com) is intended for proofs, label and packaging prototypes, as well as short-run production on media up to 30-in. wide. The printer uses Eco-UV inks, offered in five colors (CMYK+white) + clear coat, and features support for a wide range of media options, including metallic and synthetic papers, foils, BOPP, PE, and PET film and flexible substrates. It uses energy-efficient LED lamps to cure the inks, and it prints at a resolution of up to 1440 dpi. The inks do not require de-gassing and can be stretched and applied around curved surfaces and sharp edges without cracking, Roland reports. Speed ranges from 58 sq ft/hr (360 x 720 dpi) to 30 sq ft/hr (720 dpi) and 24 sq ft/hr (1440 dpi).
The printer is driven by the company’s new VersaWorks 3.0 RIP, which allows users to manage up to four Roland devices simultaneously and includes production tools such as the Roland Color System for precise spot-color matching, Max Impact Preset for richer color contrast, variable data printing, embedded ICC profile support, ink-level-adjustment tools, and advanced cropping, tiling, and nesting.
Other LEC-300 features include: Roland Intelligent Pass Control to eliminate banding; automated media take-up system for unattended printing; and integrated high-speed Ethernet network connectivity.
Inca Onset S20 and Spyder V: Inca Digital Printers' (incadigital.com) Onset S20 builds on technology from the Onset UV flatbed but is smaller and offers a lower price point. The S20 weighs in at "only" 17,637 pounds (vs 26,456 for the Onset) and requires a floor space of 23.5 x 42.5 feet (vs 39.4 x 65.6 feet for its big brother).
The S20 can hit a top speed of 2690 square feet/hour and print edge to edge over a 123 x 63-inch area on a moving bed on substrates up to 2-inches thick. The 4-color machine (with optional light cyan, light magenta, orange, violet, and white) features Inca-configured printheads on a full print width color bar with a 28-picolitre drop size. As with the original Onset, the user can choose between satin, semi-gloss, and gloss finishes at time of output. Other features include an integrated scanner to check print density, a vacuum table with accurate pin positioning for double-sided printing, a Wasatch SoftRIP (or ColorGate Production Server), and an optional semi-automated material-handling system.
The Inca Spyder V high-speed printer line is based on the company’s original Spyder series of flatbed inkjet printers. The Spyder V prints at 1001 sq ft/hr in production mode and has a top speed of 1399 sq ft/hr. Substrates as thick as 1.18 in. with dimensions up to 126 x 63 in. can be printed on the device. The printer is offered with a standard CMYK inkset, but a 6-color version is available with the option of using Fujifilm Sericol’s Uvijet Ultratone color system. The Spyder V is designed to complement the other Spyder models, filling the gap between the Spyder 320 and the Turbo Plus. Fujifilm Sericol (fujifilmsericol.com) is the exclusive US distributor of Inca printers.
Durst Rho 700, 320R UV, Rhopac 160: Durst's (durstus.com) Rho 700 is designed to bridge the gap between the company's Rho 600 Pictor and the high-performance Rho 800. The 700 is a modular machine that can be upgraded and configured in a variety of ways for different applications. All permeations of the machine feature Durst’s 600-dpi Quadro Array print heads, a maximum print width of 80 in., and a new magnetic linear drive system for the print carriage. The Basic model prints in CMYK at speeds up to 540 sq ft/hr, while the Presto doubles the number of Quadro arrays from four to eight and enables maximum throughput of 1075 sq ft/hr. A roll-to-roll option allows the machine to function as a hybrid printer; a heavy-duty roll option is also offered. Other options include expanded color scheme (adding Lc and Lm), white printing, clear varnishes, spot colors, corrugated board printing, and an industrial version designed for heavier and/or thicker media (up to 2.75-in. thick).
The Rho 320R is an industrial rollfed UV printer that features the company’s Quadro Array printhead technology, a print-carriage concept based on a magnetic linear drive system, and low-odor, VOC-free Rho Roll inks. The 4-color (CMYK) Rho 320R prints widths up to 10.5 ft on a range of coated and uncoated media up to 1400 sq ft/hr, with a maximum resolution of 600 dpi. White printing and light-color options are available. The machine can accommodate a wide range of media up to 2-mm thick. Users can opt to print two rolls side-by-side up to 62-in. each, and take advantage of a media-tracking feature that allows for registered doubled-sided printing.
For the Rho 320R, Durst has developed specific, virtually odorless UV-curing acrylic inks that afford quick curing, high adhesion even on uncoated surfaces, and high flexibility. Other features include: an external Caldera RIP server with GrandRIP+ software; a transport mechanism featuring a roll support at the loading side allowing the use of pneumatic 3-in. or optional 6-in. core axles with an outside diameter of up to 17.7 in.; and enhanced user software.
The Rhopac 160 is an entry-level UV digital press for corrugated displays. A 4-color (CMYK) printer, the Rhopac 160 is upgradeable, with additional printing features such as white-ink, varnish, light colors (lm, lc), and spot colors. It can hit reach a top speed of 270 sq ft/hr, hit a best resolution of 600 dpi, and handle media up to 1.58-in. thick. Three UV system inks are available: Rho ink flexible set, Rho ink rigid set, and an economic UV ink. The Rhopac 160 comes complete with Durst Rho Linux software and an external Caldera RIP Server (GrandRip+).
Océ Arizona 350 GT and 350 XT: Océ's (oceusa.com) Arizona 350 GT printer is a flatbed inkjet offered with a four-color (CMYK) or optional five-color (CMYK+white) inkset. The white-ink option can be added at the factory or in the field. The maximum speed on the 350 GT is 239 sq ft/hr (188 sq ft/hr in roll-fed mode) and it uses Océ Variadot technology to jet droplets as small as 6 pl to achieve image quality comparable to 1440 dpi or more, the company reports. The system supports rigid media up to 49 x 98.4 in. and 1.89-in. thick; a roll-media option accommodates rollfed media up to 86.6-in. wide. Other features include: an integrated vacuum table; full-bleed printing support; and an onboard de-gassing system. The optional RIP is Onyx ProductionHouse Océ edition.
The Arizona 350 XT flatbed sports an extra-large 8 x 10-ft vacuum table allowing for the production of rigid prints as large as 98.4 x 120 in. Designed to be a true production printer, the 4-color (CMYK) 350 XT features UV-ink technology and production print speeds up to 248 sq ft/hr on rigid media (up to 188 sq ft/hr in its optional roll-media mode). This enables users to print nearly 60 4 x 8-foot boards in a single eight-hour shift, or more than 1615 square feet of flexible media, Océ reports. The machine also features the company's VariaDot imaging technology.
The extra width of the Arizona 350 XT printer enables it to be used in a continuous imaging mode for rigid media up to 49.2 x 98.4 in., or a standard 4 x 8-ft. board. It can accommodate materials up to 1.89-in. thick.
A white-ink option is available as is a roll-media option; with the latter, users can print onto flexible media up to 87-in. wide. An Onyx ProductionHouse RIP, Océ Edition, is standard.
Gandinnovations Jeti 3348 UV Jetspeed RTR and Nanojet: Gandinnovations' (gandinnovations.com) 126-in. Jeti 3348 Jetspeed UV RTR is a UV-curable roll-to-roll printer featuring 48 80-pl Spectra printheads, which image a true 300-dpi resolution in 4-color.
The Jeti 3348 Jetspeed is capable of printing at speeds of 2500 sq ft/hr in 2-pass billboard-production mode at 300 dpi. It utilizes UV-curable Premium inks for a wide color gamut, and good adhesion and flexibility; the inks are compatible with a range of media, including polyester, PE, fabric, mesh, canvas, vinyl, plastic, film, and paper. Designed for 24/7 operation with a single operator, the Jestream includes specially designed media rolls for performing at fast speeds. Additionally, it features a take-up unit, high/low vacuum system, and the user's choice of Onyx, Wasatch, or Caldera RIP. Options include a backlit option that enables printing on both sides of the material with perfect registration.
Gandi's Jeti 1224 UV Nanojet is a 4 x 8-ft flatbed printer that images onto a variety of flexible and rigid materials up to 2-in. thick, such as reinforced vinyl, canvas, corrugated board, fabric, foam board, tile, drywall, lenticular, glass, sheet metal, and paper. Specifically designed to produce photorealistic output, the Nanojet features 24 Spectra SQ heads, which image a true 800-dpi resolution (1600-dpi apparent). The Nanojet prints graphics as fast as 220 sq ft/hr in Photo-Realistic mode.
The 6-color machine uses Gandinnovations UV-curable inks (CMYKcm), with 1- to 2-yr durability. Additionally, the Nanojet features a high/low vacuum system, retractable pins, and a linear-motion system to control flatbed-table movement and ensure correct registration. Also new is Gandi software, designed to improve fine-edge printing. Customers have a choice of RIPs: Onyx, Wasatch SoftRIP, or Caldera.
Matan Barak5: The 5-m (126-in.) UV-curable Barak5 from Matan (barakuv.com) is a roll-to-roll printer with a flatbed option. It can image up to three rolls of 63-in. media simultaneously, and print onto coated and uncoated media as thick as 1 in. Offering 2-yr durability, the Barak5 is compatible with roll and rigid media including flexface, mesh, blueback paper, backlit, self-adhesive vinyl, Tyvek, foam PVC, acrylic, aluminum, and foamboard.
Users can choose from a range of speeds and qualities, including Express speed and Supreme quality. The Barak5 features a top speed of 1830 sq ft/hr. Its 30-pl Ricoh E3 printheads offer true 600 dpi and apparent 1200-dpi resolutions. The Barak UV 300 pigmented inks are high-density and flexible with large color gamut. The company reports that the inks will provide coverage of up to 1940 sq ft/liter on average.
The Barak5 is armed with a Caldera RIP, which processes while printing to speed the workflow. The RIP also has tiling and nesting features. Similar to the company's 3-m Barak 3, the Barak 5 features a fast changeover from rollfed to flatbed. Additionally, the machine boasts a 5-min start-up time, an integrated mesh table, media tracking, and auto media measuring.
Mutoh Zephyr: Mutoh's (mutoh.com) Zephyr is a 64-in. rollfed UV printer and the company’s first to use the new Xaar 760 grayscale heads. The variable-droplet, 764-nozzle printheads allow for six levels of gray to be printed with drop volumes as low as 8 pl. Maximum resolution on the Zephyr is said to be 720 dpi (though Xaar indicates the heads are capable of resolutions as fine as 1440 dpi), with print speeds ranging from 160-645 sq ft/hr. The Zephyr is not yet offered in the US.