"Agfa is closing the technology gap between the traditional offset/flexo printing and digital."
In mid-April, at a press event at its headquarters in Mortsel, Belgium, Agfa Graphics announced not only new printers but also outlined its strategy for the industrial inkjet market.
Making its world debut at the Mortsel event was the Anapurna XL2, a 98.4-in.-wide printer aimed squarely at sign shops, screen printers, and photo labs. The 6-color UV printer (CMYKcm, with white ink as a factory option) features 8 Spectra Galaxy printheads (28 pl drop size) and can hit a maximum resolution of 727 x 800 dpi. Its print speeds range from 118 sq ft/hr ("poster quality") to 310 sq ft/hr ("sign quality").
The Anapurna XL2 can handle flexible media and rigid media up to 1.97-in. thick; the printhead height is automatically set to the thickness of the substrate. The machine features borderless printing as well as dual-board printing, allowing multiple boards to be fed through at the same time (two different images can be queued and printed simultaneously). The printer comes standard with two rigid tables. Price: $216,000, including an Agfa Edition Wasatch SoftRIP ($224,995 with the white option).
The XL2 completes the company’s portfolio of Anapurna printers, now comprising the L, XL, and the recently launched Anapurna M ( see below). "Agfa Graphics has been aggressively pursuing the industrial inkjet market," says Hans Gerinckx, director of worldwide sales. "We’re rapidly expanding our position in the market place because we have the technology that is ideal for this industry, and we are committed to growing the Agfa brand in this arena."
Just a week earlier, at the ISA Expo in Las Vegas, the company had unveiled its Anapurna M to the US market; in Mortsel, it made its European debut. A 63-in. 6-color (CMYKcm) UV printer aimed at the fine-art and photography markets, the Anapurna M boasts Konica/Minolta 14-pl heads, print resolutions up to 720 x 1440 dpi, and print speeds ranging from 161 sq ft/hr in poster-quality mode to 81 sq ft/hr in photo/sign-quality mode. It can handle rigid as well as flexible media. See our June issue (pg. 20) for a full report on this printer.
But perhaps the primary storyline in Mortsel was the continued transition of Agfa Graphics from a company known primarily for its prepress consumables and software to one well known for its range of digital printers-the Anapurna line of printers as well as the Dotrix and Dotrix Transcolor presses and the M-Press, developed in conjunction with Thieme. "With our hybrid inkjet presses, Agfa is closing the technology gap between the traditional offset/flexo printing and digital," says Jan Vangeel, VP Industrial Inkjet Solutions. "It is our intention to provide our customers with end-to-end industrial inkjet solutions that maximize their efforts for the highest possible return on investment."
To this end, the company introduced its "C3 Strategy," which stands for:
* Complete Integration, the tuning of UV-curable inks, printheads, workflow software, and the printer or press;
* Complete Services, installation and maintenance, spare parts, customer training, and financing tools; and
* Complete Benefits, combining color, prints with resistant and durable images, and printers with increased productivity.
One of the first C3 tools released by Agfa is a complete Cost of Ownership financial tool, allowing customers to determine the best system to match their needs and calculate the greatest return on investment. Agfa has set up a separate C3 website to introduce the strategy: www.switchtoc3.com.