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Finding Solvent Success

(March 2011) posted on Wed Mar 09, 2011

A narrowing of choices when it comes to solvent printers.

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By Gregory Sharpless

It’s getting more and more difficult to track down a printer that utilizes solvent inks. As a result of a combination of factors – the onrushing surge of UV technologies coupled with green/sustainable aspirations, to name two – solvent-machine options are much more limited today than they were a few years ago.

In looking at The Big Picture 2004 rollfed printer charts, for example, we listed specs for nearly 60 rollfed solvent printers. In last year’s charts, however, the number of rollfed solvent machines had dwindled to about 25. So if you opt to go the solvent route today, your hardware options are much more limited. Or, some would say, you can be much more focused when it comes to choosing a machine and you don’t have to “wade through” five dozen possibilities.

For this month’s sourcelist, we’ve identified 15 major manufacturers badging solvent machines in 2011, and present information on those companies and their “solvent rosters”; for most companies, we’ve spotlighted one of their printers and added information on other solvent units when available. Keep in mind that for the sake of this list, we’ve included solvents as well as mild- and eco-solvents, but we have not included any other ink technologies for this article (including aqueous, dye-sub, UV, or latex).

The 198-in. Jeti 5024 features 24 Spectra printheads, true 600 dpi (1200 apparent), and 6 colors (CMYKcm); it can reach a top speed of 1190.25 sq ft/hr. Other features include automatic head-capping (auto caps in 15 min. if machine sits) plus an automated air vacuum system that eliminates manual head wiping. The 5024 can output onto reinforced vinyl, pressure-sensitive vinyl, canvas, fabrics, mesh, paper, and more. Options include a modular backlit camera unit for registered printing on both sides of the media; a rewind (takeup) unit; and a retro heater. The printer is also available in a 300-dpi, 4-color, high-speed version (1108 – 1650 sq ft/hr).

Other Agfa solvent printers include the Jeti 3312/3324 and the Jeti 3348 HSS (high-speed solvent) units.