Record attendance reported at 17th annual users’ conference.
At its annual Connect international users’ conference, held January 17-20 at The Wynn in Las Vegas, EFI demonstrated two new display graphics printers and announced a third line designed to broaden the company’s reach into the growing industrial printing market.
Demonstrated and officially launched at Connect was the EFI Vutek 5r, a 196-inch roll-to-roll printer using the company’s 7-picoliter UltraDrop technology that is also offered in a Vutek 3r 138-inch version. Features include UV LED curing, resolution up to 1200 dpi, a white ink option, and advanced media handling and media utilization capabilities.
Also previewed at Connect was a next-generation Wide-Format LED Hybrid Printer that uses Ricoh Gen 5 printheads and is said to print 30 percent faster than EFI’s current hybrid models in CMYK and white. The printer, in beta testing now and expected to launch at the ISA Sign Expo in April, also features an improved user interface, improved roll-to-roll media handling, and easier serviceability.
The company also announced a new platform of printers called the EFI Cubik series intended to give the company a broader footprint in the building materials market. Applying technologies and workflow strategies from the company’s successful Cretaprint line of ceramic tile printers, the Cubik series images materials such as wood, concrete, structural ceramics, composite and natural stones, glass, metal, and more. During a press briefing, Ken Hanulec, VP of marketing and inkjet solutions, said that the company was targeting product manufacturers with the Cubik series and would be looking to provide complete end-to-end systems that would interface with existing manufacturing workflows. Hanulec said one Cubik had been installed in the US and that commercial availability was anticipated toward the end of the first quarter.
Hanulec cited the Cubik as an example of how the company is combining technologies developed at various inkjet manufacturing facilities now under the EFI umbrella (such as textile expertise from Reggiani in Italy, roll-to-roll expertise from the former Matan facility in Israel, and industrial printing workflow and color management solutions from Cretaprint in Spain) to aggressively pursue new markets. Another prime example is the Nozomi C18000 single-pass print line for corrugated cardboard that was previewed at drupa last year, which applies single-pass innovations from Cretaprint and substrate handling technology from the Vutek line of display graphics printers. At Connect, EFI announced that Spanish printer Rafael Hinojosa had signed an agreement for the first Nozomi line, with installation expected by April.
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