The International Sign Expo 2009 ushered in a host of new inkjet printers that raise the bar on productivity and print quality. Here you
By Tom Frecska
AJ-i printers are available in 74- and 104 in. models for producing wide-format outdoor graphics, such as banners, billboards, and more. The six-color machines (CMYKLcLm) have a maximum print speed of 968 sq ft/hr (on the 104-in. machine) and use EcoXtreme i ink with three-year outdoor durability or less expensive ExoXtreme LT ink for short-term applications. All VersaCamm VP-i and AdvancedJET AJ-i printers are driven by Roland’s VersaWorks RIP software.
The ColorPainter V-64s was the main attraction at the Seiko Infotech (www.seiko-i.com) booth. It’s a new 64-in. mild-solvent inkjet printer designed for the mid-volume sign and banner printing market. The printer has a new six-color (CMYKLcLm) inkset and newly developed piezo printheads that deliver print resolutions up to 720 x 720 dpi. It uses EG-Outdoor EX ink, which Seiko says has a very low odor and provides a wide color gamut, fast dry time, glossiness, and outdoor durability. The machine’s six printheads allow the printer to achieve a production speed of 172 sq ft/ hr at 720 x 720 dpi. Features on the V-64s include Smart Pass Technology that optimizes dot placement and creates gradient overlaps between each printing pass to reduce banding; a three-way, independently controlled heater to optimize ink receptiveness on media and ink drying time; an integrated four-way take-up unit; adjustable head height (0.08 or 0.1 in.); and a manual media cutter with media clips. The system can be operated with RIPs from Caldera, Onyx, SAi, Wasatch, and others.
US Sublimation (www.ussublimation.com) focused attention on its VELOTEX Xpress and VELOTEX Mpress direct dye-sublimation printing systems. The Xpress supports disperse dye (sublimation), textile pigment, acid-dye, and reactive-dye inks. For sublimation inks, it provides an onboard heating unit to active and affix the printed sublimation dyes to the fabric. The system handles roll-fed materials up to 64 in. wide and prints with a maximum resolution of 1400 dpi. The Mpress is designed to operate with disperse-dye or textile-pigment inks. It also features an onboard heat unit to affix sublimation printers, and it offers a top speed of 226 sq ft/hr. It’s designed for roll materials up to 42 in. wide.
WP Digital (www.wp-digital.com), the former unit of Spühl AG (now a part of Wifag Polytype), has released two new Virtu printers: the Virtu RS35 and Virtu RR50. The Virtu RS35 is a hybrid UV machine that can on a variet of rigid and flexible materials up to 11.5 ft wide, and it can accommodate substrates up to 3.74 in. thick. The RS35 is available with 30- or 80-pl printing modules and in four color configurations: CMYK, CMYKLcLm, CMYK + white, or CMYKLcLm + white. The printer boasts a top resolution of 1200 dpi and top speeds of 3230 sq ft/hr (at 300 dpi with 80 pl drops) and 1400 sq ft/hr (at 423 x 500 dpi with 30 pl drops). Additional features include an integrated mesh kit to easily switch to interleaving material such as textiles, an interruption-free ink refill system, a vacuum system with individually adjustable chambers, and a substrate feeding and positioning system. Options include an oven for textiles, table in front/rear for rigid substrates, an anti-static device, and a camera/monitor.
The Virtu RR50 is a roll-fed UV printer that can accommodate flexible substrates up to 16.4 ft wide. As with the RS35, it’s available with 30- or 80-pl printing modules. The RR50 is available in three color configurations: CMYK, CMYKLcLm, or CMYKLcLm + white. It can print 1200 dpi and has top speeds of 3440 sq ft/hr (300 dpi, 80 pl) and 1610 sq ft/hr (423 x 500 dpi, 30 pl). An optional reel lift allows the RR50 to be operated in three different configurations: loading from the back and unloading at the front; loading and unloading at the front; and loading and unloading at the back. Other options include a mesh function for interleaving materials, longitudinal cutting device, anti-static device, center support for center winders, and more. Both printer models can be driven by RIPs from either Caldera or Onyx.
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