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New Dimensions in Digital Printing

(March 2014) posted on Mon Mar 03, 2014

An emerging class of digital, direct-to-substrate inkjet printers is allowing screen shops to expand into ad-specialty products, promotional items, and more.

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By Ben P. Rosenfield

The Go F-24 features a White Ink Ready function, combining an ink-circulation system and pressurized pumps to reduce print-head clogging when printing white. The printer also features InterWave Dot Technology, which is designed to reduce banding. The Laser Printhead Protection function uses light sensors to detect print-path obstructions, thereby reducing print-head strikes.

Promotional products made of acrylic, plastic, ceramic, wood, and other substrates are compatible with the printer. Graphic One’s F-24 RIP software is included.

Inkcups Now

The X2 UV-LED inkjet printer from Inkcups Now is a flatbed version of the firm’s larger XJet model, a unit designed for higher-volume industrial applications. Like the earlier model, the X2 can reportedly print a 20 x 24-in. area in 90 seconds. It accommodates parts up to 3 in. tall and offers imaging resolutions up to 1200 dpi.

The X2 comes with a six-color (CMYK+2xW) inkset. Dual UV-LED lamps and two staggered white print heads allow for uni- or bi-directional white printing. The machine incorporates VDS (Variable Droplet Size) technology, delivering three dot sizes (7, 14, and 21 pl) to print sharp images with smooth gradients. X Series UV inks are packaged in 1-l bulk-ink containers and the company says ink costs average $0.0015/sq in.

The X2 also allows printing onto metal substrates through the use of DigiBond primer, available separately. Users are advised to wipe the primer onto the metal parts and then flash cure it prior to printing.

Standard features include automatic negative-pressure ink maintenance and white-ink maintenance systems, as well as programmable platform-height adjustment for three-dimensional parts. Standard and custom parts fixtures are available through Inkcups Now. The system occupies a footprint of 66 x 61 x 54 in. and weighs in at 1300 lb.

Lawson Screen & Digital Products

Lawson bills its Express-Jet/ASI direct-to-substrate UV-LED inkjet printer as an industrial system engineered specifically for the requirements of the ad-specialty industry, not a modified desktop printer, delivering ink deposits and image quality not attainable through pad printing. The system uses six industrial-class grayscale piezo printheads with variable-dot technology and imaging resolutions up to 1200 x 1200 dpi. The machine offers a choice of three print modes that Lawson has labeled Good, Better, and Best.


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