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UV Inkjet Printers Face Modern Challenges

(October 2011) posted on Tue Nov 22, 2011

UV inkjet printers have proven themselves capable of handling many types of graphics projects. Some are easy and routine; others take a bit of daring and creativity.

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By Gail Flower

Astek Inc.
Van Nuys, CA
Aaron Kirsch, president and owner

Astek Inc. purchased its first UV inkjet printer five years ago. The company now has four Dursts, including flatbed and roll-to-roll units. Even with using more UV inkjets, the company has been running 24/7 for the last 15 months as they attempt to keep up with wallpaper orders from large retail stores, nightclubs, hotels, and restaurants.

“They’re our lifeblood,” Aaron Kirsch says. UV inkjet is cleaner, eco-friendly without VOCs, faster, holds registration, and offers more diversity in the material that you print on (foils, naturals, recycled, canvases, etc.), he explains. Astek is now an all-digital operation.

The Venetian Hotel Macau hired Astek to print all of the interior graphics for guest suites. The client originally wanted the walls to be hand-painted, but time constraints prevented it. Astek could deliver the wallpaper in three weeks by using its Durst 500 to print 54-in.-wide rolls three up in lengths of 250 yd.
How did they start it? Ten in-house graphic designers worked together to come up with a classical Asian theme with birds and flowers that looked just right. The next step was a day-and-night print run. The hotel opens for business in November, 2011 with wallpaper installed. In this case, the creativity Astek brought to the project, the focus on turnaround time, and the capability of roll-to-roll UV inkjet printing really made a difference.

Photocenter Imaging
Burbank, CA
Boris Winograd, executive VP

Photocenter Imaging started out as the processing and printing arm of J.H. Maddocks Professional Photography. Eventually the company began providing custom color and black-and-white photos for outside customers. Photocenter still works in photography and offers screen printing, lithography, content creation, digital printing, and finishing. The company purchased an Océ Arizona 350 XT flatbed UV inkjet printer in June of 2009.

“We have the one 8 x 10-ft flatbed, and that’s unusually high for our field,” Boris Winograd says. He explains that the screen-printing process works well for hundreds or thousands of one, but the inkjet does one to a hundred prints in shorter runs, which works out well for Photocenter’s clients. “The ability to do a one-off or fit shorter runs makes it easier in our field of fashion graphics.”


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