AJJ Enterprises Uses EFI Pro 30f Printer to Decorate Pre-Assembled Cornhole Boards

With so many UV-LED wide-format inkjet printer models on the market, it is becoming easier for companies to find a model that matches specific production requirements. For example, this case study about a user of the EFI Pro 30f printer shows that some buyers choose UV-LED flatbed printers in order to decorate manufactured products.

AJJ Enterprises Installs Second Flatbed

AJJ Enterprises is an online seller of custom-decorated cornhole game boards. Visitors to the AJJ Cornhole website can order pre-decorated boards or wraps in dozens of themes or styles, including weddings, military, patriotic, state flags, or NCAA-licensed sports team logos. Buyers can even have themed cornhole sets personalized with their names.

AJJ Enterprises in Cincinnati installed their second EFI™ Pro 30f flatbed UV-LED inkjet printer in June.

Because the EFI Pro 30f flatbed printer is engineered to accomodate materials up to 4 inches thick, AJJ Enterpises can print directly to pre-assembled cornhole boards. This saves considerable time, labor, and production costs.

With the pair of Pro 30f printers, AJJ Enterprises has achieved roughly a seven-fold increase in throughput compared with the roll-to-roll vinyl and UV inkjet flatbed printers the company used previously.

Cornhole (aka beanbag toss) is a popular game for summer picnics and backyard barbecues. To meet the inceased consumer demand for cornhole boards this summer, Cincinnati-based AJJ Enterprises installed a second EFI Pro 30f flatbed printer.

“EFI’s engineers worked really closely with us because we have such a unique application,” explained AJJ Enterprises co-owner Shane Back. Because AJJ Enterprises constantly prints at maximum thickness, EFI worked with the company to adjust the printer’s UV LED curing lamps and ensure consistent, high-quality output.

The first model AJJ Enterprises used was a beta version. “On the beta printer, we changed our jig to hold the boards on the table,” said Back. “We also made some structural changes that are now standard on all Pro 30f machines.”

This simplified, fast production the Pro 30f delivers is imperative for the company, which has seen an unprecedented increase in demand for its products. While a portion of the company’s sales come from the struggling promotional corporate sector, the other half of the business – direct-to-consumer ecommerce retail through the AJJcornole.com website – is booming.

“With everyone at home due to COVID-19, it’s really driven our direct-to-consumer market,” Back said. This demand drove the need for the second Pro 30f.

AJJ Enterprises says the ability to print white ink direct to its birch cornhole boards has been a game changer.

“Being able to print white at a high speed has been a huge help,” said Back. “It’s been a huge cost savings. Because of the white ink, we can move jobs that we would have first printed on vinyl and then transferred to the substrate.”

The printer’s six-zone, user-selectable vacuum system ensures efficient hold-down, no unintended media movement, and easy transitions between jobs, which is conducive to AJJ Enterprises’ high volume of work.

“What sets us apart from competitors is the wide breadth of designs that we have and the fact that we can print so quickly,” said Back.

“With the Pro 30f,” he added, “we can print a cornhole board in a minute and 40 seconds.” That translates to a significant increase in work completed per shift compared with the company’s previous process printing on vinyl and mounting those vinyl sheets to each cornhole board.

The EFI Fiery® proServer Core digital front end has also helped improve throughput and overall efficiency, providing simple job management for both new and existing designs. “Since we reprint a lot of the same designs, once we get the first print set up it’s an easy press-and-replay approach,” said Back. “Custom designs take a little bit of finesse, but it’s just a matter of testing, making any adjustments, and printing.”

About the EFI Pro 30f

According to EFI, the Pro 30f was designed for improved speed, quality and cost-savings for unique applications. It delivers customer-requested features such as a larger flatbed size, thicker media handling, wider application possibilities, and better price points.

The Pro 30f UV-LED flatbed printer has a maximum printable area of 120 inches x 80 inches (3.05 m x 2.04 m) with bleed printing. It features four colors plus dual channels of white standard, along with multi-layer printing. EFI’s white ink gives users the power to print superior color images on clear and colored media, as well as specialty media, such as wood, metal or glass. This short video shows the EFI Pro 30f in action:

The EFI Pro 30f was first shown at the FESPA Global Print Exo in May, 2019

About EFI

EFI™ (Electronics for Imaging, Inc.) is a global technology company, based in Silicon Valley. They develop breakthrough technologies for manufacturing signage, packaging, textiles, ceramic tiles, and personalized documents. EFI manufacturers a wide range of printers, inks, digital front ends. Plus, they develop business and production workflow software that transforms and streamlines the entire production process. (www.efi.com)

Agfa Oberon RTR3300 Roll-to-Roll UV LED Printer Handles Flexible Materials 3.3 Meters Wide

The Agfa Oberon RTR3300 is a 3.3 meter roll-to-roll printer that uses UV-LED-curable inks to print higher-volume runs of flexible materials, including: reinforced vinyl, pressure-sensitive vinyl, static-cling, clear films, block-out banner, canvas, mesh (with and without liners), non-stretchy fabrics, paper, backlit films, and more.

Like other Agfa large-format printing systems, the Oberon uses a matched-component approach that aligns the print engine, inks, media, workflow, and color-management software to ensure high-quality prints and a consistent and reliable production process.

“The Oberon RTR3300 excels in printing solids over the entire media width,” says early adopter Hennie van Osch of the TVE company in The Netherlands.

Single or Dual-Roll

The Oberon can print on single rolls of materials from 24 to 130 inches or two rolls of materials from 24 to 63 inches. Engineered for long-run roll-to-roll jobs, the Oberon RTR3300 can also be used for roll-to-sheet projects.

Four or Six Colors of Ink

The printer can be operated with either six colors of ink (CMYKLcLm) or in a 4 color (CMYK + White) configuration.

The four-color model prints white ink in several different multi-layer modes to achieve different effects. For example, printing a “pre-white” layer on clear film or colored substrates ensures that the layer of color printed on top of the white is accurate. The five modes include:

  • Pre-White prints white beneath a color.
  • Post-White prints white on top of a color
  • Sandwich White prints a white layer between two colors layers
  • High-Density Color prints double or triple layers of color for vivid backlit graphics
  • Blockout White prints three color layers with white layers in between

The Oberon uses Agfa-made Anunvia inks, which have earned GREENGUARD GOLD certification. This means the inks meet some of the world’s most rigorous chemical emissions standards and can be used to print graphics that will be displayed in schools or heathcare facilities.

The inks dry instantly because they are immediately cured with UV-LED lamps. LED lamps don’t generate a lot of heat, so they can be used to print heat-sensitive materials (such as vinyls) without causing them to soften and stretch.

Agfa’s patented “Thin Ink Layer” technology creates eye-catching, color-vibrant prints with a low level of ink consumption per square meter. This not only reduces operating costs, but also ensure stable jetting without printhead clogs. The thin-ink-layer technology combines Agfa’s expertise in ink manufacturing and color-management software development.

Asanti Sign and Display Production Hub

Agfa’s Asanti software helps automate the workflows of sign and display companies that use Agfa printers. The Asanti dashboard provides operators with details about the status of the printer and print jobs, while ‘media recipes’ control color quality and other parameters for jobs that will be produced on a specific substrate. The smart-imaging algrorithms in Asanti help limit ink consumption.

Asanti software integrates seamlessly with Asanti StoreFront online-ordering software and PrintSphere data-exchange solution.

Customer Support

Agfa is committed to serving as a facilitator and counselor for its customers.

“Our customers can count on us to improve the balance of their business,” says Tom Vermeulen, Head of Sign & Display at Agfa. “We do not just sell printers, ink, and workflow software, we accompany print-service providers on their journey, by working out a growth path together. Our sales, application and support teams think along with printing companies. We help them identify their needs — and the needs of their customers — and the best possible way to answer them.”

Customer support can include hands-on applications support or in-depth, technology-independent advice on color consistency and overall process control. Print-service providers may also request a meticulous analysis of their business strategy.

For more information about the Oberon RTR3000, visit: www.agfa.com/printing/products/oberon-rtr3300/

About Agfa

Agfa develops, produces, and distributes an extensive range of imaging systems and workflow solutions for the printing industry, the health care sector, and specific high-tech industries such as printed electronics and renewable energy solutions. Visit: www.agfa.com

Agfa announced the Oberon RTR3300 on February 27, 2020

Roland IU-1000F UV-LED Flatbed Holds Thin, Thick, or Heavy Sign and Display Boards

The Roland IU-1000F UV-LED flatbed printer is designed for fast, efficient printing on a variety of substrates, including 4 ft. x 8 ft. rigid boards weighing up to 99 pounds. Created for sign and display professionals, the IU-1000F can print vibrant, detailed graphics directly onto thin or thick boards, including PETG, PVC board, foam board, wood, corrugated board, aluminum plate, and more.

It can also print directly onto sheets of leather, fabric, or canvas for custom decor or creative displays. Users can also print graphics onto tabletops, plywood, MDF, and other boards to create decorated furniture.

Roland IU-1000F can print materials up to 98.4 in. x 51.1 in.

With its heavy-duty flatbed chassis and vacuum bed, the IU-1000F was designed to handle heavy metal and wooden materials with ease.

Printheads and Inks

The printer uses 12 printheads in staggered three-row arrangement. To accommodate thicker materials, the printheads can be raised four inches above the heavy-duty flatbed chassis and vacuum bed.

Each printhead has a 1,280 nozzles along with banding and mottling prevention features that support high-resolution images up to 635 x 1800 dpi.

The IU-1000F uses high-density CYMYK, Gloss, and White inks that are GREENGAURD Gold certified for safe use in a variety of indoor environments, including healthcare facilities and schools.

The white ink is ideal for printing true-color graphics on clear or colored surfaces. Users can also use the gloss and white inks to create textural and dimensional effects on the surface of the print.

An optional primer ink can be applied to promote the ink’s adhesion to materials such as as acrylic, glass, and ceramics.

Other Features

The IUF-1000F offers multiple speed and performance options, including:

  • Media ionizer to ensure ink-firing accuracy on that generate a lot of static (such as corrugated board);
  • State-of-the-art UV-LED curing lamps save energy and extend lamp life;
  • Variable zone vacuum can be applied to four different sections of the flatbed, to maximize hold where it’s needed most;
  • Media alignment pins ensure consistent placement of multiple boards and double-sided panels;
  • Premium RIP software for tiling, scaling, cropping, and other functions;
  • Roland Print Control Center for easy management of machine’s movements, speeds, voltage, and head cleaning;
  • One-touch, automated daily printhead cleaning;
  • The ability to print on one board or multiple boards at the same time;
  • Two-Year Trouble-Free Warranty

The prnter can average about 35 4 ft. x 8 ft. rigid boards per hour in “Draft Mode, 15 boards per hour in “Standard” print mode, and about 10 boards in near-photographic “Quality” mode.

Roland DGA Corporation In Irvine, California provides marketing, sales, distribution, and service in North America for Roland DG Corporation of Hamamatsu, Japan. Roland DG’s inkjet printers, print/cutters and cutting machines are widely used to create promotional items such as banners, signs, vehicle graphics, stickers, and labels. The devices are also used to provide customization services for apparel and promotional and personal products such as smartphone cases.

For more information about Roland IU-1000F large-format UV-LED flatbed printer, visit: rolanddga.com/iu-1000f. For more information about Roland DGA and the complete Roland product line, visit: rolanddga.com

Roland DGA announced this printer on October 22, 2019

Konica Minolta Introduces AccurioWide Printers

At the 2018 SGIA Expo, Konica Minolta showcased two new wide-format UV LED inkjet printers. Both printers are designed to give sign shops, screen printers, photo labs, commercial printers, and franchise printers the image quality and reliable performance they need to produce a variety of products, including:

  • Backlit signs, billboards, and banners
  • Art or photographs on glass or textured canvas
  • Window clings and floor graphics
  • Industrial labels for hazard communications,pipe marking, and equipment panels
  • Vehicle wraps or fleet markings
  • Vinyl or textile banners
  • Yard signs and other corrugated substrates
  • Wood, metal, glass, and PVC objects such as promotional products or gifts

The Accurio Wide 160 and Accurio Wide 200 printers can output images on both flexible roll materials and rigid media up to 1.77 inches thick.

The Konica Minolta Accurio Wide 200 can print on material up to 2 meters wide (6.7 feet ). It can print high quality images in six colors (CMYKLcLm). It also includes 2 channels of white ink. The printer includes large media tables that can accommodate  printing on large, rigid materials up to 10.5 ft.long.

AccurioWide 200

The Konica Minolta Accurio Wide 160 can print on materials up to 1.6 meters wide (5.4 feet). This printer can be configured to print in either 6 colors (CMYKLcLm) or 4 colors (CMYK) plus White (2 channels). The media tables are available as an option.

AccurioWide 160

The printers use Konica Minolta’s own 1024i printhead nozzle technology and powerful, air-cooled UV LED for ink curing. The KM1024 printhead technology enables simultaneous emission from all 1,024 nozzles with a high-density structure that features four lines of 256 nozzles aligned with high precision for accurate positioning.

The UV-LED lamps save production time, reduce costs, and are environmentally sustainable. Because the LED curing lamps are cool to the touch and have minimal heat output, the Accurio Wide printers can print on heat-sensitive substrates such as thin film, self-adhesive sheets, or stretch PVC materials.

“Our wide-format printers, using our industry-leading printhead technology, produce superior quality images while reducing the cost of ownership,” said Dino Pagliarello, vice president of product management and planning at Konica Minolta. Many features of the printers are designed to reduce the use of consumables. 

Features

AccurioWide printers are engineered to provide state-of-the-art image quality and a high level of productivity. Features include:

A Reinforced Beam that ensures that the printhead shuttle moves flawlessly and provides accurate placements of each droplet;

Shuttle Safety Sensors that prevent recessed printheads from touching the substrate and getting damaged;

Automated Media Handling systems that make loading media a smooth, accurate process;

Ionization Bars mounted on the carriage to remove electrostatic charges on the substrate and ensure accurate ink droplet placement;

An Automatic Ink Refill System controlled by a monitoring system that detects UV ink levels;

A Touchscreen mounted an a swivel arm that allows the operator to view spooled files to be  printed.  The print files are stored on an Internal Server with a hard drive capacity of 1. TB. The internal server ensures fast spooling and secure transfer of large amounts of data.

Inflatable Airshafts on both the unwinding and winding side assure perfect tension and wrinkle-free printing of materials printed in the roll-to-roll mode. (The inflatable airshafts are standard on the AccurioWide 200, and available as an option on the AccurioWide 160.)

Large Media Tables allow printing on large rigid materials up to a length of 10.5 feet.

Konica-Minolta UV-Curable Inks

The AccurioWide series uses high-performance UV-curable inks recognized for the lowest ink consumption per square meter. It’s “pigment-shield technology” is a patented pigment dispersion technology specifically designed for UV-curable inks. It guarantees high color density and ink stability that contributes to a long ink shelf life when stored under normal conditions.

The inks are instantly dry, meaning that prints can be handled immediately. The inks are also designed for superior adhesion, resistance to abrasion and chemicals, outstanding consistency, and no emissions of VOCs (volatile organic compounds).

Advanced White Printing

The AccurioWide series include white-layered printing in pre-white, post-white, and sandwiched white modes. To limit the risk of inks resettling and blocking the lines or printheads, the printers white inks are constantly stirred and circulated.

Production Workflow Software

AccurioPro WideDirector is production workflow software that standardizes processes for printing sign and display jobs. It enables you to control the entire printing process, including preflighting files, managing color, and sending data to automated print finishing equipment.

The automated preflighting checks PDF files to identify and flag potential production issues early in the process. With WideDirector’s intuitive interface, the operator can see what will print and make last-minute changes with ease.

The interface is integrated with the latest version of Adobe PDF Print Engine (APPE). The APPE manages the generation of PDF master files and and eliminates the need for manual intervention.  The APPE helps ensure end-to-end consistency across all printing devices.

Color management tools help ensure color quality, consistency, and accurate reproduction. AccurioPro WideDirector color tools include calibrated print modes, spot-color conversion based on PANTONE libraries, and patented technology to create smooth vignettes.

To provide even more control, you can add Konica Minolta’s FD-9 Scanning Spectrophotometer. This device combines speed, precision, ease of use, and versatility for accurate profiling and color management.

Additional modules support specific needs such as:

An XML to JDF connection to integrate to existing online storefronts;

The creation of one-way vision window-perf graphics on less expensive, easier-to-handle clear films; or

The layout of seamless print designs used for wall coverings and floorings

A browser-based production dashboard for gathering reports on ink and media consumption. It can be used as an estimating and cost tracking tool.

For more information about Konica Minolta’s AccurioWide printers, visit:
https://kmbs.konicaminolta.us/kmbs/technology/wide-format-printer.

iTEK Graphics Adds EFI VUTEk Superwide Hybrid Inkjet Printer for Retail Signs

Six years after first adopting digital printing, iTek Graphics has completed its largest-ever investment in superwide-format inkjet printing. The Concord, North Carolina-based company has installed a 126-inch wide EFI™ VUTEk® HS125 Pro hybrid inkjet press from Electronics For Imaging, Inc. The EFI VUTEk superwide printer uses UV-curable inks to produce graphics on either flat, rigid substrates or rolls of flexible materials.

 

The new press replaces an older hybrid inkjet printer the company used. iTek Graphics will use the added production capacity of the EFI VUTEk HS125 Pro to meet the growing customer demand for high-quality retail point-of-purchase (POP) signage and graphics.

iTek Graphics will primarily print retail display promotional signage on styrene and corrugated plastic. Much of that signage will be for a grocery chain that relies on iTek Graphics for its printing needs at locations across eight states.

‘The most bang for the buck’

“We looked at all the high-volume, high-quality superwide-format inkjet presses in the market,” said iTek Graphics Owner John Rawlins, “and while they all offered high-quality printing, the decision came down to which press offered the best combination of price, speed and price per square foot for ink. The VUTEk gives us the most bang for the buck.”

Printing at speeds up to 125 boards per hour, the VUTEk HS125 Pro has eight channels, including two white inks, and delivers premium-quality, grayscale imaging on a broad range of flexible and rigid substrates up to 2 inches thick. A three-quarter automated material handling system installed with the press ensures faster loading and off-loading to maintain high productivity.

Integrated productivity for high-volume digital print

iTek Graphics also offers sheetfed offset and cut-sheet digital printing. The company has long relied on EFI MIS/ERP workflow software to drive efficiencies in its overall business and production management operations.

The EFI Fiery® proServer digital front end iTek Graphics installed to drive its new superwide-format inkjet press integrates directly with the EFI Midmarket Print Suite workflow the company uses to manage the business.

That seamless connectivity into iTek Graphics’ overall workflow will reduce the time needed to estimate, schedule and deliver jobs printed on the new inkjet press.

“Digital is an important part of our business,” Rawlins said. “When we moved into our current facility 14 months ago, 40 percent of our business was digital. Now, with the new HS125 press, our digital printing revenues should reach the 50 percent mark by the end of the year.”

For more information about superwide-format inkjet graphics production with EFI VUTEk products, visit www.efi.com. To see many of the imaginative applications possible with EFI print technology, visit www.ImagingofThings.com.

General Marketing Solutions Is Redefining How Print Is Purchased

General Marketing Solutions (GMS) in Minneapolis, Minnesota is an integrated marketing services company that creates, executes and manages data and communication solutions across all marketing channels for all types of enterprises. They help clients coordinate digital marketing, direct mail campaigns, social media, e-mail, printed collateral, wide-format graphics, and fulfillment.

To expand their range of digital printing services, GMS recently installed a Konica Minolta Accurio-Jet KM-1 UV Inkjet PressThe press uses UV-curable inks to produce up to 3,000 instantly dry sheets per hour. It can print on a wide variety of materials including packaging board, plastics, synthetic materials, lightweight papers, and textured stock without any pre-treatments. The KM-1 handle sheets up to 23 x 29.5 inches.

“At GMS, our focus is to redefine how print is bought,” said Kurt Gonyea, President and CEO of GMS. “We bring to the table a solutions-oriented process that starts each conversation with strategy and return on investment. We wanted to invest in technology that would offer a full complement of printing capabilities to support this philosophy and fulfill our customers’ critical color needs and timeline requirements.”

(Left to right) Bill Troxil, SVP Strategic Business Development, Konica Minolta Solutions; Kurt Gonyea, President/CEO, GMS; Troy Mone, Manufacturing Manager, GMS; James Trowbridge, Director of Manufacturing, GMS. (Photo: Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A.)

The AccurioJet KM-1 can be used for a variety of applications, including 3-panel and 4-panel brochures, pocket folders, posters, point-of-purchase graphics, narrow format signage, dust jackets, and wrap-around book covers. The KM-1 is ideal for projects that require variable data or duplex printing.

From Liquid Toner to Inkjet

Troy Mone, manufacturing manager of GMS, noted that the company had been using traditional liquid toner presses and it just seemed like the right time to move to an inkjet press: “After monitoring inkjet technology for years, we decided the best fit for our company was the AccurioJet KM-1.” He said the company has worked with Konica Minolta for in the past and is happy with their responsiveness and support.

GMS managers said the switch to inkjet technology has paid off. The AccurioJet KM-1 delivers outstanding stability in color and provides a wider and deeper color gamut than previous digital presses. They were also impressed with the color accuracy and image quality.

The Accurio-Jet KM-1 uses internal inline Konica Minolta sensing technology to automatically detect and correct image flaws.

Because the inkjet heads and other components can be replaced by it employees, GMS expects to be able to reduce downtime.

Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. offers customers the latest technology to help their businesses move forward. Konica Minolta is committed to providing the highest quality machines, inkjet technology, customization, and technical support services during installation and beyond.

Bill Troxil, senior vice president of strategic business development for Konica Minolta, said “We are excited about our new strategic partnership with Kurt Gonyea and his team at GMS. GMS is one of the top marketing services companies in the United States, providing a wide array of clients with leading-edge technology.” Troxil is confident that his customer’s success will continue for years to come. He believes GMS and its clients have gained a competitive edge because, “The AccurioJet KM-1 UV Inkjet Press provides GMS the widest flexibility of substrates in the marketplace.”

Canon’s Océ Colorado 1640 Printer Introduces UVgel Technology

Canon Oce Colorado 1640

Canon’s fast new 64-inch Océ Colorado 1640 roll-to-roll printer will make its first public debut in the U.S. at the ISA Sign Expo 2017 in Las Vegas. Designed for the efficient, cost-effective production of high quality indoor and outdoor graphics, the Océ Colorado 1640 is the first printer with Canon’s new UVgel technology. The technology combines:

  • a radically new UV-curable ink that instantly gels on contact with the media;
  • an advanced “self-aware” piezoelectric printhead technology;
  • an LED unit that cures without adding damaging heat to the media;
  • continuous on-the-fly printhead nozzle monitoring and performance compensation.

The industrial graphics production printer is built to withstand high duty cycles and output higher print volumes.

Canon Oce Colorado 1640

“We are very excited about this revolutionary new game changing technology” said Toyo Kuwamura, executive vice president and general manager, Business Imaging Solutions Group, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “This new technology will help large format print providers to increase their print production while lowering their operating costs, enabling them to profitably grow their businesses.”

Canon believes small, midsize and even large production shops can benefit from the printer’s speed, ability to print many different types of graphics, fast and easy media loading, quality-assured unattended printing, innovations in automation, and low operating costs .

Productivity

The Océ Colorado 1640 is engineered to efficiently produce very high print quality across a range of applications. It boasts a top speed of 1710 square feet per hour and delivers high quality POP prints at 430 square feet per hour.

Features that contribute to high-quality/high-speed printing include the UVgel ink and state-of-the-art LED-UV curing system. The UVgel ink instantly gels on contact with media for precise dot gain, position control, and perfectly repeatable images. The low-temperature LED-UV curing system moves independently from the printing carriage for uniform, instantly cured, durable prints.

Unattended printing with automated quality assurance, automated roll changing, and reduced print waste also contribute to the productivity of the system.

Innovations in Automation

The heavy-duty drawer mechanism on the Océ Colorado 1640 can hold two rolls of media, each weighing up to 110 lbs. The two rolls can be the same media type and size or different media. Once the jobs are initialized, the print engine can switch jobs between rolls without operator assistance.

If an unknown media is loaded, the printer will automatically measure its thickness and adjust the print gap accordingly. This ensures the best possible print quality and reduces the risk of printhead crashes. This information is then stored in the media library along with other media parameters so that the next time this type of media is loaded, the printer knows exactly how to handle it.

Canon Oce Colorado 1640 large format printer

 

Reliability is key for a true production-oriented printer, and the machine must be able to print while unattended. So Canon has developed several innovative technologies for on-the­-fly quality assurance and control.

The UVgel printheads incorporate patented continuous nozzle monitoring to detect and correct any under-performing nozzles. During every printing pass, Canon’s patented nozzle monitoring technology automatically checks all nozzles using acoustic sampling. It can even detect whether nozzles are going to misfire before they actually do. In the event of nozzle failure, corrective maintenance is automatically performed.

Broad Application Range

The Océ Colorado 1640 is excellent for both indoor and outdoor applications. It delivers a large color gamut similar to solvent inks but offers the environmental benefits and safety profile of latex and UV-cured systems. The result is nearly odorless, VCL-free, durable, colorfast, high quality prints even on the thinnest, most heat-sensitive media.

The ultra-thin ink dispersion of UVgel technology has almost no discernible physical profile on the media surface. Compared to other UV ink systems, prints feel noticeably smoother. The prints satisfy the highest environmental standards for indoor usage with a virtually odorless profile.

An important factor in print quality and application range on roll-to-roll printers is the accuracy with which the printer advances the media. The media-handling system on the Océ Colorado 1640 is supported by a heavy, rigid frame and equipped with industrial components, including an optical feedback loop that continuously monitors media advance. Using virtually invisible printed index marks at the edges of the media, the system measures media advances in real time to automatically correct the subsequent step size as needed.

Low Operating Costs

The low operating costs of the Océ Colorado 1640 can be attributed to lower ink consumption, competitively priced ink, and automation that substantially reduces the need for operator oversight and intervention.

‘Canon is looking forward to the U.S. debut of this product at the ISA Show,” said Kuwamura. “We know that there has been a lot of anticipation around this technology and we are very excited about what the future will bring.”

See What Artists Do With Dye Sublimation and Flatbed UV Printers

War Zone Game Board Spinner

If you own UV flatbed printers or dye sublimation printers, it can be difficult to imagine all of the creative ways the equipment can be used. So consider inviting a few local artists, designers, and makers into your shop and ask how they might use the printers’ capabilities.

For example, in January Roland DGA and artist Bonny Pierce Lhotka hosted a 3-day Imaginarium project at Roland’s headquarters in Irvine, California. Lhotka, author of the book ‘Hacking the Digital Print,’ helps photographers and artists understand how photographic images can be output or transferred to dozens of different surfaces. She has experimented with creative photo composition and printmaking techniques to create original mixed-media artworks on many surfaces beyond art papers and canvas.

During the Roland Imaginarium event, six artists, photographers, and multimedia designers made art with Roland VersaUV LEC printer/cutters, VersaUV LEF benchtop flatbed printers, and Texart dye-sublimation printers. Jay Roberts, product manager for UV devices at Roland DGA, led a team of printing experts who helped the Imaginarium artists experiment with different processes, materials, and machines.

Ladies of the Night Book Box by Dorothy Krause
“Ladies of the Night” box printed on Roland VersaUV LEF-300 flatbed printer. Photo from Dorothy Simpson Krause

Artist Dorothy Simpson Krause came up with two thought-provoking projects: a limited edition art book (“Ladies of the Night”) housed in a decorated aluminum box and “WarZone,” a traveling board game with no winners.

Art Book in Decorated Aluminum Box

“Ladies of the Night” is a concertina book, meaning that the pages are printed in one continuous strip and folded like an accordion. When you grip the folded pages in one hand, you can flip through pages with the other. For this art book project, a 9.5 x 57-inch print was folded to 12 pages (9.5 x 11.5 inches each). It was housed in a 10 x 12-in. aluminum box that was printed with an image from the book.

Pages from Ladies of the Night art book by Dorothy Krause

The pages featured digitally manipulated photographs Krause had taken in 2003 of twin performance artists Abigail and Emily Taylor for a series called “Body + Soul.” Text on the final page of the “Ladies of the Night” book provides statistics about prostitution in the United States.

“My project had several distinct challenges,” says Krause. “The ink needed to be as rich on the reverse as on the front and not soak into the uncoated back side. The prints had to be scored and folded into pages without having inks crack on the edges of folds. And the images on the back and front of the 57-inch long print had to be perfectly aligned.”

Art book printed on Roland Versa UV LEC printer cutter

Jay Roberts recommended ways to resolve these issues. The books was printed with Roland’s Eco-UV S ink on a VersaUV LEC printer/cutter. The VersaUV printer typically prints on a range of flexible materials used in package printing.

The Eco-UV S ink is dense and flexible and was designed to shrink or stretch when wrapping vehicles.

For the “Ladies of the Night” book, the ink produced deep rich blacks on both the coated and uncoated surfaces of Roland’s Premium Matte Paper. And the ink didn’t crack when the pages were folded. A scoring machine was used to make indentations for folding the pages.

“The paper and ink were so heavy, it would have been difficult to score the pages by hand,” says Krause.

A Roland VersaUV LEF-300 flatbed printer was used to print the aluminum box that holds the book. To replicate the look and feel of an embossed book cover, a layer of clear gloss ink was applied to the letters of the book title.

To prepare the image the cover image for the box, the white on the costume was selected in Photoshop, saved as a spot channel and designated to print as a 100% white base layer on the aluminum. After the image layer was printed, the clear gloss layer was applied, using a file that included only the letters of the image with the red omitted.

Before the box was printed, the edges were taped to keep them clean from overspray from the printer. An outline template was printed on the surface of the flatbed to ensure consistent placement as the layers were printed.

As an add-on to the book project, Krause used Roland’s Texart RT-640 Dye Sublimation printer to transfer six images from the book onto 11 x 14 –inch aluminum panels that had been painted white and treated with a polymer coating.

Dot Krause images printed on aluminum panels at Roland DGA

The images were first printed in reverse with dye-sub inks onto dye-sub-transfer paper. The image transfer occurred when the prints were subjected to a controlled amount of heat and pressure in a flatbed heat press. During the heat transfer process, the inks became gases that permeated the coated surface of the metal. The print are very durable and scratch resistant and feel smooth to the touch.

“The white details of the costume are crisp and vibrant, while the underlying metals provides a glowing reflectivity,” said Krause.

War Zone: A Game Without Winners

“War Zone” is a traveling board game with no winners. The suitcase-like polystyrene box, game board, spinner, and “us” and “them” checker-like magnets were designed by Dorothy Krause and printed on Roland devices.

After printing an outline for the box on the surface of the UV VersaUV LEF 300  flatbed printer, the box a white layer was printed under the entire title, followed by a layer of gray and red. Ink. Two layers of gloss ink was printed over the “War Zone” title to provide an embossed-like effect.

The box was lined with contour-cut board printed with an image of the first atomic bomb blast and text about the nature of armed conflict and human aggression. A spinner board was contour cut and printed with a map that shows countries with ongoing military conflicts.

A checkerboard-like game board was printed on 9 x 12-inch matte board with the “rules of engagement” printed across the bottom. The “soldiers” are red and black magnets that were printed with white ink to read “us” or “them.”

 

War Zone game pieces printed on Roland VersaUV LEF-300

Other Projects at Imaginarium

In addition to Bonny Lhotka and Dorothy Krause, other artists at the 2017 Roland Imaginarium included Jake Welin, Ileana Frometa Grillo, Karin Schminke, and Sean Teegarden. They used Roland printers to transfer photos and multi-layered image compositions onto pre-painted and plaster-treated canvases, transparent films, film reels, birchwood, pre-cut wood panels, and other unique media.

In a blog post that showcases the work of the six artists, Ben Fellowes of Roland DGA writes, “It was a pleasure to watch this talented group of artists at work and eye-opening to see what they did with our printing technology. At Roland, we have always understood the potential of our machines as fine art tools.”

Roland Equipment

The printers used at the Roland Imaginarium were’t specifically designed for artists, designers, and makers. But partnerships with creative professionals could ultimately help users of these devices create some strikingly beautiful products in the fields of apparel, awards, packaging, gifts, and interior decor.

The Roland VersaUV LEC series of UV printer/cutters was designed to print, contour cut, varnish, and emboss flexible substrates used to create bags, folding cartons, labels, and specialty graphics. This printer is available in 30-inch and 54-inch widths.

The Roland VersaUV LEF-300 Benchtop Flatbed printer can print directly on rigid and flexible materials up to 3.94 inches thick and up to 13 inches wide and 30 inches long. It is typically used to print on promotional products, giftware, awards, smartphones, tablets, jewelry, trophies and specialized signs.

The Roland Texart™ RT-640 dye-sublimation transfer printer can print high-quality images for transfer onto fabrics or hard goods including metal panels, wood, snowboards, and ceramic tiles.

Opportunities for Print Service Providers

Many artists, photographers, and designers now know they can earn income by licensing designs that print-service providers can output onto apparel, accessories, decorative art, tabletops, laminates, and fabrics.

Some entrepreneurial creative professionals are teaming up print-service providers to design and create their own branded lines of products for sale online or at art fairs.

According to Dorothy Krause, “Artists are becoming more and more aware of the advantages of flatbed printers, dye-sublimation printing, and contour cutting devices.” Printers that can use gloss, white, and metallic inks (such as Roland’s) are particularly versatile for creating interesting designs.

She believes artists and print-service providers can both benefit from working together to envision new and exciting ways to push the boundaries of what’s possible.

 

Canon Announces Game-Changing UVgel Print Technology

At SGIA Expo 2016, Canon U.S.A. previewed a new UVgel printing technology that they believe will be a game-changer for companies that print graphics on wide-format rolls of flexible media. According to Canon, UVgel will provide the large color gamut of solvent inks combined with the environmental benefits and safety profile of latex and UV inks.

UVgel is a radically new UV curable ink from Canon that instantly gels on contact with the media. This results in precise dot placement and area control for consistent high-quality images at high speed.

According to Canon, ultra-thin ink dispersion and a low ink-consumption rate can provide up to a 40 percent reduction in printing costs compared to eco-solvent and latex inks.

Canon plans to use UVgel technology in a new line of roll-to-roll large-format printers that can provide cost-effective, non-toxic, durable, colorfast, high-quality prints on flexible materials such as banner materials, display films, and canvas.

The first printer to use Canon UVgel technology will be a high productivity, 64 inch roll-to-roll printer. It is scheduled for release in the spring of 2017.

Advanced Hardware

The Canon UVgel technology platform incorporates several new hardware technology developments.

Advanced, next-generation piezoelectric printhead technology will employ patented acoustic sampling technology that monitors nozzle performance on-the-fly during printing.

A unique LED UV curing sub-system will operate completely independently from the printing system. By ensuring identical jetting-to-curing timing for every droplet, this sub-system will deliver unprecedented uniformity across the printed image.

The LED-based UV system cures the gel without adding heat to the media. This will enable UVgel systems to print on even on thin, heat-sensitive flexible media.

Continuous, on-the-fly, nozzle performance compensation will facilitate confident unattended printing and reduced print waste.

According to Toyotsugu Kuwamura, executive vice president and general manager, Business Imaging Solutions Group, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “This new technology will power an upcoming generation of roll-to-roll printers that will help our customers increase their print production efficiency while lowering their operating costs, enabling them to profitably grow their business.”

According to the Canon press release, the company’s significant investment in UVgel technology demonstrates Canon’s continued commitment to be a leader in digital graphics markets.

Canon also makes the Océ Arizona series of UV flatbed printers for rigid sheets.

 

Durst Brings New Capabilities for Tau 330 Label Press to Labelexpo America

At Labelexpo Americas 2016, Durst will introduce the increased capabilities of its portfolio of inkjet label presses. Durst’s market-leading Tau 330 inkjet label press will be integrated with near-line pre- and post-press finishing solutions in cooperation with OMET, the world’s leader in flexographic printing presses.

For the first time in the U.S., Durst will show the new, economical single-pass Tau 330 E UV Inkjet Label Press. It features high-pigmented UV inks for reduced ink consumption and is especially designed for small and medium-sized label converters.

Durst also will demonstrate its own production workflow software designed specifically for label print production providers.

Durst Tau 330

Durst’s Tau 330 platform is a UV inkjet label press with more than 100 installations worldwide.  It features a 330 mm (13 in.) print width, up to seven colors (CMYKOVW), and printing speeds of up to 48 linear meters/min. (169 ft./min.) with up to 1,260-dpi print resolutions.  Thanks to the seven color stations, the Tau 300 achieves close to 90 percent coverage of the Pantone™ color gamut.

In cooperation with OMET, the Tau 330 series presents unlimited material flexibility for a vast range of applications.  Its new near-line primer station provides increased material flexibility and cost-saving potential, and its flexible post-press finishing options complete near-line label production needs.

Durst Tau 330 label press with in-line Omet pre-print and finishing equipment.
Durst Tau 330 UV Inkjet Label Press with near-line Omet pre-print and finishing equipment.
Durst Tau 330 E

The Tau 330 E is a UV inkjet label press featuring print widths of 200 mm or 330 mm, four or five colors, a printing speed of up to 48 linear meters/min. (157 ft./min.), and a printing resolution of up to 1,260 dpi.

This system has been engineered with particular attention to equipment cost while maintaining the proven speed and printing quality of the flagship Tau 330 printing press.  Its newly designed, high-pigment UV inkjet inks provide a noticeable cost reduction. The result is a system with an unmatched Total Cost of Ownership for the print provider.

Durst Tau 330 E label press
Durst Tau 330 E UV Inkjet Label Press
Durst Workflow Label

Together with the Tau 330 platforms, Durst will introduce its completely new Durst Workflow-Label. This modular, expandable prepress software can handle a variety of processes, including: order entry; prepress; print-file management (RIP); color management; ink costing; and production data management.

Durst Workflow Label offers an optimized workflow with specialized functions such as:

  • automated knock-out of non-print areas for lower ink consumption;
  • high-access, browser-based interface for immediate job costing; and
  • easy-to-use high-speed variable data functionality.

 

About Labelexpo

Labelexpo Americas 2016 takes place Sept. 13-15 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. It attracts: printers and converters of labels, flexible packaging, and folding cartons; brand owners; and label and packaging designers.

Durst will be showing the products in Hall F, Booth 5901.

About Durst Phototechnik AG

Durst Phototechnik AG manufactures professional digital imaging systems for graphic communications, signage, retail display, labels and packaging, textiles, and industrial applications.  Durst Phototechnik AG as headquarters in Brixen Italty and operates manufacturing facilities in Brixen and Lienz, Austria.

Durst also has major offices in the U.S., France, United Kingdom, Germany, Scandinavia, Spain and Mexico, and partners with exclusive agents in 120 countries. Durst’s solid reputation for quality, precision, innovation and reliability spans more than 80 years. www.durst-online.com