Print Shop Saves Hours of Labor Daily with EFI UV-LED Hybrid Wide-Format Printer

The owners of the AlphaGraphics® franchise in Portsmouth, New Hampshire have achieved some impressive results after investing in an EFI™ Pro 16h UV LED hybrid wide format printer.

AlphaGraphics Portsmouth provides marketing and printing services to clients in vertical markets such as food, medical manufacturing, real estate, government and education. They purchased EFI’s hybrid roll-to-roll/flatbed printer from EFI dealer Nazdar SourceOne® to grow its large-format graphics business in the post-COVID economy.

“We’re seeing growth as our customers recover from COVID,” said Carrier. “We couldn’t quite justify hiring an entire new team member, but the time and labor that the Pro 16h has saved us essentially equates to half of a person.”

“Our customer-facing folks have become more confident in committing to job fulfillment,” he added. “That’s a benefit you can’t necessarily measure, but you can feel it and it makes a real impact.”

Background

Co-owners Chris Carrier and Chris Oberg purchased the business in October 2019 and brought the AlphaGraphics franchise brand to the previously independent shop. To grow the business, they decided to invest in a hybrid large-format printer that could bring more efficiency and capabilities than the shop’s existing roll-to-roll printers offered.

AlphaGraphics Portsmouth co-owners Chris Oberg (left) and Chris Carrier

“We have a philosophy of continuous improvement when it comes to sales and operations,” said Oberg.

Working closely with their Nazdar sales contact, Carrier and Oberg researched the EFI printer and were impressed with its performance. With features to assure the lowest total cost of ownership, superior image quality, and the ability to handle a wide range of substrates, the Pro 16h printer promised the growth in possibilities that Carrier and Oberg were looking for.

“We try and push our customers toward creative thinking, but people equate creativity with higher costs,” said Oberg. “The Pro 16h gives us the ability to push creative boundaries at a lower cost.”

The availability of local service from the EFI display graphics operations located a short distance from AlphaGraphics Portsmouth – and valuable input and feedback from a network of other AlphaGraphics owners – helped convince Oberg and Carrier of their decision.

“We are active in our network of other AlphaGraphics owners who use a lot of different flatbeds,” said Carrier. “There was a large contingency of owners who were glad they went with EFI and said they would make the same choice if they had to go back.”

The duo is also able to bounce ideas off their AlphaGraphics colleagues who are experienced with the same printer and handle similar customer projects. “Having that additional network of support goes a long way,” Carrier said.

EFI Pro 16h Hybrid Roll-to-Roll/Flatbed Printer
The EFI Pro 16h UV-LED hybrid wide-format printer can print 4-color graphics on rigid substrates up to 65-in. wide and 2 in. thick and rolls of material up to 65 in. wide and 9 in. in diameter. The included white ink makes it possible to print 4-color graphics on clear or colored substrates.

Leveraging efficiencies and lowering TCO

Prior to installing the Pro 16h printer, printing rigid-substrate jobs was a multi-step process at AlphaGraphics Portsmouth. The process involved printing adhesive vinyl on a roll-to-roll printer and manually mounting the printed sheets to boards.

“Every rigid material job involved cutting, applying vinyl, rolling through twice, and trimming everything,” said Oberg. “That multistep process is no longer needed for a majority of our orders, simplifying around 90% of our orders.”

The Pro 16h printer’s powerful UV LED technology is capable of printing directly on a wide range of substrates that cannot withstand high heat required for curing or drying with traditional UV or latex printers.

AlphaGraphics Portsmouth’s new prin ter features an EFI Fiery® proServer Core digital front end with FAST RIP acceleration technology that helps get work prepped and printed faster than before. The team was familiar with Fiery, having used it on its cut-sheet digital printers. Training helped the team adapt quickly to the new hybrid large-format device. “After install and training our staff really took to it,” said Carrier. “They saw the efficiencies and elimination of extra steps.”

Four hours of labor savings daily

The shop has already started to benefit from higher throughput and more reliable production turnaround. Printing at resolutions up to 1,200 dots per inch, the EFI Pro16h prints at a production speed of up to 311 square feet per hour in four colors, It also includes a high-quality, highly opaque white ink that gives AlphaGraphics Portsmouth more options to produce vibrant, full-color work on projects printed on clear or colored substrates.

Between the printer’s technical capabilities and the shop’s new ability to print direct to substrate, AlphaGraphics Portsmouth has saved about four hours in labor every day and eliminated the need for reprinted jobs that resulted from human error.

For more information about EFI’s advanced technologies for digital printing, visit www.efi.com.

EFI VUTEk Q3r and Q5r Printers Combine Superb Quality with High Productivity

The EFI VUTEk Q series of superwide roll-to-roll printers were developed to deliver the highest image quality at the highest rated speeds in the industrial roll-to-roll printer market.

The EFI VUTEk Q3r and VUTEk Q5r printers can provide full-system solutions, from file submission to finished prints that are cut to size, rolled, taped, and marked for the designated display solution.

The EFI VUTEk Q5r print different graphics simultaneously on 3 rolls of 63-in. media.

The VUTEk Q3r can print up to 138 in. wide on one superwide roll of flexible material or on two side-by-side rolls of 63-in. wide media. It runs at speeds of up to 6,006 sq. ft. per hour.

The VUTEK Q5r can print up to 198 in. wide on one superwide roll. It can be loaded with 3 rolls of 63 in. media. It runs at speeds up to 7,233 sq. ft. per hour.

The printers can handle the wide range of flexible materials used in sign and display graphics, wallcoverings, window and floor graphics, vehicle wraps, and manufactured decor products such as luxury vinyl tile.

“We designed the EFI VUTEk Q3r and VUTEk Q5r to go beyond printing to provide a complete print-to-finished graphic workflow (from RIP to finished product) on the same platform,” said Ken Hanulec, EFI vice president, worldwide marketing. “This new printer series brings unprecedented speed to our portfolio and a host of valuable features and options that take profitable roll-to-roll production to a new, higher level.”

Below is more information about the inks, printhead technology, optional power tools, print management systems, color controls, and cloud connectivity. Together, these features help improve the efficient, accurate production of many different types of jobs with minimal waste.

Inks

Both printers use nine UV LED-curable inks.

  • The four standard colors include: cyan, magenta, yellow and black.
  • The five optional colors include: light cyan, light magenta, light black, white, and clear.

The configuration and type of inks you choose will depend on the type of applications you plan to do most often. For example, if you routinely print high-quality photos and graphics for museum exhibits and premium point-of-purchase displays, you will have different requirements than a shop that plans to print woodgrain patterns on the decor films used to make luxury vinyl tile.

Shops that create high-resolution photographic images will use the light magenta, light cyan, and light black inks to produce a wide range of colors with smooth transitions in the skin tones and greater detail in the shadows and highlight areas.

Companies that print on clear or translucent films for window graphics or backlit graphics will use a white ink to create a base layer for the color inks. And shops that want to produce wallcoverings and decor films with interesting textures will include a clear ink.

The clear ink either as flood coat to add protection to the print or surface. Or, the clear ink can be applied in layers to selected areas of the print to create textured or glossy highlight areas.

Graphic shops that will use VUTEk Q3r and Q5r machines to produce outdoor-durable vehicle wraps and fleet markings can choose 3M SuperFlex XF ink. Vehicle graphics produced with these inks and specific 3M wrapping films qualify for 3M’s Matched Component System warranty for vehicle-graphic performance.

The LED technology used to cure the inks on the surface of the substrate consumes less energy than other forms of UV ink curing. LED curing also improves control over the gloss and matte surface finishes, and expands the range of materials you can print to, including lower cost and specialty materials.

EFI UltraDrop Technology

Both printers use EFI’s UltraDrop technology with printheads that can deliver ink droplets as small as 7 picoliters and true resolution up to 1200 dpi.

The droplet size can be varied to produce high-definition image quality with smooth shadows and gradients and superb font quality even as small as three-point text.

Power Tools

EFI’s “power tool” options help improve overall throughput by removing the amount of manual processes involved in setting up, running the print job, or preparing the finished rolls of materials for delivery. Some of the optional Power Tools include:

X-Cutter: This tool cuts the prints to the desired length without the slowing down the printing.

Y-Slitter: This device cuts prints to the desired width, making it easy to produce multiple widths of prints on wide or superwide roll. This eliminates wasted media and includes collectors to hold the materials trimmed from the edges of the prints.

InSpec: This in-line print-quality monitoring system alerts the operator when print imperfections are spotted. The operator can take corrective action before imperfections on reproduced on multiple prints.

Roll & Tape: This automated device takes printed cut sheets directly from the printer, rolls them into scrolls, and tapes the edges with labels that include printed job information.

ID Backprint: This features enables you to print customer information on the backside of the printed media.

Automatic Backlit: This print control makes it possible to print each side of a media with a different print mode.

Super Duty Winder: This equipment is used for loading heavy media rolls.


Fiery proServer RIP Premium Digital Front End

Print jobs are set up and managed through a mobile operator touch screen connected to the Fiery ProServer Premium digital front end (DFE). This high-powered DFE combines Fiery XF software with EFI’s cutting-edge server hardware and Fiery FAST RIP for accelerated processing of the large file sizes associated with grand-format printing. In addition for tools for managing job layouts, print modes, and color quality, Fiery DFE Systems include options such as Fiery Spot Color, Fiery Color Profiler Suite, and Fiery Color Verifier.

Fiery Spot Color automates the process of matching spot colors and brand colors used on the many different substrates in advertising, promotional, and display graphics.

Fiery Color Profiler Suite is comprehensive toolset for creating custom color profiles for the precise and repeatable production of colors on both the monitor used to soft proof jobs and the printer and media you plan for use.

Fiery Color Verifier can measure, compare, verify, and correct the color values of prints. It can be used to enable remote proofing, matching prints to standards, or verifying that colors printed in one run are consistent with the colors produced earlier or on a different printer. The Fiery Color Verifier works with internal and external spectrophotometers

Cloud Connectivity

Operators of the EFI VUTEk Q3r and Q5r printers can use the mobile touchscreen stations to connect to new EFI IQ cloud-based applications. With EFI IQ applications, users can track ink and media usage for each job, and monitor job queues and production downtime.

Comments from Users

The world’s first VUTEk Q5r installation side was Yahav Digital Print, a large-format print production company in Israel that currently uses four EFI roll-to-roll printers.

“Our new VUTEk Q5f was installed in October 2020, and we have been running it in full production ever since,” said Zevik Nur, CEO of Yahav Digital Print. “It has exceeded our expectations in terms of reliability, production speeds, print quality, ink consumption, media utilization, and ease of use. We can shift a lot of jobs to the new Q5r and our customers are highly satisfied with our ability to shorten lead times and produce even higher quality prints at faster speeds.”

David Aloni, CEO of Xtreme dpi, said, “As part of our due diligence in selecting a new roll-to-roll printer, we ran the EFI VUTEk Q5r through its paces, including full production. It is the fastest printer in its class, achieving a record production speed. We found its print quality second to none, even for the most challenging files and media types.”

For more information about the VUTEk Q3r and Q5r printers and other superwide roll-to-roll printers from EFI, visit: https://www.efi.com/products/inkjet-printing-and-proofing/efi-superwide-roll-to-roll-printers/

EFI announced the VUTEk Q3r and Q5r printers at the EFI Engage virtual conference in January 2021.

Roland VersaUV LEC2 Models Are Versatile Print-Cut-Emboss Systems

Roland has introduced two VersaUV roll-to-roll wide-format inkjet printer/cutters that use 5 colors of LED-UV-curable inks plus a primer and gloss varnish. The multi-function devices give sign shops and design studios the ability to print, cut, and emboss premium graphics, decals, and displays or labels, and packaging on a single device.

The Roland VersaUV LEC2-640 is a 64-inch roll-to-roll wide-format inkjet printer/cutter that can print, cut, and embellish large-format indoor and outdoor signs, displays and decor with dimensional or textural effects.

The Roland VersaUV LEC2-330 is a 30-inch roll-to-roll wide-format inkjet printer/cutter that can produce labels and prototypes for flexible packaging and folding cartons. The LEC2-330 can be equipped with an optional TB-30 tension bar that enables direct printing on flexible packaging films as thin as 30 microns. An optional ET-30 Extension Table for the LEC2-330 makes it easy to print on a variety of paper stocks and aluminum metalized papers for folding carton packaging projects such as design comps, prototyping, and color-proofing.

Both models can print on actual press substrates. This increases the overall versatility of the devices and helps ensure realistic-looking package prototypes.

Roland VersaUV LEC2 printer/cutters
The Roland VersaUV LEC2-330 and Roland VersaUV LEC2-640 can be used to produce customer-pleasing, contour-cut output with eye-catching 3D effects and tactile surfaces.

“Our new, affordable easy-to-use LEC2-640 and LEC2-330 printer/cutters usher in a new era of UV production,” said Roland DGA UV Printing Product Manager Jay Roberts. “Whether you are looking to produce adhesive decals, labels, stickers, and signs or point-of-purchase displays, package prototypes, and interior decor, the LEC2 printer/cutters have you covered.”

Inks

Both printers use Roland’s new GREENGUARD Gold certified EUV5 inks that are formulated to deliver vivid color, outstanding detail, and tactile surface effects on a wide range of paper stocks, adhesive vinyls, and press substrates.

Available colors include Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, White, Clear, and Primer. The primer extends the range of materials that can be printed. The clear gloss can be applied in layers to add dimension to selected portions of an image.

The higher opacity level of the new EUV5 White ink makes the white ink even more effective when used as a base coat or when printing graphics on transparent film or dark papers.

Software

The LEC2 printer/cutters come with VersaWorks 6 RIP software. In addition to preparing efficient print layouts and optimizing print quality, the RIP software can automatically generate cut lines and apply layers of white or clear ink to the selected areas of the design.

Other Features

Both models come with TU4 take-up systems that rewind the printed graphics onto another roll.

Compared earlier models in Roland’s line of VersaUV printers, the Roland LEC2-640 and LEC2-330 include:

  • advanced printhead technology for precision dot placements and control
  • larger, more power LED curing lamps for higher print quality, improved color saturation and faster ink curing
  • optimized cleaning and maintenance sequences that help keep the printheads clean for superior graphic results and reliable, long-lasting performance
  • a True Rich Color II print setting that widens the color gamut and delivers vibrant colors with neutral grays, smooth gradations, and natural skin tones.

To learn more about Roland DG’s new VersaUV LEC2-640 and LEC2-330 UV printer/printer cutters, visit https://www.rolanddga.com/lec2.

About Roland DGA Corporation

Roland DGA Corporation serves North and South America as the marketing, sales, distribution, and service arm for Roland DG Corporation. Roland DG of Hamamatsu, Japan is a worldwide leader in wide-format inkjet printers for the sign, apparel, textile, personalization and vehicle graphics markets; engravers for awards, giftware and ADA signage; photo impact printers for direct part marking; and 3D printers and CNC milling machines for the dental CAD/CAM, rapid prototyping, part manufacturing and medical industries. 

For more information on Roland DGA Corporation or the complete Roland DGA product line, visit https://www.rolanddga.com.

Roland DGA announced the VersaUV LEC2 printers on January 21, 2021

Mimaki UJV100-160 Is Full-Featured 63-in. Roll-to-Roll UV-LED Printer

The Mimaki UJV100-160 printer is a full-featured, competitively priced 63-in. roll-to-roll wide format printer that uses 4, 5, or 6 colors of UV-LED curable ink plus white and clear inks. Users of this versatile wide-format inkjet printer can output high-value, instant-dry prints on a wide variety of materials, including banner materials, adhesive-backed vinyls, clear PET window films, translucent backlit films, inkjet fabrics, and plain paper.

The Mimaki UJV100-160 uses six colors of UV-LED inks plus white and clear inks.

The UJV100-160 holds 1000 ml refillable bottles of Mimaki LUS-170 UV LED inks in six colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, black, light cyan, and light magenta) plus clear and white inks.

The six colors, combined with the printhead’s ability to precisely place various sizes of droplets on the media, help produce detailed, high-contrast images with smooth gradients between the color tones.

White ink can be used to create a base layer for bright, accurate colors on clear and translucent backlit films and fabrics.

Clear ink can be applied as an overprint layer to add textures or a glossier finish to selected areas of the print. These types of embellished prints typically command higher margins.

The bulk ink system and hot swappable inks enable the printer to be used for continuous production. The operator doesn’t have to stop the printer in the middle of a print job when one of the colors of ink runs out.

Mimaki’s LUS 170-UV LED inks are flexible enough to use for vehicle graphics, stickers, and decals. The inks don’t crack when the material is flexed to adhere to a curved surface.

The inks are also UL Greenguard Gold Certified, which means the printed graphics don’t emit hazardous chemicals. Printed graphics can be safely posted on the floors, ceilings, walls, and windows of indoor environments, including schools and healthcare facilities.

Instant lamination and delivery. Vehicle wraps, fleet graphics, and other graphics that will be exposed to high levels of abrasion or harsh conditions typically are laminated. Whereas eco-solvent inkjet prints require extra time to outgas before being laminated, the instant-dry prints made with UV-LED inks can be laminated immediately. UV-LED lamps onboard the printer fully cure the inks before the print rolls off the printer. Because the inks don’t need to dry for several hours before lamination and delivery, the 247 sq. ft./hr. maximum throughput speed of the UJV100-160 shouldn’t be compared directly with the faster throughput speeds of eco-solvent inkjet printers.

Features

The printer and its software are engineered to make high-quality printing easy for newcomers to the wide-format graphics business. The UJV100-160 features many core technologies found in Mimaki’s high-end, wider UV-LED printers, as well as Mimaki’s new Dot Adjustment System.

Dot Adjustment System (DAS) offers automatic alignments to ensure repeatability and consistent quality of the fine lines and details expected in high-quality photographic imaging. The DAS frees operators from having to perform common adjustments themselves.

The Nozzle Check Unit (NCU) and Nozzle Recovery System (NRS) work together to monitor and correct the performance of the nozzles that eject the inks from the printhead. The NCU automatically detects the condition of each nozzle. When a missing nozzle is detected, it automatically performs a cleaning. If the nozzle still isn’t working, the NRS automatically replaces defective nozzles with alternate nozzles.

Mimaki Adavanced Pass System (MAPS) provides gradation to printed pass boundaries to reduce banding and uneven colors. The result is a streak-free, high-quality printed image.

Ink Circulation Technology improves printhead performance by keeping the pigments in certain inks from settling.

Raster Link 7 RIP Software converts PDFs and other design files into the dot sizes, colors, and patterns that the printer will lay down on each pass back and forth across the printer. The software is designed for quick and accurate processing of big files, including PDFs with special effects such as transparency. It can also print variable text or image data on each print. Variable-data printing is ideal for posters that will be personalized or customized with different languages or local images.

Like other RIP software, Raster Link enables you to create super-large tiled prints (such as multi-panel wall murals) or automatically “nest” a variety of smaller prints across the full width of media roll to reduce wasting media.

Variable-drop printing means the printer can change the size of the droplet being ejected during each print job. Ink drops as small as 4 picoliters can be used to create fine details and smooth tonal gradations. Larger drop sizes are used to speed the production of areas with solid colors.

The UJV100-160 is expected to ship in December, 2020 with a retail price of $16,995.

About Mimaki USA

Mimaki USA in Suwanee, Georgia is an operating entity of Mimaki Engineering In Japan. Mimaki engineers and manufactures digital sign and graphics printers and cutters, digital textile and apparel printing systems, 3D printers, and industrial printers. In 2019, Mimaki USA celebrated 20 years of service to print service providers in the Americas.

For more information, visit www.mimakiusa.com or on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram @MimakiUSA.

The Mimaki UJV100-160 UV-LED printer and the JV100-160 eco-solvent printer were both announced on November 4, 2020

Canon Colorado UVgel Wallpaper Factory Automates Custom Wallpaper Printing

To serve the growing demand for digitally printed wallcoverings, Canon Solutions America has introduced the Canon UVgel Wallpaper Factory. The integrated system combines a 64 in. Colorado wide-format roll-to-roll UVgel printer with a motorized Fotoba Jumbo Roll media loader and Fotoba cutter and rewinder.

The UVgel Wallpaper Factory was designed for automated, unattended end-to-end production of customized wallpaper. Designs set up in prepress are printed on paper that is automatically fed into the Colorado printer. The fully dry printed wallpaper is then cut and rewound in the roll widths and lengths specified by the customer. An embedded device tapes each roll for immediate packing and shipping.

A motorized Fotoba Jumbo Roll media loader (JRL170) automatically feeds media into the 64-in. Canon Colorado 1650 UVgel printer. The inline Fotoba Cutter XLD170WP cuts the prints to the desired widths and lengths and feeds them to a Fotoba Rewinder REW162 for rolling and taping.

Advantages of UVgel Inks

To produce seamless, room-size designs from multiple rolls of wallpaper, the inkjet printing process must be exceptionally precise, with dimensionally stable materials and color consistency from roll to roll. The images must be accurately positioned on the paper for proper alignment. Plus, the substrate can’t stretch during production or the printed image could be distored and out of alignment when installed. Mismatches in color from one roll to the next would be obvious when the printed panels were hung on the wall side by side.

Canon believes the flexible, odorless UVgel technology developed for their Colorado 1650 wide-format printing system provide an ideal solution for wallpaper production.

UVgel technology is a form of UV-LED printing that uses a gel-like ink that is heated inside the printheads and jetted as a liquid onto a temperature-controlled platen. When the liquefied inks contact the media on the low-heat platen, the drops return to their gel state and are partially cured (“pinned”) by a low dose of UV light from LED lamps. Full LED curing occurs after all of the droplets required to form an image swath have been applied and gelled onto the media.

By controlling the spread of ink dots on the media (e.g. “dot gain”), the Colorado UVgel ink technology supports brilliant color consistency from print to print. Companies that use multiple Colorado printers for high-volume wallpaper production can expect consistent colors even a specific design is output on different printers at on various days and times.

Wallpapers printed with the UVgel 460 inks in the Colorado 1650 printer are odorless and have been independently tested to generate very low levels of chemicals. The inks have met the GREENGUARD Gold standards for safe use in sensitive indoor environments such as healthcare facilities and schools. Wallpaper printed with UVgel inks also meet ASTM F793 Type II classification, which means it is fit for use in commercial environments that have the potential for higher-than-average scuffing (e.g. waiting rooms, classrooms, and hallways).

The UVgel 460 ink technology in the Colorado 1650 features a FLXfinish system that enables users to produce wallpaper with either a standard gloss surface or a velvety matte finish without changing from one roll of paper to another.

This scalable, modular system can help wallpaper companies and decor firms expand into custom-printed wallpaper. Or print-service providers can use this system to diversify into high-volume digital wallpaper manufacturing.

The UVgel Wallpaper Factory is available as an end-to-end solution or as an upgrade to existing Colorado 1640 and 1650 wide-format printers. For more information about the Canon Colorado printers visit www.csa.canon.com/portal/csa/products/large-format/colorado-uvgel-printers.

“The UVgel Wallpaper Factory is a highly automated workflow solution that enables our customers to print exceptional quality wallpaper with quicker turnaround times,” said Peter P. Kowalczuk, president, Canon Solutions America, Inc.

To receive additional information about the UVgel Wallpaper Factory, contact a Canon Solutions America, Inc. representative or send your request through our website: csa.canon.com/internet/portal/us/csa/contactus

The Canon UVgel Wallpaper Factory won a 2020 Product of the Year award from PRINTING United Alliance in the category of
Automation Equipment (Print/Post Print)

About Canon Solutions America

Canon Solutions America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Canon U.S.A., Inc. in Melville, New York. Canon Solutions America provides enterprise, production, and large-format printing solutions. They also and help companies of all sizes discover ways to improve sustainability, increase efficiency, and control costs in conjunction with high volume, continuous feed, digital and traditional printing, and document management operations. For more information, visit: https://csa.canon.com/

Canon Solutions American announced the UVgel Wallpaper Factory on May 14, 2020

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.