Many have called drupa 2012 the "inkjet drupa" or the "integration drupa" and wide-format technology is even more obvious this year than the 2008 trade fair. There were multiple companies showing an ever-increasing portfolio of technology—some current models and some brand new. While this will not be the "end-all, be-all" overview of drupa 2012, it will highlight some of the newest technology in this market segment that was on the showfloor—and of increasing importance in the graphic arts and visual communications markets.
Mimaki Engineering Co.'s JFX500-2131 is a next-generation high-speed UV-LED flatbed inkjet printer. Equipped with newly developed printheads, the JFX500-2131 offers output up to 60 sqm/hr in four-color mode, and up to 50 sqm/hr with white ink. It can also print text down to 2pt characters. The flatbed – 2,100mm x 3,100mm – enables direct printing on a wide range of materials up to a 100mm high. Meanwhile the UV-LED curing unit ensures significantly improved curing-efficiency – high-speed printing is now possible without leaving uncured ink behind. Alignment accuracy is everything with flatbed printers. However, adjusting by millimetres can prove challenging. This is where the Easy Direct Print System comes in – it uses a dedicated camera and software (a plug-in for Raster Link 6) to read and automatically adjust the misalignment. And because printing data is automatically adjusted against the set jig, accurate print results are achieved even if the setting was roughly implemented.
At drupa 2012, Ricoh demonstrated a prototype of the future of large format inkjet technology for the graphic arts market. The Ricoh Pro L4000 series features the next-generation of Ricoh’s piezo-electric print heads with durable latex ink in seven colors; CMYK, light cyan, light magenta and white. It will be available in North America and Europe in the first quarter of 2013.
The aqueous nature of the latex ink means that is has a low environmental impact, while the introduction of a white ink means that print buyers can optimize color vividness on transparent or colored materials. Print clients will benefit from brilliant color on all substrates when ordering signage, branded materials and marketing collateral. The print service provider can fulfill client needs quickly and efficiently – avoiding time consuming steps such as foils or cut-outs — to produce highly vibrant and crisp whites. Productivity is further enhanced with an output speed of up to 18.1 sqm/hr.
Peter Williams, Executive Vice President Ricoh Europe and Head of Ricoh’s Production Printing Business Group said, “The Ricoh Group has been at the forefront of inkjet technology research and development for many years and now the time is now right to launch an extremely competitive large format inkjet printer range for the graphic arts market. As the benefits of digital printing technology continue to be realised through its ability to deliver shorter print runs, on demand, with faster turnaround times — the application demands from print buyers are also
Making its worldwide debut at drupa is EFI's VUTEk HS100 Pro, a high-speed digital UV press with productivity and image quality that will appeal to screen printers and the commercial sector wanting a cost-effective digital platform to produce longer sheet runs at a low total cost of ownership. EFI's Pin & Cure imaging technology, driven by the Orion OS platform, delivers precise ink lay-down for critical color accuracy and consistency, gloss control and a increased color gamut. With throughput speeds at rates of up to 100 boards per hour and up to 50 boards per hour in POP mode, the VUTEk HS100 Pro comes with true greyscale print head technology and up to eight colors, including white and specials, for maximum ink yield and a low cost per print over analog.