Although the concept behind the original :M-Press's with in-line screen-printing and high end digital capabilities has made it a firm favourite amongst print houses throughout the world, Agfa Graphics has acknowledged that many users want only the benefits obtained from its high quality digital technology. As a result, the company has used the same advanced components and construction found in today's :M-Press Tiger and adapted these into a new dedicated wide-format inkjet platform called the :M-Press Leopard.
Thus, the newly introduced :M-Press Leopard is designed to target the mid-sized print service provider whose output requirements sit in the bracket of 200,000 to 500,000 sqm of print per year. This productivity strategy is also based on reliability, on extremely high print quality and, although the printer doesn't incorporate a screen-printing facility, on its feeding and unloading table produced using Thieme's existing technology.
The design of the :M-Press Leopard is based on a manual loading and offloading concept. This functionality is designed to accommodate changing job types and double-sided output which cannot be handled practically with a fully or partially automated system.
A solidly designed and constructed platform, the Agfa :M-Press Leopard produces accurate registration at sizes as small as A3, thanks to the 29 lay-on pins which align the material precisely. The design of the powerful vacuum bed makes loading and offloading fast and foolproof, with quick swapping of media and efficient and accurate recto to verso (front-to-back) turning for double-sided prints.
The design of the vacuum bed includes 55 separate zones for optimum hold-down on different sizes of sheet. Lighter media is aligned using the front pins whilst, to maintain optimum stability, a series of rear lay pins is used to hold heavier substrates firmly in place.
Agfa's advanced shuttle design is incorporated into the :M-Press Leopard and this utilises its established UPH 2 (Universal Print Head) technology that incorporates greyscale variable droplet technology which results in fewer passes being required to achieve the required quality. Its drop sizes range from 10 picolitre through to a maximum of 26 picolitres.
Using Agfa's Wave Form and ink optimisation capabilities, the volume of the base sub-droplet is controlled to generate the finest and most accurate output. This feature negates the requirement for additional colours beyond CMYK, thus reducing overall ink costs, and smooth highlights, sharp text and vivid solid colours can be produced without noise or grain.
The Agfa :M-Press Leopard benefits from its :Apogee workflow which includes all necessary functions so essential to the colour accurate consistency required for wide-format applications, such as for high end retail advertising and point-of-sale. This workflow software also simplifies pre-press time; it is configured for true JDF connectivity, with the advantage of sophisticated and effective variable data printing and versioning (:Apogee Vibe) bringing much needed versatile customisation into today's jobs.
With a maximum print size of 1.6m x 2.6m, the Agfa :M-Press Leopard is geared for fast job change-over and extremely high output quality, suitable for even the closest viewing. It can work with flexible and rigid materials up to 5cm in thickness, and its low ink consumption and versatility are designed to challenge both offset and screen-printing in terms of running costs and print standards.
Maximum print speeds for the Agfa :M-Press Leopard are 483 m2/hour and, even in photographic quality mode, the machine achieves 283 m2/hour. This versatile printer is driven by the criteria needed to produce finished prints in the optimum time, not being compromised by the need for fast job change-over or the swapping of materials from one type to another.