Suppliers Up the Ante at FESPA

Tim Greene and Ron Gilboa
Jun 27, 2013

Yesterday we went through some of the highlights from the first day of the FESPA event at the Excel Center here in London. Over the past couple of days we’ve gotten a flurry of other announcements and other new printer information that we’ll be adding to our new Ultimate Guide to Wide Format. Some of the major announcements are highlighted quickly below:

At its FESPA briefing Agfa declared its intentions to grow its share of the global wide format UV-curable market to 20% by 2015. Under the tagline, “Reliable output for predictable income” Agfa introduced a series of new products and technologies that it hopes will fuel that market share growth. These included expansion of existing product lines, a new textile printer and integration to Agfa Asanti workflow.

Asanti is an automated workflow solution based on Apogee technology. Asanti is designed for entry-level and mid-sized production companies looking to streamline their productivity, integrate color consistency and fidelity into an end-to-end quality management solution. Asanti StoreFront is a web-to-print system based on cloud computing technology that enables online shopping aimed at helping users grow their businesses. It handles incoming orders and their status via a dashboard, and is integrated into the workflow component of Asanti.

The Anapurna M3200RTR is a 3.2m wide roll-to-roll UV-curable system ideal for users wanting to print onto a variety of flexible premium and lower cost materials. The printer uses six Konica Minolta KM1024i 12 pcl heads that produce quality output with text fidelity as small as 6 points. The system has a 720 x 1440 dpi resolution and a rated speed of more than 50 m2/hr.

The New Anapurna M3200RTR

Ardeco 3308 and 3312, are two new dye sub printers aimed at the soft signage market. These fully-integrated digital textile solutions are designed for volume production of all soft signage output including backlit displays, flags and general displays that benefit from being printed onto polyester based fabrics up to a maximum print width of 3.2m. The Ardeco systems, the 3308 and 3312, sport Ricoh GEN4 8 or 12 print heads respectively that enable max productivity of up to 137 m2 /h at 7 pcl and 600×600 dpi. The system has integrated calendaring feature and a 3.3. meter heat lamp that ensure proper adhesion of image to the textile.

Canon made major announcements at FESPA including the new Arizona 6oo series and the new ColorWave 900.

The Canon Arizona 600-series

The Arizona 600 series comes in four configurations;

  • Océ Arizona 640 GT: four independent ink channels, CMYK printing, standard table size
  • Océ Arizona 640 XT: four independent ink channels, CMYK printing, extra-large table size
  • Océ Arizona 660 GT: six independent ink channels, multiple print configurations, standard table size
  • Océ Arizona 660 XT: six independent ink channels, multiple print configurations, extra-large table size

Canon reports that it has sold more than 3,000 wide format UV-curable inkjet printers, and the new Arizona series build on that success with more colors and more print modes that improve both image quality and productivity.

Another new product on the Canon booth is the ColorWave 900. The ColorWave 900 is the Memjet-powered high-speed single-pass aqueous inkjet printer that had been known as Velocity. The people in the Canon booth were quoting a rated speed of over 1,000 sq. meters per hour and a running cost of less than 1Euro per sq. meter.

One of the largest booths at FESPA is held by Durst. Durst’s strategy at FESPA is to demonstrate their products by building their booth around the output their products produce. They focused on graphics applications as well as industrial applications that can all benefit from inkjet printing including display signage, textiles, packaging, and functional printing. At their press conference Durst emphasized their total solution approach and enabling their users to achieve FOGRA certification that is built into their production management software. Below is a short description of the new Durst products which we will cover in details in our post FESPA analysis;

On the display graphics side Durst introduced the Durst RHO512R, a 5-meter wide roll-to-roll UV printer with 900 dpi Variodrop technology, drop size of 12 picoliter and a speed of up to 350 m² per hour., and the new Rho P10 160UV inkjet flatbed printer, an entry-level hybrid model for rigid and roll material up to 1.6 meter wide and producing 68 m2/h at 1000 dpi.

Of course the Durst booth also had the latest in the Rho 1000 series, the Rho 1012 and the Rho 1030 printers as well. The Rho 1012 is the first 12 pcl flatbed printer enabled by Durst’s Quadro Array 12M print heads. With 1000 DPI print quality and 490 m² per hour speed, the 1012 offers offset-like quality and print volume suitable for backlit and close up viewing of POP displays. The Rho 1030 is a 30 pcl 1000 m² per hour using Durst’s Quadro Array 30M print head technology. This printing speed, full automation with auto loading and unloading tables makes it suited for inline incorporation with a production line.

Durst also introduced the Durst Rhotex 322 textile printer. The Rhotex 322 is capable of printing up to 140 m² per hour, which is twice as fast as the Rhotex 320, and up to 1200 dpi resolution in 6 colors. The Rhotex 322 has a drop size of 7 – 21 pcl, Durst Quadro Array and level 3 greyscale. This system is targeted at applications such as home, wall coverings, domestic textiles, interior design, as well as fashion applications.

Durst also introduced new engines designed for custom industrial applications such as screen and pad printing applications including membrane switches, instrument panels, dashboards, cover plates (e.g. for washing machines) and small items typical of pad printing applications. The system can use up to 8 ink channels (CMYK, light colors, process color additions (PCA) such as orange and violet or orange and green for extended color gamut, white or varnish). The Rho IP is available in two versions; The Rho IP 203 has a table size of DIN A4 Format (210×297 mm) and is perfectly suitable for the production of scale dials and the Rho IP 507 has a table size of 500 x 700 mm and is suitable for the membrane switch production.This is an example of what’s to come in Functional and Industrial applications that are covered by the InfoTrends Functional & Industrial Printing Service.

The Durst IP 203

EFI had a press conference at FESPA where it detailed its progress. One of the interesting facts that EFI’s Guy Gecht identified was that inkjet products now represent more than half of the company’s revenue. EFI has continued to grow on a worldwide basis, even, according to Gecht, in Europe where the markets have been largely stagnant. EFI also continues to connect a lot of its software and workflow expertise into the signage and graphics business as it has in other markets. From a hardware standpoint, at its booth EFI was featuring the HS100Pro, which was on display for the first time in the UK at FESPA. The rated speed of the HS100 is 70-100 boards per hour with LED curing which enables greater substrate variety and has a positive impact on print volume of up to 50% based on the responses of the beta users.

At its FESPA booth InkTec was demonstrating the new KX5 and KX5-R, and KX7 and KX7-R flatbed printers. These new mid-range UV-curable inkjet printers are 2.2M wide flatbed (KX5, KX7) and roll-fed (KX5-R, KX7-R), 5-color (CMYKW) and are built around Konica-Minolta 1024 print heads. The KX5 has a rated speed of 30 sq. meters per hour while the double-head KX7 units will have a rated speed of 60 sq. meters per hour. Inktec is still selling the Jetrix models and had announced at ISA earlier this year that it had signed Seiko as its dealer in North America.

Another very interesting development in the UV market was the launch of the Screen Truepress Jet W3200. This is a 3.2 meter wide UV curable printer that uses Fujifilm Dimatix print heads with a 14 picoliter drop size. Screen reported that the Truepress Jet W3200 was a joint development between Screen and its subsidiary Inca Digital. The Truepress Jet W3200 is a 6-color plus white printer that has a rated speed of 84 sq. meters per hour and is expected to be available in Q4 2013. Initial reports are that the Truepress Jet W3200 will be priced around 300,000 Euro or about $390,000USD.

There is a lot more news and information coming from FESPA, Ron and I look forward to reporting more over the last two days of the show.

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