May 2, 2011
The International Sign Association SignExpo (ISA) event is one of the biggest shows in the North American wide format digital printing market. There was a lot of news at the ISA showÂ last week. Going in, there were a handful of new printer announcements and improvements on existing wide format digital printer platforms that are noteworthy. InfoTrends identified theÂ top developments from ISA as we see them, in no particular order:
- HP introduced 2 new models of their Latex printers and reported that it has sold more than 5,000 Latex-based printersÂ to date. The new Latex printers use a new ink set to get improved water-fastness, deeper blacks and better gloss characteristics.
- Roland introduced a sub$75K 64-inch wideÂ format UV-curable inkjet printer. This new printer, theÂ LEJ-640, prints CMYK, white and clear onÂ a wide range ofÂ substrates from roll media toÂ board stocks.
- Seiko I Infotech introduced two new light solvent inkjet printers at 54-inches and 64-inches wide that are free from hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), positioning these new printers right up against HP Latex and Seiko EpsonÂ GS6000 printers.
- Oce introduced new improved versions of its popular Arizona series called the Arizona 360XT and 360GT. The biggest changes are a new low-power cure technology andÂ two new print modes for greater speed and higher resolution.
- EFI made a lot of news at ISA as it announced a new JDF-based automated workflow for wide format printers and introduced new hardware too.Â For its workflow introduction,Â EFI is integrating the capabilities of its Digital StoreFront Web-to-Print solution,Â Monarch or Pace MIS software,Â Fiery XF RIP product and new wide format printer hardware to create an end-to-end wide format production workflow.Â EFI also introduced the firstÂ wide format printer model to take advantage of this end-to-end workflow, the EFI VUTEk GS3250LX, which features a new “cool cure” technology that enables printing on a wider range of media and lower operating costs. EFI also did a technology demonstration ofÂ someÂ new low-end Rastek printers that will get formally introduced probably later this year.
- Mimaki launchedÂ its new wide format eco-solvent printers, the JV34-260Â printersÂ at ISA. The JV34-260 is a 2.6 meter wideÂ printer utilizing the newest generation of Seiko Epson print heads.
- DGI launched a new wide format UV-curableÂ and a new dye-sublimation printer at ISA, illustrating the company’s move into alternative ink technologies for the global wide format market.
- Meital, previously seen only in Euope, was at ISA with its highly configurable 304D printer. This is a new 4-color UV-curable printer powered by the Xaar 1001 print head.
- Agfa introduced the Anapurna 1600M, a 1.6 meter wide addition to its Anapurna line. Agfa also announced that it has improved its Jeti 3020 Titan flatbed by adding a “FTR Flat-to-Roll” option.
- Onyx Graphics announced that it is addressing two important market demands for automation and color management. Onyx declared that it is the first RIP manufacturer to support JDF in wide format and that it has developed a G7 color management support tool.
The trend towards UV-curable inkjet continues in the wide format digital printing market.Â Within that segment there is a clear trend towards low-power consumption curing technologies that lower operating costs and enable printing onto a wider range of substrates, such as polypropylene, that UV-curable seems to have struggled with using high heat curing methods.
InfoTrends is preparing a more robust ISA Show Review document that should be published this week,Â but for now, the list above is a good representation of some of the biggest news from ISA.
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