Consac 2006 “Imagemakers” Trade Show

ImageConsac 2006, also subtitled "Imagemakers," trade show and conference was held Sept.15-16/06 in Toronto and was geared to address digital imaging, sign making and signage needs for the sign industry. I was interested to see where the trends in grand-format imaging are going. According to industry stats, the grand-format printing market has shown sizeable gains over the past two years. And, with increased end-user demands, grand-format systems are becoming even more affordable for even sign and graphics shops that once farmed out their oversized jobs. Here are some of the product high lights that impressed me at the show.

Mutoh (through it's dealers) was showing the new ValueJet 1204 48" eco-solvent printer at Consac. This ValueJet printer was cranking out great prints that are well suited for outdoors durable printing applications.

The ValueJet has 1440 total nozzles and variable dot technology to produce outdoor durable, photo quality images at resolutions of 360, 540, 720 and 1440 dpi. The ValueJet produced brilliant images using Mutoh's Eco-Ultra inks, available in 220 ml cartridges. The ValueJet incorporates a new and exclusive Mutoh printing technique (interweaving technology) that reduces banding typically associated with bi-directional inkjet printing. The ValueJet printer includes a starter set of Eco-Ultra ink, a Mutoh version of Amiable SE software, and a 1-year on-site warranty. The printer sells for around $15,499 Cdn.

Canon (though it's dealers) was showing the W8400 44" aqueous printer. Canon uses pigmented based inks to deliver great looking prints at 2400 x 1200 dpi resolution. The 24"x36" posters were coming out in 3.6 min at 1200×1200 dpi quality. The W8400 offers Canon's proprietary print head technology that enables high speed printing at 2400 x 1200 dpi with a precise four Pico liter ink droplets for high image resolution, clarity and detail. Canon's unique print head enables the W8400 to achieve print speeds up to 307 square feet per hour. The W8400 includes a wide array of software needed to easily create, process and print high quality output. Since this printer is aqueous based, there are no harmful vapors and can easily be used in any office environment. Canon press release also shows a 60" 12 color pigmented ink printer, which will be available at the end of this month. The W8400 (with a True Adobe postscript RIP and Ethernet card) sells on the street for around $7400 Cdn.

Gerber (though it's dealer) was showing the GERBER SOLARA UV2 large format, hybrid, ultraviolet (UV) inkjet printer. The SOLARA UV2 prints either roll-to-roll or as a flatbed and can accommodate a variety of materials up to 60" wide including rigid materials up to 1/2" thick (13 mm). With only a small conversion process of the included flatbed table, the SOLARA UV2 can be easily switched to accept different material types, enabling shops to run a full material portfolio. Evolving from our original SOLARA UV inkjet printer design, the SOLARA UV2 is ideal for shops wanting to print durable outdoor/indoor signs, point-of-purchase displays, banners, and backlit signage that is instantly dry and ready to cut and apply. The SOLARA UV2 sells for around $85,000.

Gandinnovations can never be missed at a show because of the size of its printers.  Gandinnovations had the Jeti 3318 in operation on the floor, which is able to print on up to 10.9 feet wide media. Based on the 12-head Jeti 3300, the new 4- or 6-color Jeti 3318 includes 18 Spectra print heads, features resolutions up to 600 dpi, and speeds up to 732 sq ft/hr. Other new technology includes a software upgrade that compensates for any individual nozzle misfiring. Also included is an automatic head-wiping feature, designed to eliminate the need to stop production and manually clean the heads, and a mesh blanket that works with the heating system to ensure media will not stick to the front of the printer. The Jeti 3318 is well suited to print on Reinforced Vinyl, Pressure Sensitive Vinyl, Canvas, Fabrics, Mesh and Paper. Price: $255,000 to $316,000.

For a small show (compared to SGIA) there was quite a selection of printers to choose from – Mutoh, Canon, Gerber, Gandinnovations, Roland, HP and Mimaki. Feel free to contact me with any further questions. 
Peter Dulis
Wide Format Printing Specialist