Large-format printers at Graph Expo 2010

Graph Expo just wrapped up in Chicago, and after walking around the show and speaking to customers, I’ve come to the conclusion that the need for print in the digital age is alive and well and innovating itself at a staggering rate. Customers were here in big numbers looking for new techniques and technologies that would continue to push the limits of what they can do with ink on paper, plastic, metal, wood, glass and many other substrates.

There were lots of new product announcements, but our focus was centered on the new large-format inkjet printers. Here are some of the exciting new developments from leading manufacturers.

Agfa Anapurna M 2050

This year’s Graph Expo saw Agfa targeting the wide-format market with the 6-colour and white flatbed/roll-to-roll printer, the Anapurna M 2050. With a 96-inch width, this new UV-curable printer benefits from white ink printing and the company’s latest M-series G2 inks, which are designed for applications on the latest rigid and roll materials that demand more flexibility. The Anapurna M 2050’s productivity is achieved with its eight printheads for a total of 8,192 nozzles, which makes it ideal for all types of applications up to a maximum size of 9.8 feet by 6.5 feet and a 1.7-inch thickness on rigid media. It is ideally suited for high-resolution trade show graphics, POS displays, real estate signs, backlit signs, lenticular displays, high-resolution banners, ceramic tiles, wood and many more flatbed applications.

Canon iPF815 and iPF825

Canon used the Graph Expo show to announce two new large-format printers, the 5-colour (44-inch) imagePROGRAF iPF815 and iPF825 printers. These aqueous-based printers feature high-speed colour production with job accounting features. Both the imagePROGRAF iPF815 and iPF825 large-format printers have been built for high-speed production of full-colour and monochrome output to meet the needs of the GIS; CAD; Architecture, Engineering, and Construction; Reprographics; and other general office poster printing markets. Both models are capable of producing 120 23.4-inch by 33.1-inch colour plots per hour. The new printers can also be paired with an optional in-line 44-inch, 300-sheet capacity plain paper stacker to neatly stack collated sets for unattended printing and easier distribution. Furthermore, the imagePROGRAF iPF825 comes equipped with two media rolls supporting multiple media types and long print runs, while the imagePROGRAF iPF815 includes one roll unit. Pricing is $7395 and $9595 CDN. MSRP respectively.

EFI Rastek T1000 and H652

EFI introduced two new entry-level production wide-format digital inkjet UV printers, the Rastek H652 UV hybrid and the Rastek T1000 UV flatbed, aimed at production print shops. The Rastek T1000 flatbed has a three-zone, 52-inch by 98-inch vacuum table with the versatility to quickly and easily handle materials up two inches thick, including difficult-to-handle substrates that require superior hold-down. With speeds up to 460 square feet per hour and grayscale print quality with resolution up to 1200 dpi, the T1000 is ideal for creating posters, point-of-purchase advertisements including lenticular, along with specialty industrial applications such as membrane switches and packaging applications. The T1000 offers white ink capabilities with no compromise in print speeds, with the ability to print in white at the same speed as CMYK.

Epson Pro 7890/9890

Epson announced the Epson Stylus Pro 7890 (24-inch) and 9890 (44-inch) for photographers and proofing professionals. These new printers combine 8-colour Epson UltraChrome K3 inks and Epson’s MicroPiezo TFP printhead to produce high-quality prints at speeds about twice as fast as their predecessors – the Epson Stylus Pro 7880 and 9880. Both models are available with an optional spectrophotometer. Epson also showed off the WT7900, a 24-inch aqueous-based white printing technology that was designed specifically for proofing flexographic and gravure print jobs that require the white.

Roland VersaUV

Roland was demonstrating its new series of VersaUV LED wide-format inkjet printer/cutters. The VersaUV’s ability to print on virtually any substrate, including clear media using white ink, simulate spot varnish, embossing and other textured effects, as well as cut complex shapes without setting up a die makes it the ideal printer for short-run labels and packaging prototypes. Offered in 54-inch and 30-inch models, the VersaUV’s low-heat LED lamps are compatible with substrates ranging from synthetic paper, polyester film and paper to vinyl, banner media, PET, leather, plastic, polycarbonates and paper boards. In addition to contour cutting, VersaUV perforates and creases graphics for a complete production solution all-in-one device.

With so many different types of printers to choose from, taking time to do your research is critical. Don’t hesitate to email me with any questions you many have.