GRAPH EXPO is North America’s largest print-centric tradeshow and was held in Chicago last month. Visitors had a chance to check out the latest developments in the graphic arts industry and see them in action side by side. Here are some of the emerging trends as highlighted by the MUST SEE ’EMS awards in the area of large format printing. Exhibitors were invited to submit their newest products for consideration by the MUST SEE ’EMS selection committee. This group of industry experts evaluates and rates each entry, with the top vote-getters earning recognition as a “must see” product in one of eleven categories. From this pool of winners, the highest scoring product in each category is awarded Best of Category status. The MUST SEE ’EMS provide valuable guidance to customers considering the purchase of new equipment or software.
There were four winners in the area of “Pressroom Wide Format Printers”. The Best of Category went to Canon U.S.A. for their Océ Arizona 6100 and to EFI for their VUTEk GS2000LX Pro with UltraDrop Technology, the EFI H1625 LED Printer and the EFI VUTEk HS100 Pro UV inkjet press Material Edge Guide (MEG) system. Lets look briefly at the technologies highlighted by these manufacturers.
Canon Océ Arizona 6100 UV Curable printer
In this year’s booth Canon demonstrated how their solutions help enable creativity without boundaries and inspire innovation. The booth was designed to inspire conversations about the industry’s direction, challenges and opportunities. Among the new LF inkjet solutions was included the Canon Océ Arizona 6100. The Arizona 6100 is designed specifically for higher volume sign and display print service providers. Comprised of the six-colour Océ Arizona 6160 XTS and the seven-colour Océ Arizona 6170 XTS UV flatbed printers, this series comes equipped with the award-winning Océ VariaDot printing technology to offer “near photographic” print quality. These devices feature new productivity enhancements including pneumatic registration pins and automated printhead maintenance and can produce inkjet print output of speeds up to 1,668 square feet per hour.
EFI VUTEk GS2000LX Pro with UltraDrop Technology
The EFI booth featured a whole new level of innovations targeted at helping their customers be more competitive, efficient and profitable. EFI VUTEk GS2000LX Pro printer is a two-metre, hybrid flatbed/roll-fed printer which offers superb image quality and continuous print for faster job turns. The printer has eight colours plus white ink and prints up to 2,000 sq. ft. per hour. It boasts lower production costs, promoting a greener working environment and enabling users to extend their application opportunities to a wider range of materials. EFI’s new UltraDrop Technology combines 7-picoliter drop sizes with grayscale imaging and more precise control. It provides true multi-drop addressability in each dot position, giving high apparent resolution and high-definition quality with four-level grayscale and two ink density levels. UltraDrop Technology also produces outstanding smoothness in shadows, gradients and transitions, as well as superb text quality with four-point text with fewer satellites and more clarity in all print modes.
EFI H1625 LED Printer
The EFI H1625 LED is a mid-level production printer designed to maximize both image quality (with four colour plus white and grayscale print capability), and uptime (with simple, automated operational and maintenance features). EFI was touting this LED technology to have lower running costs and the ability to print on high-value, rigid or flexible specialty substrates. The features include: near photographic image quality, saturated colours and smooth colour gradations with true 8-level variable drop grayscale print capability, decreased power consumption, and fewer consumable parts, offering customers a greener printing solution.
VUTEk HS100 Pro UV inkjet press Material Edge Guide (MEG) system
The new, high-volume inkjet press provides near-offset-quality that represents a true alternative to analog equipment. It prints on a broad range of substrates, from vinyl banner and billboard material to a variety of rigid media. A new material edge guide (MEG) system from EFI installed with the press ensures full-speed productivity and high-quality results on challenging media, such as corrugated board. It features: 3.2 metre hybrid digital UV press that handles more than 100 boards per hour; up to 60 boards per hour in Point-Of-Purchase mode (600 dpi binary print mode); it runs multiple jobs at once with multi-queue, eliminating the need to rip larger layout file; it is integration-ready to EFI Web-to-Print and MIS/ERP solutions via native JDF connectivity to optimize production efficiencies and profit potential.