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By DO Staff


Part 2 of 4


The 2009, 2010, and, now, 2011 Digital Output State of the Industry reports highlight an industry altered by changing players, consolidation, and new innovation.


Many companies decided to invest in research and development rather than stay stagnant during difficult economic times. They are now poised to sell hardware and other equipment to an evolving group of print providers. Here are some of the most significant releases, upgrades, and new products of the last 12 months.


3M Commercial Graphics’ new 3M Scotchprint Wrap Film Series 1080 is designed for wrapping and decorating a vehicle with a high-end, personalized look straight out of the box, with no printing needed. The long-term, removable, dual cast film comes in a variety of finishes, textures, and colors including matte, carbon fiber, brushed metal, and gloss. The film’s pressure-activated adhesive allows it to slide and be repositioned until firm pressure is applied. It features air release channels for virtually bubble-free installations. Another release is 3M Scotchcal Gloss Overlaminate 8528, a two-mil cast vinyl overlaminate designed to protect wraps from the effects of UV light and acid dew while maintaining glossiness. The overlaminate is compatible with solvent, latex, and UV inkjet inks.


Agfa Graphics’ :Anapurna M1600 is a 63-inch UV-curable high-production inkjet printer with standard white ink capability. The device is a good option for entry level, mid-size graphic screenprinters, digital printers, and sign shops that print on rigid substrates such as mirrors and wood in addition to roll-to-roll applications like banners. Agfa also offers upgrades to the inkjet systems in the :Jeti and :Anapurna product lines to answer customer demands. For instance, the field upgradeable :Jeti 3020 Titan now offers flat-to-roll capability and productivity expansion to mirror a shop’s growth. In addition, the latest version of the :Apogee 7 Workflow Suite includes applications for iPad and iPhone.


Arlon Graphics, LLC is adding a new production capacity in its current plant to accommodate increased demand. Among its products are the new Arlon DPF 6700 two-mil premium cast wall wrap film and DPF 50WD four-mil clear and white window decoration film. DPF 6700 is ideal for long-term wall graphics, second surface applications, and hard-to-stick surfaces. DPF 50WD is a low tack, clean removal window film targeted for retail, point of purchase (POP), and indoor markets.


Aurora Specialty Textiles Group, Inc. launched a line of pre-treatment fabrics the company calls SP. The SP treatment leaves the fabric with a soft hand and flexible feel and helps to control dot gain and line definition. This quality is especially useful when printing directly with latex or solvent inks. More styles are set to join the Act II SP, Twill SP, and Linen SP.


Celebrating 75 years in imaging, Durst Image Technology US LLC recognizes a trend around the use of fabric printing and lightweight, soft signage in retail environments, and now offers the Durst Rhotex 320 printer. “Fabric is becoming a large portion of the retail mix. We saw a need with our customers in a three-meter space with fabric and a printer that is highly productive and efficient,” explains Chris Howard, SVP, sales and marketing, Durst. The 10.5-foot Rhotex 320 utilizes water-based dye inks and onboard hot air dryers on a printing platform with Quadro Array 30D AQ printheads. The six-color printer delivers POP-quality output at up to 775 square feet per hour (sf/h). Durst’s new Durst Rho 1000L continuous UV inkjet printer, exhibited at FESPA 2011, is designed for print providers who want the versatility and functionality of Durst’s flagship Rho 1000 hybrid printer but don’t currently require its high-production output capabilities. The Rho 1000L features a printing speed of up to 4,090 sf/h in optimum quality. It also supports the latest PDF/VT file format that offers a combination of graphic design features with variable data printing (VDP). It is field upgradeable as workload grows, with print speed increased by up to 30 percent; additional colors including white, orange, and violet; upgrades for the transport of corrugated board materials and roll material.


EFI offers a technology portfolio that touches the full spectrum of end users, from entry level through high production. The Rastek line is geared toward those who are not yet at production capacity but hope to grow to it. Rastek price points range from $80,000 to $150,000. The new 3.2-meter roll-to-roll Rastek printer introduces the benefits of UV in the low to mid $100,000 range. A hybrid Rastek H652 also launched this year. LED is a notable element to EFI’s new VUTEk GS3250LX UV-curable inkjet printer. The new GS uses cold cure LED technology and is engineered to lower the total cost of ownership over the lifetime of the printer. It produces virtually no volatile organic compounds, uses less consumables, features low energy consumption, and prints on thin and even recycled materials without warping or printhead strikes. The printer dispels the idea that LED is only appropriate on slower, lower production situations. The technology utilizes the ink platform used in EFI’s Jetrion line.


EskoArtwork invested more into its software to streamline a PSP’s tasks. “Labor is a large contributor to PSP costs, and the right automated software for file preparation, nesting, and error corrections, allow the labor do other things in the shop. One person can nearly do the work of two with the right automation,” points out Steve Bennett, VP, sign and display business, EskoArtwork. EskoArtwork’s i-cut suite costs between $3,000 and $12,000 depending on functionality.


Fisher Textiles, Inc. found success in developing fabrics that address new technologies, such as the Hewlett-Packard (HP) Latex ink system. Fisher is one of the newest members of the HP Registered Latex Media Developer Program and eight of the company’s fabrics are already approved. Two of Fisher’s most significant releases in the past year are GF 8874 Tri Poplin and GF 9049 EZ Stretch. Both 122-inch fabrics are compatible with dye-sublimation, UV, and latex printing. GF 8874 Tri Poplin (FR) is a 7.5-ounce, three layer, woven used for light boxes and block out liner. It is flame retardant and passes NFPA 701 and California Administrative Code Title 19. GF 9049 is an 8.2-ounce knit that is 100 percent polyester and wrinkle free. The fabric stretches 20 to 25 percent in both directions. Applications include geometric displays, photographic backdrops, and trade show exhibits. GF 9049 is flame retardant and passes the NFPA 701 test.


Fujifilm North America Corporation recently released the Inca Onset S40, an automated UV digital flatbed. It prints at throughput speeds of 94 full bed 63x123.6-inch sheets per hour and onto substrates up to two inches thick. In addition to CMYK, the S40 offers an optional six-color configuration with light cyan and light magenta. It also features the ability to vary the gloss levels on each job. Fujifilm works closely with a number of customers to achieve G7 certification and systems to measure and monitor color across multiple print platforms.


At FESPA in mid 2010, HP announced the HP Scitex FB700 UV-curable, 98-inch, flatbed printer. Here was also the company’s first public demonstration of its expanded HP Latex Printing portfolio, which is designed for producing a wide range of outdoor and indoor applications with water-based inks. Almost a year later at ISA International Sign Expo 2011, HP added to the latex offerings with the introduction of two 126-inch latex ink printers—the Scitex LX850 and LX820—and HP LX610 Latex Scitex Inks. The new inks feature improved water resistance on fabric and produce rich blacks and glossy results on banners and self-adhesive vinyl. In substrates, HP’s PVC-free Wall Paper is now made with FSC-certified paper from well-managed forests. It is GREENGUARD Children & Schools Certified, allowing customers to offer bold, colorful indoor murals without distracting odors.


This year INX Digital International Co. took its EVOLVE Advanced Digital Solutions CP100 UV digital can printer beyond the prototype. Designed for short-run cylindrical printing and packaging work, the CP100 is a specialty printer that produces items such as aluminum cans and water bottles in minutes. INX Digital also invested in research and development on the ink side. New ink offerings include Triangle EDX inks, the Eco Bulk ink delivery system, and two new metal decorating inks. The EDX inks are a fast drying, low odor line of eco-solvent products designed for Roland DGA Corporation printers with Epson DX4 printhead technology


MACtac Graphic Products is focused on creating value for customers by creating new market segments through product development. The company was the first to market a thin laminate for conformable 3D wraps—PERMACOLOR RAYZor; first with an intermediate overlaminate designed to work with UV inks—PERMACOLOR ColorGard; and first with proprietary bubble-free window films that applicators can apply dry. Another first is a unique, wide format, digital print media optimized for UV flatbed printers, called REBEL. 


Mimaki USA, Inc. foresaw the saturation of wide format printers in the sign and graphic market and responded with textile industrial and specialty application innovations. Mostly recently, the UJF-3042 11x16-inch cool UV LED flatbed printer is a $36,995 machine designed to address the needs of the awards, promotional, and specialty markets as well as more industrial applications such as membrane switches, nameplates, and graphic overlays. The ink used is particularly important due to the requirements of adhesion solutions to a variety of plastics, wood, glass, and metals.


Mutoh America, Inc. has two new additions to the ValueJet lineup, the ValueJet 1324 54-inch and the ValueJet 1624 64-inch inkjet printers. The printers replace the previous ValueJet 1304 and ValueJet 1614 models. Both are equipped with Mutoh’s Spectrovue-VM10 color measurement tool. The ValueJet 1324 printer includes a new printhead, improved print speeds of up to 300 sf/h, and an added service door for maintenance accessibility. The ValueJet 1624 printer features a new printhead, print speeds up to 313 sf/h, and a moveable ink cartridge holder that accommodates both 220 and 440 milliliter cartridges. Mutoh also offers new MP Ink, made up of 60 percent bio-based material, and containing no hazardous air pollutants or heavy metals. It is made to enhance the output of Mutoh’s ValueJet 1608HS-Hybrid.


Two new products significant to Neschen Americas’ customer base this year are the SEAL 54 EL laminator and VariTex. The 54 EL is an entry level cold laminator launched primarily for the sign market. The laminator is made in the U.S. and designed for shops new to finishing. VariTex is a unique textile print media used for soft signage, table drapes, and banner stand display graphics. According to the company it has the softest, most substantial hand of any textile in the market. The product is compatible with a variety of inks including latex, UV, and water-based pigment.  


Océ North America, a Canon U.S.A. Group company, announced the new Océ Arizona 360 GT and 360 XT UV flatbed printers. The printers feature enhancements over previous models to increase productivity and application versatility and open doors to technical and industrial applications. The Océ Arizona 360 GT model features the standard table size of 49x98.4 inches while the Océ Arizona 360 XT model features an extra large table size of 98.4x120 inches. Both offer an Express Mode print speed of up to 377 sf/h. A new High Definition print mode delivers fine feature reproduction including the ability to print text as small as two-point size. The new models include a UV curing system designed by Océ to provide more UV energy to support difficult-to-cure media while reducing heat at the media surface by 50 percent.


ONYX Graphics, Inc. released version X10.1 of its production RIP products—ONYX ProductionHouse, PosterShop, and RIPCenter. Version X10.1 software includes tools and options that improve productivity and assure consistent print quality. Also new, the ONYX SmartApps Sign&Banner Plug-in tool for Adobe Illustrator software is used to simplify and accelerate setup of wide format signs and banners. This plug-in is the first in the new ONYX SmartApps RIP-independent product line that helps print providers and designers prepare files for wide format print production.


This year Oracal USA introduced several new additions to its media line. ORAJET Series 3651RA Intermediate Calendered PVC Digital Media with RapidAir Technology is a five year, 2.5-mil film ideal for a range of indoor and outdoor applications over flat surfaces or simple curves. For the look of etched glass, ORACAL Series 8710 Dusted Glass Calendered Film is a seven year, 2.75-mil translucent film. ORAJET Series 3951HT and ORAJET Series 3105HT are two high tack, calendered PVC digital products. ORAJET 3951HT is ideal for complex curves and ORAJET 3105HT is for flat surfaces. Finally, the newest release, ORAJET Series 3169RA Intermediate Removable Calendered Digital Media with RapidAir is five year, four-mil with a removable adhesive.


Pacific Coast Fabrics, Inc. (PCF) now offers a new light box fabric, Deko-Tex 7019LUX. The 5.6-ounce, optic white textile is designed to deliver a clear, well-defined print that allows light to flow across its surface. The fabric features both a flame repel and a new special light diffusion coating. “Anyone who has ever worked with light box applications knows how exacting the fabric must perform to accomplish the desired effect of a flawless graphic that is illuminated evenly and brightly from edge to edge,” explains Jeff Sanders, digital sales manager, PCF.


This year’s ISA International Sign Expo 2011 marks the launch of three new products from Roland. “These new products are not replacements for existing technology. They give customers additional places to take their business,” states Rick Scrimger, VP/GM, Roland. The VersaUV LEJ-640 is a 64-inch UV-LED hybrid printer for businesses looking to expand their wide format capabilities. It prints CMYK, white, and clear, on substrates ranging from thin roll media to flat, rigid materials up to one-half-inch-thick. The VersaUV LEF-12 UV-LED inkjet printer features a maximum print area of 12x11 inches. It prints CMYK, white, and clear on a range of giftware, award, promotional, and industrial products up to four inches thick. VersaStudio BN-20 is a compact, 20-inch eco-solvent printer/cutter, equipped with CMYK and metallic inks. It prints and cuts graphics for custom signs, POP, labels, and apparel decorations.


Teckwin International’s TS-300 is capable of printing of 12 four- by eight-foot sheets an hour at an unbeatable price. It prints on flexible and roll material and features an extended two year warranty. The TeckPro UV 3200 roll printer is capable of printing media for billboards at 990 sf/h or close view projects at 450 sf/h. Teckwin also announced the Teckut CNC Router to allow printers to cut out complicated 2D and 3D designs printed on rigid material.


Next: These Tools in Action

These new releases and upgrades change the way print service providers (PSPs) do business. They make PSPs more efficient, while offering higher quality output and new avenues to explore.


Look to our next two articles in this series as well as our full print article in the August 2011 issue for innovative and exciting applications that exemplify this year.


Click here to read Part 1 of this exclusive online series, Changing Landscape.

Click on the link above to get more information on the vendors mentioned in this article.

Jul2011, Digital Output  DOSOI0711

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