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drupa Goes Large

Graphic Arts Announcements

drupa, held at the beginning of May 2012, brought with it a host of technology introductions, as well as showcasing the latest in print. The expansive trade show—based in Düsseldorf, Germany—was used by many companies as a platform to launch printers as well as promote their branding and corporate messages.

A highlight was the debut of Benny Landa’s nanography technology. Six industrial grade press prototypes were shown in the exhibit space. Landa’s technology utilizes unique ink with nanobits of colorant. The printed graphic is a high-quality image using less ink. The solution is targeted toward the flexible packaging and foldable boxes market, ideal for short runs and even variable data printing.

Wide Devices
Familiar vendors were on hand in Germany to show devices for the first time or introduce printers to the European market that were previously highlighted at the International Sign Association’s (ISA) International Sign Expo in March 2012 in Orlando, FL.

d.gen, Inc. showcased its Teleios Grande textile printer. The device uses disperse dye and textile pigment ink. It supports four colors, but six is an option.

EFI debuted two wide format devices. The VUTEk HS100 Pro is a high-speed digital UV press that prints up to 3.2 meters wide. The VUTEk QS2 Pro is a two-meter production level UV printer. Both devices utilize EFI’s new Orion OS software platform, an operating system which contains a unique set of expandable features that optimize printer technology and functionality. It controls a combination of software and hardware to provide grayscale readiness, remote assistance, enhanced color, integration, and improved performance.

Fujifilm introduced the third addition to its Uvistar series of roll-to-roll UV printers, the Uvistar Pro8. The superwide device is ideal for display point of purchase (POP) and outdoor advertising. New to this particular platform is the inclusion of a complete set of light colors within the ink set, which increase print quality without compromising on print speed. The printer was developed in combination with Fujifilm’s new Uvijet QN ink. Additional advancements include an auto media handling system for rigid media, a fully automated backlit printing option, the ability to switch between four- and eight-color printing, and a new operator interface. The Uvistar Pro8 is available August 2012.

Mimaki launched its JFX500-2131 high-speed UV LED flatbed printer. Equipped with newly developed printheads, the device utilizes white ink. The flatbed unit enables direct printing on a range of materials. Mimaki says the system uses eco-friendly inks and energy saving, long lasting LED lamps. The company also promoted the JV400-LX and JV400-SUV printers, which were introduced at ISA.

Ricoh showcased a prototype of the Ricoh Pro L4000 series of printers utilizing latex ink in seven colors—CMYK, light cyan, light magenta, and white. The device is expected to be available in North America and Europe in the first quarter of 2013. Utilizing next generation piezo electric printheads, the L4000 produces three different drop sizes as small as four picoliters in size to provide smooth, lifelike images.

Screen premiered the Truepress Jet W1632UV inkjet printer. It prints at 1,011 square feet per hour on a print area of 63x126 inches. The printer offers high productivity, high image quality, and the capability to image on a range of substrates. Using 12 picoliter micro-droplet printheads allows for fine definition in text and images. The system supports light cyan and light magenta. The Truepress Jet W1632UV is ideally suited for POP and graphic displays.

Outside of Printers
Other notable introductions in the graphic arts space include Bordeaux Digital Printink’s latex water-based resin ink designed for piezo drop on demand printheads. The company says the latex ink boasts the quality of solvent ink with the environmental advantages of water-based ink. Esko presented Color Engine 12, a module within Esko Suite 12. The solution manages spot colors with the integration of PantoneLive and builds on spectral data to define ink profiles.

Hewlett-Packard (HP) announced it is working with media suppliers to co-develop media with ColorPRO Technology that will be available next year. From coated papers to textiles and films, media products with ColorPRO Technology are designed together with HP inks and printers to optimize printing system performance.

INX Digital International’s Prodigy brand was in full force at the show, used in both Bergstein and Neolt printers on the floor. Prodigy serves the graphic arts through OEMs, integrators, and printhead companies within the digital market. Its recent focus is in packaging, including test marketing, prototyping, serialization, and mass customization.

Held every four years, the next drupa is planned for June 2 to 15, 2016. More innovations in digital, particularly wide format, are sure to be previewed and debuted at the international show.

Jun2012, Digital Output

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