In 2001, the Inca Eagle 44 swooped down into the wide-format market. It had been the 1st successful latte coffee printer along with its killer app-the capability to print right on rigid media-kick-started a new class of equipment and whole new application categories. When coupled with the ability of UV (ultraviolet) inks to print on almost any surface, flatbeds juiced up wide-format printing in exciting new ways.
Those nascent flatbed models were hampered by perennial first-generation issues of speed, quality, and cost, but within a decade those limitations ended up being largely overcome. The flatbed market has expanded now provides more variety than ever, while improving upon the pace-quality-cost trinity. Today’s models offer something even more important: versatility.
Simultaneously the technologies have improved, flatbed wide-format digital printing is muscling in on territories once strictly the purview of analog printing technologies.
At FESPA London back in 2013, a major theme among uv printer exhibitors was “quality as effective as offset,” an indicator of the kinds of applications the most recent generation of equipment was suitable for: high-end retail, POP displays, and stuff like that. However, it’s not stopping at offset.
“Flatbed printers are becoming more and more valuable in the sign and display market,” said Xavier Garcia, V . P . and General Manager of HP’s Large-Format Sign and Display Division. “Customers can fulfill various high-value applications using one device, with all the savings on finishing.” In fact, you may print on rigid substrates and skip the postpress mounting process, the earliest value proposition of flatbed printing.
HP’s latest entry with this space is definitely the HP Scitex 15000 Corrugated Press. As its name indicates, it’s made for printing on corrugated materials for packaging, displays, and other applications. It prints at maximum speeds as high as 6,456 sq ft each hour and incorporates HP’s High Dynamic Range (HDR) Printing Technology, a mixture of new printhead design, inks, and software algorithms that improve the quality and resolution of fine details and eliminate dexmpky54 like banding. HDR had made its debut a year ago inside the 63 x 126-inch, 6,727 square-foot-an-hour flatbed HP Scitex FB10000 Industrial Press.
Together with the HP Scitex 15000 Corrugated Press, corrugated packaging applications are, said Garcia, “the next frontier for flatbed devices to conquer. High productivity delivered by one-pass systems, producing near offset quality in jobs which have been traditionally printed in flexo technology will disrupt the marketplace.”
Productivity, productivity, productivity. Allowing shops to pump out more prints in the shorter time frame is likewise continuing apace in the textile printer. Finally June’s FESPA Digital 2014, Fujifilm unveiled its new Acuity F series UV flatbeds, featuring an 8.2 x 9.8-inch bed size and production speeds thought to clock in at more 1,600 sq ft each hour.