EFI is to add two new printers – the C5 and D5 – to its Cretaprint range of industrial inkjet tile printers, now into its fifth generation.
The fifth generation machines, including the M5 that was announced earlier this year, all use EFI’s own e*D5 printhead array, which appears to be a variation on Seiko’s RC1536 printhead. The head has a native resolution of 360dpi though EFI points out that the print resolution depends on various factors such as the print speed and firing frequency. In any case, these printers all run at speeds up to 60mpm.
EFI has tailored the waveform to its ink, though this is fairly standard for most industrial inkjet systems. The printbar also gains a thermostable printhead plate which allows it to be fitted easily without the need to adjust the alignment.
EFI also says that the new head array offers a high ink discharge and are able to print at higher speeds at high resolutions than the previous generation though I’m not sure that this is really true. The previous D4 was offered with a choice of different versions of the RC1536 printhead, with the same speed and resolution as the new D5. According to EFI’s brochure, there was a choice of printheads for the C4, including Toshiba Tec with 300dpi resolution plus Xaar and Seiko with 360dpi resolution, though the speed is slower at 50mpm. That said, EFI does seem to have improved the ink system, which now gains temperature management and recirculation to prevent sediment build-up in the tanks – though for the recirculation to be really effective the ink would have to be recirculated through the heads as well as the tanks.
Both the C5 and D5 models have maximum print width of 710mm while the earlier M5 has a maximum print width of 1138mm. All three take tiles up to 1650mm. The main differences is in the number of printbars, with the C5 having up to eight and the D5 fitted with up to 12. All three machines take tiles from 3 to 30mm thick. The fifth generation printers are using the same ink as the fourth generation models.
These new machines also feature a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system for printer management along with the new EFI Go mobile app for remote printer monitoring. Their software has also been updated to give end users more control over the printer, such as nozzle out adjustments and automatic printhead alignment, as well as with a more intuitive interface.
José Luis Ramón Moreno, vice president and general manager for EFI’s Industrial Printing division, commented: “The robustness, versatility and operating efficiency of our new 5th generation Cretaprint machines make them the industry’s first ‘Smart Printers for Ceramics,’ because of the unprecedented features they offer to tile producers.”
The C5 and D5 are both available now though EFI refused to tell me the prices for them.