EFI used last week’s Fespa show in Berlin to show off its new 3.2m wide Vutek H-series printer, the first in a new platform that will form the basis of further Vutek printers over the next few years.
EFI says that it has spent a lot of time working to improve the image quality. They use greyscale Ricoh Gen5 printheads with three different drop sizes of 7, 14 and 21 picolitres. The actual resolution is 600 x 600 dpi but EFI is claiming that the greyscale produces an optical resolution closer to 900 x 1200 dpi.
These printers can print up to five layers in a single pass, useful for producing dual-sided backlit displays. Ken Hanulec, vice president of inkjet marketing for EFI, says: “The drop placement is extremely accurate so that leads to very fine text. We are really proud of it.”
The H-series are 3.2m wide hybrids, designed around roll to roll chassis and with tables for rigid media. However, they have a new linear drive magnetic carriage, which is said to be a much more precise transport mechanism for boards than the belt and pulley system that EFI, and most other hybrid manufacturers, have used.
In total, these printers have ten colour channels: eight colours – CMYK plus light cyan, light magenta, light yellow and light black – as well as two white channels. However, EFI is also planning to offer a Fast Four version of these printers, with two sets of CMYK to achieve faster print speeds. The inks themselves are EFI’s own UV inks, with these printers continuing EFI’s use of LED curing.
There are two versions – the H3 series and H5 series – with a H3 shown on the stand. The difference between the two lies in the number of printheads, with the H3 having three heads per colour and the H5 having five heads per colour. The H3 can produce 74 boards per hour, and the H5 prints 109bph. Naturally, customers will be able to field upgrade a H3 to a H5 simply by adding the additional heads.
The H-series also benefit from a host of further improvements such as touch screen monitors on both sides of the printer and built-in diagnostic systems for dealing to help with servicing, both remote and on-site. There’s automated table and carriage alignment and fully automated printhead maintenance. There’s also a choice of automated loading options, including a new ¾ automated loading system. Naturally, they come with a Fiery ProServer front end.
The H3 should be available from next month, with the H5 due to ship a few months later. But Hanulec says that although Fespa was the first worldwide showing of these printers, the company has already taken several orders, selling out its capacity for the next month or so. You can find more details at EFI’s website.