EFI has shown off a new variation of its Vutek FabriVu 340 dye sublimation printer that’s aimed at producing soft signage. The new FabriVu 340i gains inline fixation.
The 340 is a 3.4m wide four-colour printer. It prints at 2400 dpi resolution and has three drop sizes ranging from 4 to 18 picolitres. It comes with a Fiery ProServer SE front end.
Essentially, EFI has added a number of infrared heaters and an extraction system to the platen so that it can print direct to fabric without needing a separate calendar. Mike Wozny, EFI’s senior product manager for its Vutek printers, says that the trick is to put the infrared heaters in the right place to get consistent print results across the full width of the media so that different parts of a panel can sit next to each other without a noticeable join. He adds: “We have four zones with equal amounts of extraction across the full width so we get very crisp lines and good 6 point text.” The results that I saw coming out of the machine on the stand certainly looked very good.
It’s also possible to turn off the inline fixation and use the machine for printing to transfer paper, together with a separate calendar for the sublimation. This makes for a better workflow but Wozny says that having an all-in-one machine allows people to start off by buying the printer and to grow the soft signage part of their business before investing in a heat press at a later point.
EFI has already sold one of these new printers, which also happens to be the 100th FabriVu printer sold worldwide. This has gone to CoverUp Ltd, based in Dublin, Ireland.
Ken Hanulec, vice president of marketing for EFI Inkjet, commented: “Our new in-line innovation for this product line creates direct-to-fabric prints that are immediately ready for finishing or shipping. By combining two major production steps into one continuous process our customers can drive greater throughput and take full advantage of the rapidly growing soft signage and fabric printing market.”