Agfa Jeti Tauro targets corrugated

Agfa has upgraded its large format Jeti Tauro H3300 LED printer, announcing a faster UHS version that is said to be aimed at the corrugated packaging market as well as the upper end of the sign and display sector. 

Agfa’s Jeti Tauro H3300 UHS can produce up to 600 sim/hr.

This latest Ultra High Speed version is the fourth generation of the Jeti Tauro platform and as such is really an improved version of the existing H3300. As such it’s a 3.3m wide hybrid wide format printer using UV ink with LED curing.  Agfa has clearly put a lot of thought into what markets it wants to address. Reinhilde Alaert, marketing product manager for Agfa’s high end sign and display segment, explains: “Many customers that bought the first Jeti Tauro are moving upwards so those that would have been in the mid segment have grown and now belong to what we call the high end of the market.“

She adds: “It’s not a huge market. Worldwide, two to three hundred maybe, so we had to make sure when we designed this that it can serve as many applications as possible which gives an additional chance to sell more of these products.”

This, of course, helps to explain the push into the corrugated market. She says that the majority of the customers come from the sign and display sector but notes: “We noticed that our sign and display customers often get additional work from the packaging industry.“ This includes everything from point of sale collateral through to boxes.

And she says that Agfa was careful not to over-develop the new machine because if it was too fast, and too expensive, then the potential market for it would be even smaller. She added: “We want to grow with our customers, offering them more speed and also offering them more productivity.”

It uses the same Ricoh Gen5 MH5420 printheads as the existing models, with a 7pl native drop size and 635 x1200 dpi resolution giving it the ability to print text down to 4pt, even including white on black text. Mark Verheijen, senior project leader at Agfa, says: “We have been looking at the Ricoh Gen6 and two other heads but the Ricoh Gen6 didn’t bring any benefit to us. We wanted to stick with the same heads that we were used to and the Gen5 is still the perfect fit for the Jeti Tauro.”

Agfa has added more heads, up from 48 to 64 for the basic model. There’s still a choice between four or six colours but either way you are using the same number of heads so the choice is between maximum speed with 16 heads per colour or slightly better image reproduction with the addition of two light colours. 

Agfa has taken an interesting approach to the light colours, using a combination of light cyan and light black, allowing it to shave two heads off the blacks. The reasoning is that replacing light magenta with light black leads to a better tonal range with stable neutrals. In addition, Geert Drossaert, Agfa’s inkjet application development manager, says: “Light black allows for a max GCR (Grey Component Replacement) curve which significantly decreases the ink consumption without compromising on image quality.” He estimates that this means 15 percent less ink overall because it allows for less cyan, magenta and yellow ink to be used. 

There’s an option to add 16 more heads, either all for use with white ink, or a mix of 12 heads for white and four heads for primer. This brings the total number of printheads up to 80.

The additional heads mean that the UHS can produce up to 600 sqm/hr, up from 453 sqm/hr for the existing model. This has led Agfa to dub it “the beast” complete with marketing images of a bull, though Agfa isn’t the first wide format vendor to use this idea, and won’t be the last. Sadly, nothing in the specs indicates the print speeds with six colours or with higher resolutions, or how much the use of white ink and primer impacts the print speed, which suggests that many users may not realise the top speed of this printer. 

In any case, as Alaert pointed out: “Productivity is not only about printing speed but also make ready, fast startup, low maintenance and autonomy.” So Agfa has added a number of new features to improve on these areas. This includes larger ink tanks able to hold 20 litres, which Agfa will also offer as an option to its other Jeti Tauro printers.

Agfa has also added in the capability to print on both sides of a media, useful for some applications such as window displays, which need both an inside and outside graphic. Double-sided printing is tricky because both sides have to line up exactly but it’s hard to achieve that degree of accuracy with a belt-driven transport system (and is presumably one reason why some vendors have moved to a linear magnetic drive). Agfa has come up with a neat solution based around printing QR codes on one side and using this to align the reverse. Mark V explained: “QR codes give feedback on X and Y coordinates so we can use that to shift the image on the reverse to compensate. But you can also put extra information so you can check that the front matches the back.” This is an optional extra as it also requires a camera to read the QR codes.

The Jeti Tauro range has always offered a wide choice of loading and unloading options but Agfa has added a new UHS loader/ unloader that will take boards and flexible sheets up to 3.3 x 2.65m. There are also options for roll media up to 3.3m wide, or two 1.6m wide rolls. 

Aleert says there are no plans to offer an upgrade path to existing users, explaining that the Jeti Tauro customers did not generally choose to upgrade their printers. She pointed out that there might be a degree of risk in maintaining consistent image quality since it would mean adding new heads to a machine that might already be a couple of years old. Strangely, Agfa did not notice how this argument could also apply to the current S version, which is specifically designed as an entry-level model that can be upgraded. 

Naturally, Agfa uses its excellent Asanti workflow to drive the Jeti Tauro. This is also able to drive digital cutting devices, likely an important consideration for anyone interested in the corrugated market.

The printer itself is manufactured at Agfa’s facility near Toronto in Canada with the first field test at Cameron Advertising Displays, in Toronto. This company was previously one of the first customers for Agfa’s M-Press, which Dan Deveau, owner of Cameron’s, credited with saving the business, adding: “After that we have had a long relationship with Agfa and have bought a multitude of digital printers over the years.” The Jeti Tauro UHS is the fourth printer he’s bought from Agfa. He says the reason is down to its speed, price point and the fact it’s made locally in Canada, adding: “Our clients are getting a better print at the same price as screen printing in various quantities.”

There’s a second installation in Europe, with a third site due shortly in the US. The new UHS printer should be fully available from July though as Verheijen points out, that’s not really a hard date as there’s generally a long and complex sales process for these type of printers. In any case, you can find more information on the Jeti Tauro range, which includes the existing H3300 LED and the entry level S version, as well as this new UHS model from

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