Durst has announced two new additions to its P5 range of hybrid wide format printers as well as an impressive productivity boost for the existing P5 250 HS, which was launched this time last year.
The two new models are the 2.1m wide P5-210 and the P5 350, with a 3.5m print width. Perhaps the most significant thing about them is the switch from conventional to LED UV curing. Durst has re-used the LED ink from its P10 series so there’s now a choice of Durst Rigid LED Ink and Durst Roll LED Ink as well as the existing P5 Premium WG and P5 POP HS inksets. The LED inks include options for adding light colours, white, varnish and process colours, as well as the standard CMYK. Otherwise the basic imaging system remains the same, with Fujifilm Samba printheads capable of 1200 dpi resolution albeit with a larger native drop size of 7pl.
Durst has also added some new hardware to improve the overall media throughput. This includes a new multiroll option for the P5 350 that holds two rolls, one above the other, so that users can load one roll while the other is being printed to in order to reduce setup times and increase efficiency. Both of the rolls can be fitted with split spindles so that you could load two different rolls with varying amounts of media on them.
Naturally, being hybrid devices, they come with tables but Durst has improved the design so that the tables can be easily folded away. There’s a multi-track feature so that up to six parallel boards can be fed to the printer at any one time. Sensors automatically pick up the media width and thickness. Both can be equipped with peripheral systems for three-quarters automation or full automation. It’s also worth noting that the new foldable table design also means that the printers come set-up for roll-printing, which was previously an option for the P5.
Durst has also improved on its existing P5, the 2.5m P5-250 HS, which was launched last year and the slightly smaller 2.05m wide P5 200 HS. These can now print at up to 600 sqm/hr, which is a significant improvement over the 240 sqm/hr when they were launched. Stefan Kappaun, Durst’s executive vice president inks and fluids, says: “We invested a lot of R&D effort in getting this performance. This mostly seems to have come down to improvements in the software and the way the machine is used rather than drastic changes to the hardware. Kappaun says that Durst is also evaluating whether or not to offer an LED version of the P5 250/200 HS, though inevitably LED curing would not be able to match the higher speeds of the conventional curing machines. He adds: “It’s always a question of what do the customers want.”
One of the most significant features of the P5 is the software that Durst has put together around this platform and the degree of integration between the hardware and the software. Durst has now renamed its workflow program from Symphony, which I rather liked, to the much more bland Durst Workflow Print. On the surface it appears to be the same software that Durst announced a year ago – that is, a fast Harlequin-based RIP with added functionality and a separate Analytics solution for collecting data to optimise the usage of the printer. However, in the intervening year Durst appears to have done a lot of additional work to its software behind the scenes, which is also a contributing factor in the improved productivity of the P5 250/200 HS machines. I’ll come back to this in a separate feature because it’s worth taking the time to look at this in more detail.
This year there’s also a new web to print element called Durst SmartShop, which includes calculation tools, realistic 3D preview and print-specific product configuration. There are also options to expand on the workflow, analytics and SmartShop solutions.
Finally, Durst has also set up the Durst Professional Services GmbH subsidiary in order to offer consulting, training and integration services to help customers use the software to squeeze more productivity from these printers.