Fujifilm to show new superwide format printer

Fujifilm has announced a new Superwide UV printer, the Acuity Ultra, which will be formally launched at next month’s Fespa show in Berlin.

The Fujifilm Acuity Ultra is available in 3.2m and 5m widths.

The printer has been developed with the Chinese manufacturer JHF, which seems to build a lot of different types of printers including roll-fed wide format devices. Kevin Rhodes, marketing applications manager for Fujifilm Speciality Ink Systems, says that it complies with European and US regulations, adding: “It’s made to our specifications and our needs.”

There are two versions with a choice of 3.2m and 5m widths. The printer can produce up to 236 sqm/hr and takes roll-fed but not rigid media.  It can print on up to three rolls simultaneously, with independent spindles so that the rolls can hold different amounts of media.

It uses greyscale Kyocera printheads with 3, 7 and 14 picolitre drop sizes and maximum resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi. Rhodes describes the image quality as “stunning”, which seems not unreasonable given the small drop sizes and high resolution. Fujifilm’s press release stressed at some length that this printer was suitable for indoor work though Rhodes assures me that it’s also just as capable of producing outdoor work.

There are eight colour channels including CMYK plus light cyan and light magenta, as well as two whites. The ink is a new, high-quality, low film weight Uvijet GS Fujifilm ink that is said to be suitable for interior graphic display work.

It uses conventional UV curing, with Rhodes explaining that “you just can’t deliver the throughput speeds with LED”. Typically mercury lamps produce a lot of heat so to counter this the vacuum table is water-cooled, which should prevent an excessive build-up of heat on the print plate though would otherwise cause more delicate materials to shrink.

Fujifilm claims that the price of this will shake up the market – though naturally the company hasn’t actually named the price yet so we can take that with a grain of salt. Let’s face it, just about everybody – apart from Durst – claims that their printers are the cheapest or best value.

Rhodes says: “The Fujifilm Acuity series has long been known for its quality and reliability and, by adding this super-wide model to the range, we are now also offering customers a big step-up in quality and productivity. With the extra width, the option to print on three rolls simultaneously and the ability to print at high speeds with no compromise on quality, the Acuity Ultra will appeal to larger businesses and major luxury brands, helping them to boost production levels and profitability in this highly-competitive sector.”

Fujifilm previously rebadged superwide rollfed printers from Matan but that arrangement was upset when EFI acquired Matan. So this new printer looks like a neat solution to that problem, and will certainly be worth checking out at the Fespa show.

Fujifilm will be the exclusive European distributor for the printer and will take care of all the service and support. There are already several beta sites, in both the UK and Spain.


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