Mimaki launches solvent and UV LFP

Mimaki has announced two new roll-fed wide format printers – the JV100-160, which uses solvent ink, and the UJV100-160, which uses UV-curable ink, both of which have been described as entry-level machines. 

This Mimaki JV100-160 is a solvent printer, though it shares the chassis and printheads with the UJV100-160, both 1.6m wide rollfed machines.

Mimaki refers to these as the ‘100-series’. Both use the same chassis and printheads with the main difference being the drying/ curing system. Thus both have a maximum print width of 1610mm and both take rolls up to 250mm in diameter and 45kg in weight.

Mimaki has opted to use a new printhead for these printers but won’t say which head. However, Mimaki has told me that it has seen a big improvement in the quality of Chinese large format printers and has therefore looked for a way to compete against these Chinese manufacturers on price, whilst still also being able to maintain print quality to compete against all the usual wide format vendors, such as Roland, HP and Epson. 

The printhead is by far the most expensive component of any printer – possibly up to 30 percent in some cases – so Mimaki is looking for economies of scale by using the same type of printhead across its printer range, regardless of ink type. It’s a smart move and should help Mimaki lower the cost of its printers, and presumably also the cost of replacement heads. 

These printers use two of these new printheads, arranged in a staggered configuration. Resolution ranges from 360dpi up to 1200 dpi. These heads have four channels each, so eight in total. 

The JV100 solvent machine has an eight colour inkset with CMYK plus light cyan, light magenta, light black and orange. There’s an option to load two sets of CMYK for faster speeds. For the European market, Mimaki is using its existing SS21 solvent ink, which has good outdoor weather resistance and Greenguard Gold certification, though there are other inks available in different regions, including AS5, and an option to use 1 litre bottles rather than 600ml sealed cartridges. 

In four colour mode, the JV100 can produce 27.4 sqm/hr at 720 x 600, with four passes bi-directional, which drops to 20 sqm/hr with six passes for slightly better results, or 8.8 sqm/hr for the highest quality, with 1200 x 1200 dpi resolution and 12 passes, bi-directional, all on PVC. The printer can reach 62.9 sqm/hr on tarpaulin media at 360 x 600dpi with two passes. 

The UJV UV machine, which uses LED curing, has six colours – CMYK plus 2xwhite and 2x clear. The ink is supplied in 1 litre bottels. For the UK market, Mimaki is using its LUS 190 ink, though there is also LUS 170 and LUS 210 for other regions, both of which have Greenguard Gold certfication. However, it is worth noting that there is no recirculation through the printhead for the white ink. Instead Mimaki is agitating the ink in the sub-tank.

The UJV100 can produce up to 23 sqm/hr in draft mode at 360 x 900dpi with six passes though its Standard speed with 720 x 900dpi and 12 passes is 13.6 sqm/hr, assuming four colours. However, with white ink, this speed drops to just 6.8sqm/hr.

Mimaki claims that this new ‘100 series’ offers more automation to reduce the amount of operator training and intervention needed. Thus there’s a new Dot Adjustment System, which finetunes the relationship between the dot positioning and the media feed system to ensure that all the drops of ink land in the right place. This involves printing a test chart, which the printer reads and automatically sets any necessary corrections. Previously, operators had to work out the correction themselves from the test chart and then manually enter the corrections, and repeat until there were no further problems. 

The 100-series machines also take advantage of several existing Mimaki technologies, including the ability to check for failed nozzles and to either attempt to recover those nozzles or to map images around them to prevent artefacts showing up in the print. 

These printers come with a new version of Mimaki’s RIP, RasterLink7, which is now based on Global Graphics’s Harlequin RIP and is the first collaboration between these companies. This has allowed Mimaki to add a variable data function to the RIP, as well as to improve the overall speed and quality in areas such as transparency handling. It’s possible to drive up to four printers from a single copy of the RIP. It’s worth noting that Mimaki is planning to add backwards compatibility so that its existing printers can also run RasterLink 7, which should be available sometime next year.  

Sadly, Mimaki has declined to release pricing for these printers, despite the fact that the need to reduce cost has been one of the main priorities in the design of these printers. Mimaki says that these should both be available worldwide from 1st December 2020, but honestly, who knows when anything will actually ship in these uncertain times. It should be noted that the UV version, the UJV100, has already been sold in some emerging markets since March of this year. 

However, Mimaki’s UK distributor, Hybrid Services, is confident that it can deliver the UV machine from December 2020 and the solvent version from January 2021. In the meantime, you can find more information from mimaki.com.

…with a little help from my friends

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