Mutoh has expanded its range of small format flatbed industrial printers, with two new additions, the XpertJet 461UF and XpertJet 661UF. These sort of printers are typically used for printing to things like phone covers, as well as personalized gifts and promotional items, such as pens, lighters and USB sticks, as well as prototypes and samples.
Essentially these new printers are updated versions of Mutoh’s existing ValueJet 426UF and 626UF models as the company continues to move from the old ValueJet branded platform to its new-look XpertJet range. Both have 10mm bigger print areas than the corresponding older models, with the smaller 461UF printing 483 x 329mm, while the bigger 661UF can cover 483 x 594mm. The smaller model takes objects up to 70mm high with the standard print table, or 150mm high if you remove the table, while the 661UF can take objects up to 150mm in high without any messing around. There’s an optional vacuum table available for both, and a rotary jig for turning cylindrical objects such as drinks bottles for the 661UF.
As before, these use a single 8-channel Epson printhead, but with a newer version that’s better suited to the UV inks. It has 1440 x 1440 dpi resolution and 180 nozzles per channel. As with all Epson heads, it’s a greyscale head with multiple drop sizes, in this case dropping between 3.7 and 25.8 pl.
Mutoh has implemented an interesting Selected Active Nozzle Block feature whereby users can continue printing even if some nozzles are blocked by showing a selection of active areas – A, B, C or D – for the user to choose the best option until the problem can be resolved. Mutoh says that this feature can cope with up to 50 percent of the nozzles being disabled.
These printers can be set up for either CMYK or CMYK plus either varnish or white and varnish. Mutoh says that the print speeds and quality in CMYK will be similar to the older printers but that with the white and/ or varnish options they will be much faster as the additional channels will be printed in one print table movement. This is because the varnish and white inks can use double the number of nozzle rows.
As with the existing models, there are two ink sets for printing to either rigid or flexible materials, both available in 220mm cassettes. It is possible to switch between inksets, though it will take about an hour and needs a special cleaning fluid. Mutoh says that it’s best to use to choose the flexible inkset if you plan to print to flexible substrates or if the prints need to be used outdoors without further protection.
The inks are UV LED, and Mutoh says they don’t produce any VOC so there’s no need for ventilation. Curing is via a 2ins wide LED array, which has been split into six segments, each of which can be individually controlled. The degree of curing can be varied to produce different effects, such as gloss, satin or matte varnishes, and these can be different across the segments so that it’s possible to print several different objects, each with different finishes, all at the same time. This should give users a lot more flexibility in printing different objects side by side.
The new models have gained a couple of other features including improvements to the ability to detect obstacles in front of the print head, and to pause and resume printing. The 661UF can automatically adjust the table height to print embossed text, while the smaller 461UF gains a new front cover with hydraulic pumps. The Mutoh Layer Editor, which lets users split their graphic designs across multiple layers has been updated with new features such as variable data printing and new density test patterns for the white and varnish inks. There’s also a Mutoh Status Monitor app that allows for remote printer monitoring via a smartphone or tablet.
In addition, Mutoh will also offer customers a new Mutoh Edition Digital Factory UV RIP developed by CADlink, which can be used with the XJ461/ 661UF printers. This makes it easier for users to create templates for object jigs, and for flexible data filling, sizing and positioning. It also allows for better colour management when using the white and clear inks, and can automatically set up a white underbase for jobs on transparent or non-white substrates for both vector and raster data. It can be used to manage printer queues, automating job processing based on criteria such as substrate properties, job type or printer configuration, and can also connect with CorelDraw and Adobe software.
The new printers are just starting to arrive in Europe and Fespa, which will be upon us a lot earlier than usual this year, should be a good opportunity to take a look at these devices.
For now, Mutoh will continue to sell its existing ValueJet 426UF and 626UF, and these will both also work with the Digital Factory UV software. You can find further details at mutoh.eu.