SwissQprint launch high speed Kudu flatbed

SwissQprint has introduced a brand new top-of-the-range printer, the Kudu, named after a type of Antelope. It’s a 3.2 x 2m flatbed with UV LED curing inks designed to offer a higher level of productivity than the company’s existing flatbeds.

SwissQprint has introduced this 3.2 x 2m flatbed printer, the Kudu, with three rows of printheads for increased productivity.

The company already offers a number of flatbeds, with an option to add a second row of printheads to increase their productivity. The Kudu offers another level of productivity as it comes with three rows of printheads as standard. The heads themselves are Konica Minolta Q1280i, the same as used in SwissQ’s generation 4 machines that were announced last year.

The Kudu can produce up to 300sqm/hr, using a single pass with 1015 x 450 dpi resolution. Most customers may be better off with a 1350 x 450 dpi mode, using two passes, which can produce around 120 sqm/hr and there’s a higher quality mode that produces 100 sqm/hr at 1015 x 900 dpi, also with two passes. Carmen Eicher, chief sales and marketing officer for SwissQprint, says: “A very low number of passes is a signature of ours. We place the dots as precisely as possible to achieve the best output with the smallest number of passes.”

The existing machines can all be configured with up to nine colour channels but the Kudu can take up to ten colours. This follows on from the introduction of the neon colours last year. This forced customers to choose carefully which colours they wanted so the extra channel allows both yellow and magenta neons as well as, say, light cyan and light magenta plus white and varnish alongside CMYK. Eicher says that most customers do specify extra ink channels, noting: “We hardly sell any machines with just four or five colours.” The ink itself is the same as that introduced with the fourth generation machines last year and comes from the South African ink company Nutec.

Naturally the extra heads mean more weight so SwissQ has had to redesign the chassis. Eicher says: “We also have to hold up more weight so we needed a bigger beam.” It’s still made of stainless steel and includes standard SwissQ features such as the Tip switch vacuum system. It’s also fitted with a linear magnetic drive system, the first time SwissQ has used this system on a flatbed printer.To calibrate the flatness of the bed, SwissQ uses a laser combined with a system comprised of hundreds of bolts and springs that can be individually tweaked. Eicher points out that this approach means the flatness of the bed can be easily recalibrated, even after many years of use.

As with all of SwissQ’s flatbeds, there’s a roll to roll option, and this has also been redesigned to automate the tension adjustment. This takes 3.2m wide rolls. It can be set up to take multiple smaller rolls side by side and can handle some differences between those rolls – such as one with less media than the other – but it’s not recommended.

This is also the first flatbed to use SwissQ’s Lory software, which was developed for its Karibu flatbed. Essentially it’s a more visual system than the older software with more automation features.

Steve Pridham, sales manager at SwissQprint UK with Carmen Eicher, chief sales and marketing officer for SwissQprint.

SwissQ has also announced a new solution for glass printing. Eicher says: “We have a large number of glass customers and glass is a very specific media. We know that they would like to print direct to glass without a primer.”

So this solution includes a new GX1 ink that’s come from Nutec and which was specifically developed to have good adhesion on glass.

Eicher says that glass is normally printed edge to edge but that this leads to a build up of ink on the table so that every so often customers have to stop to clean it off. To that end, SwissQ proposes putting paper on the bed. You have to have the roll to roll option to make this work as the paper is fed from the roll feeder and the idea is to feed clean paper through every so often. However, since the paper covers up the pin registration system, SwissQ has also had to add two bars – one front and one at the back – that have sliders to help with the registration.

Unfortunately you have to specify the roll feeder and this glass solution when you order the press so existing glass customers won’t be able to take advantage of this, and it only works with the new fourth generation machines. Although it’s been billed as a glass printing solution, it can also be used for metal or anything else that requires edge to edge printing.

SwissQ won’t comment on the pricing for the Kudu but you can find further details from swissqprint.com.


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