Vanguard shows 3.2m flatbed

Vanguard Europe, which is a subsidiary of Durst, used the Fespa show to introduce its latest UV flatbed printer, the VK3220T-HS. 

The Vanguard VK3220T-HS a fairly straightforward mid-range flatbed with a bed size of 3.2 x 2m, which is a fairly standard size for the European market. For now it’s only available in Europe but will roll out more slowly to the rest of the world.

However, this printer does boast a couple of interesting features. The first of these is its very flexible approach to upgradeability. It uses Kyocera KJ4A printheads, giving it up to 1800 dpi with a 4 picoliter native drop size. These heads have been configured with two channels per head so the base model comes with two heads for four colours – CMYK.

But that’s just the start. It’s possible to add another head to this for light cyan and light magenta, plus another head with two white channels and a fifth head with two varnish channels. On top of this, customers can add one or two extra rows of heads, for up to 15 printheads in total. This gives a maximum speed of 360sqm/hr though 162 sqm/hr appears to be a more realistic production speed.

It’s completely field-upgradeable so that customers can start with the base model and then add more colours and productivity as their business grows and can choose whether to prioritise colours over speed, or both. This does mean that the printer will end up with a mix of printheads with variations in their performance because of their age and usage. But Abimael Meda, technical and service manager for Vanguard Europe, says: “We can work around the different ages of the heads by adjusting the voltages and temperatures and so on.”

The inks are LED UV curable, with a water cooling system for the LED arrays to ensure longer life and less maintenance. The LEDs are guaranteed for 50,000 hours.

It appears to be a solidly built machine and uses a magnetic rail system for the carriage that should guarantee higher accuracy, as well as a Renishaw encoding system for more precise movements. The bed is split into six vacuum zones, driven by two 2.2kw motors.

Vanguard itself is an American printer manufacturer that Durst acquired back in 2020 to give it a better footprint in the North American market. Whilst Durst mainly produces expensive high-end hybrid printers, Vanguard concentrates on the more cost-conscious end of the market. So Durst has set up Vanguard Europe to exploit this synergy in its home markets, using it’s more affordable range of printers to attract customers into the Durst eco-system.

That brings us to the second interesting angle to this printer. Despite being a Vanguard printer, this is not an American-made machine. It is designed and assembled at vanguard’s European headquarters in the Kraftwerk building next to Durst’s own Global HQ in Brixen, South Tyrol, Italy. That means that even though this is supposed to be a cheaper alternative, it still benefits from Durst’s exacting approach to manufacturing.

More importantly, the Vanguard machines come with Durst’s excellent RIP and access to the full Durst portfolio of software, including its web-to-print, MIS and system analytics. That will count for more as customers choose to upgrade the productivity of this printer and have to prepare and push jobs faster through the print queue. And it also means that if customers later opt for a Durst printer, then they already have the software with no need to retrain their staff.

To underscore this synergy, Vanguard has worked with Zanzotti Industrial Design to develop a consistent and more understated look for its printers. Zanzotti has previously done the same for Durst’s own portfolio. 

You can find further information on the printers from vanguarddigital.eu and the software from durst-group.com.


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