Latte Printer – Ten Characteristics to Take Into Consideration if Thinking About Choosing a Latte Printer.

Because the development of the wide-format printing market in the late 1980s/early 1990s, the vast majority of the output devices in the marketplace have been rollfed devices, printing on flexible substrates like paper or canvas that unfurled into the device, rather such as a web press. The finished graphic was then often mounted onto a rigid material for display, installation, or some other end use.

It’s simple enough to discover the disadvantages of this type of workflow. Print-then-mount adds an extra step (taking more hours and reducing productivity) and uses more materials (the printed substrate as well as the mounting material and adhesive), incurs more consumables costs, increases waste, and decreases productivity. Hence the solution seems obvious: cut out the middleman and print directly on the rigid material itself. Enter flatbeds.

Flatbed wide-format printers appear to be a whole new technology, but they are actually over a decade old along with their evolution continues to be swift but stealthy. A seminal entry inside the flatbed printer market was the Inca Eagle 44, and early limitations of wide-format flatbeds were the standard trinity of speed, quality, and cost. Your fourth member of that trinity was versatility. Just like the majority of things technological, those limitations were quickly conquered. “Today, the standard of [those initial models] would be subpar,” says Jeffrey Nelson, business development manager, high productivity inkjet equipment, Fujifilm’s Graphic Systems Division. “Ten in the past, the best speed was four beds 1 hour. Now, it’s 90 beds 1 hour.” Fujifilm supplies the Acuity and Inca Onset number of true latte coffee printer.

(“Beds per hour” is actually a standard measure of print speed in the flatbed printing world and is essentially equal to “prints each hour.”)

The improvements to flatbed printers were largely a mix of printhead design and development and also the evolution of ink technology, and also effective means of moving the substrate beyond the printheads-or, conversely, moving the printheads within the stationary substrate. Other challenges have involved the physical scale of the printers; large flatbed presses dwarf rollfed wide-format printers and also a substantial footprint. “Manufacturing, shipping, and installation have been significant challenges,” says Oriol Gasch, category manager, Large Format Sign & Display, Americas, for HP. “Such as how to move someone to another floor of the industrial space.” The analogy would be to offset presses, particularly web presses, which often must be installed first, then the building constructed around them. The Bigfoot-esque footprint of flatbeds is just one consideration for almost any shop trying to acquire one-and it’s not only how big the machine. There must also be room to advance large rigid prints around. HP’s flatbed offerings are the entry-level HP Scitex FB500 and FB700 series as well as the high-end HP Scitex FB7600.

So the killer app for flatbed wide-format printers continues to be the capability to print entirely on numerous materials without needing to print-then-mount or print with a transfer sheet, common for printing on 3D surfaces that can’t be fed by way of a traditional printer. “Golf balls, mittens, po-ker chips,” says Nelson, are some of the objects his customers have printed on. “Someone visited Home Depot and gathered a door to print on.”

“What’s growing is specialty applications using different and unique substrates,” says HP’s Gasch, “such as ceramic, metallic, glass, as well as other thick, heavy materials.”

Here is one, shall we say, unique application: customized printed coffins. Truly a technology to die for…

This substrate versatility have led flatbeds to become adopted by screen printers, as well as packaging printers and converters. “What is increasing is printing on corrugated board for packaging, either primary or secondary packaging for impulse purchases,” says Gasch. “A unique item is wine boxes.” It’s all very intoxicating.

It absolutely was advancements in ink technology that helped the flatbed printer market grow, and inks need to be versatile enough to print on a wide variety of substrates with no shop being forced to stock myriad inks and swap them out between jobs, which could increase expense and decrease productivity. Some inks require primers or pretreatments to be put on the surface to help improve ink adhesion, and some make use of a fixer added after printing. The majority of the printing we’re used to relies on a liquid ink that dries by a combination of evaporation and penetration to the substrate, but a number of these specialty substrates have surfaces that don’t allow ink penetration, hence the necessity to provide the ink something to “grab onto.” UV inks are particularly great for these surfaces, since they dry by being exposed to ultraviolet light, therefore they don’t need to evaporate/penetrate how classical inks do.

A lot of the available literature on flatbeds shows that “flatbed printer” is synonymous with “UV printer” and, though there are solvent ink-based flatbeds, the majority of units available on the market are UV devices. There are myriad benefits of UV printing-no noxious fumes, the opportunity to print with a wider variety of materials, faster drying times, the opportunity to add spiffy special effects, etc.-but switching to a UV workflow is just not a conclusion being made lightly. (See a forthcoming feature to get a more in depth take a look at UV printing.)

Every one of the new applications that flatbeds enable are great, but there is still a large number of perform best handled by rollfeds. So for true versatility, a store are able to use just one device to make both rollfed and flatbed applications as a result of so-called combination or uv printer. These products will help a shop tackle a wider selection of work than may be handled having a single kind of printer, but be forewarned a combination printer isn’t always as versatile as, and may lag the development speed of, a genuine flatbed. Specs sometimes make reference to the rollfed speed of your device, while the speed from the “flatbed mode” can be substantially slower. Always look for footnotes-and try to get demos.

As ever, technology improvements will expand the capabilities of flatbed printers. This can add the usual trinity of technology-high quality, faster speed, higher reliability-in addition to improved material handling along with a continued expansion of the telephone number and kinds of materials they can print on; improvements in inks; improved ease of use; and integration with front ends and also postpress finishing equipment. For that reason, the range of applications boosts. HP sees increase of vertical markets like a growing wave of the future, “Targeting signage, and packaging keeps growing in importance,” says Gasch.

Fujifilm is additionally bullish on commercial printing. “Our largest growth area is commercial printers,” says Nelson. “They’re expanding into wide-format graphics, or they started using a rollfed printer and wish to move to such as an Acuity.”

It’s Not Simply About the Printer

Among the recurring themes throughout many of these wide-format feature stories is that the selection of printer is only a method to an end; wide-format imaging is less in regards to a printing process and more about manufacturing end-use products, and deciding on a printer is absolutely regarding what is the simplest way to make those products. And it’s not simply the t-shirt printer, but also the back and front ends in the process. “Think in regards to the entire ecosystem,” says Nelson. “How would you like to manage your colors, how reliable will be the press, and check out the finishing equipment. The majority of our printer customers also 03dexqpky cutting and routing equipment. There are actually great revenue opportunities around the finishing side.” (To get more on finishing, see our recent feature, “End Game: In Wide-Format Printing, Finishing is the place where the Real Work Begins.”)

It’s not just the productivity ecosystem, but also the physical ecosystem. “You’re handling large sheets and moving large sheets of material around,” adds Steve Cutler, marketing product manager, mid-range inkjet, Fujifilm’s Graphic Systems Division. Ultimately, Cutler says, “Wide-format is about the ultimate output, it’s the finished product.”

“Scalable technology is additionally important,” adds HP’s Gasch. “Adding more features, give a roll-to-roll option, add beds, add white ink, it needs to be flexible and scalable.”

As with any aspect of printing, there is inevitably a tradeoff between speed and quality. “Customers are asked, ‘Do you need better quality or better speed?’” says Nelson, “And the reply is always ‘Yes.’”

Still, there exists more to success in wide-format than just getting the fastest device out there. “It’s not about top speed but the entire workflow,” says Gasch. “You must be continuously printing.”