Because the introduction of the wide-format printing market within the late 1980s/earlier 1990s, the vast majority of the output devices on the market have been rollfed devices, printing on flexible substrates like papers or fabric that unfurled to the device, rather like a web press. The finished graphic was then frequently installed on to a firm material for display, set up, or other end use.
Considering that the advent of the wide-structure printing market within the late 1980s/earlier 1990s, the majority of the productivity gadgets available on the market happen to be rollfed devices, publishing on flexible substrates like paper or canvas that unfurled in to the gadget, rather like an internet press. The finished graphic was then often installed onto a rigid material for display, installation, or other end use.
It’s not difficult to find out the drawbacks of the kind of workflow. Print-then-install provides an extra step (getting more time and reducing efficiency) and uses more components (the published substrate in addition to the installation materials and sticky), incurs more consumables costs, raises squander, and decreases productivity. So the solution appears apparent: cut out the middleman and print directly on the firm material itself. Enter flatbeds.
Flatbed wide-structure computer printers seem like a new technology, however are really more than a ten years old along with their development has been fast but stealthy. A seminal entrance within the UV Printer was the Inca Eagle 44, and earlier restrictions of broad-format flatbeds had been the typical trinity of velocity, high quality, and expense. Your fourth member of this trinity was versatility. As with most things technological, those restrictions were quickly mastered. “Today, the caliber of [these initial models] would be subpar,” says Jeffrey Nelson, company development manager, higher efficiency inkjet gear, Fujifilm’s Visual Systems Division. “Ten in the past, the top speed was 4 beds an hour. Now, it is 90 beds an hour or so.” Fujifilm supplies the Acuity and Inca Onset combination of true UV flatbed computer printers.
The enhancements to flatbed printers had been mostly a mix of printhead style and development and the evolution of printer ink technology, as well as efficient means of shifting the substrate past the printheads-or, alternatively, moving the printheads on the stationary substrate. Other challenges have included the actual physical size of the printers; big flatbed presses dwarf rollfed wide-structure computer printers and also a significant footprint. “Manufacturing, shipping, and installation have already been substantial challenges,” says Oriol Gasch, category supervisor, Big Format Sign And Show, Americas, for HP. “Such as how you can move someone to the second floor of the industrial space.” The analogy is always to counteract presses, especially web presses, which regularly must be installed initially, then this building built about them. The Bigfoot-esque footprint of flatbeds is certainly one consideration for just about any store looking to get one-and it’s not just the size of the equipment. There must also be room to maneuver large firm designs about. HP’s flatbed products include the entrance-level HP Scitex FB500 and FB700 series and the higher-end Hewlett packard Scitex FB7600.
Therefore the fantastic app for flatbed wide-format printers has been the cabability to print out entirely on a wide variety of components while not having to print-then-install or print on a transfer sheet, typical for publishing on three dimensional areas that cannot be fed through a conventional printer. “Golf balls, mittens, poker potato chips,” says Nelson, are some of the objects his clients have printed on. “Someone visited Home Depot and found a door to print out on.”
“What’s expanding is specialized programs using diverse and distinctive substrates,” says HP’s Gasch, “such as porcelain, metal, glass, along with other heavy, weighty components.”
This substrate versatility have led flatbeds to become adopted by screen computer printers, as well as packaging computer printers and converters. “What keeps growing is printing on corrugated board for product packaging, either primary or supplementary product packaging for impulse buys,” says Gasch. “A distinctive item is red wine boxes.” It’s all very intoxicating.
Ultra violet or Not Ultra violet, That Is the Concern
It had been developments in ink technology that helped the flatbed printing device marketplace develop, and ink have to be versatile sufficient to print out on a multitude of substrates without having a store needing to stock myriad inks and swap them out among work, which would increase cost and reduce efficiency. Some ink require primers or pretreatments to get placed on the outer lining to aid enhance ink adhesion, and some make use of a fixer additional right after printing. The majority of the publishing we are used to uses a liquid printer ink that dries by a mixture of water loss and penetration in to the substrate, but most of these specialty substrates have areas that don’t allow ink penetration, therefore the necessity to provide the printer ink some thing to “grab onto.” Ultra violet ink are specifically ideal for these surfaces, as they dry by exposure to uv light, therefore they don’t must evaporate/permeate the way more traditional inks do.
Much of possible literature on flatbeds indicates that “flatbed printer” is synonymous with “UV printer” and, although there are solvent ink-dependent flatbeds, the vast majority of units on the market are Ultra violet devices. There are myriad advantages to Ultra violet publishing-no noxious fumes, the opportunity to print out over a broader range of materials, faster drying times, the ability to add spiffy effects, etc.-but changing to some UV workflow will not be a determination to become created casually. (See an upcoming feature to get a more descriptive look at Ultra violet printing.)
All the new programs that flatbeds permit are excellent, however, there is still a substantial volume of work very best dealt with by rollfeds. So for true flexibility, a store can utilize a solitary device to create both rollfed and flatbed programs due to so-known as blend or hybrid computer printers. These units can assist a store tackle a wider number of work than can be pirsyb using a single form of printer, but be forewarned which a combination printing device isn’t constantly as flexible as, and may lag the production speed of, a true flatbed. Specs sometimes reference the rollfed velocity in the device, as the velocity in the “flatbed mode” may be substantially slower. Always look for footnotes-and constantly get demos.