Considering that the advent of the wide-format printing market in the late 1980s/early 1990s, the vast majority of the output gadgets on the market have been rollfed devices, publishing on flexible substrates like papers or fabric that unfurled into the gadget, rather like an online press. The finished graphic was then often mounted on to a rigid material for display, installation, or any other end use.
Considering that the advent of the broad-structure publishing marketplace inside the late 1980s/earlier 1990s, the majority of the output devices in the marketplace have already been rollfed gadgets, printing on flexible substrates like paper or canvas that unfurled into the gadget, quite like a web press. The finished visual was then often mounted onto a firm materials for show, installation, or any other finish use.
It’s not difficult to find out the drawbacks of this kind of workflow. Print out-then-mount adds an extra stage (taking additional time and reducing productivity) and uses more materials (the published substrate as well as the mounting material and sticky), incurs much more consumables expenses, raises waste, and decreases efficiency. Therefore the solution seems obvious: reduce the middleman and print out directly on the firm material alone. Enter flatbeds.
Flatbed wide-format printers appear like a whole new technology, however are really over a decade old and their development has become fast but stealthy. A seminal entry within the DTF Printer was the Inca Eagle 44, and early limitations of broad-format flatbeds had been the usual trinity of velocity, high quality, and expense. The fourth member of the trinity was versatility. Similar to the majority of things technical, those restrictions were rapidly conquered. “Today, the quality of [these preliminary models] would be subpar,” says Jeffrey Nelson, company development supervisor, higher efficiency inkjet equipment, Fujifilm’s Graphic Systems Department. “Ten in the past, the top speed was 4 beds one hour. Now, it is 90 beds an hour.” Fujifilm supplies the Acuity and Inca Onset series of true UV flatbed printers.
The enhancements to flatbed printers were mostly a mixture of printhead design and development and also the evolution of ink technologies, as well as efficient ways of shifting the substrate beyond the printheads-or, conversely, shifting the printheads within the stationary substrate. Other difficulties have included the physical dimensions of the computer printers; big flatbed presses dwarf rollfed broad-structure printers and also a substantial footprint. “Manufacturing, delivery, and set up have already been substantial challenges,” says Oriol Gasch, group manager, Large Structure Sign And Show, Americas, for Hewlett packard. “Such as the best way to move someone to the second flooring of your industrial space.” The analogy would be to counteract presses, particularly internet presses, which regularly needed to be set up first, then your building constructed around them. The Bigfoot-esque footprint of flatbeds is one concern for any shop hoping to get a single-and it’s not just how big the gear. There must also be room to move big firm prints about. HP’s flatbed offerings include the entry-level Hewlett packard Scitex FB500 and FB700 series and also the high-finish HP Scitex FB7600.
Therefore the killer app for flatbed broad-format printers has become the cabability to print out entirely on a multitude of components without needing to print-then-install or print out on a transfer page, common for printing on three dimensional areas that cannot be fed through a conventional printing device. “Golf balls, mittens, poker chips,” says Nelson, are the items his clients have printed on. “Someone went along to Home Depot and found a door to print out on.”
“What’s expanding is specialized applications utilizing diverse and unique substrates,” says HP’s Gasch, “such as porcelain, metal, glass, and other heavy, heavy components.”
This substrate versatility have led flatbeds to get implemented by display screen computer printers, as well as packaging computer printers and converters. “What keeps growing is printing on corrugated board for packaging, either main or secondary product packaging for impulse purchases,” says Gasch. “A distinctive item is red wine containers.” It’s all very intoxicating.
Ultra violet or otherwise UV, Which is the Question
It had been advancements in printer ink technology that assisted the flatbed printing device market grow, and ink need to be versatile enough to print on numerous substrates without having a store being forced to stock myriad inks and swap them out between jobs, which will improve cost and decrease efficiency. Some inks require primers or pretreatments to be placed on the outer lining to assist improve ink adhesion, while others use a fixer additional after publishing. A lot of the publishing we’re accustomed to works with a fluid ink that dries out by a mix of evaporation and penetration to the substrate, but a number of these specialty substrates have surfaces that don’t allow ink penetration, therefore the necessity to offer the ink something to “grab on to.” Ultra violet inks are especially great for these surfaces, since they dry by exposure to uv light, so they do not must vanish/permeate just how more conventional ink do.
Much of the available literature on flatbeds shows that “flatbed printer” is symbolic of “UV printer” and, though there are solvent printer ink-dependent flatbeds, the majority of units on the market are Ultra violet devices. There are myriad benefits to UV publishing-no noxious fumes, the cabability to print out over a broader range of materials, quicker drying occasions, the opportunity to include spiffy special effects, and so on.-but switching to a Ultra violet workflow will not be a decision to get created casually. (See a forthcoming feature to get a more descriptive examine UV publishing.)
Each of the new programs that flatbeds permit are wonderful, there is however nevertheless a large volume of work very best dealt with by rollfeds. So for real flexibility, a shop can make use of a solitary gadget to generate each rollfed and flatbed applications thanks to so-called combination or hybrid printers. These devices can help a store tackle a wider variety of work than can be pirsyb having a single form of printing device, but be forewarned that a blend printer isn’t always as versatile as, and may delay the production velocity of, a genuine flatbed. Specs sometimes make reference to the rollfed speed of the device, as the speed in the “flatbed mode” may be significantly more slowly. Always look for footnotes-and always get demos.