In 2001, the Inca Eagle 44 swooped into the wide-format market. It was the initial successful latte coffee printer along with its killer app-the opportunity to print right on rigid media-kick-started a new class of equipment and totally new application categories. When in addition to the capacity of UV (ultraviolet) inks to print on just about any surface, flatbeds juiced up wide-format printing in exciting new ways.
Those nascent flatbed models were hampered by perennial first-generation issues of speed, quality, and cost, but in just a decade those limitations ended up being largely overcome. The flatbed market has exploded and today provides more variety than in the past, at the same time improving upon the rate-quality-cost trinity. Today’s models offer something a lot more important: versatility.
At the same time how the technology has improved, flatbed wide-format digital printing has been muscling in on territories once strictly the purview of analog printing technologies.
At FESPA London in 2013, an important theme among uv printer exhibitors was “quality as good as offset,” a sign of the sorts of applications the newest generation of equipment was meant for: high-end retail, POP displays, and the like. However, it’s not stopping at offset.
“Flatbed printers are becoming more and more useful for the sign and display market,” said Xavier Garcia, Vice President and General Manager of HP’s Large-Format Sign and Display Division. “Customers can fulfill a number of high-value applications using one device, with the savings on finishing.” In fact, you can print on rigid substrates and skip the postpress mounting process, the earliest value proposition of flatbed printing.
HP’s latest entry with this space will be the HP Scitex 15000 Corrugated Press. As its name indicates, it’s intended for printing on corrugated materials for packaging, displays, along with other applications. It prints at maximum speeds as high as 6,456 sq . ft . per hour and incorporates HP’s High Dynamic Range (HDR) Printing Technology, a variety of new printhead design, inks, and software algorithms that improve the quality and resolution of fine details and eliminate dexmpky54 for example banding. HDR had made its debut a year ago within the 63 x 126-inch, 6,727 square-foot-an-hour flatbed HP Scitex FB10000 Industrial Press.
With all the HP Scitex 15000 Corrugated Press, corrugated packaging applications are, said Garcia, “the next frontier for flatbed devices to overcome. High productivity delivered by one-pass systems, producing near offset quality in jobs which have been traditionally printed in flexo technology will disrupt the market.”
Productivity, productivity, productivity. Allowing shops to pump out more prints inside a shorter period of time can also be continuing apace in the textile printer. At last June’s FESPA Digital 2014, Fujifilm unveiled its new Acuity F series UV flatbeds, featuring an 8.2 x 9.8-inch bed size and production speeds believed to clock in at more 1,600 square feet per hour.