Because the introduction of the wide-format printing market in the late 1980s/earlier 1990s, the majority of the output gadgets in the marketplace have been rollfed devices, printing on versatile substrates like paper or canvas that unfurled in to the gadget, quite like a web press. The finished visual was then often mounted on to a rigid material for display, set up, or any other end use.

Because the advent of the broad-structure publishing marketplace within the late 1980s/earlier 1990s, the vast majority of the output devices on the market have already been rollfed gadgets, publishing on versatile substrates like paper or fabric that unfurled into the gadget, rather like an online press. The finished graphic was then often mounted onto a rigid materials for display, installation, or some other end use.

It’s simple enough to see the drawbacks with this kind of workflow. Print-then-mount adds an additional stage (taking more time and reducing efficiency) and utilizes much more materials (the published substrate plus the mounting materials and sticky), incurs much more consumables costs, raises waste, and decreases productivity. Therefore the solution appears obvious: reduce the middleman and print directly on the firm material itself. Get into flatbeds.

Flatbed broad-format computer printers seem like a brand new technology, however are actually greater than a ten years aged along with their evolution continues to be swift but stealthy. A seminal entry inside the Heat Transfer was the Inca Eagle 44, and early restrictions of wide-format flatbeds were the usual trinity of velocity, quality, and cost. Your fourth member of that trinity was versatility. As with most things technological, those restrictions were rapidly mastered. “Today, the quality of [these initial designs] will be subpar,” says Jeffrey Nelson, business development manager, higher efficiency inkjet equipment, Fujifilm’s Graphic Techniques Division. “Ten years back, the top velocity was four beds an hour. Now, it is 90 beds one hour.” Fujifilm offers the Acuity and Inca Onset number of true Ultra violet flatbed printers.

The improvements to flatbed printers were largely a combination of printhead style and development as well as the development of printer ink technologies, 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 physical dimensions of the printers; big flatbed presses dwarf rollfed wide-structure computer printers and also have a significant footprint. “Manufacturing, shipping, and set up have been substantial difficulties,” states Oriol Gasch, group manager, Large Format Sign & Show, Americas, for HP. “Such as how to shift someone to the second flooring of an commercial space.” The analogy would be to counteract presses, especially web presses, which often needed to be installed initially, then the developing constructed around them. The Bigfoot-esque footprint of flatbeds is certainly one concern for virtually any shop hoping to get a single-and it’s not just the size of the equipment. There also needs to be room to maneuver big firm prints around. HP’s flatbed offerings range from the entrance-degree HP Scitex FB500 and FB700 collection and the higher-finish Hewlett packard Scitex FB7600.

And so the fantastic app for flatbed wide-format computer printers continues to be the opportunity to print out directly on a wide variety of materials without having to print-then-install or print over a move page, common for publishing on 3D areas that can’t be fed by way of a conventional printer. “Golf balls, mittens, poker chips,” states Nelson, are some of the objects his customers have printed on. “Someone visited Home Depot and picked up a door to print out on.”

“What’s expanding is specialized programs utilizing different and unique substrates,” states HP’s Gasch, “such as ceramic, metal, glass, and other thick, heavy materials.”

This substrate versatility have directed flatbeds to become adopted by screen computer printers, as well as product packaging printers and converters. “What is growing is publishing on corrugated board for product packaging, either primary or secondary product packaging for impulse purchases,” states Gasch. “A unique item is wine containers.” It is all very intoxicating.

Ultra violet or otherwise not UV, That Is the Concern

It had been advancements in printer ink technologies that assisted the flatbed printing device market grow, and ink must be flexible sufficient to print on a multitude of substrates without having a shop having to stock myriad ink and swap them out among work, which may increase expense and reduce productivity. Some inks require primers or pretreatments to be put on the top to assist enhance ink adhesion, while some use a fixer added after publishing. The majority of the printing we are familiar with works with a liquid printer ink that dries by a mixture of evaporation and penetration in to the substrate, but a number of these specialized substrates have surfaces that do not allow ink penetration, hence the requirement to give the ink some thing to “grab on to.” Ultra violet inks are especially ideal for these surfaces, since they dried out by contact with ultraviolet light, therefore they don’t have to vanish/penetrate the way in which more traditional inks do.

Most of the accessible literature on flatbeds shows that “flatbed printer” is symbolic of “UV printer” and, even though there are solvent ink-based flatbeds, nearly all units in the marketplace are UV gadgets. You will find myriad benefits to Ultra violet publishing-no noxious fumes, the cabability to print over a broader range of components, quicker drying out occasions, the opportunity to add spiffy special effects, etc.-but switching to a Ultra violet work-flow will not be a choice to become created casually. (See an upcoming feature to get a more detailed examine UV printing.)


All the new applications that flatbeds enable are great, however, there is still a large volume of work best handled by rollfeds. So for true versatility, a store can make use of a single gadget to generate both rollfed and flatbed programs because of so-called combination or crossbreed computer printers. These products can help a shop tackle a broader number of work than can be pirsyb using a single kind of printer, but be forewarned that the blend printer is not always as flexible as, and may lag the production speed of, a true flatbed. Specifications occasionally make reference to the rollfed speed of the gadget, whilst the velocity in the “flatbed mode” may be substantially more slowly. Look for footnotes-and also get demos.

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