Considering that the introduction of the wide-format printing market in the late 1980s/early 1990s, nearly all the output gadgets available on the market have been rollfed gadgets, printing on versatile substrates like paper or fabric that unfurled in to the gadget, quite like a web press. The finished graphic was then frequently mounted onto a firm material for display, set up, or other end use.
Since the advent of the wide-structure publishing market inside the late 1980s/early 1990s, the vast majority of the output devices on the market have been rollfed devices, publishing on versatile substrates like papers or fabric that unfurled into the gadget, rather like an internet press. The completed graphic was then often installed onto a firm materials for display, set up, or some other finish use.
It’s simple enough to find out the disadvantages of this kind of work-flow. Print-then-mount adds yet another stage (getting additional time and decreasing productivity) and uses much more materials (the published substrate as well as the installation material and sticky), incurs much more consumables costs, raises waste, and reduces efficiency. And so the solution seems apparent: eliminate the middleman and print out directly on the firm materials alone. Enter flatbeds.
Flatbed broad-format computer printers appear like a whole new technology, but they are actually over a decade aged and their evolution has become swift but stealthy. A seminal entrance in the Small UV Printer was the Inca Eagle 44, and earlier restrictions of wide-format flatbeds had been the typical trinity of speed, quality, and cost. The fourth member of this trinity was flexibility. Similar to most things technical, those restrictions were rapidly mastered. “Today, the caliber of [those preliminary designs] could be subpar,” states Jeffrey Nelson, company development supervisor, high efficiency inkjet equipment, Fujifilm’s Visual Systems Division. “Ten years back, the top speed was four mattresses an hour. Now, it is 90 mattresses an hour or so.” Fujifilm provides the Acuity and Inca Beginning combination of true Ultra violet flatbed computer printers.
The improvements to flatbed computer printers had been mostly a mix of printhead design and development as well as the development of ink technology, as well as effective ways of shifting the substrate past the printheads-or, conversely, moving the printheads on the fixed substrate. Other challenges have included the physical dimensions of the printers; big flatbed presses dwarf rollfed wide-structure printers and also have a significant footprint. “Manufacturing, shipping, and installation have been substantial difficulties,” says Oriol Gasch, category supervisor, Big Structure Sign And Show, Americas, for HP. “Such as how to shift one to the second floor of your commercial space.” The example is to counteract presses, especially internet presses, which often needed to be installed initially, then this building built around them. The Bigfoot-esque footprint of flatbeds is certainly one consideration for just about any shop hoping to get a single-and it is not just how big the machine. There must also be space to go large rigid prints around. HP’s flatbed products range from the entry-level Hewlett packard Scitex FB500 and FB700 series as well as the high-end HP Scitex FB7600.
So the killer app for flatbed wide-structure computer printers has become the ability to print out entirely on a wide variety of components without needing to print out-then-mount or print over a transfer sheet, common for printing on 3D areas that cannot be provided by way of a conventional printer. “Golf balls, mittens, poker potato chips,” states Nelson, are among the objects his customers have published on. “Someone visited Home Depot and acquired a door to print on.”
“What’s growing is specialized applications using different and distinctive substrates,” states HP’s Gasch, “such as ceramic, metal, glass, along with other thick, heavy materials.”
This substrate versatility have directed flatbeds to become adopted by screen computer printers, as well as packaging printers and converters. “What keeps growing is publishing on corrugated board for packaging, either primary or supplementary product packaging for impulse purchases,” says Gasch. “A unique product is red wine containers.” It is all really intoxicating.
UV or otherwise UV, This is the Question
It was advancements in ink technologies that assisted the flatbed printing device marketplace develop, and inks must be versatile sufficient to print out on numerous substrates with no shop being forced to stock myriad ink and swap them out among jobs, which will increase expense and decrease productivity. Some ink need primers or pretreatments to be applied to the outer lining to help improve ink adhesion, and some use a fixer added right after publishing. Most of the publishing we’re accustomed to works with a fluid ink that dries out by a combination of evaporation and penetration to the substrate, but most of these specialized substrates have areas that don’t permit printer ink penetration, therefore the necessity to offer the printer ink some thing to “grab on to.” Ultra violet inks are particularly great for these surfaces, because they dried out by exposure to uv light, so that they don’t must evaporate/permeate the way classical inks do.
Much of the accessible literature on flatbeds indicates that “flatbed printer” is symbolic of “UV printer” and, although there are solvent ink-dependent flatbeds, the majority of models available on the market are Ultra violet devices. There are myriad benefits of UV printing-no noxious fumes, the ability to print out over a broader range of components, faster drying occasions, the ability to add spiffy effects, etc.-but changing to your Ultra violet work-flow is not really a choice to get made lightly. (See an upcoming function for any more descriptive look at Ultra violet printing.)
All of the new applications that flatbeds permit are excellent, there is however nevertheless a substantial volume of work very best handled by rollfeds. So for true flexibility, a shop can make use of a single device to create both rollfed and flatbed programs due to so-called combination or crossbreed printers. These units can assist a store tackle a broader number of work than can be pirsyb with a solitary type of printing device, but be forewarned that the blend printer isn’t constantly as versatile as, and may lag the development velocity of, a real flatbed. Specifications occasionally refer to the rollfed speed of the device, whilst the speed from the “flatbed mode” may be substantially more slowly. Look for footnotes-and constantly get demos.