In the first of two articles on small format flatbed inkjets, Simon Eccles talks about the utilizes of the devices, plus choices through the biggest players.
Little format flatbed inkjet printers have distinct character and variety of special programs of their own in a fashion that you don't see with, say, the narrowest versions of solvent roll fed printers.
The small proportions of this smallest A3 bed models indicates they will fit into locations for which you wouldn't put a wide format printer, while the relatively reasonable entry costs mean that they truly are attracting the type of user that can not accommodate or perhaps cannot pay for a "main-stream" flatbed.
Just as more importantly, these infant flatbeds are designed to just take deep, often 3d items that are situated on the bedrooms by machine and jigs.
This products managing ability more than anything else is operating the programs, including items such as for example phone and tablet situations, laptop lids, leather folder, guide and iPad covers, pens, USB sticks, baseballs, plaques, porcelain tiles and dishes, trophies and office nameplates. To get more professional reasons, the printers can be used for backlit instrument panels, touch switch panels, component marking and stuff like that.
They're going to print on anything that's fairly little and solid, truly. Many of these tiny printers use UV-cured inks, which sticks to many surfaces, while some (such as for instance Mimaki) can optionally print a primer fluid that boosts the array of substrates that can be handled. Copytrax offers both powerful solvent and water-based serum inks in addition to Ultraviolet healing.
Small curves are printed on, yet not something with a substantial difference tall as the accurate "toss distance" associated with ink droplets is reasonably little, as with any inkjet. Like baseballs is only able to be imprinted in a reasonably little circle round the greatest point, and not the complete of one hemisphere.
All this course of tiny flatbeds have cleaner bedrooms, however, if you're printing multiple tiny 3D items you need a jig to put up all of them in predetermined positions, therefore the printed image is put on the proper places. Jigs is produced from wood, foam, metal or Perspex.
The jig is linked to the design system or Rip through easy themes that position the artwork objects to align utilizing the physical jigs. Mimaki demonstrated a jig-free camera based position locator and automatic registration system at drupa 2012, but hasn't introduced it as a production system so far.
What's readily available?
The FESPA Digital occasion in Munich this season saw modern arrival towards the infant flatbed celebration. Mutoh revealed its ValueJet 426UF, a keenly priced A3+ flatbed printer that fills a gap with its range where it mayn't previously compete with its fellow Japanese rivals Mimaki and Roland DG.
This new model is because of ship in September 2014 and we'll consider it in more detail simply two, with the similarly interesting products offered by some of the smaller European developers: Copytrax/Azon and Bergstein.
This Mimaki UJF-3042FX has a jig on its sleep to position tiny gift items - in this instance paper blades.
Really Mutoh has arrived rather late into the party. Mimaki revealed its first A3 flatbed, the UJF-3042, five years ago and it has since modified it with several variants as well as an A2 version. Mimaki itself wasn't the first ever to develop a little format flatbed, as there was tries to get tiny solvent flatbeds from the floor in the early 2000s.
But Mimaki's mix of UV inks and LED treating lamps with a-deep adjustable-height sleep, in conjunction with its advertising and marketing clout, made the UJF-3042 an immediate product sales success. Priced significantly below €30, 000, these printers offered as quickly as Mimaki might make them for very first year or two.
The initial UJF-3042 ended up being revised and rebranded UJF-3042FX last year. It requires things to 50 mm dense now costs about €21, 500 (a drop of about 25per cent since launch)). Last year it had been joined by the €38, 000 UJF-3042HG, that may accept 150 mm deep items. An A2 format UJF-6042 was introduced in 2012, for approximately €50, 000.
All designs print no more than 1, 800 dpi and offer CMYK plus light cyan and light magenta and can optionally print a primer layer if required.
The original UJF-3042 prints either white or clear ink, while the various other two can operate both in similar product. There is either high durability, stretchable or broad gamut inks, as well as the white has recirculation.
Relating to Mimaki, the UJF-6042 can print a total sleep between 2 moments 30 seconds and 7 mins 37 seconds depending on the quality configurations.
Kebab suits from the deeper bedrooms for the Mimaki UJF-3042HG and also the UJF-6042 and includes engines to turn cylindrical products.
In a few areas Mimaki offers recommended "Kebab" holders the deep-bed UJF-3043HG and UJF-6042 that will rotate cylindrical things including bottles of wine, candles or cardboard pipes beneath the minds. Price is all about €3, 800 therefore takes items from 10 to 110mm diameter and up to 330 mm lengthy.
Foiled metallic effects tend to be well-liked by personalised giftware, but none associated with tiny flatbeds have actually metallic inks however. Nonetheless after this past year I-Sub Digital, a UK based Mimaki supplier, established Digi-Foil, a variety of metallic and decorative foils which have been particularly created to be used using the UJF-3042 and 6042 models.
This makes use of a hot applicator for a largely manual procedure after preliminary printing. A particular adhesive ink can be used in printer as a different pass, enabling prototypes, one-offs and quick works of foiled strive to be created without the necessity for hot foil dies and presses. I-Sub states your foiled location can be everything "down to one dot."
Small Roland develops
Roland DG's A3 format LEF-20 had been introduced to Europe this past year.
Roland DG's very first small Ultraviolet flatbed ended up being tiny certainly. The VersaUV LEF-12 has an A4 printing location. It absolutely was in the beginning priced at little less than the larger Mimaki UJF-3042 designs, which restricted its attraction despite some great functions such as for instance a sealed lid and recommended carbon filter to lessen dust and ink mist.
The LEF-20 takes items to 100 mm high. It provides CMYK plus white and clear ink, in 220ml cartridges. With both Roland models there is a choice of matt or gloss finish whenever curing the clear coating.
With a maximum 1, 440 dpi quality from the LEF-20, Roland says it can take 7 mins 20 moments to print a total SRA3 bed with CMYK just; or 12 minutes 44 moments with CMYK plus white; and 17 minutes 20 moments with CMYK + white + obvious.