In a bid to challenge the limits of superwide-format display production, the Virtu RR50 UV-curable roll-to-roll ink-jet printer manufactured by WP Digital is now available in the UK and Ireland from Digital Print Innovations (DPI). Armed with the ability to print on almost any flexible material up to five metres wide at speeds up to 320sq m/hr, the RR50 is not only highly productive but brings 1200dpi addressable resolution to this end of the market in configurations which can include six colours (CMYK, Lc and Lm) and white, making it a formidable proposition for display businesses.
This combination of speed and quality makes the RR50 suitable for a plethora of applications for both indoor and outdoor use, including point-of-sale, vehicle wraps, banners and flags, but also for the creation of billboards and hoardings in one piece. “Previously, five-metre machines were limited by the variety of substrates that they could print to and the type of quality they would receive at the business end, restricting them to external applications with long viewing distances,” explains Stewart Bell, managing director of DPI. “The addition of superior graphics quality to the five-metre width creates an armoury of new opportunities for display producers.”
The Virtu RR50 benefits from the heritage of meticulous Swiss engineering that WP Digital, formerly known as Spühl, is renowned for, giving the machine its compact yet robust footprint – (h) 2.5 x (w) 8.3 x (d) 2.3m, weight 10,000kg – while featuring innovative and practical developments in ink-jet technology. Linear motors eliminate belts, instead running the heads on a monorail-type system; this reduces a bandwidth of traditional problems – such as vibration – while improving acceleration and dot placement. Other sensible production features include an in-built, multi-station X-Y tool for accurate cutting and an anti-static device on the head-assembly, as well as multi-roll capability.
“The machine’s strengths start with complex inventions – such as the linear motor-driven technology – but continue to pragmatic inclusions such as front-loading,” says Bell, whose experience in the UV-curable market stretches back to its inception. “These types of invention mean that the RR50 can actually be handled by a single operator with the aid of a remote control loader. The precision of the rollers and excellent material handling help to put the print quality and ease-of-use in a class of its own. For example, it’s able to print a bulk five-metre roll of flag material with ease.”
Available in 36 or 48 print-head configurations which can add white to either a four- or six-colour workflow, the Virtu RR50 features a high-productivity ink-feed system which provides for six litres per colour. This allows the user to benefit from bulk prices and, most significantly, the fact that less time is wasted changing the inks. The UV-curable, pigmented inks provide prodigious durability while also being VOC-free.
“DPI’s pedigree in UV-curable systems is a perfect match for the Virtu RR50, and we know that there is room to make in the display market for a printer that can do both high quality and high volume,” Bell continues. “With many specifiers demanding these traits from an eco-friendly production machine, we can say, comfortably, that this is the solution. We have already seen significant interest from clients using five-metre machines who want to trade up and take advantage of better material handling and print quality.”
While the RR50 is suited to the whole gamut of display production, DPI says that it will be of particular interest to all printers who are looking to convert to digital, especially from the screen-printing discipline. Bell stresses that DPI is best placed to provide this service. “Because we understand the precise calibration needed to get the best out of this formidable machine but can also provide the ongoing service, we know the RR50 will appeal to all sorts of producers,” he concludes.