08 Apr 2020

EFI brings inkjet innovations and demonstrates software integration at FESPA Digital

Vutek Gs3250lx Roll

As Platinum Sponsor for this year's FESPA Digital in Hamburg, EFI is demonstrating its latest innovative UV-curable ink technologies for the wide-format digital printing industry, along with a vast portfolio of software products that will enable print customers to capture more work and profit. The company's newest additions to its wide-format production families include the versatile new roll-fed EFI VUTEk® GS3250r 3.2m system, the revolutionary VUTEk GS3250LX with LED "cool cure" technology, the enhanced VUTEk GS5000r UV roll-to-roll system, and two entry-level Rastek UV systems. Also on display is the EFI Jetrion 4830 narrow-format industrial inkjet label system.

"Our latest solutions offer exciting and innovative options for print service providers, display producers, screen printers, sign-makers and photolabs who want to increase their throughput, and gain new business through offering greater versatility and faster turn-round," explains Scott Schinlever, senior vice president and general manager of EFI VUTEk and Rastek. "FESPA Digital provides us with the perfect platform for demonstrating the flexibility and limitless possibilities that can be produced using our wide-format platforms, and we look forward to meeting existing and potential customers to discuss their requirements."

Following the instant success of the recently introduced VUTEk TX3250r textile printer, EFI's new products and upgrades to its established technologies bring to users greater cost-efficiency, higher running speeds and greener practices. These machines are all designed to improve productivity, quality and ease of use, and include the European debut of the company's first solution to incorporate LED UV-curing technology.

World First at FESPA Digital: VUTEk GS3250r

Revealed to the world at FESPA Digital, the VUTEk GS3250r is a 3.2m roll-to-roll UV-curable printer that is designed to increase profitability by quickly and efficiently producing high margin, closely viewed interior applications. Its true 1000dpi print capability and ultra-fast modes generate greater versatility from a single machine, resulting in lower costs on a wider range of materials and end jobs.

The new VUTEk GS3250r will appeal to users changing from solvent-based to UV-curable ink technology. This solution outputs high quality at speeds of up to 111 square m/hour, and includes multi-queue and double-sided printing functionality for added efficiency and capability. Output is covered by the 3M™ MCS™ (Matched Component System) Warranty when printing on 3M flexible material.

Cool Cure: a Greener Printing Solution

The next new announcement is the 3.2m flatbed and roll-fed VUTEk GS3250LX, which incorporates EFI's "cool cure" LED technology and increased productivity to bring users production advantages and lower running costs. With essentially no VOCs, fewer consumables and less waste, plus low energy consumption and the ability to print on recycled and other materials without introducing warping or head strikes, this printer more easily satisfies end customers' requests for a greener printing solution.

The LED curing system in the VUTEk GS3250LX features instant on/off and requires minimal maintenance, increasing the uptime to make job production more profitable. Since there is no warm-up time required and the LED bulbs are designed to last for years without variation in curing capabilities, owners will consume less energy, with lower running costs reducing overall operating expenses.

The VUTEk GS3250LX's continuous board feature enables users to take on more jobs and turn them round faster with colour consistent board-to-board productivity of up to 55 1.2m x 2.4m boards per hour. The machine's precision alignment fence is designed to position every sheet accurately without adjustment, and the addition of the VUTEk MediaMaster automated loading and offloading system maximises the printer's capability to run at full speed in every mode with hands free operation.

New Version of 5m VUTEk

EFI has also added a raft of upgrades to its popular 5m roll-fed printer, the VUTEk GS5000r, including in-line white ink and an automated double-sided printing option. Already renowned for its versatility, including the ability to print to three rolls of material simultaneously, this impressive unit is the only machine in its class with UV-curable ink covered by the 3M MCS Warranty when co-branded EFI and 3M inks are used with 3M flexible materials.

Simon McKenzie, director of Hollywood Monster in the UK, is taking delivery of his second UV-curable VUTEk machine having discovered the raft of benefits incorporated into the machines, including low running costs. "Formerly I was a long-standing customer of another manufacturer but, two years ago, I installed a VUTEk QS3200 because I needed to increase both quality and throughput speeds. Of vital importance was reliability, along with fast response to queries, and the service we get from EFI couldn't be better. As a result, it made sense for us to invest in a second VUTEk solution and, as our business is growing rapidly, the addition of the GS3200 is vital to our production requirements."

EFI's New Textile Printer at Hilord Stand

Launched earlier in the year, the EFI VUTEk TX3250r dye-sublimation textile printer will be demonstrated on the Hilord stand (A1/B41) at FESPA Digital. This 3.2m direct and indirect fabric solution combines industrial productivity, high-quality output and application versatility to meet the growing demand and requirements of the soft signage and digital textile market. It utilises Hilord's sublimation dyes for rich and durable colour on all polyester-based materials.

Rastek R3204 Preview

EFI's Rastek line of entry-level UV-curable printers is also being represented at FESPA Digital, with the H652 being complemented by the new Rastek R3204. This latest solution is a sophisticated roll-fed machine with a maximum width of 3.2m and the ability to output superior image quality at good production speeds, at a price point under 100,000 euros.

The Rastek H652 is proving to be a popular addition to print shops and sign-makers that want all the benefits found with EFI technology in a low cost hybrid production unit. This machine, which incorporates highly opaque white ink, offers best-in-class photographic quality for a wide range of applications and is also proving to be popular in the industrial and packaging sectors.

EFI Rastek T660 at the ESC stand

EFI's distributor ESC (Hall B1 Stand 30) is showing the EFI Rastek T660 UV flatbed printer, which offers high image quality, accurate registration and white ink printing capabilities on a platform that caters to the industrial and speciality application markets.

The printer is a perfect choice for entry-level or mid-size print shops where superior image quality and delivering faster turnaround times are critical to meeting customer demands.

Software Integration for Greater Efficiency

EFI is also showing a fully integrated workflow between Digital StoreFront, Pace, PrintFlow, Fiery XF, and the VUTEk GS3250LX. Digital StoreFront is a dual-purpose online platform that brings customisable and easy to use web-to-print functionality to users and their end customers. Pace and PrintFlow are EFI's management information systems for the wide-format industry. The enhanced Fiery XF 4.5 RIP enables enhanced colour handling, accuracy and performance, as well as easier and faster job deployment. It is ideal for mixed production environments and multiple printers. which include solutions to help print shops run their businesses more efficiently.

New Business Opportunities with Jetrion

Also at the EFI stand will be the Jetrion 4830 UV-curable digital inkjet label production printer. This innovative machine gives print service providers new business opportunities with digital colour labels and small-format signage, extending users' portfolios of services and enabling them to tap into vertical revenue streams.

The broad range of options being exhibited at FESPA Digital by EFI is representative of the company's dedication to bringing the best products to the digital printing industry. As a world leader in innovative software and production solutions, EFI is continuing to develop and manufacture systems which are designed for end users on all budgets, from entry level up to high end industrial machines.

RHS Chelsea garden based around Canon printed images achieves a first in design

Bluebell Woods

A first in garden design awaits the expected 150,000+ visitors to this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show (24th – 28th May) with the integration of stunning, large format printed images to create a unique urban garden at the show.  The images, the work of contemporary landscape photographer, David Anthony Hall, will be incorporated into the external landscape - Thompsons Plein Air Gallery Garden (Stand PW42 Pavilion Way) – being created by Thompson’s Galleries to showcase Hall’s work and to demonstrate the harmonious link between art and the creative outdoor space.

Measuring up to 3m x 1.5m, the panoramic images have been produced on a Canon imagePROGRAF iPF9100 large format printer by Canon UK’s distributor, Surrey- based Velmex Distribution.  Printed on 260gsm photo gloss paper and then face mounted on to Perspex (i.e. sandwiched between a piece of Perspex and Dibond or an aluminium backing sheet) to be wall hung for the display at Chelsea, the images will, according to gallery owner, Sue Thompson, ‘show how art can be an integral part of the structure of a garden.’

A Canon user from image capture to printed output, Hall shoots his images on a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III and uses a panoramic technique to capture a multitude of shots that go into the one final image, which he later weaves together in his digital darkroom. The sheer scale of his work makes it ideal for wide format printing and, for Hall, the high-end Canon imagePROGRAF devices are the printers that showcase his images to best effect.

Hall comments: “By integrating my images into the concept garden, I’m hoping to challenge convention and stimulate a debate around the placement of art outdoors.  I also want to show how it can brighten up difficult outdoor spaces, including courtyard gardens, by adding depth, colour and a focal point to these areas.  The Canon imagePROGRAF iPF9100 has been the ideal device to print my images at the scale required to achieve the greatest impact.  The print quality is superb and every detail is reproduced with exceptional precision.  Canon’s colour reproduction is also spot on every time - the 12 colour LUCIA pigment ink system gives me a huge colour gamut and the extra red, green and blue inks increase the outer spectrum, giving me something as close to a lab process as I think inkjet can produce.”

Gill Mussell, LFP Product Manager, Canon UK, says: “The 60 inch wide Canon imagePROGRAF iPF9100 is the flagship of our fine art and photography large format printer range and has been designed to produce the finest results for such applications.  We’re delighted that David Anthony Hall chose to have his work printed on the iPF9100 as the resulting prints are a wonderful endorsement of the productive capabilities of the device and a clear demonstration of just how good its print quality, accuracy and colour reproduction are.”

The imagePROGRAF iPF9100 supports Canon’s "Kyuanos" colour management technology for Windows to deliver output colour suitable for different viewing conditions such as fluorescent lights, incandescent lights, or sunlight.  It also uses Canon’s proprietary FINE (Full-photolithography Inkjet Nozzle Engineering) print-head technology and dual print head design, featuring a total of 30,720 nozzles (2,560 nozzles per colour).  The print heads help the imagePROGRAF achieve a maximum resolution of 2400 x 1200 dpi, while delivering a uniform, superfine, four picolitre droplet size at speed - the iPF9100 can print A0 in draft mode in just over 2 minutes.    High capacity ink tanks (700ml) can also be replaced whilst printing for consistent, deadline beating performance.

At the end of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, David Anthony Hall will donate all the proceeds from the sale of Bluebells Woods, a focal work in the garden, to the Children’s Acute Transport Service (CATS), a London based ambulance service for critically ill children.

STOP PRESS! The first artist’s proof of ‘Bluebells Woods’, the image mentioned in the press release, has already been sold for the full asking price of £10,000, with all the proceeds going to the Children’s Acute Transport Service (CATS), a London based ambulance service for critically ill children.

Onset installations allow Graphic World to enter a new era in digital

Graphic World Onset

Graphic World, one of the leading screen and digital printers in Benelux, is based in Gendt, Netherlands – close to the German border. Established as a screen print service provider for the ice-cream market in 1978, it has grown and expanded considerably over the past 13 years to offer a wide range of indoor and outdoor POS signs and displays to its blue-chip customers across Europe, the likes of which include Unilever and C&A.

The internationally renowned family business employs 27 staff that look after its design, pre-press, sales and production departments, and prides itself in offering exceptional service and cementing longstanding relationships with its customers.

The first date

Graphic World developed a relationship with Fujifilm in 1997, when the company became one of the very first PSPs in the world to acquire a flash UV screen printer. At the time, it proved difficult to find a supplier able to provide the ink that could achieve Graphic World’s requirements to go with the device, so the company approached Fujifilm Sericol to see if they could help. Together, they developed the right inks for the job, and the relationship has blossomed from there.

Wilfred Witjes, director at Graphic World, explains: “Fujifilm Sericol was the only company that had the know-how and expertise to develop the right inks for us at the time, and we were impressed with how quickly they responded to our request. So, when we decided to dip our toes into digital in 2006, we tested the Inca Turbo flatbed device from Fujifilm. We quickly placed an order and soon followed with a second installation a few months later, which allowed us to establish a digital offering to complement our screen printing department.”

A trendsetter

Continuing a trend of being at the forefront of adopting new technologies, Graphic World became Europe’s first print service provider to install an Inca Onset digital flatbed device when the S70 was launched in 2007.

“When the Onset S70 came into the market, I immediately knew it was a device that marked a new era in digital printing and believed that it could revolutionise our business,” continues Wilfred. “As the only digital printer that could print high quality satin and gloss at up to 750m2/hr, we decided to bite the bullet and replaced two of our screen printers with the new device. Not only did it give us the opportunity to be much more flexible, but also allowed us to shorten a turnaround time of two weeks to two days.”

Subsequently, the company also replaced the two Turbo digital flatbeds with an Inca Onset S20 in 2009 to compliment its bigger brother, and a Uvistar five meter roll-to-roll device at the end of 2010 – all from Fujifilm.

Wilfred describes what this ongoing investment into digital has meant for his business: “Over the past five years, we have moved from being an exclusive screen printing service provider to producing around 40% of all jobs on our digital equipment, and this percentage is growing fast. So fast in fact that we are close to capacity with our current flatbeds!

“As we replaced two of our screen printers with one digital device, we have seen big savings on ink and labour costs. And, as we were able to deploy the expertise elsewhere, it has proved a very beneficial move for our business as a whole.”

Graphic World has a strong environmental ethos, and recycles all eco-friendly materials in the company. It also recovers and recycles all of its customers’ unused print – a fantastic element within its customer service offering and reinforcing Graphic World’s green values.

The Inca Onset was launched into the marketplace four years ago as a high end inkjet printer that would change the way graphic print was produced. This proven technology has fast become the most successful platform in digital wide format printing, and Fujifilm is able to prove that making an investment in the most powerful flatbed family in the world can pay back in record time – something Graphic World can attest to.

The Uvistar provides fast and efficient start up with low media wastage, and has the ability to handle rolls of varying widths up to five metres. In combination with Fujifilm’s inks, the printers can produce jobs on a very wide range of flexible media, including polyethylene (PE), with no curing or ink starvation issues and with excellent intercoat lay down for backlit and solid prints

A bright future

Graphic World has quickly started to reap the rewards of expanding its service offering into digital, and with shorter run lengths becoming the order of the day, is set to continue to do so.

“In an era of fast changing technologies, we will continually look at the options – both screen and digital – that will keep giving us the competitive advantage with our customers,” says Wilfred.

He concludes: “Graphic World’s ethos of honesty, loyalty and trust coincides with what we’ve experienced with Fujifilm, and the mutual respect makes our working relationship a great one to have. Since day one, they have impressed us with their openness and good customer service, and I believe Graphic World will continue down the same path in the foreseeable future.”

BAF Graphics employs unique printing technique at Woodland Trust head office

Woodland Trust

BAF Graphics, working together with Architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, has successfully implemented a unique printing technique while working on a project for the Woodland Trust headquarters in Grantham, UK. As well as digitally printing new wallcoverings for the premises, using its in-house expertise it was also able to print directly onto acoustic panels manufactured by Ecophon.

To fit with the culture of the company, the Woodland Trust head office was designed to be a very eco-friendly building. The brief for the interior design & print was to make sure that it not only provided an inspirational place to work, but also demonstrated an innovative response to both the current and future operational needs of the organisation.

Very large acoustic panels had already been chosen by the Woodland Trust to help inhibit noise within the office, and BAF Graphics suggested that these panels could be directly printed onto without impacting their acoustic ability, to allow them to fit seamlessly within the overall design of the offices. This was a technique that had never been tried before.

Using its direct to media digital print technology on its Durst Rho, BAF Graphics worked closely with the acoustic panel manufacturer, Ecophon, to test and then sensitively print woodland scenes directly on all of the panels.

“While we are used to producing many and varied wide format prints for our customer base, it was the first time we had tried to print directly to an acoustic panel,” comments Chris Holland, New Business Development Manager at BAF Graphics. “We were positive that using our in-house expertise it would work, but before doing the final printing stage we collaborated with Ecophon to ensure they were completely satisfied that the acoustic quality was not impaired.”

”Acoustics and aesthetics were a hugely important element to this project,” comments Steve Edwards, Area Sales Manager at Ecophon. “Working together with BAF and the architects we achieved a great finished design that everyone was delighted with.”

“We were very impressed with the suggestions that BAF put forward in terms of how the wallcoverings would work,” said Matt Vaudin, Architect at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios. “It made complete sense to bring the panels in line with the rest of the interior design but it’s a very delicate printing technique. Ecophon was particularly keen that all acoustic properties remained the same, and BAF Graphics worked closely with them to ensure this was the case. The result is a visually stunning office with the necessary noise reductions in place."

“We are absolutely delighted with our new office environment,” concludes Mandy Loose, Facilities Manager at Woodland Trust. “The fact that the design could be carried through to the special panels we had chosen to minimise noise in the office was a major bonus. The combined expertise of our architects with Ecophon and BAF Graphics has really helped to make our headquarters an office to be proud of.”

Mutoh and Avery Dennison hold car wrap training sessions in USA

Mutoh Avery Car Wrap

Mutoh and Avery Dennison team-up to hold six more car wrap classes throughout the United States this year. Classes begin at $399 and all students receive over $600 worth of tools and media kits just for attending.
Classes provide an in-depth understanding of how to properly wrap almost any vehicle and gain a competitive edge in the wrap industry.
Professional car wrap instructor, Justin Pate, will teach each of these classes using his, easy to learn, Universal Graphics Installation System (UGIS).
“Over my 15-year career, I have wrapped more than 2,500 vehicles. I developed my Universal Graphics Installation System as a result of that experience. UGIS is a fluid, easy-to-learn installation system that reduces mistakes and ensures quality, resulting in a significantly lower install times,” shares Pate.
The workshop will include a 2 day class (with optional 3rd day certification exam) that will focus on properties of the film, recessed areas, proper tool use, tips and tricks and cleaning of the wrap process.
“Mutoh experienced a very successful 2010 with our car wrap classes, and we are looking forward to partnering with Avery Dennison for the ten classes offered in 2011,” shares Brian Phipps, General Manager of Mutoh America Inc. “New this year, students can receive Avery certification that can enhance their businesses; we look forward to continuing to help the wrap industry grow.”

Participants of the class will receive a NT Cutter A-551P knife, Avery Dennison toolkit, Martor safety box, 25 yard rolls of MPI1005 Super Cast Easy Apply RS and DOL1360, and a 30 percent coupon for purchases at www.learntowrapcars.com.
Class sessions will be held at the following locations:

  • July 28-30 – Wharton, NJ – Graphic Resource Systems
  • August 1-3 – Denison, TX – SignWarehouse
  • September 8-10 – Toronto, ON – Proveer
  • September 12-14 – Atlanta, GA – Mutoh Southeast Regional Office
  • October 27-29 – Chicago, IL – Modagrafics
  • October 31-Nov 2 – Seattle, WA – To Be Announced

Pixartprinting solves the digital vs. offset printing dilemma


Pixartprinting announces the purchase of two Komori 8-colour 70x100cm machines, 4 HP Indigo 7500 presses and 2 HP Latex presses.  These are the systems that will further increase the production capacity of pixartprinting, thanks to agreements entered into with Komori and HP almost simultaneously. Perhaps it isn’t such a casual coincidence but it confirms the company’s position with respect to the age-old dilemma of offset printing versus digital printing. With this important announcement, pixartprinting continues to amaze us with the strategies chosen, its exponential growth, the result of its internationalisation policy and conspicuous investments in new technologies, which for this first part of the year amount to roughly Euro 8 million. Implementation of new printing systems for printing large and small size jobs has become necessary, due to the increase in orders which determined a 48% growth in sale in the last financial year, with respect to the previous year.

Matteo Rigamonti, CEO of pixartprinting comments: “As we’ve already emphasised before, our customers don’t care which technology is used to fulfil individual orders. Customer satisfaction is based on other factors: the quality of the result, respect for delivery time and competitive prices, of course. To satisfy at best the expectations of our customers, we focus on advanced technology, constantly introducing the most innovative and efficient systems available on the market in our production department.” He adds: “Considering that by now the quality of offset and digital prints are pretty much the same, there’s no longer the problem of production deformity. Thanks to our Uragano software and the performances of the new Komori machines, which allow for having the right and stable amount of inking with only 20 sheets of make-ready, we’ve managed to lower the break-even point as we had hoped. In our production department digital printing is suited for foliation jobs of up to 200/250 colour prints on A3 sheets on plain white paper or 100/125 colour prints on A3 sheets on white paper and at times offset printing is right for larger quantities. These results make us even more competitive, because it certainly depends on technologies, but above all on our Uragano software that optimises workflow. It’s a plus that only we have, since the software has been entirely tailor made by our staff of engineers. Due to all these reasons we are really convinced that at our company the two technologies are perfect only if considered complementary, each for its specific nature.”

Only Uragano has the task of deciding whether orders will be printed with the digital system or with offset printing. It manages daily to bring together over a thousand individual processes on hundreds of make-readies perfectly synchronised with delivery time, print runs, paper type and grams per square meter. “It’s a job that is practically impossible for a human being,” Rigamonti comments. “The result of this automated process management enables us to fully exploit the machines’ capacity, practically eliminating wastes and inefficiencies.”

Lowering the break-even point and the great success of the dedicated promotional campaign conducted in recent months has led pixartprinting to make another important investment in offset printing. Between September and November the two Komori 4-colour and 10-colour 50 x 70cm systems will be replaced by two new Komori 8-colour 70 x 100cm super offset systems, endowed with transfer device, which will allow for quadrupling the company’s production capacity. Pasquale Razza, Sales Manager at Komori Italia, comments: “It’s the first installation in Italy with 8-colour systems complete with simultaneous automatic plate change and a new spectrophotometric quality control unit with bar reading that can be positioned at any point on the sheet, which adjusts inkers and the register at the same time with just one scan. These functions further speed up the time it takes for make-readies, and improve print quality at the same time. This configuration has still not been officially presented. Indeed, our R&D department completed the project at the request of pixartprinting ahead of schedule to satisfy their specific requirements.”

The 4 new HP Indigo 7500 presses to be installed between April and June will contribute to strengthening the capacity of the small size digital printing department, and will support the 6 HP Indigo 7000 presses already installed. This choice stems from the improved features of this system which has brilliantly passed the beta tests HP conducted at eight customers, including Precision Printing, a partner in the UK of pixartprinting. Besides hardware solutions, pixartprinting has invested in a powerful hardware solution developed by HP: the digital front-end Ultra Print Server customised for the requirements of the Venice-based company that will manage the whole Indigo department composed of 10 presses. It’s a powerful server with centralised workflow control, capable of routing all jobs, creating job tickets, analysing each machine’s specifications, sending the job order to the machine available at that particular moment, and playing a big role in optimising production. “With this choice pixartprinting confirms that digital printing and conventional printing are complementary and not antagonists,” explains Gabriella Moretti, Marketing Manager of HP Indigo Digital Printing. “We are proud that pixartprinting has confirmed its confidence in our company, surely fruit of a long-standing profitable collaboration. Besides the installation of new HP Indigo presses and dedicated operating software, this collaboration and confidence have grown with the purchase of two more HP Latex presses dedicated to wide format prints, which will be added to the 5 already installed.