Grapo Technologies, a manufacturer of UV large format roll-to-roll and flatbed UV printers based in the Czech Republic, today announced that ISBA and its parent company, German charity organization Lebenshilfe e.V., have acquired a Grapo Technologies Manta UV flatbed wide format printer to better meet emerging customer demands, especially with respect to tighter timeframes for delivery of printed display graphics. Lebenshilfe e.V. helps psychiatric patients to build confidence as they re-enter society. The system was sold and installed by Grapo Technologies’ distribution partner, Igepa Group GmbH & Co.
“After careful consideration of a wide range of available UV printing solutions,” said Production Manager Ranier Laske of ISBA, “we found the Manta from Grapo Technologies to be the most viable option. We needed to produce graphics larger than A3, and we also wanted to be able to print on unique substrates and in unusual formats with the fastest turnaround time possible. Manta met all of those needs and more. The Manta offers us unlimited application possibilities for printing on rigid or flexible substrates.”
Laske also points out that the environmental considerations of UV printing were important in the decision process, adding, “With solvent inks, more than 95% is emitted into the air during the printing process. This is not a healthy situation for our employees. With UV-curable inks there are no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted into the atmosphere. In addition to their environmental benefits, printing with UV-curable inks consumes less ink and offers significant advantages when printing on uncoated stocks. We also love the ‘pause’ feature on the Manta, which allows us to stop printing if a problem is observed and restart at the same spot where the problem occurred. This saves us a significant amount of media, which can be quite expensive.”
Since 1993, ISBA has focused on creating a healthy working environment for psychiatric patients. As a protected workspace, ISBA employs 140 people and offers them the opportunity, following their stay in the clinic, to enjoy a positive work experience. A structured daily routine established in eight different work groups allows psychiatric patients to regain simple values they have lost during a critical phase in their lives and grow their self-esteem. Of the total work force, 20 are occupied with digital wide and small format printing. ISBA draws its printing clients from a number of industries, including electricity suppliers, metal processing and the fashion industry.
Robustness and Flexibility Differentiate the Manta
ISBA opted for the four-color version of the Manta but has the opportunity to add white ink should they have an increased demand for this application. “In particular, we liked the robustness of the machine, its flexible application possibilities and its ease of use,” commented Laske. "Especially for the people we employ, it is of extreme importance that they can easily operate the Manta. After a very short training period, our people were able to operate the system. Thanks to the robustness of the machine, we have very little downtime. Any small interruptions can be easily fixed by our team."
Creativity Without Limits
With its previous configuration, ISBA could only handle job orders in smaller formats, but the Manta has changed that. “With the Manta, the sky is virtually the limit in terms of formats and materials to print on,” says Laske. "That is important for us, since we have experienced growth in demand for large format applications." Typical jobs printed by ISBA on the Manta vary from exhibition stand layouts, to dividers, car wraps, sticker prints, floor prints, displays, textile printing and even printing on doors. As a promotion for its cafeteria, ISBA developed personalized jute bags. "We do a lot of personalized printing on demand,” concluded Laske. “Many companies are talking about personalization, but we have been doing it for years. The Manta adds more flexibility and capability to our personalization and other projects."
Manta Product Details
Grapo Technologies Svang inks ensure optimal adhesion to print media without the need for pre-coating. The white ink option enables printing on dark backgrounds. Maximum printing size is 2 x 3 meters at 720 dpi, with small, precise controlled drop sizes and precise dot placement, enabling excellent reproduction of skin tones or pastel-colored surfaces without color cuts or sharp transitions.
The Manta has a production speed of 110 square meters per hour and comes with many time- and cost-saving features. For example, Grapo Technologies’ unique Twin Mode System, allows users to print on one half of the machine while preparing a second job on the other. This innovative feature stems directly from Grapo’s early years as a print shop, when it learned the importance of maximizing available space, reducing man hours and increasing operating efficiency. The Twin Mode System uses two independent desk areas. While printing on one area, operators can place material for printing on the other side without disrupting the ongoing printing process. The ability to switch between print desks when using rigid materials ensures that jobs can flow with no interruption between them and with no valuable production time lost.
UV-curable inks also provide the option to pause printing in case of errors or other occurrences. Users can halt the printer midway through a job, and then restart exactly where they left off once the problem has been corrected, reducing the amount of media waste.