Wide-format digital ink-jet innovator WP Digital reports that its presentation of new UV-curable technologies and explanation of applications at FESPA 2010 in Munich, Germany has resulted in an enthusiastic response from the market. The Swiss-based company gave the first international preview and demonstration of the Virtu RS35/48/10, an update to its original 3.5m hybrid engine, which incorporates 10pl Spectra Q-class print-heads, allowing users to achieve a new spectrum of quality for their printed and decorative applications. It also introduced its proprietary Virtu Flexo ink set for its range of machines, and many visitors had their first view of the award-winning five-metre Virtu RR50, which was nominated this year by the European Digital Press Association as the best superwide printer in the three metres or wider category.
The Virtu RS35/48/10 is emblematic of WP's robust and forward-thinking design and will be available to users later this year. The addition of 10pl print-heads permits users to realise acute accuracy across small point sizes, skin tones and gradients, but also complements the existing versatility of the unit. "The RS35 is perhaps the only true hybrid on the market as it is able to print roll-fed, rigid and oversized materials of almost unlimited variety," explains Sylvia Muhr, sales director for WP Digital. "Visitors to FESPA realised that the potential to print on substrates as different as aluminium, leather, mesh and glass can add to traditional advertising and decorative applications to create new markets and, therefore, new revenue streams."
In the latest upgrade to the Virtu RS family - which includes the 2.5m RS25 - WP Digital has married a finely tuned drop shape with high jetting frequencies and intelligent ink placement over the entire print area to deliver the quality normally associated with proofing devices at viable production speeds. Available in four- or six-colour formats plus white or spot varnish, the company has added to the Virtu range with software and hardware upgrades which optimise the new print-head capabilities and, therefore, allow users to exploit the robust, precision engineering that the machines offer. It can also be easily configured to print on oversized materials thanks to a variable-mode vacuum bed and simple alignment of production tables, with all weights of substrate catered for thanks to accurate adjustment mechanisms within the bedâ€™s pressure roller system.
WP Digital's new, proprietary Virtu Flexo ink set is a new formulation with an uncompromised, balanced chemistry to provide vivid colours, formidable durability and excellent adhesion across both rigid and flexible materials. This proprietary range has been designed to expand the potential for printed applications in the display sector, including photographic environments, advertising agencies and digital bureaux, while combining with the Virtu printer range to reduce drastically the cost of ownership for all types of user.
"WP Digital developed the Virtu Flexo inks to accompany the minimal lay-down of ink on the substrate and the precise rendering offered by the greyscale print head technologies inherent to the Virtu range of machines," Muhr continues. "We have considered every element of the cost of ownership for users, and the Virtu Flexo ink set offers the best equilibrium between durability and the environment for all wide-format production environments. Both ink consumption and waste during production have been weighed up against the need for photographic quality and long-term durability in even the most severe of outdoor conditions."
The award-winning roll-to-roll Virtu RR50 reinforced at FESPA why the European Digital Press judges nominated it as the best superwide machine wider than three metres. Able to achieve an addressable resolution of 1,200dpi with its six-colour ink set on myriad flexible substrates, WP Digital showcased the machine's productivity by printing onto both one 5m roll and three 1.6m rolls. The Virtu RR50, which is available in four- and six-colour variants with white ink for spot, over- and under-printing, is a compact unit which incorporates cleverly designed loading and unloading features; this makes it particularly suitable for companies moving into the five-metre market for the first time who need to maximise their production footprint.
"The response to all of our activities at FESPA was extremely positive, with many visitors commenting on both the versatility of the machines but also on their reliable and solid engineering," concludes Muhr. "The Virtu RS35/48/10 gave them a glimpse of the future WP Digital is providing in this market with its hybrid capabilities, outstanding image quality and swift speeds, while the Virtu RR50 reminded our guests of the surprising what we could achieve even with 80pl heads. In an increasingly demanding industry, we were proud to demonstrate WP Digital's commitment to innovation, environmental responsibility and versatility of applications."
WP Digital is renowned in the wide-format digital ink-jet space as a manufacturer of resilient, reliable technologies for the production of many different decorative, display and industrial applications. With characteristic Swiss attention to precision engineering inherent to all of its technologies, its Virtu range of wide- and superwide-format printers is recognised for its ability to produce high-quality graphics on a practically unlimited range of substrates.