Certified Solution for Digital Production of Traffic Signs
Wide format inkjet printer manufacturer Mutoh Belgium nv introduces a new compact 65” (1651 mm) wide roll-to-roll digital UV inkjet printer for high quality production of road traffic signs, safety and information signs, called Zephyr TS. Based on Mutoh’s Zephyr UV platform, the new Zephyr TS will print directly onto retroreflective sheeting, using specially formulated UV inks. The combination of printer, UV inks, retroreflective sheeting and UV protection overlay film fulfills the European standard for fixed vertical road traffic signs (EN 12899-1:2007).
Delivered as a total solution (including workstation and RIP software), Mutoh’s Zephyr TS will create traffic signs with brilliant colours, meeting the colour box and retroreflectivity requirements for road traffic signage. The printer delivers typical high quality production speeds up to 28 m²/h, using specially developed high gloss print modes, a feature not available on competitive UV traffic sign printers.
Strategic Partnership with Nippon Carbide Industries Co., Inc., Japan (NCI)
“Our new Zephyr TS UV printer will bring new capabilities to analog traffic sign manufacturers, providing them a dedicated solution for the digital production of traffic signs, safety and information signs. The solution will enable traffic sign producers to complement their existing production equipment and will offer them faster turnaround, more flexibility with regards to production planning and last but not least will enable them to reduce their environmental footprint”, comments Arthur Vanhoutte, President of Mutoh’s European operations.
“To develop this solution, we have entered into a strategic partnership in 2007 with the retroreflective business unit of the company Nippon Carbide Industries , having extensive application and R&D know how regarding the production of traffic signs and manufacturing of retroreflective sheeting”, Vanhoutte continues.
“A key development goal has been to have the Zephyr TS printing solution pass conformity testing in accordance with the European standard for road traffic signs. The development cooperation Mutoh – NCI resulted in adapting our Zephyr UV platform for printing directly onto NCI’s Nikkalite® range of retroreflective sheeting materials, using specially formulated and dedicated inks suited for traffic sign production (Red, Blue, Yellow and Black). The icing on the cake is that today, Mutoh and NCI are able to market a fully certified digital printing solution with warranties up to 10 years, offering peace of mind to traffic sign manufacturers” concludes Arthur Vanhoutte.
Production of road traffic signs is a very specific application for which critical and specific regulations need to be met with regards to colours, retroreflectivity and UV fading.
The manufacturing of fixed vertical road traffic signs is specified in the European standard
EN 12899-1:2007. To comply with this standard, extensive tests by an official lab are required with regards to retroreflectivity and colours, as well as weathering tests on printed data.
Test results for the Zephyr TS solution confirm full conformity with the European standard. Warranties of 7 and 10 years can be given, depending on the type of Nikkalite® retroreflective sheeting which is used.
The warranties are stipulated in a declaration of conformity issued by Nippon Carbide Carbide Industries in accordance with EN 12899-1:2007, for the combination Mutoh Zephyr TS printer, Zephyr TS UV inks, Nikkalite® retroreflecive sheeting and the recommended Nikkalite® overlay film.
Available immediately, the new Zephyr TS printer solution will be co-marketed by Mutoh and NCI all over Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The printer and the inks will be available through a dedicated network of Mutoh Authorised resellers. The retroreflective sheeting materials will be available through Nippon Carbide Industries.
The new Zephyr TS printer will be displayed at the oncoming Fespa 2010 show, in Münich, Germany.