A new 80-in. rollfed/flatbed printer with smoothing to eliminate banding.
Over the course of 3 days at its July "open house"? event, EFI brought in about 120 of its top VUTEk customers to learn about a number of new company developments. Chief among these: its new Vutek QS2000 printer, which will be shown for the first time at Viscom Paris in mid-September and is then scheduled to make its US debut at the SGIA show later that month in Las Vegas.
This new 80-in. (2000-mm) hybrid rollfed/flatbed printer is designed to accommodate both high-res (the "Q"? in QS2000) and high-speed ("S"?) imaging in a single machine. EFI is targeting the printer at digital print shops, screen printers, and photo labs.
The new printer also offers the company"?s High Definition Print (HDP) capability. HDP combines the printer"?s proprietary smoothing technologies, 6-color plus white inks, EFI Fiery XF processing, and print resolutions up to 1080 dpi.
Capable of handling rollfed or rigid media up to 2-in. thick, the QS2000 features 6-color (CMYKcm) plus white UV-curable Vutek QS2000 inks as its standard inkset, and utilizes Seiko 30-picoliter printheads with three heads per channel. The white can be used for overprint, underprint, spot, underspot, fill, and overspot.
The QS2000 offers resolutions up to 363 x 1080 dpi and speeds up to 800 sq ft/hr (at 540 dpi), as well as photorealistic quality on up to 16 4 x 8-ft boards/hr. And, reports the company, the machine can produce crisp text as fine as 4 pt at 540 dpi.
In addition to selecting the resolution, users also can choose between two levels of "smoothing"? to eliminate banding"?Lite or Heavy. The 800 sq ft/hr speed reflects 540-dpi printing with Lite smoothing; high-quality printing at 540 dpi with Heavy smoothing will decrease throughput to 400 sq ft/hr.
Workflow integration was one of the running themes at the event, and, fittingly, the new QS2000 incorporates the new EFI Fiery XF RIP"?the first Fiery RIP to be designed specifically for Vutek machines. Providing customers with EFI workflow-management solutions, the Fiery XF RIP contains both RIP and proofing capabilities, and allows users to truly automate their workflows. (See our initial report on the EFI Fiery XF RIP in our August issue, p. 12.) The ColorBurst RIP is also available as an option for this printer. The Fiery RIP allows integration with EFI"?s Print Management Information System and its Web2Print products. EFI"?s Print MIS package allows users to integrate job estimating, inventory management, job planning, scheduling, production tickets, data collection, invoicing, and more; the Internet package also allows users to set up virtual storefronts and gives customers the ability to log in to order, manage account histories, check job status, etc.
In addition, the Vutek QS2000 printer features the proprietary Codice Double System Control Visual (DSCV) technology to produce high quality, one-way, see-through graphics for window displays. This system offers up to three rotating images in a single display case and is an alternative to multi-image lenticular images.
Other QS2000 features include:
"? A vacuum table to hold down stiff substrates;
"? Roll tables in the front and back to facilitate feeding/removal of rigid media;
"? Changeout between rigid and roll substrates is less than a minute;
"? A multi-job layout function that can be controlled at the printer interface, which allows for more than one smaller job to be printed at a time; and
"? A Linux-based OS system with the user interface on the feed side of the printer rather than the output side.
Price of the QS2000: $375,000. Beta printers are currently installed; the commercial launch is expected by the end of September.
EFI also showcased several other products and technologies at the event"?including its new Bio-Vu inks initially announced at this spring"?s ISA show (see our June issue, p. 22)"?and made other announcements as well, including:
The company is working on a monitoring/registration system for its Vutek UltraVu II 3360 to print accurate graphics that will be backlit at night and frontlit during the day. The camera-based system aligns the graphic to tic marks on the media to ensure that the second side is printed in registration. This system is currently in beta testing, and EFI plans to offer this system as an option on future 3360 printers, with an upgrade option for installed printers.
Also in the works, EFI reports: a remote diagnostics system; in addition to troubleshooting printer problems in the field, the company also hopes to predict printer-maintenance issues before they occur. Plus, the company is developing a program in conjunction with FedEx designed to get parts and ink to customers more quickly"?a pilot of the program will be rolled out later this year.