24
Sat, Jun

The Red Carpet treatment

Lesley Simpson joined over 300 PSPs in Belgium last month as Agfa attempted to wow them with its scale and scope. Here’s the upshot.

Displayways, Beautiful Design and Print, Kolor Skemes, McGowans … these and a handful of other UK companies were among 300 PSPs invited by Agfa to a Red Carpet Event at its home in Mortsel (Antwerp) last month for the European debut of the Jeti Tauro and Mira large-format printers.

But the all bells and whistles four-day extravaganza was designed to do more than show-off the latest kit to potential buyers – it was about building confidence that the company is committed to long-term inkjet development in the graphic arts space, and that attention is being given to delivering what Dominiek Arnout, VP inkjet, described as a “matched components approach”, with a portfolio of printers, UV ink, media, software, and now – with the Acorta – finishing.

Let’s be clear – Agfa has ambition. And it hoped that those attending the Red Carpet event would be wowed by the size and scope of its main operation. And that through the series of demos, breakout sessions and “ask us anything” approach that they would go away convinced of the company’s passion and commitment to a sector where it has intentions to grow market share.

“In sign and display we want to complete our portfolio. And also, because our machines are heavy-duty, we will be working in parallel on delivering machines for industrial applications,” said Arnout, while also reiterating Agfa’s longevity as a chemicals and media company.

At the international launch of the Tauro and Mira at the ISA show in Las Vegas last month, he said: "We promised a series of new state-of-the-art products in the course of 2015 and we are happy to deliver." Promises were also made of more new products before the end of the year. Those will likely include LED versions of the Anapurna, which Willie Van Dromme, VP marketing and sales, said are slated for the SGIA show in the US in November. It will be 2016

before we’re likely to see LED versions of any Jeti machines, but he confirmed that testing is underway.

No doubt we’ll also see different widths of the new Jeti Tauro, introduced in a 2.5m width. At the Red Carpet event, a number of people, including John Sulzmann, managing director of Artworks Solutions in Bristol, said they would like to see a 3.2m wide model.

At the moment the 2.5m machines comes in three versions:

Tauro - six-colour = £284,000

Tauro - six-colour + White = £300,000

Tauro - six-colour + High Speed White = £323,000 (pic1)

B - Jeti Mira left

For those of you that missed it at the Red Carpet or Fespa 2015, the new Jeti Tauro hybrid printer uses 32 Ricoh Gen 5 heads (for six-colours and optional white or primer) and prints at up to 275m2/hr. 24 print heads print colour, while eight heads are dedicated to white and/or primer printing. The latter make it possible to print pre- and post-white, spot white, sandwich white, or they can also be used for primers when the media requires it. The printer is powered by Asanti workflow technology and uses Agfa’s fast-curing UV inks.

The Jeti Tauro comes as standard with manual media loading but can be upgraded with a semi-automated board feeder and stacker.

The new Jeti Mira is a six-colour and white UV inkjet flatbed printer with optional varnish or primer and speeds up to 206m2/hr. It is available in two table versions: 2.7m x 1.6m and 2.7m x 3.2m:

Mira 2716 = £165,000

Mira 2732 = £203,000 (pic2)

Its moving-gantry architecture is designed to offer optimal flexibility and to reduce vacuum masking, the split vacuum table has six vacuum zones with automatic and independent control of the front and back vacuum zones. A ‘Print & Prepare’ mode allows you to load one side of the table while the other is printing.

The Jeti Mira can also accommodate a roll-to-roll system immediately in front of the flatbed table. That wasn’t shown at either the Red Carpet or at Fespa 2015 but according to Van Dromme it should be available in August. An optional built-in camera automatically detects registration marks to ensure accurate front-to-back printing.

On the software front, the new Asanti 2.0 has new options for printing white on transparent substrates.

Rounding off Agfa’s latest offering is the Acorta, the UK pricing for which has now been confirmed:

Acorta 2016 = £104,000

Acorta 3120 = £113,000 (pic3)

C - Acorta 18x13cm

The automatic cutting plotter, which actually made its debut at the SGI 2015 tradeshow in Dubai, uses a recognition system that localises the printed objects and the position of the reference points on the table, as well as the substrate’s height to avoid manual set-up of the

job parameters. The unit provides cutting speeds of up to 102m/min with what Agfa said is maximum automation and minimum operator intervention.

The plotter is not actually manufactured by Agfa, but it is an important addition to the portfolio not only because it means the company can offer PSPs a one-stop shop for printer/finishing, but because as an Agfa branded product the Acorta can also be bought through Agfa Finance.