Image Reports’ annual Angel Awards recognise products that have been introduced to the UK during the last year, and which it considers the most innovative and likely to have an impact in the wide-format sector. We reveal the winners of 2013…
SMARTSIGN ANALYTICS (SSA)
This poster analytics package gives print providers a really useful measurement tool. Essentially it uses a tiny webcam hidden in a poster to analyse how people view that sign. It doesn’t record anyone’s picture, just the metadata about them. It can capture details such as the gender and age range of the person, as well as the amount of time they spend looking at the sign, and how many people walk past, giving genuine feedback about the effectiveness of a campaign at a given location.
Introduced at Fespa 2013, this software brings together file handling, colour management, Rippingand pre-flighting in one PDF-based workflow, with rendering and full JDF control for automated accountability. It was updated in the early autumn so that it supports the latest Adobe PDF Print Engine technology (APPE), PDF Print Engine 3.
A 3.2m-wide machine, the ColorBooster DS-320 prints simultaneously onto both sides of textile media with either the same or a different image. The system incorporates two print engines and an integrated fixation unit, and is designed for industrial-level production in 24/7 working environments where unattended operation is desired. In duplex mode throughput speeds of up to 72m2/hour are quoted.
Esko used the SGIA Expo at the end of October to launch the Kongsberg C digital finishing series and demonstrate its new i-cut Production Console software interface for operating Kongsberg tables. On show was the C64, a 3.2m wide cutting table that incorporates ‘composite traverse technology’ for media handling, and which has a new and simple interface to easetool replacement on the table.
FB10000 INDUSTRIAL PRESS
HP VP large format sign and display Xavier Garcia, described this printer as “a game changer” in the high volume market where its HDR (High Dynamic Range) technology is expected to help printers shift their retail graphics and corrugated display applications from analogue to digital. The six-colour unit can print at up to 625m2/hr on 160 x 320cm sheets, including a full loading and unloading cycle. It is aimed at those handling 40,000m2+ per month is expected to compete with screen and offset presses.
Sign and Digital UK 2013 saw the introduction of the Mimaki TS500-1800 textile printer for production environments. It has a maximum print width of 189cm, a maximum throughput of 150m2/hr, and is aimed mainly at the soft signage and interior decoration markets. It uses the Ricoh Gen5 printheads. The ink is supplied in a non-degassed form, with the printer degassing the ink once loaded which makes the ink cheaper than previous models.
SCREEN / INCA
TRUEPRESS W3200UV / AVOSET
The Truepress Jet W3200UV, developed by Screen and its subsidiary Inca Digital (which will sell it as the Avoset), received its global launch at Fespa 2013. The UV flatbed accepts media up to 3.2 x 1.6m and up to 50m thick, printing at up to 84m2/hr. It uses Dimatix Polaris printheads, which have a fixed 15 picolitre drop size. The printer can be supplied with four, six or eight channels and offers users CMYK plus light cyan and light magenta and white.
Previewed at Drupa last year but actually launched at Fespa 2013, the IJP2000 uses Memjet’s standard wide-format array with five heads stitched together for a 106.7cm print width and maximum resolution of 1600 x 1600dpi. It can produce print at around 420m2/hr, comes with a Caldera GrandRip+ and includes spot colour matching. Optional is the Xerox FreeFlow VI Design Express software – an Adobe InDesign plug-in simplifies the design and creation of variable signs; includes templates and step-by-step instructions.
EDEN LX LATEX INK
Essentially, with Eden LX inks, those with solvent printers using Epson DX printheads can convert them into latex printers. At their introduction at Fespa 2013, Bordeaux said the Eden LX inks were up to 50% more cost effective than OEM eco-solvent inks, though that obviously depends on various factors. They are compatible with most solvent and water-designated substrates.
At Fespa 2013 Agfa signalled its intention to enter the textile market with the Ardeco though the printer wasn’t actually publicly shown until the SGIA Expo in October. Aimed at the high volume market and boasting a built-in calendaring unit, the 3.2m wide printer uses Dupont disperse inks and is said to be capable of producing up to 137m2/hr. It uses the Ricoh Gen4 printhead and there’s a choice of eight or 12 heads. Resolution is 600 x 600dpi.
Launched right back at the start of 2013, this is a Cloud-based Web service that provides print-ready files and step-by-step installation instructions, allowing PSPs to design, or to work with customers through the Cloud, to produce customised interior décor applications, including mounted canvas prints and wallcoverings.
SOLJET PRO 4 XF-640
The 64in (1.6m) SolJet Pro4 XF-640 was nicknamed 'The Beast' for a reason – the 64in roll-to-roll eco-solvent printer, using Epson’s latest generation DX7 printhead, can produce 102m2/hr?in billboard mode, dropping to a respectable 63m2/hr in a high quality mode.?Resolution is 1440dpi and it runs two sets of CMYK inks.
Talk about media that offer unusual applications! This is a 320 micron PVC film that has a special or sales event. It’s said to be easily removable in one piece. It can be printed via most printers, including solvent, latex and UV-curable.