2020 hasn’t all been bad. We’ve seen some tremendous innovation in the wide-format digital print sector, and that goes for kit, consumables and software as well as Covid-19 related print applications. Here we applaud those we think worthy of particular appreciation.
Cloud Solution Port
Cloud Solution Port is a cloud-based service that allows users to monitor large-format printers across several locations, from the production floor, or remotely via smartphone, tablet etc. At launch the supported Epson printer models were the SC-F3000, SC-F10000 – others were in the pipeline. The system provides configurable, graphics-based dashboards for operational updates on print jobs, ink levels and maintenance status, and to deliver productivity analysis.
Onyx Hub 2.0 is being marketed as ‘business intelligence software’ capable of helping helps business owners answer questions such as ‘How profitable am I?’ or ‘What’s my actual waste?’. This version has secure server encryption and user management controls to protect sensitive print production data and secure customer information. It also introduces a new site-wide job submission capability from one central location.
Designed specifically to help wide-format PSPs create bespoke storefronts that can be integrated into Web-to-print systems, this package includes customisable online product catalogues, graphic templates and themes for personalised storefronts. Users can further tailor the WebShop by creating their own categories within the customer database management suite, as well as within the sales portal, from where orders, invoices and shipping are managed. A dashboard allows staff to track orders and there’s a range of reporting options.
Harlequin Host Renderer 13 brought many new features for large-format output such as décor, textiles and corrugated packaging. These include automatic tiling to maximise the throughput of large PDF, TIFF and JPEG files. It also introduces direct printing of PNG files in addition to PDF, PostScript, EPS, TIFF, JPEG etc. There are enhanced controls over sizing of output from image file formats such as TIFF, JPEG and PNG where the image does not specify a size. There’s also extended Advanced Inkjet Screen (AIS) with the introduction of Opal - especially good at mitigating artefacts when inkjet printing on absorbent substrates at higher resolutions. The Harlequin Host Renderer has now been licensed to Mutoh for integration into the latter’s VerteLith Rip software.
Digital Factory v10 Sublimation Edition
This software includes colour profiles and colour adjustment tools as well as workflow management. It aims to eliminate the need for using other design applications to prepare print jobs by including all commonly used tools, such as step and repeat, custom print template creation, image editing tools and colour ‘knock out’ tools. Support for virtually all sublimation printers is possible, either by using the included customised direct printer drivers, or by leveraging the workflow advantages within the software and printing via the Windows driver included with most printers.
This densitometer has been developed to provide better colour matching on and between Roland TrueVis, VersaCamm, VersaStudio and VersaUV printers and printer/cutters. It works with the printer colour matching function of Roland’s VersaWorks 6.8 Rip - ensuring consistency of colour output from one printer over time or between compatible printers, for instance two or more same-model Roland devices with the same ink type, configuration and print settings.
UVgel Wallpaper Factory
This is a modular workflow solution for fully automated wallpaper production, and comprises a motorised Fotoba Jumbo Roll media loader (JRL) connected to the front of a Colorado printer, which in turn is linked-up to a Fotoba Cutter XLD 170WP and Rewinder REW 162 to automatically cut flexible media into custom sizes and lengths. An embedded taping unit, makes this a ‘print, cut, rewind and tape’ system, with wallpaper rolls ready for immediate delivery. It is available as an upgrade for existing Colorado large-format printer users and as an end-to-end solution for new ones.
Arizona 2300 series
By Canon’s own reckoning the Arizona 2300 series of LED-UV flatbed printers are more than 20% more productive than the previous generation of Arizona machines. The series comprises the Arizona 2340 XTF, 2360 XTF, 2380 XTF machines with flatbed area of 2.5m x 3.08m, and the Arizona 2340 GTF, 2360 GTF, 2380 GTF with a smaller 1.25m x 2.5m flatbed. Three colour versions are available: 4-colour, 6-colour (CMYK, double white, or white and varnish) and 8-colour (CMYK, Lc,Lm, double white or white and varnish). They all use Arizona ‘FLOW’ technology to better secure substrates in place.
HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03
Ultima Displays has come up with a self-sanitising stretch fabric using HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03 technology that has been tested to be 99.99% effective within 30 minutes against SARS-CoV-2, the Covid-19 causing virus. Treated textile can be cleaned by washing at 60°C for up to 30 washes, without effecting the antimicrobial properties. The HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03 technology is a patent pending technology and is also OEKOTEX certified, ZDHC and bluesign homologised.
Polar Street FX
Drytac Polar Street FX is a 250µ (10 mil) textured printable white matte aluminium film, coated on one side with a clear, high tack adhesive. It is PVC-free so it can be recycled. The one-part solution has achieved several slip ratings and certifications, including DIN 51130:2010 where it achieved a R12 and has passed the ANSI A137.1/A326.3 slip test. It is available in widths of up to 1,200mm (48”) and is compatible with all common digital printing technologies including eco-solvent, solvent, latex and UV.
Jeti Tauro H3300 LED S
The entry-level, hybrid Jeti Tauro H3300 LED S is a 6-colour printer (with optional white and primer) with a top speed of 302m2/hr that can be upgraded to the higher speed of its bigger brother, the H3300, launched back in 2018 and capable of delivering prints up to 3.3m wide at speeds up to 453m2/h. It uses Agfa’s Asanti workflow software, which controls and automates the process from prepress to finishing.
Kavalan PVC-free banner
CMYUK has an exclusive contract with Taya Group to supply its patent-pending Kavalan PVC-free banner range into the UK and Ireland. The substrate looks and feels like PVC but is phthalate-free, has a biodegradable coating, and has been developed for safe waste-to-energy conversion. It is REACH, RoHS, and 33P compliant, and weighs half that of some traditional PVC banner. In tests carried out by welding manufacturers FIAB and Miller Weldmaster, the results of tear strength and weldability tests were equal to, if not better than traditional PVC banner.
This dye-sub, UV-C and latex printable 100% polyester fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles. PET is crushed into flakes that are then washed before being turned into pellets that are melted, extruded and spun into polyester yarn from which Vertex Marine is then made. One roll of 3.2m x 100m material uses just under 4,000 plastic bottles.
Gardners caused a real ‘wow’ moment earlier in 2020 when it launched a pollution eating print range called ReactivAir - a specialty coating that can be used on a wide range of print applications to significantly improve air quality, while also keeping the surface cleaner for longer. The coating uses energy from sunlight to breakdown pollutants and odour molecules in the air. When sunlight hits the ReActivair coating, it prompts a series of reactions taking humidity and oxygen from the air turning them into cleaning agents that scrub the air of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and Nitrious oxides (NOx) - smog.