EFI launches "breakthrough" Vutek GS3250LX printer at Connect event

Tim Sheahan
Tuesday, May 3, 2011

EFI has launched the Vutek GS3250LX UV-curing digital inkjet printer, which it claims is a "true breakthrough in high-speed superwide inkjet printing technology".

The machine, which will be on show at this month's Fespa Digital in Hamburg, was one of a series of printers showcased at EFI Connect, which coincided with ISA International Sign Expo last week.

Other printers on show included the recently launched EFI Rastek T1000 UV flatbed printer, the newly enhanced EFI Vutek GS5000r roll-to-roll UV printer, and a technology demo of the Rastek R3204 UV-curing printer.

EFI's GS3250LX features a new curing technology the company calls "cool cure", which allows for a much lower UV cure temperature. According to EFI, this broadens the range of substrates the machine can print on, such as polybanner stock and an increased number of cardboard and corrugated materials.

The 3.2m machine prints direct to substrate up to a resolution of 1,000dpi and features white ink printing capabilities. In eight-colour plus white operation, the machine can output at 111.4sqm an hour.

Scott Schinlever, senior vice president and general manager of EFI Vutek and Rastek, said: "Not only does this printer expand what is possible in terms of substrates and applications, but it also delivers a significantly lower cost of ownership."
According to EFI, by eliminating the need for a machine warm-up time, owners will consume less energy over the course of the machine's operation.

"To date, we have shipped 135 GS3200 printers, we expect the GS3250LX to be even more productive," added Schinlever.

EFI also used the Connect conference to demo its Rastek R3204 roll-to-roll digital inkjet printer. The company is pitching the machine at customers looking for an "affordably priced" machine to produce soft signage applications.

In addition to the GS3250LX, EFI showcased its latest dye sublimation printer, the EFI Vutek TX3250r at the event.

The 3.2m machine builds upon EFI's FabriVu print concept, introduced in 2002, which targeted textile production on an industrial scale.

The new model can print in eight colours and in various output modes from 42sqm up to 84sqm an hour. EFI also confirmed that the machine could output up to 100sqm an hour on certain materials such as polyester-coated rigid or flexible substrates.

Meanwhile, EFI has filed its first quarter results which show a 26% boost in sales year-on-year and pre-tax profits of $7.5m compared to a $9.7m loss in Q1 2010.

Sales in the three months to 31 March rose to $140m from $110.8m in 2010, with the EMEA region logging the strongest sales growth at almost 42%.

Paul Cripps, EFI EMEA managing director, said: "We're very excited and clearly we need to keep going, but were encouraged by the turn of events in Q1. We starting to see some economic recovery [in EMEA], but at the same time we're increasing market share."

EFI declined to reveal more detailed results by technology, but according to Cripps, "in terms of raw percentage growth the headline areas were the inkjet business, the applications business and then a very solid growth on the Fiery side".

Speaking on the recent tie-up between Ricoh, one of EFI's OEM partners, and Heidelberg, which could result in the German manufacturer developing its own digital front end, Cripps said that he believed it would have a positive impact on EFI.

"We believe the deal will help us sell even more high-end Fierys," he said.

The product launches and Q1 results were revealed at last week's EFI 'Connect' user conference, which was attended by around 1,000 delegates, mainly EFI customers, from around the world.



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