EFI distributor CMYUK demonstrated a prototype of the hybrid machine this week on its stand at the Sign & Digital trade show, Birmingham, but it will be given its official launch at the International Sign Expo (ISA), Las Vegas, in April. Its first European showing will be at Fespa in May.
The machine is an upgrade on EFI’s existing 1.6m-wide H1625 LED mid-level production printer, launched at ISA three years ago, with the main improvements being in speed and aesthetic.
Price point is yet to be set but EFI senior product manager G Scott Wood said it will be similarly priced to the 1625, which lists for $125,000 (£100,268).
“Using the base technology of the 1625, really the whole process was to drive more speed out of the press, so more efficiency at a similar price point where we hit the market with the 1625,” said Wood.
The machine can print at more than double the speed of the 1625, running at 90.7sqm/h in express mode, compared to 42.3sqm/h. It has a range of other modes, including distant view/outdoor, production, high quality and ultra-quality, each running at incrementally slower speeds.
It has a new glass front and user interface and, similarly to the 1625, uses LED lamps.
Wood added: “The market is always looking for defined efficiencies so to stay competitive based on what customers are looking for it’s about how you drive more value with the ROI. So we looked at ways to do that, utilising a platform that will add a pretty quick time to market. That was the drive, we need to change value proposition.”
The machine runs six channels, CMYK plus double-hit white, which Wood said was a “huge selling platform” for it. It can handle flexible and rigid substrates up to 1.6m wide and 50mm thick.
It prints photographic images at 1,200dpi using variable-drop greyscale option capability and runs off an EFI Fiery XF RIP.
Wood said that the target customer hasn’t changed from the 1625 and that the machine will mainly be aimed at mid-level or smaller shops, along with commercial printers, government agencies and in-house graphics departments for universities, hospitals and municipalities.
EFI recently outlined its plans for Fespa, which include the European debut of its new textile printers, along with the Vutek 5r and Vutek FabriVU 520 machines, first announced at its EFI Connect user conference in January.