Fujifilm has launched the latest addition to its Acuity flatbed range, the entry-level Acuity 15.
The latest addition to the series, which was first introduced in 2007, was officially launched last week. According to Fujifilm’s sign and display segment manager Tudor Morgan, its development follows market research with the firm's distributors at last year's Drupa.
The research highlighted an opportunity for a flatbed machine that had a lower entry point than the Acuity 20 and 30 models machines offered. The Acuity 15 lists from £65,000, which includes RIP and basic training. There is also an optional roll-to-roll unit and RIP enhancements.
Morgan said: “One thing that came out quite clear, which is maybe not so prevalent for the UK but certainly a lot in our market, is that the adoption of UV flatbeds has happened but the type of customers who want to adopt it are of a smaller size and turnover. In a lot of our markets, people are looking for something they might want to use for four to six hours a week.
“When we introduced the Acuity platform it was at a very low cost, a ‘slowish’ machine, small footprint but it had some features and quality that hadn’t been seen before. You introduce that and then as the market moves on the customer says ‘I want it bigger and faster'.
“So what you end up doing over a period of five to 10 years is all your products become about functionality, ink systems going faster, more heads, more colours, bigger bed size, but it becomes a big stretch for smaller companies to afford that quality or that type of product, so that’s where this came from.
“A lot of customers see this as a product at a closer price point to what we originally bought out with all benefits of the new inks, RIPS and reliability.”
The machine prints in express mode at maximum speeds of 23sqm/hr at 1,200dpi resolution, the same quality as the higher-end Acuity models. It takes rigid media at a maximum size of 1.3x2.5m, at maximum thickness of 51mm, printing on a range of materials, including PVC, wood, polycarbonate and aluminium composite.
The CMYK plus white Acuity, which uses Toshiba Tec greyscale printheads and either a Caldera GrandRIP v11 or ColorGate RIP, has two instant-curing UV ink systems, a Uvijet KN multipurpose system, intended for general graphics applications and a Uvijet KV thermoforming system, intended for industrial proofing jobs. Fujifilm said its vacuum system reduces the need for masking, making it easier to load media onto the bed.
“We identified lots of companies in the industrial arena that do vacuum forming,” added Morgan.
“Those companies realistically need to have proofing, they want to be able to produce those for one-offs or two-offs to see how it goes and to do that all in the conventional way is quite time consuming and expensive.”