EFI launches next generation hybrid at Fespa

By Darryl Danielli, Tuesday 15 May 2018

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EFI is using Fespa for the global launch of a new high-volume roll-to-roll/flatbed hybrid platform that it says is all about “faster, better, cheaper”.

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Vutek h3 is being shown running live at Fespa

The new Vutek h range consists of the h3, which has three rows of 7pl greyscale printheads and the h5, which has five. The h3 is field upgradable to the h5 configuration.

The 3.2m-wide series, which has been in development for 18 months, joins the established GS and LX3 series of hybrids, which were launched eight years ago and have notched up more than 1,200 installations worldwide.

“The h series will become truly the next generation Vutek hybrid printer, it sits between the GS and [flagship] HS," said EFI vice-president of marketing for inkjet Ken Hanulec.

The h series will not replace either series, but Hanulec said that over time it would become its flagship hybrid.

“We’ve put 1,200 printers into the market in the past eight years, and when you do that you learn a lot. Our customers are trying to do two things: lower their running costs and take on work they can’t [produce] on their current platforms.

“The h series is a ground-up new build that affords end-users, higher productivity, higher quality, improved user experience and even greater reliability, meaning more uptime. It’s an industrial build printer that is all about faster, better, cheaper.”

The h3 has a top speed of 273 sqm/hr, while the h5 tops out at 390 sqm/hr.

Both ten-channel machines can print five layers in a single pass and run either CMYK plus lc, lm, ly, lk and double white, or double CMYK for faster speeds.

The operator selects either eight- or four-colour mode, with the light channels then automatically filled from the CMYK containers to optimise productivity.

Running at 1,200dpi with Ricoh Gen 5 heads, the h series is the highest resolution hybrid in EFI’s range. It runs an established EFI inkset specially tuned for the h series.

Available with optional three-quarter or full automation, in and out, and multi-roll functionality, new features include newly developed motion belts, electronics, imaging and ink delivery systems.

Other features include ImageEdge technology for fast printhead replacement, automated table and carriage alignment and camera-based subpixel alignment.

In the run up to Fespa, EFI installed machines at four beta sites. The series will become commercially available next month.

While it is primarily targeted at high-quality display graphics, OOH and POS applications, Hanulec said “it can pretty much print anything; no two customers are alike and we can talk to pretty much any customer with this printer”.

In terms of rivals, Hanulec quipped “all my children are unique”, but hinted that the h series would go toe-to-toe with Durst machines.

The firm is running an h3 live on its stand, which also plays host to another global debut, the EFI Reggiani InNova, a new, industrial direct-to-textile "no sublimation" printer that offers in-line polymerisation through an on-board dryer to remove the need for a separate heat press/calendering process.

Other highlights include the new EFI Vutek FabriVU 340i dye-sub printer, which gets its European launch at Fespa with Ireland-based CoverUP revealed as the first user. It is also running a Vutek 3r roll-to-roll printer live on its 437sqm stand and virtual reality demonstrations of the EFI Nozomi C18000 and Vutek HS125 Pro inkjet presses.

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