A robust flatbed aimed at the sign and graphics market
What does it do?
This is a high-throughput flatbed inkjet printer with CMYK plus white and clear UV-cured inks and low-temperature LED-UV curing lamps. It has the popular bed size of 2.5x1.3m to take a standard display panel, defined as 8x4ft. This is Ricoh’s second flatbed inkjet and is based on the engineering of its 2.1x3.2m Pro T7210 that was released in late 2017.
When was it launched and what market is it aimed at?
It was announced in March and was shown at the Sign & Digital UK show at the NEC in April, with deliveries due to start in Q2 this year. Its price of about £150,000 puts it at the high end of its size class, but its production-quality speed is faster than many rivals’ depending on how you count the speed/quality combinations.
According to Simon Isaacs, national sales director of Ricoh UK, it is “ideal for mainly graphic arts applications or materials and packaging applications as a result of our new graphic arts inks, which are flexible and with big colour gamut.
“Thanks to our robust engine, based on the Pro T7210, the solution is also suitable for industrial or screen-printing customers. The Pro TF6250 will be more focused on the sign and graphics sector or to new customers who would like to introduce for the first time a flatbed device into their organisation.” He also mentions the optional high-adhesion inks for “less common or industrial substrates”.
How does it work?
The Pro TF6250 has a conventional configuration, with a fixed vacuum bed and travelling gantry containing the head and lamp carriage. There are four vacuum zones for separate sheets if required, with registration pins for alignment in manual loading. Maximum media thickness is 110mm, with automatic height detection and head adjustment. Full-bleed printing to the media edges means that post-print trimming isn’t needed.
Ricoh’s MH5420 heads are fitted in a three-row staggered arrangement. They deliver 635x1,800dpi at up to 116m²/hr in draft mode. The 12-heads system runs CMYK, double white, clear and primer.
The curing lamps are UV-LED type, with the usual attributes of very long life, cool running, no warm-up time and variable output. An ionizer eliminates static, which can cause jetting inaccuracies.
Eight button and switch controls are arranged on the front panel. Worldwide, Ricoh bundles the SAi Photo Print DX software front-end. However, Isaacs says “for the European market, we aim to bundle it with the ColorGate Select version that can be upgraded to other versions. This is with graphic arts customers in mind, who require higher RIP quality and functionality. There is also Onyx and Caldera RIP software connectivity on the roadmap.”
What’s the USP?
According to Isaacs “The Pro TF6250 offers superior print speeds, media versatility (in terms of thickness) and ink adhesion for longer lasting print output.” Most competing flatbeds can only accommodate up to 50mm thicknesses. Ricoh claims that its inks are more flexible and have a wider colour gamut than competing devices.
How easy is it to use?
Isaacs says that efficiency is helped by the front-mounted controls, with access to the ink tanks also through a front panel. One-touch automated daily maintenance cleans and purges the heads to help maintain uptime. He also cites the anti-static system, pin registration, multi-zone vacuum and automated media height adjustment.
What’s the throughput?
As with any multi-pass inkjet, there’s a variety of quality settings that affect throughput. Ricoh says it ranges from up to 116m²/hr in four-colour draft mode to 64m²/hr and 48m²/hr in the everyday production and standard modes. Printing double white reduces speed by about a third.
Training, service and support?
“All of our large-format systems now come with first year service and warranty and two days customer training included in the price,” says Isaacs.
What does it cost and how is it sold?
“We expect the RRP for the basic configuration to be in a range of £150,000 upwards,” says Isaacs. “Similarly to the Pro T7210, the new flatbed will be initially offered to direct customers only. However, we are in the process of evaluating specialist partners to bring them on board.”
Ink types LED-UV cured Ricoh Pro UV T7210, GP120, DG130
Colours CMYK plus dual white, clear, primer
Max media size 2.51x1.31m, 110mm thick
Max print size 2.5x1.3m
Max media weight 45kg
Max resolution 635x1,800dpi
Speed/throughput Printing CMYK
Draft 110m2/hr; Production 64m2/hr; Standard 48m2/hr; Quality 32m2/hr, High quality 16m2/hr
Price From £150,000
Contact Ricoh 01784 416900 www.ricoh.co.uk
EFI Pro 24f
EFI’s first true flatbed is cheaper though slower than the Ricoh and doesn’t offer a clear ink or primer
Resolution Up to 1,200x1,200dpi
Throughput 57m2/hr (outdoor distant viewing), 27m2/hr (production)
Contact EFI 01246 298000 www.efi.com
HP Latex R1000
This uses HP’s versatile Latex thin film ink, with heat activated resins instead of UV-cured photopolymers
Inks HP Latex R aqueous thermopolymer
Resolution Up to 1,200x1,200dpi
Throughput 0m2/hr (CMYK indoor production), 27m2/hr (white spot)
Price About £159,000
Contact HP 0800 408 4348 www.hp.com
SwissQPrint Impala 3
A true flatbed but with integrated roll feed and rewind. There’s an option for robotic load and unload
Resolution 360 dpi–1,080dpi
Throughput Up to 180m2/hr
Price From £169,000
Contact Spandex UK 0800 772633 www.spandex.com