By Richard Stuart-Turner, Wednesday 10 October 2018
EFI has handed “a more thorough launch” to its new Vutek h high-volume roll-to-roll/flatbed hybrid platform at a VIP event in Belgium.
The event, which kicked off yesterday (9 October) and continues during the week, has seen customers and international trade press journalists descend on the manufacturer’s Zaventem site for hands-on individual demonstrations and product and trend talks from senior managers.
Originally launched at Fespa in Berlin in May, the Vutek h range consists of the h3, which has three rows of 7pl greyscale printheads, and the h5, which has five.
Commercially available as of June, EFI said 16 h3 printers will have been installed by the end of October, including five in Europe. One of these has been bought by an as-yet-unnamed UK customer.
The h3 is one-day field upgradable to the h5 configuration, which is due for commercial availability by the end of the year, and EFI vice-president of marketing for inkjet Ken Hanulec said he expected around half of the existing H3 customers to upgrade.
The 3.2m-wide h series joins the established GS and LX3 series of hybrids, which were launched eight years ago, in EFI’s portfolio, though has not replaced either series.
A new platform built from the ground-up, Hanulec said the series “affords end-users higher productivity, higher quality, improved user experience and even greater reliability, meaning more uptime.”
The h3 can print at a maximum speed of 273sqm/hr while the h5 can reach 390sqm/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 and is primarily targeted at high-quality display graphics, OOH and POS applications. It runs an established EFI inkset specially tuned for the h series.
“Since Fespa, the h3 has been a great product for us. Vutek and EFI have been in the display graphics business for over 20 years and because we have a strong brand affinity we have a good, loyal following,” said Hanulec.
“This event is half an educational/classroom type environment while the other half is time in front of the equipment, which is what people love – they want to see, touch and feel the print and they want to see the features.
“Any time you play a football match in your home stadium you have a big advantage, and I liken an event like this to that. We get to bring the customers to our house, we get to set the table and it’s on us if anything is less than brilliant.
“We can show a deeper dive and we can share the inner workings and the secrets – sometimes it’s not appropriate to do that in a tradeshow environment.”
EFI, which last week announced its appointment of Bill Muir as its new chief executive officer following Guy Gecht's decision to step down, has also recently unveiled the fifth generation of its Cretaprint range of smart printers for ceramics.