By Simon Eccles, Monday 27 November 2017
A “heavyweight” 3.2m-wide high-speed inkjet
What does the printer do?
The Longier Hunter RU3200 is a 3.2m-wide roll-to-roll inkjet printer, with UV-cured inks and LED curing lamps.
It is built in China by Longier Digital Technologies Co, which was set up in 2011 funded by the local government together with a venture capital company. It makes several other roll-fed and flatbed printers, all with shared technologies.
The UK distributor is Hallmark Equipment Services (which has set up Longier UK with its own website). Hallmark sells directly and through a reseller, Quality Print Services (QPS). The first Hunter RU3200 in Europe was sold by QPS for installation in September, and we spoke to Chris Bailey, managing director of QPS for this feature.
When was it launched and what market is it aimed at?
The announcement was some time ago, but WAE Group in Leeds took the first one to be installed in Europe, in late September.
Who is it aimed at?
“Longiers are robustly built, they’re not insignificant pieces of equipment and they’re much more heavyweight than the 3.2m Mimakis,” says Bailey. “We’re gearing it for medium- to large-sized makers, trade houses, people like that. A little sign company wouldn’t have the space. A medium-sized signage company, people doing exhibition graphics, vehicle graphics, bigger trade houses, things like that, would take something like this.”
How does it work?
This is a reciprocating-carriage inkjet printer, using current Ricoh Gen5 printheads in three rows, which enables high-speed production. These are high-
resolution greyscale heads, giving a good tonal range with CMYK inks alone. Longier lists light cyan and magenta options, but Bailey says they’re not needed. Additional dual-white or white plus clear inks are optional.
The maximum media width is 3.2m, but several narrower rolls can be run side by side if preferred.
The printer has a zoned vacuum bed to hold the media flat and help the accuracy of print positioning.
The UV inks are supplied by Nazdar and made in the US. QPS is the UK’s main Nazdar distributor. The inks are all tested and profiled by Nazdar for the printer.
The RIP is SAI Photo Print Cloud running on a PC bought and warrantied in the UK, says Bailey. This can be run on a separate PC or integrated into the printer’s control PC (also UK-sourced), which uses a monitor, keyboard and mouse.
How does it differ from previous versions?
The RU3200 is the first of its exact type and width, though there have been roll-fed models before, all with LED curing. The RU3200 is the first with Ricoh Gen5 heads, as the others all used Konica Minolta heads. A forthcoming new flatbed, the FP2513, with a 2.5x1.3m bed, will use Ricoh heads too.
What is the USP?
“Mostly that it’s a fast, high-res, well-built machine for the price,” says Bailey. The high resolution and small drop sizes mean “you get wide-format results on a grand format printer,” he says.
How easy is it to use?
Bailey says: “If you’ve got a competent operator then it’s as easy as pie. You put your media on, load it up correctly, and as long as it’s got ink in and the job is set up you just press print and go!”
The printheads run auto cleaning and capping when not in use.
What training and support is on offer?
This is mostly handled by Hallmark, says Bailey. “We work together. The demo suite is at Hallmark and they’re responsible for most tech support though we do some here in the North. All spares are held in the UK so there’s no wait should any be required. But most of the Longiers we’ve put in have needed very little follow-up, which is what we wanted.”
How much does it cost?
“It costs £66,000, including RIP, delivery and positioning,” says Bailey.
How many are installed?
The first one in Europe was installed in September at WAE Group in Leeds. It’s configured for CMYK with an optional unbacked mesh kit that raises mesh slightly above the bed so ink going through doesn’t smear.
In total there are about 10 Longiers in the UK of all types, sold by either Hallmark or QPS.
Max print width
Ricoh Gen 5 piezo greyscale
Min ink drop size
Production mode: 80m2/hr; standard: 40m2/hr; ‘good’ resolution: 25m2/hr; High resolution: 18m2/hr
Hallmark Equipment Service/Longier UK 01767 679060 www.longier.co.uk
QPS 01704 897575 www.quality printservices.com
Introduced early in 2016, this is a 3.2m-wide grand-format roll-fed inkjet using Mimaki’s LUS-120 series flexible LED-cured inks, with a price that was half that of other 3.2m machines at the time. The target market is printers who previously have outsourced grand-format work to trade services with much costlier devices.
Max print width3.2m
Printhead Piezo (four heads in two staggered array)
Ink drop size min: 7pl; max 36pl
Resolutions300, 600, 900, 1,200dpi
Speed Typically 30-60m2/hr (CMYK commercial on banner), or 15-30m2/hr (seven-colour or white on banner). Vinyl speeds are a third slower.
Inks Mimaki LUS-120, for-colour (CMYK) or seven-colour (CMYK, light cyan, light magenta, white)
Contact Hybrid Services 01270 501900 www.hybridservices.co.uk
Fujifilm Acuity LED 3200R
Announced at Drupa, this is Fujifilm’s version of the Mimaki UJV55-320. Apart from the paint job the specifications and capabilities are almost identical. However, it runs Fujifilm’s own Uvijet inks (made in the UK) and offers a clear gloss ink as well as white in the eight-channel set. Multi-layer printing is possible.
Inks Fujifilm Uvijet, four-colour (CMYK) or eight-colour (CMYK, light cyan, light magenta, white, clear)
Contact Fujifilm 01234 572000 www.fujifilm.eu/uk