EFI on upskilling trends, new product roll-out

Jo Francis
Wednesday, February 3, 2021

EFI has reported a surge in the take-up of online training as customers look to upskill during lockdowns and periods of reduced demand.

Weiss: EFI hopes to keep up the remote training momentum
Weiss: EFI hopes to keep up the remote training momentum

Speaking at the manufacturer’s EFI Engage virtual user conference this week, Toby Weiss, senior vice president and general manager of Fiery, said that more than 8,000 users had completed remote learning sessions to become Certified Fiery Experts during 2020.

The programme involves 15 hours of study.

“We are really working towards self-empowering our customers and channel partners,” Weiss explained.

“We have hundreds of thousands of users, and the question is, how do we empower people? Virtual training has made things easier to find.”

Weiss said he expected the trend to continue.

“Some print shops have closed, and some people have shifted roles. Training is a key part of our strategy for this year,” he added.

“We had been looking at remote training prior to the pandemic, and we hope to keep up that momentum. Certification means a lot to us and our customers – be proud of it and wear that badge with honour!”

EFI also highlighted some of the latest Fiery features that have come to the fore during the pandemic, including a series of simple building blocks that users can adopt to create an automated workflow. 

Colour tools have also been enhanced. Fiery Edge profiling technology has default ‘out of the box’ profiles for different printer types, and can be tuned for specific output devices. Fiery JobExpert looks at file attributes and automatically chooses the best settings; while Fiery ColorGuard verifies colour matching and provides analytics and colour compliance reports.

Weiss also said he expected automation to remain a key driver, beyond the pandemic: “It reduces errors, lowers costs, and means you can use your people for higher-value tasks. Automation will continue to be important in the next few years.”

EFI has just released a new version, v6.6, of its Fiery Command WorkStation job management interface. 

During the Engage event, which concludes this week, EFI has also released more details about its new superwide UV LED roll-to-roll printers, the Vutek Q3r and Q5r.

The new models can have up to nine colours: CMYK and optional lc, lm, lk, white and clear coat. They use EFI’s UltraDrop inkjet technology with a top resolution of 1,200dpi.

The Q5r is 5.2m-wide and runs at up to 672sqm/hour, while the Q3r is 3.5m-wide and has a top output speed of 558sqm/hr.

EFI said the new printers were able to handle “the most demanding” and challenging applications such as cosmetics displays and jobs requiring multi-layer white.

Other features include auto calibration and inline quality inspection, inline slitting and cutting, and automated backlit and blockout printing. EFI said the printers were designed to run different types of media “very simply and efficiently”.

Ken Hanulec, vice president of worldwide marketing at EFI, emphasised the versatility of the new devices, which he said delivered “one big competitive edge for our customers”.

“We designed the EFI Vutek Q3r and Vutek Q5r to go beyond printing to provide a complete print to finished graphic workflow – from RIP to finished product – on the same platform,” he stated.

EFI also gave a sneak peek at some upcoming developments. The Vutek XT hybrid printer “the fastest Vutek printer ever built”.

It will output 375 boards per hour, or more with multi-up printing.

“At the time of launch we plan to have pallet-to-pallet automation, jumbo roll handling, and robotic solutions,” Hanulec said.

It has a “completely redesigned” ink delivery system, named as CP5G.

EFI said the device had the potential to cause “economic disruption” by printing in CMYK, removing the need for eight-colour printing.

In addition, the EFI ‘Single Pass Printer for Display Graphics’ which uses Nozomi technology,  has a format of 1.6mx3.2m and runs at up to 1,000 boards per hour. There are plans for a high capacity roll-to-roll option in the second phase of its launch. “You can print one or print many, including thousands,” Hanulec added.
It is driven by the Fiery Blade continuous feed digital frontend.

EFI Engage concludes this week, with the final sessions taking place on Thursday (4 February). The content will then be available to replay for ticket holders for a further two weeks. 

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