Agfa Anapurna L

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Operator Helen Cook is glad Saltwell Signs has entered the flatbed market as it means she gets to operate the Anapurna L

What does the Anapurna L do?
It’s a wide-format industrial UV-curable inkjet printer. It prints directly onto banner materials, dibond, dual board wood, plastic, aluminium. It can also print onto vinyl,
paper, film and canvas – anything up to a thickness of 50mm. It’s a flatbed machine, you load the paper onto the back of it and across the vacuum bed, turn on the vacuum and lamp, because the inks are UV-cured, then send it to the Anapurna and it prints it for you. It’s that easy and simple.

Why did you choose this particular machine?
We wanted to branch into the flatbed market and we chose this machine because it’s value for money and it is really user-friendly.

Did you look at any other similar machines?
We looked at the Vutek equivalent and the Inca Spyder – both flatbed machines. But the price was a major factor and they were really expensive. The Anapurna is a decent mid-range machine. We’d been to Fespa and all the big exhibitions and shows this year. The Vutek seemed complicated to run, but the Anapurna was user-friendly and the inks were fairly cheap. It’s a good stepping-stone to get into the flatbed market.

What features do you particularly like?
It has an automatic inkjet refill system. Ink levels are automatically detected in the main ink tanks. It has an audible and visible alarm that goes off when the ink is low, so if I’m in a different office I know there’s something wrong with the machine when the alarm goes off.

What features do you dislike or wish it had that it doesn’t?
It would benefit from bigger loading beds. The beds aren’t long enough so the print tends to hang off the edge. There are two detachable beds that the print goes on as it comes through the machine.

How fast is it?
25sqm an hour. The standard machines were doing a maximum of 7sqm an hour, so it’s very fast.

What’s the quality like?
At 363x725dpi, the quality is good for the work we do – mainly large-format graphics, safety signage, display posters and banners. Even though the images are viewed from 30 feet away and the quality doesn’t have to be great, it’s still really good quality for that type of work.

How much time and money has it saved?
It’s saved us a lot of time. We used to print onto vinyl and then laminate onto a rigid media, so it’s cut our work in half.

Has it won you new work?
Yes, we’ve won a couple of big contracts.

Any difficulties during installation?
There was the odd teething problem with getting the heads to come up and run properly, but that was just a case of pumping the ink through. The supplier was brilliant.

What about the service?
The service is spot on. If there’s a problem and we ring Agfa, they’re here in a couple of hours.

Who do you think the machine is right for?
It’s a good machine to have for anybody wanting to get
their foot into the wide-format market. We originally bought it to do supergraphics for one of our clients but the range
is boundless.

Under what circumstances would you buy another?
If our workload increased then maybe we would buy another, but I think we’d have to move to a larger factory because it’s quite a big machine.

CONCLUSION
User’s verdict
Speed 4/5
Quality 5/5
Reliability 4/5
Value for money 5/5

Supplier’s response
“One of the main benefits is its high speed – the machine has three UV lamps for faster drying,” says Amy Le Corney, marketing implementation manager at reseller Robert Horne. “Saltwell Signs has always been at the cutting edge of sign-making and this machine helps them achieve a good quality output and at the same time get a taste for the flatbed market. Not having to cope with the finishing side also drastically reduces work time because they can print directly to a substrate, which gives a bigger output.”
Price £100,000
Contact Robert Horne 01604 495 333

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