Star product: Agfa Anapurna M2500i

Barney Cox
Monday, February 9, 2015

The enhanced productivity version of Agfa’s 2.5m-wide hybrid.

What does the machine do?

The Anapurna M2500i is Agfa’s latest UV-cured hybrid wide-format printer. Its 2.5m width and the enhanced productivity of the ‘i’ version place this machine towards the top end of the Anapurna range.

When was it launched and what market is it aimed at?

Launched at US wide-format trade show SGIA last October, the Anapurna M2500i joined the M2500, M2050 and M3200. It is aimed at a broad sector of the market including signage, screen print and wide-format graphics firms. 

How does it work?

It’s a UV-cured hybrid device, which means it can be operated as a roll-to-roll machine or, if the tables are rolled up, as a flatbed. With the biggest tables fitted it can handle sheets up to 3.2m long. 

It is a six-colour plus white machine using a printhead each for CMYK and light cyan and light magenta with two additional heads dedicated to white ink. The white ink system includes agitation and circulation to prevent sedimentation and nozzle blocking. Flexible and rigid inks are available, with most users taking the flexible inks to allow work on both rigid and roll media.

Like all the Agfa machines it uses standard mercury curing lamps rather than LED UV, however Agfa inkjet marketing and channel manager Steve Collins adds that the lamps are high efficiency and use heat extraction to reduce the amount of excess heat hitting the substrates.

How does it differ from previous models?

The M2500i builds on its predecessor the M2500, the main difference, as with all the Anapurna i series machines is the use of the latest Konica Minolta 1024i printheads. These have a faster firing rate, which increases throughput, typically by 40% for a given print quality. 

“The new heads also mean we can offer a lot more options to play with regarding quality and speed,” says Collins. This includes a three-pass mode and the ability to feather the edges of the print swathe to reduce banding. 

A new feature is the optional automatic board-loading table. This enables the next set of sheets to be prepared using the normally dead time while a job is printing, which can increase throughput by 25%.

Another recent development is the introduction of the Asanti wide-format RIP/workflow. All machines now come with the Asanti Render RIP, with the option of adding the Asanti Production workflow module too. Based on Agfa’s Apogee workflow, Asanti brings those pre-flight and colour management tools to the wide-format market. Collins claims that Asanti Production can be used to drive a fleet of printers, including non-Agfa ones.

Agfa is including the Production module for free if customers take on the three-year support contract for Asanti Render.

How fast/productive is it?

Operating speeds range from 16sqm/hr in the high definition mode, the highest quality setting up to 115sqm/hr in Express mode. More typical figures are the 35sqm/hr of production mode and 28sqm/hr of standard quality mode. According to Collins production is the mode used most commonly.

What is the USP of the product?

It’s that 2.5m width that sets it apart. “That enables you to feed 8x4ft boards across the long edge,” says Collins. 

If that size of sheet makes up a lot of your work it means a more effective and faster throughput than is possible on a narrower 2m or 1.6m machine without the expense of a wider 3.2m machine. 

What support is on offer?

Installation, basic training and 12 months’ support are included in the list price. Customers can add an extended warranty for three years, if required, which also reduces the cost of any replacement heads. 

Additional training is available to help users get the best out of Asanti’s media profiling tool. It uses a reduced number of patches, which is claimed to offer very rapid results to print and read while maintaining a high profile quality. 

How much does it cost?

The base machine is £122,000 and the automatic board feeder is £19,500. The optional warranty is £8,500 per year.

Inks costs £115 per litre. Collins says that assuming a 60% coverage the per sqm price is around £0.80. 


SPECIFICATIONS

Type Hybrid

Max print width 2.5m

Max sheet size 2.5x3.2m

Printing technology UV inkjet

Price £122,000 (plus £19,500 with optional automatic board feeder)

Contact Agfa UK 07831 100771 www.agfagraphics.com


ALTERNATIVES

Fujifilm Acuity Advance Select HS HD5006

Fujifilm highlights the Acuity’s use of a fixed bed for utmost quality and quick multi-layer printing. It also offers clear ink.

Type Flatbed with roll option

Max print width 2.51m

Max sheet size 2.5x1.25m

Printing technology UV inkjet

Price From £128,000

Contact Fujifilm Europe 01234 245245 www.fujifilm.eu/print

HP FB700

HP’s FB700 is one of the few UV hybrids that offers the same 2.5m width as the 2500i. It boasts a media alignment bar for simultaneous load and print. Optional white ink.

Type Hybrid

Max print width 2.5m

Max sheet size Standard: 2.5x1.2m;  with optional media tables: 2.5x3.2m

Printing technology UV inkjet

Price £85,000

Contact HP +34 935 654 328 www.hp.com

Mimaki JFX500

The JFX is a true flatbed with a 3.2x2.1m bed, which uses LED UV lamps. 

Type Flatbed 

Max print width 2.1m 

Max sheet size 3mx2m

Printing technology LED UV inkjet

Price £125,000

Contact Hybrid Services 01270 501900 www.hybridservices.co.uk

Canon Océ Arizona 660 XT

The 660 XT UV has a double vacuum zone so one sheet can be prepared on one side of the bed while the other is printing.

Type Flatbed 

Max print width 2.5m

Max sheet size 2.5mx3.05m

Printing technology UV inkjet

Price £185,000

Contact Canon 01277 846264  www.canon.co.uk


USER REVIEW

“The new head technology means there’s no banding, it’s quicker and higher quality and Asanti is a better RIP than our old one too.” 5/5 

Chris Parker Operations manager, Projects & Print

LATEST COMMENTS ON PRINTWEEK

© MA Business Limited 2021. Published by MA Business Limited, St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road, London, SE24 0PB, a company registered in England and Wales no. 06779864. MA Business is part of the Mark Allen Group .