What does it do?
The Jetrix LXi7 is a large format flatbed printer, built by Korean ink manufacturer Inktec. It has a large bed of 2.5x3m, and will take substrates up to 100mm thick and up to 80kg/sqm. There’s also a smaller LXi6, announced at the same time. This has a bed of 2.5x1.28m, but is otherwise identical to the LXi7. There’s a roll-to-roll option available for both.
They are fitted with Konica Minolta’s latest 1024i printheads, with one head per colour. It will take up to eight heads for the standard inkset of CMYK plus light cyan and light magenta, leaving two channels for a mix of white, varnish or primer. Ben Woodruff, sales manager for Inktec Europe, says customers are particularly interested in the varnish.
When was it launched and what market is it aimed at?
It was announced at the beginning of this year. It’s aimed at the signage market, including retail point of sale, as well as outdoor wayfinding and building site hoardings. Woodruff says it has the image quality and colour gamut necessary for fine art work, and it will print glass, steel and heavy substrates for industrial applications.
How does it work?
This is a mid-production UV flatbed printer. The bed is big enough to take two 8x4 sheets so that you can print on one while setting the next one up enabling a more or less continuous production.
How does it differ from previous models/versions/products?
This printer replaces the older KX6 flatbed, with the main difference being the use of LED curing in place of conventional mercury lamps. Woodruff says: “The colours are more vibrant because we are using light rather than heat so the print is not dulled down.” This also means that the printer can handle thinner, heat-sensitive substrates where before there would have been the risk of the heat from the lamps deforming them. LED curing also uses less energy and the arrays should last the lifetime of the printer.
How fast/productive is it?
The Konica Minolta 1024i printheads deliver drop sizes of 6-14 picolitres and resolution from 900×360 dpi up to 1080x720dpi. It can produce 23sqm/hr in its highest quality Fine Art mode, while the standard Production mode can print 44sqm/hr, rising to 78sqm/hr in Draft mode. Woodruff says: “We see a gap because there’s not a massive amount of machines in the mid-range and we can compete on price and speed.”
What is the USP of the product?
Inktec has spent a great deal of time developing the Graphical User Interface so that operators can carry out a whole range of actions, such as cropping or resizing images, flipping images to print on the reverse of a sheet, or making changes to variable data text, all from the control panel on the machine without having to go back through the RIP. This means many of the RIP functions, setting up the artwork and the colour management profiles, can be done in the pre-press department.
It also allows the operator to link a batch of prints to the vacuum of the table. The operator aligns each sheet using pins built into the table, and when those pins are dropped, the vacuum engages and the machine starts printing immediately, which helps to improve productivity.
How easy is it to use?
Woodruff says Inktec has worked hard to make the software simple to understand and that it is easy to teach someone how to use the printer. He adds: “We recommend getting several people trained so that they can cover if someone is off.”
What training and service support is on offer?
The printer comes with two days on-site training and a three-year warranty as standard. Woodruff comments: “We found the machines to be so reliable that we are willing to put our money where our mouth is.”
How much does it cost?
The standard configuration for the LXi7 complete with eight printheads costs £120,000, which includes delivery and installation. The price does not include the RIP – the Jetrix printers will support PrintFactory, Onyx and Caldera. For comparison, the smaller LXi6 costs £100,000.
What is the sales target and how many are installed?
Inktec is in the process of launching this printer into the UK market, having announced it this year with the printer only just becoming available. It will be given its official debut at the Sign & Digital show in May, and Woodruff says that his aim is to sell as many as possible.
Bed size 3x2.5m
Media height Up to 100mm
Ink UV LED
Colours CMYKlclm. Optional white, varnish, primer
Roll-fed option Yes
Price From £120,000 (complete with eight printheads)
Contact Inktec Europe 01993 862 770 www.inktec-europe.com
Agfa Jeti Mira 2732
Agfa sells the Jeti Mira, now also with LED curing. It comes with six colour plus white and there’s an option to add varnish or primer. There’s a smaller version available.
Bed size 3.2x2.7m
Colours CMYKlclm plus white. Options for primer or varnish
Speed (sqm/hr) 13 to 248
Price From £195,000
Contact Agfa Graphics 020 8231 4983 www.agfagraphics.co.uk
Canon Océ Arizona 1300 XT
For the latest version of the Océ Arizona, Canon has adopted LED curing. The standard model comes with four printheads for CMYK, but it’s also available with six or eight heads for additional colours.
Bed size 3x2.5m
Colours CMYK. Optional Light cyan, light magenta, white, varnish
Speed (sqm/hr) 11.9 to 52.8
Price From £128,000
Contact Canon 01737 220000 www.canon.co.uk
SwissQprint Oryx 3
SwissQprint’s Oryx 3 is a 2.5x2m flatbed and while it’s standard bed size is smaller than the LXi7, it can be configured with oversized board option for boards up to 4m long. It can be fitted with up to nine printheads.
Bed size 2.5x2m
Colours CMYK. Options for up to 5 additional colours (white, varnish and technical primer also available)
Speed (sqm/hr) Up to 65
Price From £140,000 (with oversized board option)
Contact Spandex UK 0800 77 26 33 www.spandex.com