EFI ships “next generation” hybrid printer

10 Oct 2018
Topics: hybrid printing, EFI

The Vutek h3 running dual roll jobs at EFI's customer centre in Belgium


The Vutek h3 hybrid UV LED wide-format printer previewed at Fespa is now shipping, and updates to the r3 and r5 roll-fed models are forthcoming, EFI revealed at a customer event at its Zavantem, Belgium showrooms. 

Described by product manager Thomas Krumm as "completely re-engineered", the Vutek h3 is a belt-driven 3.2m wide-format printer with LED UV curing that can also handle rigid media up to 5cm thick. It uses Ricoh Gen 5 greyscale print heads to deliver a 7pl drop size offering resolutions up to 900 x 1200dpi and throughput of up to 288sqm/hr. A field upgrade to the h5 specification, which Mr Krumm says can be completed in one day, ups the productivity to 362sqm/hr by adding two further rows of printheads to the three in the h3.

The printer is offered in four- or eight-colour configurations, the latter including white, which may be printed double-hit with only a 25% speed penalty, plus light versions of all four process colours for improved gradation and tonal detail in photographic images. It is also able to print up to nine layers in a single pass, which as well as enabling "embossing" textured effects allows day-and-night backlit or two-sided display graphics to be printed in a single pass, ensuring front-to-back registration as well as enhanced productivity for this kind of work. Software support for these capabilities is built into a forthcoming software update for the accompanying Fiery DFE, simplifying the set-up in prepress.

Automation options go up to "¾" automation which automates everything except loading of an (optional) input stacker. Various serviceability and reliability improvements have been designed in and include the ability to top-up ink supplies while the printer is running. Mr Krumm reported that the four beta test sites (three in the US and one in Europe) were achieving 99% sellable quality from their machines. EFI anticipates selling 16 h3 units by the end of 2018, six of them in Europe, and says the h5 upgrade will be available by the end of the year.

At the event Ken Hanulec, general manager of EFI's display graphic division, stated that this division is responsible for around US $370 million of the company's $1 billion turnover and previewed other forthcoming models. These include the Vutek Pro 32r, a 3.2m entry-level/mid-market roll-fed printer that will also be available via Ricoh and Nazdar (subject to territory), and "plus" versions of the 3r and 5r roll-fed models based on customer feedback that will offer better speed/quality balance, new white printing modes and double-bladed slitters to improve productivity.

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