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Journalists and graphics printers who attended the EFI Vutek open house at Vutek’s Meredith, NH headquarters in August got an in-depth look at the company’s complete selection of wide-format inkjet printers. But the highlight of the event was the unveiling of the first operational model of the Vutek DS Series high-speed flatbed inkjet printer, shown at Drupa in June without its printheads.

Aimed squarely at graphics screen printers, the DS is a UV inkjet printer with a fixed-array printhead and shuttling vacuum table is said to achieve speeds up to 6000 sq ft/hr at 450 x 600 dpi in four-color, six-pass mode. The printer supports substrates up to 63 x 96 in. and 2 in. thick and has a top resolution of 1200 dpi, as well as support for up to eight colors (CMYKLcLmLyLk). Features of the DS series include a zoned vacuum table to support a variety of substrate sizes, automatic printhead maintenance, an optional material handling system that automates substrate loading and unloading, and a continuous ink deliver system that automatically draws from secondary ink reservoirs to fill its main tanks when they’re nearly empty. The machine will go into beta testing later this year, and Vutek expects commercial availability of the printer in the first half of 2009. According to the company, pricing for the DS series will be in the neighborhood of $1.5 million (extra for the material handling system).

Also during the open house, Vutek gave visitors a tour of its manufacturing facilities and provided technical experts to discuss the entire range of printers on display in its showroom. Additionally, attendees got to see presentations from Adobe and Ultraflex and a vehicle-wrapping demonstration by Rob Ivers of Ivers Company.

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