Graphics screen printers often look to wide-format inkjet printers when they need to profitably print short runs or quickly produce a few more pieces from a previous job on demand. But what happens when the low-volume work involves different substrates? The ability to print on dissimilar materials without the downtime to make lots of adjustments can make a big difference in a shop’s bottom line.
Digital Systems Technology (DST) designed its Octra 1440e wide-format flatbed/roll-fed UV inkjet printers to allow screen printers to efficiently handle short runs and jobs that require the use of different types of media in quick succession. The printer uses a belt-feed system that DST says eliminates banding and other issues that may arise when loading a variety of media for the same job through the friction-feed systems used in some inkjet printers.
The belt’s urethane coating has a tacky quality to it that grips the media and ensures more intimate contact between the media-transport system and substrate. According to DST, once the printer is linearized, the operator can, for example, start with styrene, go right to corrugated plastic, and then switch immediately to pieces of glass without adjusting the printer’s linearization (printer profiles must still be adjusted accordingly). Should the belt become dirty or hit with ink overspray, the operator can use a standard household cleaner or soap and water to clean it and restore its tacky surface.
The Octra 1440e is available in two models: UV 6440e and UV 8740e. The 6440e supports a maximum media width of 64 in. (1626 mm) and a maximum print width of 59 in. (1499 mm). The 8740e supports an 87-in. (2210-mm) maximum media width and an 82-in. (2083-mm) maximum print width. Both models accommodate a 3-in. (76-mm) media-core diameter, a maximum media weight of 176 lb (80 kg), and media up to 1.5 in. (38 mm) thick.
The printers use Epson piezo printheads to image at resolutions from 360 x 360 dpi to 1440 x 1440 dpi. Head height can be adjusted in 1-mm increments and set at a special high position to accommodate heat-sensitive substrates and materials that are out of caliper, curled, or otherwise not perfectly flat and level. Both models support four-, six-, and eight-color printing, including CMYK, 2xCMYK, Lc, Lm, Or, Gr, White, or Overprint Clear. The UV-curable pigmented inks are stored in 2-l reservoirs and can be refilled on the fly. Both offer five print modes and a maximum print speed of 425 sq ft/hr (39.5 sq m/hr), and they come standard with two UV-curing lamps.
Feed and take-off tables are included with both printers. The tables previously allowed for a 36-in. (914-mm) infeed and 28-in. (711-mm) outfeed, but DST says the tables will, from now on, offer a 72-in. (1829-mm) infeed and a 48-in. (1219-mm) outfeed. DST notes that the longer infeed table gives users a more generous work surface and permits them to piggyback stock—use one substrate as a guide, or lay stop, for the next. The printers also are equipped with roll-feed systems and rewind units.
Octra 1440e printers come with a computer system. It includes a Pentium 4 PC with keyboard and mouse, 512 MB RAM, 80-GB hard drive, 15-in. LCD monitor, ColorGATE color-management software, and ICC-profiling and GretagMacbeth Eye-One color-measurement software. DST says any market RIP can be used.
The UV 6440e’s dimensions for installation are 144 in. wide x 65 in. deep x 65 in. high (3658 x 1651 x 1651 mm). It weighs 2765 lb (1250 kg). The UV 8740e’s dimensions for installation are 175 in. wide x 65 in. deep x 65 in. high (4445 x 1651 x 1651 mm). It weighs 3090 lb (1400 kg). DST offers a 12-month guarantee on the printers, except printheads and consumables. For more information, contact Digital Systems Technology Inc., 1360 Clay St., North Kansas City, MO 64116, 816-842-2328, fax: 816-842-2358, e-mail: [email protected], Web: www.digitalsystemstechnology.com.
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