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The purchase and installation of a flatbed UV inkjet printer can require a great deal of investment capital and floor space. Unfortunately, these demands on finance and facility can place the technology out of reach, particularly for those who are just entering the digital-imaging business.

MacDermid ColorSpan designed its new ColorSpan 5400UV series of wide-format inkjet printers as a solution for those who require high-speed and high-quality printing, a conservative footprint, quick setup, and an approachable price. The 5400UV series consists of four models. Each supports a 54-in. (1372-mm) maximum print width and maximum imaging resolution of 1200 x 600 dpi. All printers are shipped fully assembled so that they can be put to work immediately. The ColorSpan 5440UV four-color (CMYK) and 5460UV six-color (CMYKLcLm) devices use four and six printheads, respectively, and support a maximum print speed of 194 sq ft/hr (18 sq m/hr). The 5445UV four-color and 5465UV six-color units use eight and 12 printheads, respectively, and support a maximum print speed of 388 sq ft/hr (36 sq m/hr).

The printers can accept roll-fed media up to 54 in. wide on 3-in. (76-mm) cores. They also feature integrated front and rear roller tables that fold down and out of the way for roll-fed operation, or fold up for use with rigid substrates. The tables extend outward from 36-60 in. (914-1524 mm) to support board lengths up to 96 in. (2438 mm). Motor-driven head height automatically adjusts to accommodate media up to 1 in. (25.4 mm) thick. Media-edge guides prevent head strikes caused by substrate edge curl, and molded pinch rollers are self-aligning to prevent media skew. Additionally, dual ion-generating static-elimination bars are mounted on each side of the carriage to dissipate top surface static charge as the carriage moves back and forth, while the electrically conductive platen discharges static buildup on the bottom surface of the media.

Each printer model features a printhead service station to maintain the health of the printheads while idle or in service, thereby eliminating the need for wiping or dabbing the heads. The 5400UV series also offers MacDermid ColorSpan’s Advanced Automation Eye, which consists of a high-resolution imaging sensor, colorimetric spectrophotometer, and embedded software to automate the setup and calibration steps critical for achieving and maintaining print quality. It includes the following:

AutoSet Calibration  analyzes dot placement of printed patterns and automatically sets the head-to-head alignment and bi-directional dot-placement alignment to compensate for variable print speeds, head-height settings, and media thickness.

AutoJet Calibration  eliminates banding in prints and extends the useful life of the printheads by mapping out an individual jet that is not up to performance standards and compensating by using another jet in its place.

AutoTune Scheduler  schedules the AutoJet calibration to occur during long, unattended print runs to ensure maximum print quality and minimize waste or reprints.

AutoEdge Detection  uses the image sensor to aid in the loading of rigid materials by detecting right, left, and leading edges, thereby allowing the printer to move the material into an exact position for printing.

Color Calibration  involves the on-board spectrophotometer supplying color data to the external RIP’s color-management software. The color-management system then adjusts the color to ensure accuracy and consistency.

Color Profiling  uses the on-board spectrophotometer to read hundreds of prints generated by the ColorSpan 5400UV series printers, allowing the RIP and color-management software to create custom ICC color profiles for third-party media.

Printers in the 5400UV series use SolaChrome UV pigmented inks, which are available in 1-liter sealed reservoirs with integrated ink filter and quick disconnect. Curing is handled by dual shuttered UV-lamp housings and user-replaceable bulbs. The printers also feature a 7-in. (178-mm) color touchscreen control panel. The printer can be driven from a variety of RIP software from MacDermid ColorSpan, Onyx Graphics, Caldara, SAi, and Wasatch. The enclosures around each printer include space to store a computer

The printers are delivered with four or six 1-l ink containers (depending on model), a 54-in. x 100-ft (1372-mm x 30.5-m) roll UV Photobase paper, 25-ft VideoNet interface cable, documentation, miscellaneous supplies and accessories, installation, and on-site training. For more information, contact MacDermid ColorSpan Inc., 11311 K-Tel Dr., Minnetonka, MN 55343, 952-944-9330, 800-477-7714, fax: 952-944-9583, Web: www.colorspan.com.

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