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Flatbed UV Inkjet Printer

(October 2005) posted on Mon Oct 03, 2005

Thieme and Agfa

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Wide-format flatbed UV inkjets complement the screen-printing process because the machines can be used to print detailed and durable graphics on a variety of substrates and profitably accommodate small orders. Unfortunately, high-speed printing is typically achieved at the expense of imaging resolution (and vice versa), which is why screen printers use multicolor inline screen presses for large quantities of graphics. Inlines can handle high-speed output while delivering the color density and robustness clients demand, and screen printing allows for the use of chemistries that inkjet printheads may not support.

Thieme and Agfa focused their joint development of the M-Press wide-format flatbed UV inkjet on high-res output at high speeds, as well as the ability to boost its capabilities with the addition of optional inline screen presses. Thieme contributed the material-handling and curing technologies, while Agfa concentrated on the :Anuvia UV-curable inks for the M-Press and partnered with Xaar to design the inkjet’s :Universal Print Head (:UPH) system.

The M-Press supports print speeds up to 4000 sq ft/hr at 509 x 509 dpi and a maximum sheet size of 63 x 102 in. (1600 x 2591 mm). Thieme says the M-Press can print 100 4 x 8-ft (1.2 x 2.4-m) sheets per hour. It uses four-color (CMYK) UV-curable inks that can reportedly last a minimum of two years on certain outdoor substrates.

The printer is available in two versions. The 3/4-automatic unit uses a belt-driven, vacuum-assisted feed table. The fully automatic model uses an automatic sheet feeder. Both feature a precision gripping system that is responsible for rapid, accurate media positioning. The gripper is controlled by an inline media-measurement system for flexible and rigid substrates up to 0.40 in. (10 mm) thick. Users can select vacuum fields and program vacuum and blow-air levels.


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