Gerber Scientific Products, Inc.
Wide-format UV inkjet printers appeal to graphics producers, whether the shops specialize in display or functional applications, because they offer the ability to print short-run jobs, one-offs on demand, prototypes, and other work that would sap the profits from high-output-oriented processes such as screen printing. UV inkjet printers also support rigid and flexible media, print inks formulated without VOCs, and typically can operate without the use of special exhaust or ventilation systems.
The steady adoption rate of wide-format UV inkjet systems by screen printers speaks to the value of having a digital imaging technology on hand to complement the screen process; however, heat buildup created by curing lamps is among the key considerations for which printers must adjust or compensate when printing on temperature-sensitive, thin, fragile, recycled, or other demanding substrates. Excessive heat in the curing section can damage these materials and cause ink-adhesion problems.
Gerber Scientific Products, Inc. designed its Gerber CAT UV wide-format UV inkjet printer, the newest member of the Gerber ion family, with a curing system and inkset designed to accommodate delicate materials and improve ink adhesion to a variety of media. Gerber’s Cold Fire Cure technology uses low energy and low temperatures to cure proprietary GerberCAT cationic inks (CMYK) that are supplied in 1-l bulk pouches. The inks are formulated to cure to a strong, but flexible, mechanical bond and to offer up to three years of outdoor durability. The Cold Fire Cure system emits a specific wavelength of UV light to cure the company’s cationic UV inks. Gerber notes that the inks offer unmatched adhesion to the widest variety of materials, create graphics that can be used immediately, and do not produce unpleasant odors or ozone, thereby eliminating the need for special exhaust or ventilation systems.
Dual Cold Fire Cure UV lamps are engineered to provide maximum output without a burn-in period, and the company says a low operating temperature reduces the time required for warm-up cycles. Gerber reports that curing occurs at approximately room temperature, which enables the CAT UV to print directly onto including heat-sensitive plastic, vinyl, fabric, and paper-based materials. Other compatible substrates include polycarbonate, chipboard/cardboard, acrylic, corrugated plastic, polystyrene, painted aluminum, lined mesh, MDO/MDF, glass, cabinet-grade plywood, styrene, and more.
CAT UV supports printing dimensions up to 64 x 100 in. (1626 x 2540 mm) without roll-to-roll and 64 x 120 in. (1626 x 3048 mm) with roll-to-roll, maximum printing width of 63 in. (1600 mm), maximum material thickness of 1 in. (25.4 mm), and imaging resolutions of 635 x 360 dpi (uni-directional and bi-directional print modes) 635 x 720 dpi (two uni-direction and three bi-directional print modes), and 1058 x 720 dpi (two uni-directional and two bi-directional print modes) with 14-pl printhead technology. CAT UV can print at speeds up to 306 sq ft/hr (28 sq m/hr), based on full-table printing. Gerber says that the CAT UV’s true flatbed configuration offers greater overall accuracy and tighter registration than belt-fed inkjet printers. And, as Gerber puts it, the printer’s quick-change system allows operators to switch from flat stock to rigid media with the push of a button.
The CAT UV supports Ethernet TCP/IP connectivity and can be driven by software from Onyx, ErgoSoft, SAi, Cadlink, and Wasatch. The printer’s overall size is 104 in. W x 148 in. L x 52 in. H (2642 x 3759 x 1321 mm). For more information, contact Gerber Scientific Products, Inc., 83 Gerber Rd., South Windsor, CT 06074, 860-643-1515, 800-222-7446, fax: 860-648-8595, Web: www.gspinc.com.
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