In 2011, Heidelberg entered into a partnership with EFI VUTEk to become a distributor of the EFI VUTEk GS Series of hybrid UV superwide inkjet printers. Heidelberg wanted to help commercial printers to capitalize on the high-margin opportunities of super wide format applications.
The Heidelberg-supplied GS series printers were quite successful, and Heidelberg decided to add the EFI Rastek H650/652 and Rastek T1000, in addition to the VUTEk QS2000, QS 3220, QS 3250r, GS3250LX LED and the TX 3250r textile machines to its portfolio.
The new entry-level Rastek H650/652 machines are UV-equipped and designed to deliver photographic image quality (4-colour plus white ink, up to 1200×900 dpi) at speeds to 139 sqm. Printers can deliver a faster service while expanding their service portfolios and leaving a smaller footprint on the environment, leading to increased customer satisfaction and higher profits. Printers who take the step with such an entry-level machine rapidly become convinced of its value for the business and buy upgrades sooner rather than later, adding to Heidelberg’s bottom line. Check the JMC Signage interview video for a report by a user of this phenomenon.
These multi-purpose printers handle a wide range of flexible and rigid media by means of a versatile vacuum belt media transport system. The EFI Rastek T1000 UV flatbed printer will be of interest to printers targeting traditional signage and specialty markets where high-definition image quality is essential. The T1000 offers a resolution of 1200×900 dpi with CMYK plus white ink support on rigid media, with no reduction in print speed (146 sqm/hr) for white ink. Both the H Series and T series Rasteks employ variable drop piezo electric heads that vary drop size on the fly from pixel to pixel.
EFI’s affordably priced, VUTEk QS series printers — the same one as initially used by JMC Signage, the company in the interview — are built for high productivity and reliability at a cost-effective price. The hybrid QS 2000 (2 meters) and QS 3220 (3.2 meters) UV machines for flatbed and roll-to-roll applications deliver high print quality and fast, continuous production speeds for printers dealing with tight deadlines and demanding customers.
Both come with print resolutions up to 1080 dpi, offer 4- or 6-color imaging and a special channel for white ink, and print up to 229 sqm/hr on a variety of flexible and rigid substrates up to 5 cm thick. The 3.2 meter roll-to-roll QS 3250r delivers exceptional quality at speeds to 564 sqm with a resolution of up to 1080 dpi and up to 8-colour imaging.
For digital textile work, the solvent-based VUTEk TX3250r prints in high quality on polyester materials. The dye-sublimation process produces brighter colours than other textile printing methods, is completely odorless, and produces images that can be washed and dried without wrinkling, folded without leaving marks, and reused. Printers serving the signage market will be able to diversify their materials offerings and convert traditional vinyl signage to products with lower shipping costs and a customer-pleasing greener footprint.
Heidelberg’s partnership with EFI VUTEk is intended to support commercial printers in growing their core businesses by offering flexible solutions and achieving tighter alignment with their client base. By adding digital wide- and grand-format technology to its portfolio, Heidelberg gives printers the ability to complete the high-margin jobs—posters, banners, backlit signage, outside displays, as well as specialty fine art reproduction, fabric and upholstery decorating and package prototyping—services and products that their customers used to go elsewhere to buy.
All VUTEk and EFI Rastek equipment is serviced by Heidelberg and (optionally) integrated via Prinect Color Toolbox, Heidelberg’s full-spectrum solution for multi-process colour management.