If it looks like a hybrid super wide format inkjet printer, prints onto media you would associate with super wide format inkjets, and is as huge as super wide format inkjets, would it then be OK to call it by that name? After EFI VUTEk’s new HS100 Pro launch — perhaps not.
The new HS100 Pro is a 3.2 metres wide hybrid digital UV printer. It handles up to 100 beds or boards per hour (50 boards in P-O-P mode). So far little new, except perhaps that it’s quite speedy. Bu then come the output specifications, and these are quite exceptional. This new printer comes with true greyscale technology and up to 8 colours. Combined with what EFI VUTEk has dubbed “Pin & Cure” technology, the HS100 Pro can lay down ink at very precise locations for a high image quality with a wide colour gamut, better gloss control and fewer artifacts.
Few other super wide format inkjet printers (3.2 metres and above) exist that can boast a continuous tone (true greyscale) using 0 to 36pL ink droplets. I found none other, except perhaps the biggest Durst Rho P10, which is actually much bigger than EFI VUTEk’s HS100 Pro and therefore also much more expensive. That one does 10pL droplets, resulting in what they claim is 1000 dpi resolution capabilities.
In addition, the HS100 Pro can be controlled through the Fiery XF RIP, which has superior features in the colour tool department as well as audit functionality (bi-directional communication with the printer).
So, is this still “only an inkjet”? I think not. I think the HS100 Pro, the Durst Rho P10, and super wide format inkjets like it are slowly closing in on offset, both in terms of speed and output quality. Give or take a couple of years, but in the very near future offset printing presses will be a thing of the past. With offset you simply can’t deliver the same scope of printing services that you can with a super wide format inkjet.