Canon U.S.A., Inc. has announced a new print technology that will reportedly offer large format graphics print providers unique levels of print speed, quality, automation, and cost of operation, according to the company.
The new Océ Colorado 1640 64-inch roll-to-roll printer is designed to deliver exceptional productivity for high quality indoor and outdoor graphics, according to Canon. Customers will be able to handle peak periods with fully automated media loading of multiple online rolls, print unattended with on-the-fly quality assurance, produce instantly cured prints on a wide variety of media including heat sensitive media, and help cut expenses with low operating costs, Canon said.
“We are very excited about this revolutionary new game changing technology” said Toyo Kuwamura, executive vice president and general manager, Business Imaging Solutions Group, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “This new technology will help large format print providers to increase their print production while lowering their operating costs, enabling them to profitably grow their business. This technology will have a great business impact on the market including small, midsize and even the large production shops, everyone will benefit.”
At the heart of the new Océ Colorado 1640 is Canon’s recently announced UVgel technology. This technology combines a new UV curable ink from Canon that instantly gels on contact with the media, an advanced “self-aware” piezoelectric printhead technology, an LED-based UV system that cures without adding any damaging heat to the media, and continuous, on-the-fly, printhead nozzle monitoring and performance compensation. These technologies come together to create a 64” roll-to-roll printer that Canon says sets new standards for quality, productivity, automation, application range, and operating costs.
The Océ Colorado 1640 boasts a top speed of 1710 square feet per hour and delivers high quality, POP prints at 430 square feet per hour faster than any competing system in this segment, according to Canon. The new, technologically advanced UVgel ink instantly gels on contact with media resulting in precise dot gain and positional control, perfectly repeatable images, and instantly cured, durable prints. The low temperature LED-UV curing system moves independently from the printing carriage thus enabling uniform, post-print UV curing that further contributes to print speed and print quality. Unattended printing, automated quality assurance, unattended roll change, and reduced print waste all reportedly contribute to overall productivity.
Canon claims the Océ Colorado 1640 sets a new standard in industrialization and automation. It features a heavy-duty drawer mechanism that holds up to two rolls of media at one time, each weighing up to 110 lbs. The two rolls can be of the same media type and size or different media, and once initialized, the print engine can switch jobs between rolls without operator assistance. If an unknown media is loaded, the printer will automatically measure its thickness and adjust the print gap accordingly. This ensures the best possible print quality and reduces the risk of printhead crashes, according to Canon. This information is then stored in the media library along with other media parameters so that the next time this type of media is loaded, the printer knows exactly how to handle it.
Reliability is key for a true production-oriented printer, and the machine must be able to print while unattended. This is why Canon has developed several technologies for on-the-fly quality assurance and control. The UVgel printheads incorporate patented continuous nozzle monitoring to detect and correct any underperforming nozzles. During each and every printing pass, Canon’s patented nozzle monitoring technology automatically checks all nozzles using acoustic sampling and even detects whether nozzles are going to misfire before they actually do. In the event of nozzle failure, corrective maintenance is automatically performed.
Broad Application Range
The Océ Colorado 1640 is designed for both indoor and outdoor applications. It delivers a large color gamut, similar to solvent inks but combines this with the environmental benefits and safety profile of latex and UV-cured systems. The result is nearly odorless, VCL-free, durable, colorfast, high quality prints even on the thinnest, most heat-sensitive media. Canon’s UVgel technology features ultra-thin ink dispersion with almost no discernible physical profile on the media surface. Canon says that prints feel uniquely smooth, unlike other UV ink technologies, and satisfy the highest environmental standards for indoor usage with a virtually odorless profile.
As with all roll-to-roll printers, an important factor in print quality, and subsequently application range, is the accuracy with which the printer advances the media. Built on a heavy, robust frame for rigidity and equipped with industrial components, the media handling system uses an optical feedback loop that continuously monitors media advance. Using virtually invisible printed index marks at the edges of the media, the system measures media advances in real time to automatically correct the subsequent step size as needed.
Low Operating Costs
Canon’s UVgel technology features ink consumption much lower than competitive technologies, as much as 40%, according to Canon. This technical advantage is matched with a competitive ink price, making the ink cost of production significantly lower than competing technologies, said Canon. Looking beyond the easily measured cost savings found in every print, additional savings may be realized through automation features that help reduce operator machine handling time by up to a third compared to competitive products.
“Canon is looking forward to the U.S. debut of this product at the ISA Show in April,” said Toyo Kuwamura, executive vice president and general manager, Business Imaging Solutions Group, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “We know that there has been a lot of anticipation around this technology and we are very excited about what the future will bring.”
This product will have its first public debut in the U.S.A. at the ISA International Sign Expo in April of 2017. In conjunction with the first commercially available units, pricing and specification details will be released at that time.
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