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Make the switch to UV flatbed...?

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by Charles.gairrett, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. Charles.gairrett

    Charles.gairrett New Member

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    Jun 25, 2010
    I am currently running an Hp designjet 9000s, printing out about 9000sqft. of rolled pvc a month. The company I work for is considering upgrading to a second printer or a UV flatbed. Our work is scheduled to double to around 20,000 square foot a month beginning in October. I have been reasearching UV flatbeds due to the fact that I can print directly to the substrate and use the worker bees to do other mundane tasks, as opposed to applying vinyl 40 hours a week. I wanted some honest opinions from people with a UV printer. Of the options I am looking for something cheaper than $200k with a possible white option (as we apply to clear lexan). I have spoken with Oce and they want to sell me a 350XT. I read through a few thousand pages and checked product specs on the Gerber Solara IonX, Mimaki JFX 1631(although I can't find a distributor), and Fuji's Acuity. I want to be able to print onto styrene(abs plastic) as well as Lexan, with print sizes between 60x96 (5x9) and down to 8x30. The salesmen are really clouding my judgement and I just want to know what I'm getting into before I make the leap.

    Any and all comments are welcome. You can even flame me.
     
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  2. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Welcome from PA................................
     
  3. Charles.gairrett

    Charles.gairrett New Member

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    Thank you Gino.
     
  4. Dice

    Dice Active Member

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    Charles make sure you research hard on the Ion. I've heard nightmare story's of the machine breaking down and the inks not sticking. I've also heard stories of their owners loving them as well. It's probably the cheapest flatbed out there so it has that going for it.

    JFX is a Great flatbed it's problem is, it has cartridge based inks at a high 40c+ psft. It's also a bit slow. Mainly used for High end art as it's quality far exceeds all flatbeds.

    The Fuji Acuity is the same as the OCE Arizona. Oce has a new Arizona 550 which is very fast and quality is awesome. The only problem with these printers are they are $$$. Fuji will tell you their printer is better because it uses their fuji inks. Oce will tell you the inks are the same and the printer is the same. I have test prints from both and they both look good but the inks do look different a bit so don't really know who to believe. Their are three main choices on the Arizona, the 200, 350 and 550. All pretty much the same quality only different is speed.

    I'm also looking at getting a flatbed in about 3-6 months and have been researching for about a year.
     
  5. Charles.gairrett

    Charles.gairrett New Member

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    Thanks Dice.
    I'm still a little curious as to if I would need to use a bonding/cleaning agent to print onto ABS as that would add to the cost to run. Also how scratch resistant the prints would be.

    As for the nightmare stories, that is a major concern. UV's are still in "new tech" stage and how many people are there that can actually service/repair one. If I have to call a guy and wait a week then I may as weel give up now.
    I'm really only in the need for 360 dpi and most of these printer way exceed that need. I like the speed of the Ion(as advertised) but I wish there was a higher speed, lower resolution, cost effective model. Every model I found sacrafices speed for quality. Or has the speed I want but not the sizes that I need to print.
     
  6. cdiesel

    cdiesel Very Active Member

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    I'd definitely recommend going with a flatbed. We were in the same boat as you (printing/mounting about 7500sf a month) until we purchased our HP FB950. We absolutely love the machine.

    HP just introduced the FB700 which replaces the 950. It looks to be the same machine looking at the specs. Don't know what they want for the thing, but we were able to make a screaming deal on our 950. I just heard they have a couple left, so it might be worth giving your local dealer a call.

    As for the Ion's speed, I've never heard anyone touting that. I've heard that machine is *slow*. We print at 600x600 and get about 12 boards per hour. Printing on a flexible media is a little faster. If we need more speed, we can crank it up to 300x600, but there is a noticeable print quality difference. It's fine for mesh banner, but anything else isn't going to cut it.
     
  7. DigitalManiacs

    DigitalManiacs New Member

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    Have you thought about a combination machine like the Mimaki UJV160 which can do roll to roll as well as a flatbed configuration. With this type of printer you can have lots of redundancy (since it retails for under 60k) as well as the flexibility of having the roll to roll capability also.

    Steve
     
  8. supersignmart

    supersignmart Member

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    Hp fb950

    We have owned a FB 950 for one year and have ran it for an average of close to 50 hrs a week since. We print mainly on coroplast and banners but also do some styrene. This printer has been a great printer. Tech support has been equally great. Hp has a new version the FB700 which has a white option. Please contact me if you have any questions about our printer, we will be glad to talk to you about it. BTW we love it so much we are considering another one.
     
  9. rfulford

    rfulford Active Member

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    When I saw the HP700, I was told it would be sub $100k. I was also told that it could only be purchased through their distributor channels and not from HP directly. As far as deciding between an Arizona or an Acuity, I would probably go with whomever offers the cheapest ink. One thing to consider though, Sericol will sell you an acuity and provide great support regarding the ink.
     
  10. Hzone15

    Hzone15 Member

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    The HP 500 and 700 are viable options. While the quality of the print is not as good as Oce or Fuji, the ink is very durable at 1200 x 600 dpi.

    To me I would stay away from the UJV for Rigid applications. Pinch roll devices on rigid boards is very limited. We have a customer running the UJV and he loves it for Roll applications.

    The Solara Ion I would stay away from as well, they pretty much stopped the market with this product release waiting to see if it was viable. Well I think its safe to say they didn't get the results they were looking for.

    I did a test drive on the FB500 at HP in Atlanta and was pleasantly surprised.

    The JFX is a great concept, like the quality, size, true flatbed. My thought is they went wrong pricing it out just under 200,000 for 70 sq. ft. per hour! Wow.

    The FB 500 fully loaded is somewhere around $120,00 MSRP

    The 700 is around 165,000 with all options again MSRP
     
  11. cdiesel

    cdiesel Very Active Member

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    Like Hzone, I'd be weary of any pinch roller printers for rigid media. I don't know of a single one that works well. Many of feed problems and bad double sided registration, not to mention the likelihood of head strikes.

    FWIW, the FB950 (and FB700) is a hybrid machine, but uses a 4' long vacuum belt to transport the media. WAY different than pinch rollers.
     
  12. SecondCityPrint

    SecondCityPrint New Member

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    Here is a few clarifications around the OCE arizona. The ink for the OCE is manufactured by Sericol , the same as for the acuity. If I look on the ink bags for our OCE 350gt there is a little Sericol AND Fuji logo. OCE manufactures these printers and Fuji rebrands them as the Acuity. Also, the OCE XT has a double wide print bed ,so 8x8', that will allow you to load a sheet while the printer is still printing. We have the 350 gt which has a standard 4x8' bed which is pretty good for most of our needs. The quality is fantastic and and on production mode I can print a full 4x8' sheet of coro in just under 10 minutes. It does not, however, like finger prints but I have found that a quick wipe with 99% iso will generally do the trick. On quality mode finger prints will generally disappear.
     
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