Agfa is returning to the high productivity end of large format printing and aims to become regain the leading position it had with the MPress.
The press had been announced at Fespa, and represented there by a Lego model. Last week Agfa threw open the doors of its showrooms in Mortsel near Antwerp, welcoming printers from across the world with two of its new flagship machines in action.
The Jeti Tauro H3300 LED UV hybrid press is the device to do this it believes. It offers 3.2 metre wide printing at up to 453m2/hr and crucially for Agfa’s strategy the lowest cost of ownership in its class. This is achieved thanks to printing a thin film on the large substrate using high pigment nano particulate inks. LED UV curing reduces energy consumption and reliability should reduce service cots. “This is a very robust machine, built for 24/7 operation,” says Reinhilde Alaert, product marketing manager for the sign and display business “It is designed for a wide range of materials, paper heat sensitive films, wood glass and corrugated among them.”
It can be configured with robotic loading and unloading of boards, twin reels of films and vinyls, and with up to 60 Ricoh Gen5 printheads. The Tauro H3300 offers two-, four-, six- and eight-pass quality, running CMYK plus light cyan and light black across six print head channels. It will also print white and a primer if specified.
Independent testing, by US bodies SGIA and Idealliance, has validated the accuracy of Agfa’s clam, comparing ink calculations for the same job and same quality levels across different machines. The inks comprise very finely ground pigment particles, smaller than specified by print head manufacturer which, combined with a filtration system, will reduce damage to nozzles. This results in litho like ink film thicknesses with high colour vibrancy and an extensive colour gamut with four colour printing.
The use of InkTune software, an ink optimisation application within the Avanti workflow, reduces ink usage based on GCR principles, helps reduce the ink consumption and underpins the total cost of ownership claims.
ColorTune within Avanti is intended as a colour management application centred on grey balance measurement to achieve ISO 12647 consistency. The inclusion of the light black ink channel is part of this approach.
“Two-pass printing will result in saleable quality,” says Alaert, dependent on the subject matter and surface printed.
The arrival of the Tauro H3300 follows success of the Tauro 2500 which has notched more than 150 installations since launch last year. Agfa claims almost 300 installations in the mid production hybrid sector of the display print market.
This has helped grow its inkjet division at double digital rates and revenue from printers and ink account for “a substantial part of Agfa Graphics’ performance” according to Willy van Dromme, VP marketing for the large format business.
While the printers are made outside Belgium, the Jeti range in Canada and Anapurnas by a long standing OEM partner in South Korea, all R&D is located in Antwerp. “In the last eight years, inkjet has experienced a very nice year on year growth. In 2017 we enjoyed strong double digit growth,” he says.
As well as machines, Agfa is producing ink for third parties, enjoying “close to exponential growth” and is taking its first steps into industrial printing with a twin focus, laminated for walls and floorings and printing on natural leather for belts, bags and footwear.
Guests to the event did not walk away with samples of this type of printing (though Agfa’s marketing teams were wearing brightly printed sneakers). Instead each returned home with 138 Lego bricks enabling them to build their own model of the new machine.