EFI showcased the latest advancements in its industry-leading portfolio of UV-curable inkjet printers, workflow software and MIS/ERP products at the 2013 SGIA Expo. New offerings include the 3.2-meter EFI VUTEk GS3250lxr Pro, the first dedicated roll-to-roll printer to use EFI's highly successful LED "cool cure" technology.
"Our SGIA exhibit highlights the new opportunities customers have to expand their media options, remove process steps, reduce operating costs and produce higher-margin jobs," said Scott Schinlever, senior vice president and general manager of EFI's Inkjet Solutions. "With the new VUTEk GS3250lxr Pro, we are extending the benefits they get with our LED curing technology — a proven, green technology that saves many of our customers money by reducing their consumables waste and energy consumption. This technology also provides higher uptime with greater reliability because it uses no traditional heat in the curing process."
With the launch of the VUTEk GS3250lxr Pro, EFI — a winner of SGIA's 2013 Sustainability Recognition Award — now has the industry's largest fleet of environmentally friendly LED inkjet production offerings. VUTEk LED printers are also part of the industry's broadest portfolio of digital inkjet and print workflow products. EFI's portfolio is a collective offering that features narrow web, wide format and superwide format printers; market-leading MIS, ERP and web-to-print systems; and EFI Fiery, the world's most popular color digital front end (DFE) platform.
At the SGIA Expo, EFI also announced commercial availability for its VUTEk GS Pro-TF thermoforming system, a UV printer and ink combination that advances the industry's analog-to-digital transformation by bringing inkjet printing to the thermoformed product decoration market. Printing firm Interstate Graphics Inc., Machesney Park, IL, is the first business to use the technology, following the October installation of a 2-meter VUTEk GS2000 Pro-TF printer operating VUTEk GS-TF inks.
"Today, we do screenprinting for customers who want thermoformed work," said Interstate Graphics president John Norwood. "Our new EFI VUTEk GS2000 Pro-TF is an option for them to go digital."
Additional EFI technologies on display at the SGIA Expo included:
• The EFIVUTEk HS100 Pro, a high-end, high-speed 3.2-meter inkjet press with new, full-automation material handling options that provide greater efficiency in the transition from analog to digital printing.
• The EFI VUTEk GS3250lx Pro, a 3.2-meter, premium-quality printer that offers LED's green, energy-saving benefits in a hybrid roll/flatbed format.
• The EFI VUTEk QS2 Pro, a 2-meter, UV hybrid printer that combines variable-drop grayscale printing and white ink print capabilities with VUTEk production speeds.
• A pair of EFI wide format high-value, entry-level products — the EFI R3225 UV roll-to-roll printer and the EFI H652 UV hybrid roll/flatbed printer.
• The EFI Fiery proServer, a high-performance digital front end and color management workflow offering for VUTEk printers.
• EFI Metrix planning and impositioning software, a product EFI obtained in its recent acquisition of Metrix Software.
• Industry-leading workflow products, including EFI PrintSmith Vision and Pace print MIS software, and EFI Digital StoreFront web-to-print software.
• EFI SmartSign Analytics, a powerful new tool that gives users the ability to analyze the effectiveness of their signage engagements.
There are now more than 115 production-class EFI VUTEk LED printers installed worldwide, and a growing number of printing companies are winning in the marketplace by using the technology to produce new applications and create high-value revenue streams. The roll-to-roll format of the newest VUTEk LED printer addresses print buyers' emerging needs for greener production and lighter media options that can reduce their carbon footprint.
With EFI's LED technology, printing companies can obtain excellent quality on lightweight and thin roll substrates that cannot withstand the heat of traditional drying or UV curing processes. An optional chiller for the printer extends the range of compatible media even further for users looking to develop entirely new digital printing applications.
The six-color VUTEk GS3250lxr Pro is ideal for the production of fleet and vehicle graphics that withstand stretching and pre- and post-heating without cracking on rivets and convex curves. EFI and 3M are collaborating on testing and evaluation to formalize a 3M MCS Warranty offering for output from the printer using certified media and new EFI VUTEk GSlxr 3M SuperFlex UV Ink.
"The expanded capabilities customers gain with LED, and the range of innovation we are showing across our portfolio, reflect EFI's commitment to fueling our customers' success," said EFI's Schinlever. "The print and workflow innovations EFI is bringing to the SGIA Expo can create high-ROI opportunities for printing companies while giving them more power to streamline production and win new business."
Several of EFI's partners also exhibited EFI Wide Format and VUTEk printers at the SGIA Expo. In booth 2811, Hilord Chemical Corp. exhibited the EFI VUTEk TX3250r, a 3.2-meter dye-sublimation fabric printer that combines industrial productivity, high-quality output and application versatility needs of the growing soft signage and digital textile market. Nazdar's exhibit, in booth 854, featured the EFI H652 printer. And, in booth 2816, Xpedx showcased the EFI H652 and the EFI VUTEk GS2000, a 2-meter hybrid UV printer with eight colors, plus white, that delivers superior, photorealistic quality at production-level speeds.
The exhibits in the EFI booth and in partner booths collectively represented one of the most expansive displays of inkjet technology at the tradeshow, with 11 EFI wide format and VUTEk printers presented on the show floor.