Northeast Color recently became the first company to install the h series, with a VUTEk h3 model operating in the company’s Portsmouth, N.H., production facility.
The new printer platform, which was developed by EFI’s global R&D teams from the ground up, is designed for high-volume production of premium-quality signage and graphics applications. The 126-inch-wide h series was first shown at the 2018 FESPA Global trade show in Germany.
The h series is available in two models. The EFIVUTEk h3 prints up to 74 boards per hour and offers eight-color and optional four-color printing modes plus white, as well as five-layer print capability in a single pass.
The VUTEk h3 model can be upgraded to an EFI VUTEk h5 model on site. With the upgrade, users can get up to 47% higher productivity with top print speeds of 109 boards per hour.
Northeast Color also operates a pair of EFI VUTEk UV hybrid printers.
“We were looking at printers from EFI and other manufacturers when EFI presented us with the option of being the first installation site for the h3,” Northeast Color President Jalmar Dijkstra said. “It is the next step for us in terms of offering our clients better quality and higher capacity.
“The name of the game in our market is volume,” he added. “A single franchise client can easily represent hundreds of locations, and at any given time there are multiple franchise sites that need to switch out and install new graphics. Our newest printer is designed to give us more agility and greater technical abilities to better serve our customers by producing even higher volumes of work on a wide range of substrates.”
The printer series – the first hybrid VUTEk LED printer offering 1,200 dots per inch (dpi) resolution – features new high-velocity 7-picoliter grayscale printhead imaging for precision dot placement and consistency from print to print at high production speeds. VUTEk h series printers can run high volumes on a broad range of rigid and flexible substrates up to 2 inches thick at full rated speeds thanks to automated material handling options to meet nearly any production need.
“We could tell the h3 model would really be a fit for us because of the quality it offers with 7-picoliter-drop imaging and its phenomenal speeds,” said Christopher Shaw, production manager, Northeast Color. “For example, we have a repeat job printing wood grain images on PVC, and we can produce 40 to 45 pieces of that job in a single shift on our current UV-inkjet printers; with the VUTEk h3, we will be able to do that in half the time.”
The VUTEk h series platform comes equipped with ImageEdge technology for printhead replacement; automated table and carriage alignment; and a camera-based vision system for subpixel alignment, printhead density balance and step and bi-directional setup. A new, modular drop-in ink delivery system design eliminates ink waste and provides fill-while-printing functionality for continuous productivity.