Canon’s new UVgel ink technology offers Commercial Printers an attractive entry point into wide format printing.

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Canon has introduced a revolutionary new product in the 64” roll to roll wide format market called the Colorado 1640. This printer offers the speed of many high-end 10’ (3 meter) roll to roll printers with running costs up to 40% less than 64” latex and or eco-solvent printers.

UVgel Ink 2

The technology behind this printer is UVgel ink. Whereas with other technologies the inks need to be dried, with heat, immediately after each pass of the inkjet head, the UVgel technology is different. All the ink droplets required for an image can be laid down on the substrate and then cured using cold LED light. This high viscosity ink sets up on the page in a way that minimizes dot gain and coalescence. And the ability to separate the creation of the image from drying/curing is a key reason why the printer can run so fast.

The printer is blazing fast in comparison to other 64” printers on the market. Here are some examples

Application Speed – Sq ft/hr Compared to Latex and Eco Solvent 64” printers
Outdoor HS

1710

5X faster
Outdoor

1230

4.1X – 5X faster
Internal

610

2.6X – 3.6X faster
Backlit

210

3.6X- 2.8X faster

Canon claims the running costs will be significantly less than competing technologies. The key is lower ink usage per image. Here are their estimates

Running Costs Latex Eco-Solvent UVgel
Ink Usage 1.57 ml sq/ft 1.25 ml sq/ft 1.1 ml sq/ft
Cost ml $0.125-0.174 /ml $0.169174 /ml $0.125174 /ml
Cost sq/ft $0/196 -0.273 sq/ft $0.211 sq/ft $0.14 sq/ft

The MSRP for this press is $58K, which is higher than the competing technology printers that typically run in the $18K to $30K range; however Canon estimates that the operating savings on production of just 11,000 sq ft per month will pay for the extra lease costs.

In addition to high productivity and low operating cost the press has a number of other features designed to make it a true production device.

  • Excellent image quality and color consistency from job to job
  • Holds two rolls of media and can change rolls automatically.
  • Designed to be very easy for operators to load new rolls
  • Only manual maintenance required is one time per month for 6 minutes
  • Continuous nozzle monitoring to ensure quality. This is done with a patented technology that measures acoustic performance of the nozzle.
  • Media step control ensures consistent printing size for each image
  • Heavy metal construction
  • No heat, LED curing enables the printer to run a wide range of media including vinyls and thermoplastics.

Colorado 1640 2

Mal Baboyian, Sr. VP and leader of the wide format business for Canon USA said that this product is the most significant product launch for the wide format business during his tenure, which spans several decades.

Caslon surveys have consistently found that commercial and digital printers see wide format as a top growth opportunity and area for investment. For those companies thinking about moving into wide format this new technology deserves a close look.

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