If you do nothing else at PrintEx 19, August 13-16 in Sydney, make sure you get yourself a demo on the new Ricoh L5160 1625mm (64”) latex printer on stand D18. From the earliest Encad and Calcomp machines through the HP DesignJets, Epson StylusPros, Seiko ColorPainters, HP Latexes, various UV rollfed machines: I’ve seen some amazing product launches pushing the edges of productivity and image quality. Few, if any, have impressed as strongly as the Ricoh L5160. Don’t just take my word for it – check it out for yourself and book a demonstartion at PrintEx.
|(LtoR) Ricoh's Paul Thompson, Business Dev.Manager; Dean Edelman, Segment Marketing Mgr; Henryk Kraszewski, Snr. Product Mgr & Yuki Nagatsuka, KJ Project team (Japan), who worked on design of the Pro L5160.|
The 1625mm roll-to-roll sector is the ‘workhorse’ sector of wide format, it’s where most of the production is – and the revenues made for the average sign shop. SAV, polyester and banner vinyls might not be ‘sexy’ but so much meterage is still printed on these humble materials. Add perforated window films, backlits, canvas, textile and vehicle wrapping films and you have probably 80% of what is printed as signage. The Ricoh Pro L5160 eats all this up.
But that’s not all, rarely have I seen such colours that ‘pop.’ I mean pop like Adele hitting the high notes; Banksy decorating a wall. It’s all down to Ricoh’s AR latex inks and the Gen5 MH5441 piezo printheads. Plus a chassis build that will take you back to the days of metal solidity, with panels to match. It’s built tough.
First, the inks. Ricoh's second-generation AR Latex Inks are cured and scratch-resistant as soon as they exit the printer, ready for immediate finishing or installation. Unlike solvent inks, there is no out-gassing required, taking 1-2 days in some cases, or several hours if eco-solvent. Ricoh’s GREENGUARD-certified latex inks have a very low odour and require no special ventilation, making them safer for your operators, customers and the environment. These latex inks are ideal for installation in locations where prints utilizing solvent-based inks are unsuitable, like healthcare, hospitality and education facilities. Let’s face it; solvent inks (with the exception of certified eco-solvents) present emission problems that environmental legislators want to eventually remove from the production matrix. AR (Aqua-Resin) latex inks cure fast and at low temperatures, so thin sensitive media is a breeze and will not cockle or distort.
|Almost metallic effects using cmyk+white|
But the L5160’s kicker is white ink. Yes, white ink on a latex roll printer, what a difference that makes. You can have it configured CMYK x 2 but the addition of white, with appropriate ink re-circulation to keep the heavier pigments in solution, opens up a whole new world of colour combinations, backlit applications and transparent media options. With the wide-gamut CMYK inks plus white, you don’t need Lc, Lm or Lk, the profiling and colour management will deliver a substantial array of colours including fluorescent-look, metallic-look, pastels and vivid reds, greens and blues.
Ricoh’s own printheads
Next, the printheads. Ricoh’s own Gen5 MH5441 piezo printheads, all three of them on the Pro L5160, are built to last the life of the machine, not be replaced as a consumable. If one fails under warranty – it’s replaced by a technician but that is an unlikely scenario as the nozzle plates are made of stainless steel and they are of industrial-strength. As piezo heads, they do not generate much heat and are rated up to 1200 x 1200 dpi although 1200 x 600dpi is more than enough resolution for indoor-viewed signage, delivering 25 square metres per hour of production. For outdoor-viewed signage, 600 x 450 or 600 x 600dpi are enough – and that delivers up to 46.7 square metres per hour of production. Ricoh’s Gen5 printheads are so reliable they are used by several other manufacturers of roll, flatbed and hybrid printers.
|Smooth latex colours that really pop!|
The printheads are regularly wiped clean in an auto-cleaning station, relieving the operator from this laborious task. The variable droplets and screening algorithms produce smoothness of gradations and skin tones that are just superb. Head passes can be from six in draft mode to thirty-two in fine art/photo mode, with the usual reduction in speed the more passes are used.
The new industry workhorse
I’m predicting that Ricoh’s Pro L5160 will become the future environmentally-friendly ‘workhorse’ of the industry – it ticks all the boxes plus some and, when you see it at PrintEx, rap your knuckles on the metal panelling to confirm how well it’s made. Best of all, with its low power consumption, ink usage and ‘right first time’ colour from the Onyx RIPCentre (or ColorGATE, Caldera, Sai and Wasatch servers); and versatility of media – it’s economical in use, even calculating ink cost used per job to help with drilling costs and margins down to accurate levels.
As I said at the beginning – don’t just take my word for it: pre-book a demonstation for yourself on the Ricoh stand using Ricoh's 'inkerching'; microsite here: ricoh.com.au/printex D18 at PrintEx. The first Pro L5160 has already been installed at an as yet undisclosed Sydney site which will be announced soon.
|Amazingly dense black and remarkable colour control - Ricoh's Pro L5150|