Wide-format printers from Macart Equipment The wide-format printers from Macart Equipment come with its own electronics and RIP software and these printers are mostly made from aluminium so they last more, look good, and have smaller footprint, Atul Gandhi of Macart Equipment explains to Rahul Kumar The UVision, UVeco and Picomax wide-format printers from Macart Equipment are UV and solvent printers used to print on rigid and flexible substrates — for printing signage and other applications. According to Atul Gandhi of Macart Equipment, these are based on piezo inkjet printhead and the control electronics to control printheads, and all the functions of the printers are done by a main board containing field programming gate array (FPGA). The mechanical structure consists of X-axis and Y-axis. These types of printers are known as scanning type printer, as the printheads moves in X direction and media or head in Y. “Our printers are made mostly from aluminium, so that they last more, look good, and have smaller footprint,” Gandhi adds.
“Solvent inkjet printers in the late 1990s were very expensive and very few Indian companies could afford it. So we decided to help Indian consumers to get a good wide-format solvent printer at a reasonable cost,” he explains. Macart started research in inkjet in 1999 and tied up with Xaar in the same year for inkjet printheads. It got itself incorporated as private limited in 2000. “We are the first to manufacture solvent inkjet printer in 1999 in India,” Gandhi says. As the inkjet technology was a closely kept secret and the key components like electronics and RIP software were not available, Macart had to develop its own printer electronics, RIP software and all the mechanical assembly needed for the solvent printer. "Macart has made many innovations in printer electronics and printer mechanisms and have filed many patents for the same," claims Gandhi. The company manufactured its first printer in 2000, but it was commercially launched in 2003. The Picojet series was launched in 2008 and Picomax in 2012 and UVision in 2017. Gandhi says these wide-format printers are mainly purchased by advertising agencies, print bureaus and the décor industry.
Gandhi says, “Our printers are reasonably priced and the after-sales service is also much less than most of our competitors. Due to special RIP algorithms the printing cost is also reasonable as our ink consumption is less compared to other imported printers.” He adds that the company has sold more than 6,000 wide-format printers. Gandhi says when buying a wide-format printer, customers in India normally prefer that the printer should have a good life of approximately seven to eight years and the maintenance cost also should be less than 2% of the equipment cost per year. Printing quality has to be good along with the production cost. The printer should be upgradable to new technology and the most important is technical support has to be fast and good. Mostly, these printers are used to print signage graphics, but some customers use Macart printers to print wallpaper, glass, ceramic tiles, and canvas. One customer is also using it to print on shoes. Gandhi says the signage industry has always been demanding for quality and price. “To meet this demand, we keep on innovating new products and find new ideas to reduce the product cost as well as the print cost. At present, we see a good demand for UV and water-based inkjet printers for indoor and outdoor prints,” he says.
Gandhi says these printers are user- friendly, fast, produces less noise, is inexpensive to maintain, and upgradable. “Most wide-format printers are made from steel, making them heavy and bulky,” Gandhi explains, “Our printers stand out as they are mostly made from aluminium, thus making them light and good looking due to extremely high finish of the aluminium material. Plus, our printer comes with our own RIP software and printer driver, making the printing functions very easy and fast. All our printers come with keyboard and LCD display for fast and easy control.” The main components of the printer are printheads, electronics, RIP software and mechanical assembly. Motors, printheads, bearings and some other components are imported and all other components in the printer are manufactured in India by Macart. Gandhi says India has many companies selling these printers, but most are imported from China or assembled using Chinese components. Some companies in India are manufacturing the mechanical assembly here and the rest of the components are imported. He adds, “Our printers are at par with the leading manufacturers in the world. All our printers have small footprints compared to other printers, thus saving huge amount on floor space. All imported components used in the printers are of high standards and are sourced from the best companies in the world. The components that Macart manufactures are also of high standards and are rigorously tested for performance.We have many features, which are not available in many printers in our price range. Some of our features are patented and are not available in any printers in the world.” The productivity According to Gandhi, the printers are rugged and can be used non-stop for months. The head cleaning downtime is also less due to its unique ink delivery system. “Our printers have normally three quality modes from high to high speed printing options. All these advantages make our printer productivity high compared to most of the imported printers in this range available in India,” he adds. Every year, the company improves its printer design so that the print quality improves and the overall performance and life of the printer increases. The new models are less noisy, faster, accurate and are easily upgradable. “We believe our printers are the most user-friendly in the world,” Gandhi explains. “While designing the machines, we have taken into consideration Indian users and so we designed all the functions to be easy and also the basic maintenance of the printer.”
The company offers three to four days of onsite training for operating and maintaining the printer. This training includes image file preparation, understanding of colour profiles, RIP software functions, printer operating functions and most importantly, preventive maintenance of the printer. The company has distributors and service centres in almost every state in India with more than 45 Macart trained engineers at different locations. It also have online support and spares ordering facility. “The most important advantage our customers have is on the operating cost of the printer. Our printers last more with very less maintenance cost. We have customers using the same printer for more than 10 to 12 years. Another advantage is the quality, thanks to our electronics and RIP software,” Gandhi explains. Looking ahead, for this financial year, the company is mainly targeting UV and water-based wide format printers for rigid and flexible substrates. “After the lockdown, we are getting good orders and Indian customers are happy to know that our products are made in India. Many importers in India who import kinds of printers have also approached us to supply them our printers on OEM basis,” Gandhi concludes.