Fujifilm announced a new development in its wide format inkjet strategy – a new range, built from the ground up, around a ‘new blueprint’ for wide-format inkjet printers in terms of price/performance and ROI, versatility and value, and ease of use.
Fujifilm’s Acuity range of wide-format printers, first launched in 2007, has seen huge success with over 1,800 global installations, but the wide-format market is a very different place now to what it was when the range was first introduced.
“We realised three years ago that the market had reached a tipping point – a point at which more of the same with minor improvements was no longer enough,” said David Burton, business director, Fujifilm WFIJ HQ and marketing director, Fujifilm WFIJ EMEA. “The market needed something fundamentally new.”
“So out of the Fujifilm R&D and development centre in the UK, where the concept of wide-format UV inkjet first became a reality two decades ago, we set out to create just that – something built out of our heritage and long experience, but at the same time, fundamentally new,” he added.
“We made a strategic decision to rethink our Acuity wide format offering; focusing on new ways to deliver improved value, versatility and ease-of-use and, in particular, on defining a new benchmark for print ROI. We set out to do what we had first done back in 1999: to create a new blueprint for wide format,” he explained.
Fujifilm initiated a three-year period of intensive market research and development for the blueprint.
For more than 14 years since its initial launch, the Acuity range has built a deserved reputation for high quality, versatility and value, and this new range will enhance the Acuity brand on all of those fronts, whilst retaining the reliability that has always been the hallmark of Fujifilm’s inkjet systems.
The first two printers made to this new blueprint are the Acuity Ultra R2 and the Acuity Prime. The Acuity Ultra R2 is a completely redesigned and improved version of the Acuity Ultra. The Acuity Prime is an entirely new, mid-range flatbed, which offers ease-of-use and print better ROI. Both new printers take advantage of Fujifilm’s UV inkjet ink, manufactured in the UK in the company’s multi-award winning factory.
Fujifilm said the Acuity Prime flatbed prints at “exceptionally high quality” to a range of rigid and flexible media. It features a high-quality LED curing system which is air-cooled, meaning there is no requirement for an expensive water-cooling system. It also only requires a single-phase 25-amp supply.
A new ink system, Uvijet HM, has been formulated to provide “excellent adhesion” to a broad range of substrates while also producing a wide colour gamut.
Meanwhile, a new jetting primer improves adhesion further for particularly challenging substrates. This removes the need for offline pre-treatment of substrates before printing.
The machine features a printable area of 2.54x1.27m and can accommodate media up to a thickness of 51mm. It is available in CMYK formats with white, with additional clear and jetting primer.
For operational ease-of-use, media loading pins can be operated with the touch of a button, enabling “pinpoint media placement precision and exceptionally accurate print registration from job-to-job”.
The five-part media zone system, based on common media sizes, is said to vastly reduce the amount of masking required, while the machine’s splash-free ink pouch system is designed for easy pouch changeover and incorporates an LED light system to quickly alert the operator to low ink levels.
Fujifilm WFIJ marketing manager Anda Baboi described the machine as “both a ‘next step’ and a new start for Fujifilm” that offers “the best ROI available on the market”.
The Acuity Ultra R2, meanwhile, is available in 5m or 3.2m versions and is said to offer numerous design improvements on its predecessor while retaining its high levels of quality and reliability.
Fujifilm said the machine’s new enclosed design eliminates stray UV light, removing the need for a light curtain, and is designed with both maintenance and ink supply on the same side to give operators easier access and more room to work when performing routine tasks.
An external visual light also quickly alerts operators to low ink levels without the need to look inside the machine. The machine also features larger ink tanks, while maintenance-free ink pumps have been integrated to increase up-time. A new print viewing window allows the operator to check on the progress of a job without leaving the workstation.
Additionally, the separate chiller unit that accompanied the original Acuity Ultra has now been fully integrated into the design of the new machine, to free up workspace and reduce clutter.
The Acuity Ultra R2 also features a crash detector with increased sensitivity and dual way activation, a new low scratch surface platen, and new automated meniscus control, which Fujifilm said offers greater precision and consistency in ink droplet placement.
The R2 is available in various colour configurations up to eight channels, and with either conventional UV curing as standard, or with an LED UV curing system for six-colour and white configurations.
Both the 5m and 3.2m versions of the machine also feature an improved roller design to prevent media wrinkles.