|Gandinnovations NanoJet UV-curable printer to compete with Oce Arizona 250 GT and Fujifilm Acuity HD 2504|
In the beginning, UV printers were designed for signage. Speed was more important than close-viewing. But that was several years ago. Today, printshop owners, and their clients, often prefer quality at close-viewing distance.
Oce was the first company to risk offering a UV flatbed printer for the printshop owners who recognized the need for absolutely top resolution. As a result of their bold gamble, Oce has sold more of its flatbed printers than any and every other flatbed model in the world. In a single 16 months, Oce outsold Inca's sales for many years combined total.
Gandinnovations had the best UV flatbeds for signage the entire time (and outsold Inca); but both were outsold by Oce+Fujifilm. Now Gandinnovations has a new printer to compete with Oce but now Inca has come out with new models, as has Jetrix, EFI Rastek and other brands.
If you are producing basic signage, the Gandinnovations 1224 and Jeti 2030 were still valid solutions though it is unclear of the process during the CCAA reorganization of the main company. They have already needed to apply for an extension to their restructuring. Now in the US Gandinnovations has applied for Chapter 15.
In Middle East, Africa, Spain, and Portugal the key Gandinnovations managers have a good track record and should be survivors. Probably other regional managers are also doing fine; for example, the key people for Latin America are also quite capable. The main issues seem to be in the dual company headquarters in the US and Canada.
The Gandinnovations NanoJet UV flatbed is for a different audience. Some printshops should consider one NanoJet or one of either the 1224 (if in the US ) or 2030 (if in a country using the metric system). The difference is that the original NanoJet was not intended for white ink; the other Jeti flatbeds offer white ink options. Presently, late May 2009, there is no Nanojet “1” listed on the Gandy web site: only the NanoJet 2.
Competing printers for the Gandinnovations NanoJet UV true flatbed
The primary competition for the Gandinnovations NanoJet UV flatbed is the popular and successful Oce Arizona 250 GT and it's Fujifilm version the Actuity HD2504.
At a smaller size the Raster Printers Daytona T600UV has Spectra MEMS printheads and offers outstanding print quality. Although the present T600uv model is too small to compete with the Gandinnovations NanoJet UV flatbed, if the next model of the Raster Printers Daytona is 4x8', it could become competition.
The venerable NUR Tempo Q is competition now that HP distributes it, albeit is for slightly different signage markets than the Oce Arizona, SwissQprint Oryx, etc. The main downside of the NUR Tempo Q is that the chassis is over five years old by now.
The Gerber ion has a much larger drop size (plus it is unsure whether the cationic ink works adequately enough to provide fast production speeds
VUTEk has no dedicated flatbed (their VUTEk DS prototype is a concept printer, not an actual functioning machine). Due to downsizing and financial issues of EFI it will be a struggle for any company to have enough engineers to launch a dedicated flatbed printer that can be either better than Oce or Inca, or have better features than Gerber ion. One reason that VUTEk was interested in the American-made flatbed of Raster Printers is because Rak Kumar actually has a functioning UV flatbed already available (and made in the US).
The only printers at DRUPA that could be potential competition for any Gandinnovations Jeti is the new flatbed concept from Meital, the Meital 3000-10. The Teckwin TeckStorm was the only other significant dedicated flatbed at DRUPA at an introductory price range. The Mimaki JF-1631 flatbed has too many issues; the Grapo Manta flatbed lacks distribution. Thus it is not surprising that the three different Gandinnovations Jeti true flatbed printers are the best selling brand in their price range.
But that was last year, today it is summer 2009. Gandinnovations has filed both in Canada and in the US to avoid paying creditors so they can restructure. This is in a world where Oce Arizona has sold more than 1000 of their flatbeds (this is not a fake number, they have actually sold them). Gerber will have over 300 of their flatbeds sold by the end of the summer. And by SGIA the GRAPO Manta flatbed will be available in the USA.
In a recession, and with Gandinnovations corporate situation, the entire UV printer market may be in flux. Oce is a growing competitor, the Mimaki JFX -1631 flatbed is improved over the unfortunate JF-1631, Durst has shown at FESPA that you can get significantly faster output with their moving transport flatbed than with most flatbed printer at the same price. Several people have pointed out that the Durst Rho 1000 was one of the most impressive production printers at FESPA Digital.
If a Durst is out of your price range, then visit the GRAPO Technologies factory in the Czech Republic and test their Shark. Plus their factory is in one of the most picturesque cities in the country, nicer in many ways than Prague. It always helps to learn about printers directly in their factories and main demo room.
It is unclear what will happen with Gandinnovations at their Nanojet flatbed printers. I visited NUR factory and headquarters twice while they were in meltdown. Four FLAAR Reports were issued as a result of these two visits. Three months later HP bought NUR. In any event, between the founding of Gandinnovations in its early years, to their success at DRUPA 2008 and their immense trade show booth at SGIA 2008, it was a remarkable saga of corporate history.
What about the Gandinnovations Jeti 1224 UV Nanojet 2?
So far there is no FLAAR Report on the Gandinnovations Nanojet 2 with Ricoh printheads, for several reasons: first, Ricoh printheads are not well proven, not yet. An earlier and cheaper Ricoh printhead was not successful with the ColorSpan 5440uv series and the HP Designjet 45500. Naturally it would be assumed that a newer more robust Ricoh head would be better, but this can be documented only by a site-visit case study in an actual printshop.
Second, with the company in financial decline during 2008 and filing for protection already by summer 2009, I would need to visit the factory to see how they are handling production to know whether it is worthwhile to produce an evaluation of the Jeti 1224 UV Nanojet 2. I hope that Gandinnovations continues but there are many unanswered questions. For example, is the factory in full production? Will they exhibit at VISCOM Germany, at VISCOM Milano? I would assume they will exhibit at VISCOM Madrid since their sales team in that area is very effective. Will they be at FESPA Mexico in August 2009? Last year they had a substantial stand.
Since Gandinnovations has recently developed a roll-to-roll option for the Nanojet II, this is another reason of interest in this printer. Oryx also has an over-the-flatbed-top roll to roll concept. But Oce, Gerber, and Teckwin have an attached roll-fed system alongside the front or side of the printer. So there need to be comparisons of why one system needs to pull the material all the way across the bed, and the other keeps the roll-fed neatly at one end.
Wide Format Printers