|Teckwin TeckStorm R adds roll-to-roll to UV-curable flatbed printer|
The roll-to-roll dual structure version of the former flatbed is now a flatbed+roll-to-roll: Teckwin TeckStorm R. This was displayed at the ISA sign expo in April 2009.
This flatbed UV-cured printer has come a long way in two years. The Tepede booth at VISCOM Germany '07 had one of the first public mention outside Asia of the new Teckwin TeckStorm UV flatbed printer. In 2007 it was a new Teckwin dedicated-flatbed UV printer with variable-drop Grayscale heads from Xaar (Xaar XJ Omnidot 760-GS8).
The flatbed printer itself was not shown; only a brochure. What Tepede did exhibit was the Teckwin TeckThunder, a Xaar-variable droplet version of the TeckSmart 1600 UV hybrid printer.
But then in 2010 there was no Teckwin booth at most trade shows outside China. No distributor had any Teckwin printer. Only their own nice booth at FESPA 2010 in Munich and one trade show in America. So when a printer is not at trade shows, and we have not seen it at the factory, we are not able to update the evaluation.
A true flatbed printer can better handle MDF, MDO, Coroplast, Dibond, Foam-cor, Kapaboard, foamboard, foamcore, Gatorfoam, Foamex, Styrene, and Lexan (better than most combo style UV printers with a transport belt).
Now that the Teckwin TeckStorm UV-curing true flatbed printer has actually appeared (October 2007 at SGIA), we are adding photographs. But until it is possible to test this UV-curable flatbed inkjet printer it is not realistic or appropriate to provide specific results. In the meantime we have more knowledge of the competing UV flatbed printers such as the Mimaki J -1631 because it was possible to spend two days with this Mimaki flatbed UV printer at its launch, indeed I was the featured speaker at its launch. Plus I have abundant feedback from end-users on the Mimaki JF-1631 and JF-1610 flatbed printers around the world.
In the meantime, the Gerber Solara ion takes over the UV flatbed world
The question is whether an offshore flatbed will have much chance with the success of the Oce Arizona 250 on one side, and the newly released Gerber Solara ion X, V, and now Solara ion Z on the other side. Now for 2011 the Gerber CAT offers its innovative cationic flavor of UV-curing. Their cationic curing works better than LED curing.
With so many competing UV printers from known brand names, it will be tough for any other company to gain market share without significant help. Even the EFI Rastek T660 flatbed is outsold by Oce and Gerber Solara ion X.
Status of evaluation and review of the Teckwin TeckStorm R
First step for a printer evaluation is to inspect the factory. I have been to the Teckwin factory twice: one day in 2007 and two days in 2008. The result of these inspections is what allows placement of FLAAR awareness on our web site (which is read by over 340,000 people per year).
But so far I have not found any end-user in the US or Europe for the TeckStorm (to undertake a site-visit case study). The end-user for the TeckSmart or TechThunder returned their printer to the dealer (in Guatemala). But the dealer compliments the tech support of Teckwin and the backing that they received to try to rectify the varying issues. Just realize that the TeckStorm flatbed, from everyone I have spoken with, is an easier, better, and more consistently reliable model. But since there is no end-user site-visit case study, and as I myself have not done a day's print tests, there is no FLAAR recommendation and no end result at present.
Comparisons of comparably priced dedicated flatbed UV-curable printers
At every trade show, frequently in e-mails, and when Nicholas lectures around the world, printshop owners ask for more comparative charts. So for 2011 we are preparing comparative tabulations. These will be ready by Spring.
However we prefer to assist printshop owners 1-on-1 in direct consulting: visiting their printshop (anywhere in the world), or having an appointment with them at FESPA, SGIA, or VISCOM (Italy, Spain, or Germany).
But as a starter, here is a chart. We will try to make an additional comparative chart downloadable
The Gerber and Grapo were each judged acceptable by their respective owners. Oce has sold over 2000 units of their flatbeds, so clearly someone has judged it acceptable also (though several owners told me they had to buy two in order to achieve adequate speed and production). I have no feedback for Teckwin TeckStorm owners; feedback we have is only from former Teckwin distributors.
The Mimaki JF-1631 is not included in the comparison since that Mimaki printer had issues and deficiencies and was finally withdrawn and partially replaced at ISA 2009. The replacement, Mimaki JFX-1631, is with LED curing and so far no one has convinced me that LEDs can adequatelly cure on most materials at a speed that is acceptable for production..
Notice from disenchanted end-user
If you take any brand and model of printer, you will find people who really like it, and also someone who had a sad experience with it. This week (Feb. 2011) we received an e-mail from owner of a printshop in Scandinavia who had so many issues with his Teckwin TeckStorm UV printer that he was definitely disenchanted. He said during warranty period at least the distributor kept the printer functioning, but after warranty expired it took a long time to get repairs.
If we can find a printshop, or distributor, who is happy with this printer, we will try to provide a view of one model that functions adequately. It is essential that Chinese printer manufacturers overcome the issues so that these printers can improve their reputation.
Other UV printers from Teckwin
I saw a lot of un-announced and un-launched UV printers when I visited the Teckwin factory outside of Shanghai in July 2007, but most of those prototypes did not yet have names at that time. Now two of the hybrid style printers are named, Teckwin TeckStorm and Teckwin TeckThunder. A small Teckwin printer was exhibited by Hexion ink in 2008, but Hexion ink company evaporated in 2009 when its Fortune 500 parent company sold Hexion to Collins Ink.
It is an asset for a company to have credible, capable, and pleasant managers
Teckwin has added Ryan Buy to their US staff, to compliment Heather Rockow, General Manager.. Ryan has years of experience in Asia and is a good asset for Teckwin USA. In Europe Wolfgang Hey and his team are also a credit to Teckwin. We rate their staff as knowledgeable, hospitable in their booth, and capable in their years and years of knowledge of the industry. I know Wolfgang Hey back from my first days of inspecting Encad and Xerox printers circa 2001-2003.
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