|Agfa :Anapurna M2 launched at ISA 2009|
Agfa continues being successful with its flatbed UV printers that are in combo style (moving transport belt). One reason for the success is that the printers are sturdy, solid, and engineered and designed by an experienced company.
Agfa :Anapurna Mv and Agfa :Anapurna M4f UV-cured flatbed combo printers
Before ISA 2008, Agfa announced several new UV printers: Anapurna Mv and Agfa :Anapurna M4f, Agfa :Anapurna XLS. There is also still one more (not yet officially announced), the Agfa :Anapurna 100 that replaces the model shown first at FESPA Munich 2005.
At ISA 2007 Agfa displayed another chapter in their switch out of eco-solvent into UV: the Agfa :Anapurna M. After several hours of wandering around the ISA trade show, we found a similar looking printer in the Dilli booth, branded as the Dilli 1606uv Titan.
It turns out that the Dilli booth was less than 60 meters from the Agfa booth. Thus I don't see why there is so much effort to suggest this as an Agfa-made machine. Dilli is a perfectly good brand. I drive Korean cars and find them quite nice. The IP&I Korean-made Cube UV printer looks as well made as a Swiss-made Zund (indeed there was not one single Zund UV printer at the entire show, but there were many Korean ones).
The Agfa booth personnel in the US trade shows politely asked that no photographs be taken of their UV printers. At ISA 2008, again, one trade show booth person said “No photos in the FLAAR Reports.” We honor this request, though we find that it simply draws attention to the situation that these are Korean made. The Agfa :Anapurna M is a handsomely designed shell and since Dilli makes a good print engine we expect the :Anapurna M is a printer that both companies can be proud of. The “don't-take-any-photos” is not good advertising.
Since there are 45 other UV printer manufacturers and more than 80 other models of UV printers, as long as Agfa desires no photographs we skip their printers and are concentrating more on those printers where access is easy: for example for IP&I we now have two full FLAAR Reports based on two days inspection of their factory and demo room outside Seoul and one day inspecting printshops that had the IP&I Cube 260 printer busy at work.
VUTEk, Durst, Grapo, GCC, Teckwin, WP Digital and other manufacturers have brought us to their factories so we can do test printing and inspect their UV printers inside out. So now we have reports on these, readily available for download.
Dilli hosted FLAAR at their factory in Korea for several days, so now we have two reports on the Dilli printers available (see the vertical column at the right). Over 340,000 people a year read the FLAAR web site on UV printers where you are now, and each month up to 3,000 to 5,000 people download each complete FLAAR Report on GCC, GRAPO, and other printers.
But what happened to Agfa’s other wide-format inkjet printer programs?
Another thing about the Agfa booth at ISA SignExpo 2007 surprised us: where are the Agfa Universal eco-solvent printers?
There are no more Agfa Universal eco-solvent printers any more (at least none at this entire ISA 2007 sign trade show). There are no more Agfa Grand Sherpa AM-90 Universal eco-solvent printers on their web site (at least none that I could find).
I am frankly surprised, because in 2005 trade shows in Europe there was lots of PR buzz about the new Agfa eco-solvent inks. These were the only non-Epson inks officially sanctioned by Epson to go into a printer with their heads (all the nice-looking Agfa solvent printers were manufactured by Mutoh in Belgium; Agfa is headquartered in Belgium).
Why is it that no trade magazine writes anything when an entire line of printers disappear? What about all the end-users who are stuck with these?
What happened to the February 2004 Agfa announcements that it intended to become a powerhouse in wide-format inkjet printing? Solvent, eco-solvent, and mild-solvent is a major market share. Indeed FLAAR is finally moving into evaluating and reviewing eco-solvent and mild-solvent inks. Earlier generations of these inks were not satisfactory so we did not recommend them, but the third generation Epson-branded eco-solvent inks produce outstanding quality on Mimaki, Roland, and Mutoh-made printers.
Thus why was there no press release or white paper or discussion about the seeming demise of Agfa eco-solvent inks and all that?
We hope that Agfa is successful with their energetic entry into UV-cured printing, but it is unprecedented in the industry not to have your own patents and not to own your own technology. At least Agfa has their own ink, and they are more successful selling the Korean made Dilli printers than other ink manufacturers are trying to sell Chinese-made Flora UV printers. Kodak, Fujifilm and other companies simply bought the requisite technology, or partnered with appropriate other companies.
But at Graph Expo 2008 trade show in Chicago, Agfa exhibited a range of their printers. Their top-of-the-line UV printer, the Agfa Anapurna XLS, is reportedly made in Europe, not in Korea. The XLS is the new generation that replaced the : Anapurna 100 whose prototypes were a joint venture between Agfa and Mutoh Europe. This relation was phased out during 2006 or 2007 both in UV printers and in eco-solvent printers.
Wide Format Printers