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IP&I iCube 260: an upgraded version of the IP&I Cube 260 Print E-mail

IP&I, wide-format inkjet printer manufacturer based in Korea, is developing the iCube 260, a considerably improved version of their 2.6 m printer.

IP&I iCube 260 UV combo printer reviews
Jin-Woo Park, CEO of IP&I (at the left) and Dr. Nicholas Hellmuth (at the rigth) with the IP&I iCube 260 UV combo flatbed printer during a site-visit case study in late 2009. This company had just bought three IP&I printers (two of one model; one of the other model).

The base

This company manufactures only UV printers but focusing on combo printers (with moving transport belt). The iCube 260 is a combo printer that handles both rigid and roll-fed media up to 2.6 meters wide. You have the option to have a 4Cx2 ink configuration (CMYK, two ink channels each) or 6Cx2 (CMYK, lc, lm + 2W). Either ink setting uses 8 Konica Minolta 512 printheads, which have proven to offer good quality in a dozen other UV printers such as Grapo, Dilli, Agfa, GCC, Sun Neo, and others.

We could take the first notes on this model at FESPA '09 in Amsterdam, although our first notes on the original Cube 260 are from ISA '06. In other words, we have been following the track of the original model since it was first shown in the US. After visiting the factory in 2007 we issued a full report on this early model and the full report on the IP&I iCube 260 will be available soon based in our second visit in late 2009.

Here is Jose Melgar, Technical Writer from FLAAR Reports, analyzing the IP&I iCube 260 UV printer at the factory visit in IP&I company in Korea, 2009.

New Features

The main modification is the technology for the movement of the printhead carriage: the servo motor in the early model has been replaced with a linear motor, which uses magnetic fields. With this technology the print speed increases by 15% and the movement is much more stable, making it more accurate and less noisy. A linear motor is capable of fast increases in the acceleration of the printhead carriage. The disadvantage of using such motor is that the price will tend to increase: most entry-level and mid-range printers use servo motors whereas high-end printers will most likely use linear motors.

IP&I iCube 260 UV combo printer evaluations
The iCube 260 is a combo printer that handles rigid and roll-fed media up to 2.6 meters wide, this printer has a transport belt. One of the significant upgrades in the iCube is the use of a linear motor to move the printhead carriage. This makes the printer 15% faster, is less noisy, and more accurate than the original Cube 260 that uses a servo motor.

Printers from Durst, WP Digital, and Gandinnovations all use a magnetic linear motor; IP&I is one of the first to feature this sophisticated engineering for a mid-range printer.

Another set of modifications has to do with the transport belt. The Cube 260 came with the rubber transport belt. The iCube uses the mesh-type belt. One of the advantages of this new conveyor belt is that the vacuum works in most of the surface, whereas in the rubber belt it worked only through the drilled holes. According to an expert in charge of another brand of UV printers, this type of transport belt is very inexpensive compared to the rubber belt. Also, if it is dirty, you can easily flip it over. The engineers at IP&I have acquired a lot of experience in the mechanism that moves the transport belt. The drive roller continues to be the front roller which is moved by a servo motor. In the Cube 260, the transport belt was elongated in the top, and compressed at the back, because of the placement of the rollers, which have now been designed in a mirrored shape to avoid this situation in the new iCube 260.

The IP&I iCube can be monitored and diagnosed by the tech-support staff via internet by using TeamViewer, which is an application that lets you access any computer remotely.

Another upgrade being evaluated for the future is the option of using Polaris printheads which is a new, less expensive printhead from Spectra, which is a respected brand in the industry that most high-quality printers over $200,000 use. But IP&I engineers are aware that, because these Spectra Polaris printheads come with only 128 nozzles, the printer would need 2 or 3 heads per color to match the 512 nozzles per head of the KonicaMinolta head model.

reviews of IP&I iCube 260 UV Combo printer
The IP&I iCube 260 UV Combo printer was exhibited at FESPA Amsterdam 2009.


evaluations of the IP&I iCube 260 UV Combo printer
IP&I iCube 260 UV Combo printer, mesh-type transport belt.


IP&I is considered one of the top engineering and software (firmware) UV printer manufacturers in Asia. I have visited their factory twice and inspected their printers in several printing companies that used these printers on a daily basis. So FLAAR has experience at every level in the capabilities of these printers out in the real world.

The company has recently ceased to exist, a result of excelling at engineering but not having enough distributors. The company did not fail due to a bad printer. The old corporate web site is full active, but when I telephoned the numbers there was no answer. There was hope the company could rise again but at FESPA 2010 there was no sign of rebirth.

It is worth noticing that FLAAR is one of the few resources that provides realistic information on the status of UV printer manufacturing companies: 90% of the trade magazines made no mention whatsoever of the situation of Gandinnovations as they went belly up. Hmmm, why do trade magazines not discuss reality? And virtually no one has indicated the truth about the other companies which have evaporated in the last several years.


First issued December 8, 2009.

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