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As we enter a DRUPA Year (2012), how will low-price Chinese, Taiwan, and Korean UV curable ink printers compare with, Durst Rho, Fujifilm Sericol Inca, HP Scitex NUR Tempo, (Canon) Oce and Gandinnovations (Agfa) or Gandy Digital flatbeds? Print E-mail

Already UV curable flatbed ink printers are becoming more popular. Ten years ago prices ranged from about $125,000 (basic Zund) to over $650,000 (sophisticated Durst Rho 160 or Sericol Inca Columbia Turbo). But Korean, Chinese, and Japanese companies already prototypes of UV cured flatbed printers for under $60,000. Many of these models were presented at ISA tradeshow, April 2003 and more brands were shown at ISA 2004, such as SkyJet. But by 2005 prices were down to $75,000 for the ColorSpan 72UVR flatbed. Today, in 2011-2012, Korean (Dilli, etc), Taiwan (GCC), and Chinese (Teckwin) UV printers are offering improved quality.

In January 2004 Oce presented their Oce Arizona 60UV for under $40,000, chopping $100,000 off the price of their nearest competitor. Unfortunately, to get this price too many features had to be sacrificed. The printer failed to function to specs and was withdrawn. If you are shopping on price, be absolutely sure that you learn how the prices are calculated. Since FLAAR itself does not buy or sell UV printers we can reveal to you what actually happens when you see a low price and place your order. The price you end up with on your invoice may shock you. We explain all this.

Today all brands of combo flatbeds now have stiff competition. Even American companies such as DJT, Digital Jet Technologies, are lowering prices to below $80,000 for their model DJT 400. But they failed also: never even showed a printer at a major trade show. What happened to all the people who made down payments?

If you look at the history of UV-cured printers, 40% of the brands we listed on this page when we first wrote this page (in 2003) are no longer existing in 2012.

Again, every low-priced printer has failed (it is not possible to put all the features into a UV-lamp printer, and have it function effectively or safely at these low prices). Even the ColorSpan 5440 / HP Designjet H35500 and H45500 were unsuccessful. Again, be sure to get the updated edition of the FLAAR Reports on this aspect, so you can protect yourself in advance.

Samples of the Dilli Neo Jupiter flatbed UV-cured inkjet printer
Dilli Neo Titan 2406W at Ad Tech booth, the distributor in China, at Dongguan 2011.

What if you made a down payment, or bought an expensive flatbed from a company that goes belly up? And this was an American company, not a Chinese company. How do you know if the mainland Chinese printers are still in beta-stage? What about spare parts? Tech support in your part of the US or Canada? Even Kodak was selling a printer that did not function (their infamous Kodak 5260). The CrystalJet was another example circa 1996-98. Million dollars of advertising blitz, but the printer did not function.

This is why people come to FLAAR to ask for assistance in what UV-curable ink flatbed to select.

If you are about to spend between $65,000 and $250,000 on a printer, you might wish to read the notes of Nicholas Hellmuth based on twelve years of research. Even if you went to all those trade shows yourself, Professor Hellmuth offers tips and insights that a visitor to a trade show might not be aware of. Besides, the price of the FLAAR Reports is a pittance to invest if you are considering buying a UV curable printer. These reports are updated based on recent trade shows both in Europe and across the USA throughout 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and we will be at all the major expos in 2012. plus FLAAR has inspected the factories, demo rooms, R&D facilities, and world headquarters of Durst, WP Digital (former L&P Virtu, Spuhl Virtu), NUR, ColorSpan, Dilli, DGI, IP&I, Teckwin, GCC, GRAPO, Inca, Gandinnovations, Oce, JETRIX, and others. FLAAR even inspected the UV and textile printer manufacturer north of Istanbul, EuroTech: for two days.

Learn to recognize the differences among Chinese, Taiwanese, and Korean UV printers

We separate Chinese printers into several tiers, based on whether they are rudimentary and mere copies to the one or two brands that are noticeably better. UV printers from Taiwan are easier to handle since there is only two major manufacturers of UV printers there: GCC, and Anderson. Unfortunately GCC has no new technology in the past several years and Anderson is also based on old technology.

The four major Korean brands, which include Dilli, IP&I, Inktec JETRIX and two others, are mostly of comparable quality to printers made in the US and Europe at comparable price level. I have inspected the factories of Dilli and IP&I for several days at a time, and I have visited printshops that have IP&I printers in daily operation, such as the IP&I CUBE 260. Printers made in Korea (from the top brands) are closer in workmanship to printers made in Switzerland than to printers made in China. Today only JETRIX and Dilli still produce UV-cured printers that meet our standards.

There are two Korean factories that I have not yet visited (that of DYSS and Lotte). There is one third tier Korean company that is the only one comparable to other Asian factories (in other words, it is a Chinese style printer albeit claiming to be Korean). There is one further Korean manufacturer that is so new their products have not yet been announced. Lotte was not able to compete and phased out their UV-cured printer program during 2010-2011. Interesting to note that their distributor was the same as for Luescher, a Swiss brand that cost high prices but was not adequate (the company lacked experience).

All this information is in three separate reports:

  • one on all Chinese UV printers
  • one on all Korean UV printers
  • one on Taiwan UV printers

Order from wide-format-printers.net, the UV-curable ink flatbed Series from FLAAR now!

FLAAR now has more than nine series on UV-curable ink flatbed printers:

  • The original FLAAR Reports on UV wide format inkjet flatbeds
  • The updates after DRUPA trade show (May 2004 into 2008). We will have many reports for DRUPA 2012.
  • The additional updates after Photokina 2004, 2006, SGIA-GraphExpo-ISA (2004- 2009). Our PhotoPlus expo report on digital cameras for 2011 is now available.
  • All the new reports based on new UV flatbed inkjet technology during (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011)

You can also hire Dr Hellmuth as a consultant, to come and visit your screen printing shop, sign shop, photo lab, or other class of printing company. However it is quicker and easier to buy his reports via convenient download first.

 

Most recently updated November 30, 2011.

Previously updated October 25, 2003, after SGIA trade show. First posted May 12, 2003; updated June 25, 2003; updated March 20, 2004. Updated Nov 2, 2004, May 12, 2005, June 24, 2005, January 12, 2008. Updated November 22, 2009

 
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