|DuPont Cromaprint 22UV SE became the name of the DuPont Cromaprint 22UV cured inkjet flatbed printer just before it was withdrawn|
The FLAAR Reports on the DuPont Cromaprint 22UV were being updated when more information on this printer is available. Obtaining information about the SE version is difficult since DuPont withdrew from SGIA (did not exhibit at all). We already describe the transition from the Flora 2200 FUV and Flora 2214 FUV into the DCC 22UV and with continued improvements that were issued as the DuPont Cromaprint 22UV. But now that this printer is obsolete, it is not practical to continue to update the PDF. But if you are considering buying this printer used, you sure better get a copy of this report, as it was being updated during the years DuPont actually attempted to market Chinese-made UV-cured printers, pretending they were really made by DuPont.
The advantages of the FLAAR Reports is that from one independent source (FLAAR) you can obtain reliable, factual, educational evaluations and comparisons of the many UV printers, such as the
• Agfa :Anapurna / Mutoh Condor 100UV
DuPont exhibited their DuPont Cromaprint 22UV at FESPA Digital, May 16-18, 2006. There seemed to be mechanical issues, and/or problems with the UV lamp system. The two Chinese mechanics from Flora came over from the Flora booth to work in the DuPont booth. Eventually the DuPont was up and running. At ISA the DuPont Cromaprint 22UV produced attractive output. DuPont even had a photo exhibit of the results.
In the same Amsterdam trade show, it was possible for us to inspect the Grapo Octopus, new Grapo Manta, the Agfa :Anapurna L and XL, Mutoh Cobra s65uv and s100uv printers, Neolt UV flatbed, Mimaki IPF-1326, and the impressive half-million dollar Spuhl L&P Virtu. MacDermid showcased their new ColorSpan 9840 UV printer. Even though it is a pre-production prototype it worked just fine at FESPA digital (at that time; by now, August, this model is in production).
The positive features of the DuPont CromaPrint 22UV
The FLAAR Reports on the DuPont CromaPrint 22UV list its positive features (color gamut, tech support, etc), but as we learn more information on reliability, down-time, and whether or not the printer can operate 24/7 we are updating our reports. But every time we ask about end-users who have this Cromaprint 22uv printer we learn about more problems, issues, and deficiencies. Since there are 45 manufacturers of UV printers, with over 101 different models, it’s not encouraging to focus on a brand that has a poor track record year after year after year.
But one positive feature of Dupont as a company, is that despite their smoke-and-mirrors trying to pretend this was made by Dupont, I will say clearly that Dupont did provide good tech support. Indeed as recently as December 2010, I received an e-mail from a printshop that had acquired a used Dupont ChromaPrint 22UV and they said the tech support from Dupont was good. But if I remember correctly they also asked about the price of the DuPont ink. But this ink also was probably never really from DuPont; it is generally considered that the ink is actually from Triangle INX.
In general we have received quite a lot of information on conveyor belt issues with VUTEk 200/600, and especially on the GRAPO Octopus. So we are updating our FLAAR Reports on printers that are combo design (with transport belts instead of pinch roller-grit roller hybrid systems). The conveyor belt could also be an issue with any Chinese-made printer, such as the DuPont model (this printer is made by RTZ, who make Flora printers north of Hong Kong).
Transport belt issues are sufficiently systematic (in other words, serious for everyone who attempts to offer a printer with a conveyor belt), that Zund (with experience making over 400 model 215 printers with a conveyor belt), said they would never again even try to use a conveyor belt to transport a diverse range of materials through any printer. The new Zund 250 uses two completely different manners of moving material.
Indeed we predict that by DRUPA 2008 (and possibly by ISA ’08 and perhaps even SGIA ’07), that VUTEk and other companies who now offer only or mainly a combo printer will offer dedicated flatbed and/or dedicated roll-fed. Gandinnovations has been very successful with their Gandy roll-to-roll UV printers and even more successful with their dedicated flatbed Jeti UV printers.
We are also updating our reports on UV-curing heat issues, based again on feedback from around the world. Our first FLAAR Report on UV-lamp heat issues was presented at a conference in Novosibirsk, Russia in late August 2007.
The problems are far more than merely UV lamp heat on fragile substances causing them to bubble up, deform, warp, and cause headstrikes (or to cause the material to effectively self-destruct). These are not necessarily present in the DuPont Cromaprint 22uv; these are systematic issues with most UV-cured wide format printers.
The issues are that heat from the plasma-temperature mercury-arc UV lamps is absorbed by all metal parts within the printer and the entire machine turns into a radiator. We comment on this in our reports on the Zund 250 and the Oce Arizona 250. Oce’s problem is brand new and not yet resolved. Zund fixed their heat problems two years ago. GRAPO is still struggling with their heat issues with their Octopus. Even giant companies such as Dainippon Screen (owners of Inca) are reporting that heat is indeed an issue that must be overcome (for their Truepress Jet2500UV. You can order all these reports from www.wide-format-printers.NET, and you can obtain more information directly from Nicholas Hellmuth by bringing him to your offices anywhere in the world as a consultant.
FLAAR Reports on the DuPont CromaPrint 22UV
Our independent assessment of this DuPont printer is based on our understanding of Chinese printers from the original manufacturer Flora. We keep track of Flora printers, both solvent ink Flora printers and UV-cured ink flatbed printers. We have information on the entry-level Flora UV printer, both the original Flora UV-1800 and the Raster Graphics 720UVZ.
It is essential to learn from comparisons with other printers. Every brand and each model has good features, and a few glitches. This is precisely what we describe, and explain, in the FLAAR Reports on this DuPont CromaPrint 22UV.
We are currently updating the FLAAR Reports on the DuPont printer based on speaking in person to the owner of a print shop that purchased a DuPont UV printer and also a DuPont solvent ink printer. Frankly I was surprised these DuPont Flora-made solvent printers had been sold, because they were supposedly never officially released.
We also have some feedback from other owners. We update the FLAAR Reports (the ones in PDF format) every time we have new information. This documentation is only in the PDFs; not on our web pages themselves.
The FLAAR Reports is much better than a spec sheet. We are more realistic than any PR release, and have more pros and cons than most other writers would dare to put in print. Besides, we have lots of sources of information, so when we write about any one printer we can add comments on competing printers. This is what is missing from all the PR releases all over the Internet.
Then we package all of what we have learned in a nicely illustrated FLAAR Report in full color. We update this as we learn new information. Our current question is how long DuPont will continue to offer hardware, or whether they may eventually consider not selling the Cromaprint UV printers and withdraw from the printer hardware market. The reason we ask this question is that Pitman is no longer offering the DuPont Cromaprint 22UV SE printer at Graph Expo, and DuPont is reportedly not exhibiting their 22UV printer at the Graph Expo ’07 this coming weekend. When the large DuPont booth at SGIA ’07 (October) turned out to be empty (totally empty), this was the indication that everything we had learned in the past several months was true: the printer had too many issues, glitches, problems, and headaches that even with the admirable tech support from DuPont there was simply too much competition from more reliable UV printers.
Site-Visit Case Study of the DuPont Cromaprint 22UV now available
This is the first actual site-visit case study of what it is really like to own a DuPont Cromaprint 22UV inkjet printer. Realize there is a tremendous difference between a FLAAR site-visit case study (which is a reality check) and a Success Story (which is traditionally merely a PR release).
If you are considering this printer, and comparing it with other brands, you ought to avoid headaches by learning, in advance, from the years of FLAAR’s dedication to public education on UV-cured flatbed inkjet printers. This site-visit reality check is now available from FLAAR on the Cromaprint 22UV.
We are now updating our evaluations of the Cromaprint 22UV based on the surge of new comments on issues with these printers. A yellow warning flag is the fact that Pitman was no longer selling the DuPont Cromaprint 22UV (since early autumn ’07). And there will be no DuPont booth with any UV printer at upcoming GraphExpo ’07 show in Chicago. At GraphExpo the previous year the DuPont printer had been actively exhibited and promoted.
What happened to UV printers at DuPont? Why is Pitman no longer offering them? And why is Lexjet still advertising them if Pitman dropped them? More news will be forthcoming, but DuPont itself will no longer be importing Chinese-made printers and trying to sell them. VUTEk sold over 250 of their combo-style QS series UV printers. Gandinnovations has sold over 9 grand format printers to Guatemala City alone (we keep track because our Latin American office is here). With this kind of success in the other brands, combined with a continued litany of issues with the Cromaprint 22uv, most savvy buyers have become wary of Chinese-made printers.
There was a lot of discussion of the differences between “contract manufactured” (meaning a US company made the specs) and “made in China ” (which meant that the Chinese themselves designed the printer. But in the final analysis, it turns out that a contract manufactured printer still gets stuck with parts of dubious quality (if not, then why did the transport belts kept failing; if these were not Chinese-made, then why were they used?).
And the biggest question, when DuPont drops out of offering UV printers, who will provide the updated retrofitted new parts as end-users discover other aspects that don’t hold up well. So far DuPont has redesigned most parts that have failed, as end-users report systematic failures (end-users tend to be beta-testers in this respect).
But designing these new parts is costing millions of dollars and tying up resources. The air-freight costs for sending all these parts from China alone must be considerable. The costs for providing free tech support is astronomical.
And what will happen to the resale value of a used DuPont printer if they are no longer selling them?
So we hoped that DuPont would continue, that they exhibit at SGIA, that the platform that they have labored on so long, so many hours, so many headaches for three years, that they will continue, and that at ISA ’08 we can still see DuPont UV team proudly standing behind their successful printers. DuPont deserved the FLAAR award of “Best in Show” for their color gamut (for color saturation and brightness, all of which is not as noticeable in UV inks for competing UV printer brands).
It is unclear if this is really UV ink from DuPont, or just the result of their specs for UV ink in a cooperative venture with another ink company, but what counts is the results. It does not really matter who brews the ink as long as it makes your clients happy.
Comparisons with pertinent other UV-cured inkjet printers
The hallmark of FLAAR Reports is sustained research and comparisons between all the different brands and models. We keep asking questions. So we have learned about how various printshops have fared once they acquired a DuPont Cromaprint 22uv flatbed combo printer.
Then we make the effort to learn about the other printers that are a similar size, shape, and cost. These would include the Colorspan 9840uv, and the well-designed and study UV printers from Korea, such as the IP&I Cube260 and Dilli Neo (NeoJet, Neoplus, NeoDeluxe).
To insure that we have as much documentation as possible, we work at obtaining access to the main demo rooms and the factories where the printers are manufactured. So far we have inspected the factories of
• Gandinnovations in Toronto (two days)
• Grapo in the Czech Republic (two days)
• Inca Digital in the UK (a busy day, combined with the factory next door for Sun FastJet UV printer)
• VUTEk (have been there three times so far, and a fourth visit is scheduled for this autumn).
• MacDermid ColorSpan (have been invited there four times now)
• NUR (one day training in their R&D facilities, ink labs, and world headquarters in Israell)
• Zund (two days training there in Switzerland)
• IP&I (two days in Seoul; we visited IP&I a second time a year later)
• Teckwin (outside Shanghai; visited the factory twice)
• Infiniti (one of the several factories that manufacturers printers for Infiniti, an hour from Shanghai)
At present we have invitations from UV manufacturers in Taiwan as well. So far have not been at the DuPont headquarters but we are busy obtaining documentation from all the other main producers of UV printers. The result of all these factory visits is improved coverage of each aspect of UV printers. Because if you are looking at the DuPont Cromaprint 22uv, your short list probably also has several other brands. So at least we want to have been gathering information from as many of these other printers as possible.
Will combo-style UV printers with conveyor belts survive anyway?
Now that Gerber has launched a dual purpose dedicated flatbed UV printer with a roll-fed attachment (the Gerber Solara ion, the question remains whether printers (such as DuPont) with transport belts have much future? The transport belts slip, wander, and get bent out of shape on early versions of the DuPont, GRAPO Octopus, and VUTEk PressVu 200/600. Zund stated that after their experience making over 400 examples of their conveyor belt system that they realize transport belts simply will never work (no matter what).
But HP Scitex FB910 is the rebirth of the ColorSpan 9840uv. My tests documented its transport belt could handle wood, concrete slabs and many other unusual thick materials. I visited a printshop using the ColorSpan 9840uv and they were printing on Coroplast every day. Several other brands of UV printers have issues with their ink adhering to Coroplast. Today these early ColorSpan printers have gone through several iterations and there are newer models such as the HP Scitex FB series. But we have neither visited the HP factory nor done a site-visit case study of these post-ColorSpan versions.
Wide Format Printers