|Grapo Manta UV -cured dedicated flatbed printer|
The GRAPO Manta has now been exhibited at SGIA '09 as GRAPO moves towards opening a distributor network in the US. Previously, since 2004, GRAPO has been available on all continents except North America. Now these UV-cured printers, including the Octopus II and Shark are now available in America.
Since trade shows are too busy and hectic to really do a full study of any brand of printer, the Grapo staff invited FLAAR to visit their factory in the Czech Republic in 2006 and then for another three days during summer 2008. So for day after day it was possible to inspect the Grapo Manta and the Grapo Octopus inside-out, since we could study them along the assembly line.
As a result we are substantially updating our reports on these printers for autumn 2008. Eventually it even became possible to undertake a site-visit case study in Germany. But even before the site-visit inspection, so far the reputation for this Manta flatbed is better than some of the other flatbeds; the Mimaki JF-1631, for example, has innumerable minor issues. All the problems of the Mimaki are explained in the FLAAR Reports on this printer.
Other UV-curable Factory Visits
The first company that realized the importance of arranging a factory visit was actually Raster Printers. We spent a week there. As a result our FLAAR Reports on this printer is among our most comprehensive.
Then MacDermid ColorSpan arranged for us to visit their factory in Minneapolis. Everything we learned here made it possible to prepare a through report on the ColorSpan 9840 uv.
We are now waiting for visits to the factories of other UV-curable inkjet printers. The invitation has already arrived to visit the factory of the Sun/Inca FastJet. Earlier last year (2008) a visit to the two Durst factories has resulted in two new reports (see vertical column of free reports).
FLAAR Reports now available on other dedicated flatbed UV-curable printers
More and more manufacturers are producing dedicated roll-to-roll or dedicated flatbed printers. This reminds us that a hybrid machine can't be perfect at both roll-fed and rigid material. There is no hybrid vigor in UV-printer design like there is in evolution, where a hybrid may be better than its progenitors. So far, a dedicated flatbed handles flat, thick, and rigid materials better than any hybrid (a ColorSpan 5240uv ; HP Designjet 45500 now is an example of a hybrid that failed; the Keundo hybrid and all Neolt hybrids have also not succeeded in the marketplace). If a printer has a moving transport belt is should be called a combo, but there is no consistency in the industry, so each printer manufacturer mixes up the term hybrid. Hybrid is a slightly derogative term, since pinch rollers are not capable of moving most heavy thick materials: a combo transport belt is best and a dedicated flatbed is also obviously apt for thick rigid materials.
FLAAR Reports are available from www.wide-format-printers.NET on
Since October 2007, a curious new flatbed competitor has been launched, the Gerber Solara ion dedicated flatbed printer. The cationic ink chemistry is a bit unusual, and in the beginning, a bit cationic (pun obvious). Fortunately that ink chemistry has matured and now offers better functionality. Recently another flatbed competitor appeared on the market, the TeckStorm from Teckwin. If you are tempted by the TeckStorm, be absolutely sure you get your hands on the FLAAR Report first, as we have updated our evaluation during 2009.
The advantage of the GRAPO Manta is that this is a serious production printer. The GRAPO company is a printshop (literally, they print banners, billboards, and POP signage). GRAPO designs and manufacturers the Manta to produce its own signage. This is the only flatbed printer in the world that is made by a sign shop. So they make sure that their own printer is functional yet reasonably priced.
Manta flatbed UV printer reviews
The Manta flatbed is outselling the Mimaki JF-1631 flatbed because of more reliable engineering on the Manta. You can obtain the FLAAR Reports on the Mimaki from our separate web site where all of the hundreds of FLAAR Reports can be ordered. When you compare the Mimaki JF-1631 with the GRAPO Manta flatbed UV printer you see an easier cleaning system on the Manta as well. There are also advantages to the printhead used in the Manta and several flukes in the Toshiba Tec head in the Mimaki (again, discussed in the Mimaki JF-1631 report from FLAAR).
No matter what brand of UV flatbed you select, a cutter will be necessary too
To finish your UV print you will eventually need a flatbed cutter. These are available from companies such as
FLAAR is currently evaluating the Kongsberg flatbed cutter-routers as well as workflow, JDF, PDF, and MIS software from EskoArtwork.
GRAPO had a booth at SGIA 2009 in October
If you are in the US, Canada, or Latin America, you can now inspect the GRAPO Manta dedicated flatbed printer at a major American trade show, SGIA 2009. GRAPO exhibited in this part of the world for the first time this October.
Wide Format Printers