ShenZhen Runtianzhi image Technolgy Co. Ltd Print

Often abbreviated as RTZ, ShenZhen Runtianzhi image Technolgy Co. Ltd is the company in China that manufactures this and the ill-fated UV and solvent printers that DuPont attempted for years to sell (unsuccessfully). Fortunately the loss of that prime customer caused RTZ to realize they might lose their other customers as well, so now at least the machines that they sell to EFI Rastek are acceptable. Unfortunately there are occasional lesser versions, such as one that was sent to a potential distributor in South Africa in 2007 or 2008. The distributor said this printer was unusable, could not be repaired, and there was inadequate tech support from the factory once the printer landed in South Africa.

But EFI Rastek provides their own tech support so the reality in China is not as much a concern. I visited a FastSigns franchise printshop that had the Raster Printers Daytona H700UV and he was content with the printer and with the tech support of Rak Kumar and his colleagues (this was a year before the purchase of Raster Printers by EFI).

The lesson learned is that quality varies by distributor, and by manufacturer.

Today in 2009, hopefully the quality of Flora printers from RTZ should be improved. Teckwin has been able to improve their Teckstorm flatbed (but people with experience say that their hybrid TeckSmart and TeckThunder are complex and have issues). But every year the quality of Chinese made UV-curable printers improves for one simple reason: when one single printer arrives and falls apart quickly, this blemishes the image of that brand name.

Although some printshops simply buy on price, most printshops also respect brand image. So Durst has a good brand image. WP Digital has a prestige brand image, etc.

DuPont did not have a good brand image; several other brands have damaged or weak brand images because their printers have issues.

At Shanghai 2009 the booth of ShenZhen Runtianzhi image Technolgy Co., Ltd. exhibited a new Flora UV flatbed and about two other UV printers. The 2.5 meter combo in the large black enclosure was no longer visible (this was the replacement model for DuPont but DuPont decided they did not want to risk any more and pulled out). The RTZ booth in July 2009 was large and impressive, and the staff, managers, sales reps and printer operators were professional and informative. It helps to have good people such as these in your company.

So today in 2009 there are different models and some earlier models are no longer around. It will take us a while to catch up since there were so many other new UV-curable inkjet printers launched and exhibited at the same Shanghai 2009 show.

The Flora F1-180UV comes in several flavors and in many camouflages

Raster Printers Daytona H700UV

EFI Rastek H700UV

UltraFLAT 180UVT (Megajet)

Flora F1-180UV Turbo (ShenZhen Runtianzhi image Technolgy Co.Ltd)

Flora F1-180UV-BA (the designation at FESPA Digital Berlin, 2007)

Tuareg Arena 1800 UV

Flora F1-180UV printer, ShenZhen Runtianzhi image Technolgy Co. Ltd
Flora F1-180UV printer, ShenZhen Runtianzhi image Technolgy Co. Ltd. SGIA trade show, 2007.

The Flora F1-180UV printer reviews
Here is Dr. Nicholas Hellmuth analyzing the Flora F1-180UV printer at ISA 2007.

evaluations of Flora F1-180UV printer
Samples printed by the Flora F1-180UV printer at ISA 2007.

Tuareg Arena 1800 UV

The company that rebrands this as the Arena 1800 UV has an illegible logo and an even more illegible corporate logo-font. I finally deciphered it is HGR, the other graphical design “accident” took 5 minutes to decipher as Tuareg. But this is a style in Spain and Italy: to have a logo spelling of your company name with a font that is unreadable. Very chic.

If you live in a country where the EFI Rastek version is not available, and you prefer another brand name, just be sure that you are protected by money-back warranty and by adequate tech support. Best way to find out is to ask two or preferably three current owners of the identical UV machine. If they are content then the chances are that you will be too.

UltraFLAT 180UVT (Megajet)

Better Presentation Service GmbH of Nurnberg offers this printer. It is the same as all the others (just a different color and with a different name on the front right).

UltraFLAT is an unexpected designation since this is a combo with moving transport belt; it is not a dedicated flatbed. But at least a combo is more flat than a hybrid! But it would be more professional if distributors (and manufacturers) had a standard nomenclature: if a printer has a moving transport belt it is not a hybrid, it is a combo. A hybrid is a cheaper former solvent printer with pinch rollers acting on grit rollers.

Now that Raster Printers company is owned by EFI, this model may be available worldwide

In the past the Raster Printers were primarily in the US and a few other countries. But now that EFI bought this company, it is probable that you can buy this specific EFI Rastek version rather than a local version. Although most are pretty much the same printer from the same factory, you have a bit more clout with Rastek, since they can't afford the bad publicity of having any printer model that is a failure for their clients. Plus, there is more statistical chance that the machines leaving the factory headed to Rastek are “export models” rather than the cheaper version of the same model for local use where longevity is not as much of an issue.

The last time I saw the Rastek H700 was in January 2009, and the color saturation was excellent. It is usual to have bi-directional banding visible at close distance on most printers under $100,000 (and even on some costing twice this). You can either run it uni-directional or hope they add an interweaving software or comparable software printing tricks to obscure most of the bands. But it is not serious and is visible only at close-up viewing distance. For a banner or billboard no one would see it.

Comparable Entry-Level UV-Cured Printers

The Flora F1-180UV is a combo (with moving transport belt). I reserve the designation “hybrid” for printers with no moving transport belt. So all the Agfa :Anapurna M-series are combo systems. The GCC StellarJET 183UVK is a hybrid (platen, pinch rollers, grit rollers: no moving transport belt). So in the classifications this machine is not a hybrid it is a combo. But there is no universally fixed standard (other than that of FLAAR) and so every manufacturer, distributor, or owner uses whichever name that they prefer.

If you wish to know all the hybrids, all the combos, and all of every other classification, there is a FLAAR Reports that is literally 98% of all UV printers made since year 2002 and what kind they are.

Flora F1-180UV Turbo combo-flatbed reviews
Here is the Flora F1-180UV printing some samples at FESPA Mexico 2008.

 

 

Most recently updated July 15, 2009.

First posted Feb. 9, 2009.