Mutoh Zephyr UV hybrid printer launched at FESPA Digital ‘08 in Geneva Print

There are now more than 46 manufacturers of UV printers.

There were more at DRUPA 2008 (even more than exhibited, one new Swiss company was off-site exhibiting their UV printer; and two more Korean manufacturers are not yet large enough to be at DRUPA).

Agfa now has it's own “:Anapurna 100,” (now named the : Anapurna XLS) not made by Mutoh Europe and not made by Dilli (all the Agfa : Anapurna XL, Anapurna Mv, etc are made by the capable Korean manufacturer Dilli).

The Mutoh Zephyr uses Xaar 760 Omnidot heads. Very few other printers have tried this printhead other than the Teckwin TeckStorm dedicated UV flatbed printer. If I remember correctly, the new GRAPO Shark now uses this printhead also.

This first Mutoh UV model is a hybrid system (no transport belt). Hybrid technology is used by Keundo, ColorSpan (now the HP 45100), Gerber Solara, Neolt, Milano (OEM from Neolt via Triangle Ink) and GCC StellarJET 183UVK.

The difference is that the Mutoh has a more sophisticated roll-feeding system than entry-level competitors. I would rate the Mutoh Zephyr as mid-range (in other words, a bit more advanced in technology than cheaper systems). For example, there is a double-dancer system at the back and a dancer bar at the front too. As soon as it may be possible to visit the factory then I can observe additional sophisticated features.

The initial tentative price was 100,000 Euros, but I believe that price had to be lowered to match prices of competing brands and models. Production was originally slated to begin during late summer for delivery by end of the year 2008. But slight delays are normal for any new platform. This printer has been in development for many years so this machine will unlikely have the issues of first-time platforms such as the Gerber ion. Mutoh Europe is being very cautious in order not to introduce a printer with any obvious problems.

Mutoh Zephyr printer reviews
Angle view of Mutoh Zephyr UV Hybrid at Fespa Digital 2008

It is noteworthy that Mutoh beat both Roland and Seiko. Neither Seiko nor Roland (at the time of first showing of the Zephyr) had any UV printer in active production. Of course since summer Roland has come out with its own UV printer, with LED curing, and at a size that is not competing against the Zephyr.

Seiko has still not shown their own UV printers; in part because they are concentrating on solvent printers still (ColorPainter H-104s and H-74s)

The sheer number of new UV printers makes it a challenge to keep up. The best evaluation can be done during a site-visit case study, of the printers in actual printshops. But this is not realistic for a brand new printer: a prototype exists only in the manufacturer's trade show booth and demo room back at their factory or headquarters.

So as soon as the new Mutoh Zephyr UV printer is available to study at its demo room, we will consider to issue a FLAAR Report. In the meantime, we have reports on over 60 other UV printer models from over 46 manufacturers. One of these other printer models is the Mimaki UJV-160uv, also a hybrid. But the Mimaki UJV-160uv has several differents: it costs less, and the Mimaki utilizes LED lamps for UV curing. So the Mimaki can print on thin and fragile material that would melt in any other printer. But every printer has plusses and minuses: the downsides of the Mimaki LED UV-curing printer are listed in the FLAAR Reports.

The Mutoh Zephyr UV hybrid will be displayed at ISA 2009 and then at FESPA Digital in Amsterdam, plus at other pertinent international trade shows.

The Mutoh Zephyr UV Hybrid evaluations
The Mutoh Zephyr UV Hybrid was exhibited at VISCOM Italy 2008.
Mutoh Zephyr UV Hybrid uses Xaar 760 Omnidot heads

 

Samples of The Mutoh Zephyr UV Hybrid
The Mutoh Zephyr UV Hybrid showing some samples at VISCOM Italy 2008.

 

Plenty of other hybrid UV-curable flatbeds are available: ColorSpan HP Designjet, DEC Legend 72HUV, Neolt, etc.

Plus you may want to read the FLAAR Report on classifications of UV printers to understand the difference between a hybrid and a combo and a true flatbed.

 

 

Most recently updated January 23, 2009.

First posted April 1, 2008. Updated May 30, 2008.