NEO UV-LED hybrid UV printer with LED-curing lamps Print

Sun, an entrepreneurial company in Novosibirsk, Russia, exhibited an innovative LED-based LED-cured UV inkjet printer at FESPA. Germany, 2007. Don’t confuse this Sun company with the Fortune 100 chemical company, Sun Chemical (which also makes a UV printer, the Sun FastJet, which we spent a day inspecting at its factory in the UK earlier this year).

Sun Neo UV LED hybrid UV printer

This is an early version of the

Sun NEO UV hybrid UV printer with LED curing at FESPA 2007.

The Sun that is exhibiting this novel UV printer is completely different. They are multi-national but their main office is in Novosibirsk (also spelled Nobosibirsk). SInce 2008 they have moved a few kilometers, but they still have the same corporate name.

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I first saw a non-LED prototype of this printer at GulfPrint, Dubai, 2007, while I was there at the invitation of Canon (Middle East) to lecture on giclee, photo, and water-based printing applications). In that year, the early model was effectively a Russian version of an Infiniti UV printer. The difference from other Infiniti UV printers is that this one seems to function.

“Infiniti” is not a manufacturer, it is an exporter/distributor. Their printers are made by several different Chinese factories. And, any given Chinese factory has “export models” (made with stronger parts) and models for local use in China (cheaper parts anad fewer features).

Within less than a year, Sun LLC had advanced to where it was designing the printers themselves, and having the frame contract manufactured in China. The electronics and printheads were then assembled in Russia. Now, in 2008, Sun LLC has opened a new factory, and the printer is effectively no longer a Chinese printer.

So clearly I need to inspect sign shops that have the Russian version, the Sun NEO-UV LED, to see how it holds up. If it holds up, then we will clearly state this and differentiate it even more clearly from the other models.

The first NEO UV-LED hybrid style model in 2008 used 12 Xaar XJ-128/40 W printheads and offered 6 colors in diverse combinations (orange, green, white, varnish, etc).

The other advantage of the Russian model is that they have capable experienced tech support and when I first experienced this company, Sun LLC had a large staff of hard-working multi-lingual professionals. At GulfPrint I passed by the booth many times over several days, and the booth was bustling with activity. The booth personnel were not idly standing around: each and ever one was speaking with each individual who passed by their booth. Today, in 2009, the recession has caused a downsizing, as has happened to companies of all sizes and all countries around the world.

Sun NEO UV hybrid UV printer evaluations
Sun NEO UV hybrid UV printer at FESPA 2007.
Sun NEO UV hybrid UV printer reviews

LED in general for UV pinning and curing

FLAAR is updating its various FLAAR Reports on UV lamps, UV curing, UV-cured inks, printheads for UV, and other essential aspects. You can find all these on www.wide-format-printers.NET, in the link at the right to UV.

For example we list all other UV printers that use LED lamps, and indicate whether or not they have issues.

Now that Sun has a completely new model printer, the UV-LED Evolution, we have a separate page on this product.

The Sun NEO UV LED UV-curable hybrid flatbed printer evaluations
Here are some samples of the current version of the Sun NEO UV-LED Evolution combo-style flatbed printer. Combo style means with a moving transport belt. These are more reliable for thick and rigid materials than is a hybrid style (hybrid means with a flat platen, pinch rollers, and grit rollers: no moving belt)." This photograph was taken at VISCOM Germany 2008.

We have not updated our discussion of UV-cured printers from Sun Innovation for several reasons. One is that LED curing has not been successful at Mimaki; the curing was so weak of the JFX flatbed printers that Mimaki had to add additional lamps (not LED, but not mercury arc either).

If you don't mind slow printing, LED certainly has less electrical cost than other kinds of UV curing. Perhaps the cationic ink of Gerber CAT would be another good choice for low-electricity (but probably more sophisticated curing than LED).

So far we have not returned to inspect the new Sun factory and have no FLAAR Report on any printer from Sun Innovations (the one we reported on three years ago was based on a frame probably imported from China). Sun is in the process of building a new factory, but only when I see this in-person can I document how much of the printer is really made in Russia and how much is made in China. I estimate that this depends on which model.

But Russian engineers are capable and Sun Innovation has savvy owner and directors. But there are dozens and dozens of other hard-working UV printer manufacturers, so there is a lot of competition. Having a new factory will only produce more printers that will need additional distributors. Money should also be spent on how to sell the printers.

 

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 13, 2011.
First posted May 23, 2007. Updated June 19, 2008, after DRUPA. Updated June 19, 2009, after FESPA Digital Europe, Munich.