Matan Barak iQ an improved super wide-format roll-to-roll UV printer Print

Matan Barak, based in Israel has a new super wide-format roll-to-roll UV printer which was launched at FESPA 2011, where the model exhibited is out of beta-stage and in fact, has already been sold before the end of the exhibition.

The features for this improved version of the early Barak models introduced four or five years ago, includes a printhead technology that allows drops of 20 and 40 picoliters in the same pass. The printhead brand for the new iQ continues to be RICOH. This model has 32 printheads (8 printheads per color) which makes it faster than other dedicated roll-to-roll UV printers. The output colors at FESPA 2011 were vibrant, although the printer only comes in 4-color configuration so far.

This model will also be able to print multiple rolls simultaneously. The RIP allows file adjustments on the fly. In other words, you can make last minute corrections to the file while the Barak iQ is printing.

Although the printer is already out of beta stage, the price was not officially released but we know it will be around €30,000 (US$43,000) more than the original Barak5 model. The price of the current Matan Barak5 (5.3 meters wide) is around the US$470,000 and US$390,000 for the Barak3 (3.8 meters wide). So we should expect a price near the US$500,000 to US$550,000 for the United States.

Smart devices are gradually becoming popular in wide-format printers

The Barak iQ is smart device oriented; it comes with an application that lets you check the status of the print job in mobile devices, as iPhones or iPads. It is not yet clear if this application is restricted to Apple devices.

But the Barak iQ is not the first printer with a smart mobile device. The Gandy Digital Pred8tor is operated with an integrated iPad that lets you see print status, ink settings, and even video tutorials. Of course this iPad is detachable and can be mounted in several points of the printer.

Some 3.2-meter systems that are competitors

If your sign shop is not physically large enough to take a 5-meter system, there is always a 3.2 meter version to consider. But for 3.2 meter it makes more sense to have a transport-belt, so you can also print thick or rigid materials, in addition to roll-to-roll.

Substrates for 5-meter width: banner, billboards, mesh, frontlit, backlit

Most substrates are made in factories that produce a maximum of 3.2 meters. So it was nice to find two different factories recently that produced materials at 5 meter widths. I recently spent one week inspecting 5 meter production of PVC at Obeikan OTF. Then I flew to China to spend a week inspecting 5-meter production of PE, an eco-friendly material. In early 2011 I hope to return to Obeikan OTF to inspect their new production line of PP (an ecologically more friendly green substrate as an alternative to PVC).

So if you have clients that prefer to avoid PVC, now there are two materials to select as alternatives: PE as a technical textile, and PP as a technical textile.

Will this printer be also OEM’d?

Simultaneously at FESPA Hamburg 2011, Fujifilm released the UVIStar 2, their rebranded version of the Barak iQ.

According to Matan personnel, there will also be a 3-meter version of the iQ.

 


First Issued May 2011