ARDEJE 1560Z UV (Ardeje One), the first French wide-format flatbed inkjet printer, now, the ARDEJE 8000 Print

ARDEJE One is (or was during its brief reign of a few months) a unique wide-format inkjet printer. It is produced by what could be considered a think-tank in part affiliated with capable professors from French technical universities. At present the Ardeje UV printer appears as a “concept car,” to show what is possible if intelligent engineers such as Patrice Giraud put their heads together. Unfortunately, the last time I met Giraud, my impression was that this institute had run out of university or government funding. The situation sounded identical to any state university in America that attempted to create an inkjet initiative (conflicting and constantly changing and confusing goals as a new dean, Chair, Provost came or went; inability of a university to interact in the real world of international business and marketing (universities are still too “ivory tower”).

FLAAR is offering personalized consulting at each trade show. You can walk-the-floor with the Senior Editor of FLAAR and get his comments on any and all printers, inks, RIP software, color management, substrates, applications, etc.

So if you wish to learn about the difference between combo, hybrid, and dedicated UV printers, how latex ink compares, about textile printers, etc. contact FLAAR to obtain consulting.

You can also get consulting before ISA or FESPA anywhere in the world: Dubai, India, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, China, Korea, London and more.

Then the printer was renamed the Ardeje 1560Z UV. Then it simply disappeared. This means it was never at any major international trade show, probably because no distributor was willing to distribute it. FLAAR specializes in introducing UV printers to distributors in Asia, Balkans, Middle East, North America, Mexico and South America, but since the actual Ardeje printer never reappeared, there was no way for a distributor to see it.

In April 2009 I could not even reach their web site (though that happens when a site is down incidentally or accidently for a brief period; I am sure the site will reappear in the future, as Ardeje the company is still, seemingly in existence.

Now, several years later, the website features the Ardeje 8000, an unusual UV flatbed printer which apparently cures with only one UV lamp, as does the Gandy Digital Pred8tor. But even this new model has not yet been exhibited recently. It is unclear whether this UV printer is actually being sold or it continues as a prototype waiting for funding to start real marketing and production.

The only other product featured in their website is the Visualdrop, a system to evaluate the formation, and overall behavior of ink drops for analysis.

In any event, it is difficult to trust a printer manufacturer who is not known, or who has no distributor network in major countries because spare parts might not be easy to find. During 2008-2012 a number of printer manufacturers discontinued their models, or the companies themselves were acquired by larger corporations, but rarely do you find an official statement regarding the continuation of spare parts for models that have been ceased. The Ardeje printers remind me of why French cars such as the Renault, Peugeot and others are not as popular in some countries: expensive, and spare parts are difficult to find.

GRAPO in the Czech Republic also built their own UV flatbed. This is a billboard printing company. They wanted to buy a Zund 215, but found it was not adequate for their needs. So they built a printer themselves. But they then commercialized it, which requires building a dealer network and a tech support system. FLAAR is a consultant for both GRAPO and their new ownership and so we have visited their factory and headquarters three times now. These visits make it possible to know the GRAPO printers, and management personnel, in detail.

NEOLT is another example of a company that had never built their own printer previously. They now have three sizes of flatbed hybrid printers available from their factory in Italy. To commercialize it Neolt had many advantages: they already have a dealer network in Europe and already exhibit in American trade shows (though don't yet have a dealer network for their printer in the US other than Triangle ink company). Both the Neolt and Grapo printers are selling well in Europe; their main competition would be the HP Scitex FB700, and others.

When I first saw the news releases on the Ardeje One UV-cured inkjet printer when it first appeared several years ago, I was impressed. So I wrote to ask for more information.

No answer (of course perhaps they did not receive my request, but I sent it through their web site). Then I asked colleagues about it; got no response. Then I went to trade shows all over Europe: it never appeared at a single show (though reportedly it was at least one French event but that is a regional, not an international show).

It is helpful to have new different innovative UV printer “concept car” systems, such as Ardeje, to show that we should not always produce “me-too” printers. At FESPA '07 a trade show editor agreed that too many of the new printers were “me too.” The same old transport-belt combo system or the same old hybrid system.

After Drupa, which is held every 4 years, FESPA is the largest printer trade show in Europe (noticeably larger than either ISA or SGIA, one of which, naturally, claim to be “the largest in the world”).

As an aside, DRUPA is the largest printer trade show in the world but the location of the UV printer booths at DRUPA is counter-productive (splattered to distant from each other in halls a kilometer from each other). FESPA is second in size but is far better organized. ISA is a great show, as is SGIA, and we recommend them both. But they are a bit smaller than the large European fairs.

Either way, it would be nice to see the Ardeje at an international show; most of the Viscom events are local or at best national.

 

Most recently updated February 6, 2012.

Reposted May 12, 2006, updated June 14, 2007. Updated April 27, 2009.