Lexjet Legend 72HUV is an improved version of the DuPont Cromaprint 18UV hybrid printer Print

For two years DuPont was so far the only company in the world that appeared to be successful with Chinese-manufactured UV-cured wide format inkjet printers. Several other brands of Chinese-manufactured solvent printers are still iffy but the DuPont Cromaprint 22UV SE has evolved through several stages to the point that about 70 are out in the world and being used.

Unfortunately problems with the transport belt, skewing, ink issues, general low quality of low-bid Chinese parts, and all the other issues that are common with Chinese-made printers caused such a cost of tech support for the Cromaprint 22UV that DuPont pulled out. There was no DuPont booth at GraphExpo '07 or at SGIA '07. Even Lexjet finally stopped announcing the Cromaprint 22UV on its web site.

Digital Equipment Company LexJet Legend 72HUV printer
FLAAR has initiated an on-going evaluation of the LexJet 72HUV from Digital Equipment Company.

These are the reasons that FLAAR stipulates a site-visit case study in an actual printshop before we can even consider recommending a printer with a track record like these mentioned above. Plus we need to visit the demo room of the manufacturer, and their headquarters, to see what kind of expertise is available.

DuPont had earlier dropped Chinese-made solvent inkjet printers. Redhill gave up trying to sell Chinese-made solvent inkjet printers a year before that. B&P Lightbrigade, the biggest large-format printer distributor in the UK, was not able to get five different Chinese made solvent printers to function, and junked all five.

Not even the factory tech support person sent to London from China could get them to work adequately.

Other entry-level hybrid UV-curing wide-format inkjet printers

But all these problems were in the years 2003-2006. By 2007 RTZ had improved quality control for their UV printers, since these had to be acceptable for export.

ShenZhen Runtianzhi Image Technology Co. Ltd. (RTZ) is the manufacturer of these printers. Their Flora FUV-2500 and Flora F1 180UV (Raster Printers Daytona H700uv) are more recent generations (more recent than the DuPont Cromaprint 18uv) and hence have additional improvements. It has been possible to inspect the H700uv inside out as well as do test prints in the demo room and we are making an appointment for a site-visit case study. That is why the FLAAR Report is more advanced on the Daytona H700uv from Raster Printers.

I visited two printshops with IP&I Cube 260 uv printers and one printshop with a GCC StellarJet 250 before updating the FLAAR Reports on these printers from Korea and Taiwan (you can click on the titles of these reports in the vertical columns at the right).

I also visited two printshops with an Infiniti UV printer; one had so many months of breakdowns that he finally returned it; the other was in a foreign country where a return was not realistic; he hobbled the printer together and does the best he can: even the UV lamp fell off the carriage.

So we spend time learning about each model; the Infiniti UV printer was easy to inspect because one was in my home town (St Louis, Missouri), the other was near my main office (Guatemala City).

Differences between Cromaprint 18UV and Cromaprint 22UV

Since the 1.8 meter machine from Flora was licensed to Raster Printers (as the Daytona 720, and as the Daytona T600uv), these models were not available to DuPont. So, a slightly different design was utilized by DuPont for their DuPont Cromaprint 18UV. Plus color management software is totally different than the software for the Raster Printers (naturally associated with DuPont).

We have prepared an update in our initial First Look evaluation of the DuPont Cromaprint 18UV as information became available. But then (snowy winter 2007-08) the Cromaprint 18UV was never launched by DuPont because the entire UV printer program at DuPont had been phased out.

LexJet Legend 72HUV, DuPont Cromaprint 18UV-curable flatbed inkjet printer reviews
DuPont Cromaprint 18UV flatbed printer at FESPA 2007.

So it turned that that DuPont did not begin selling the 18UV model because they had already decided not to continue with UV hardware long before they officially announced anything to the public.

Flora has four years experience making UV printers, surely they have learned by now how to make a UV printer function.

DuPont Cromaprint 18uv to be reborn as Legend 72HUV

During SGIA several people indicated that since LexJet had worked with DuPont on the Cromaprint 22uv, they had familiarity with the Cromaprint 18uv also.

But the Cromaprint 18uv has more input from DuPont, based on their painful experience with the 22uv. So, in theory, the 18uv should have fewer problems. Same with the Raster Printers Daytona H700UV, a combo style printer with conveyor belt. This seems to have fewer problems than with earlier flora printers. The Legend 72HUV is a hybrid style (pinch rollers on top of grit rollers); the Daytona H700UV has a transport belt, so that takes the place of pinch rollers.

Now that the Legend 72HUV is available for study, we will update our comments as to why it is the first Chinese-made UV printer that can function for more than a few months without breaking down and wearing out. What is essential is to visit the factory since most FLAAR Reports beginning in 2007-2008 are increasingly based on testing UV printers in their original factory.

Lexjet Legend 72HUV printer evaluations
Legend 72HUV hybrid flatbed UV printer at demo room of DEC (Digital Equipment Company).
Legend 72HUV printer reviews
Samples printed by the Legend 72HUV.

Korean manufacturers have long ago figured out how to construct a well-designed and sturdy printer (the IP&I Cube 1606 is one of several examples). This I learned by spending day after day in the factory, and then speaking to UV-curable distributors in several European countries who already had experience with other printers.

To learn about the IP&I Cube 260UV, I went to two printshops using these printers on a daily basis. One liked his so much he bought a second one. All this documentation is in our reports on this model. It is also notable that when competitors speak of which UV printers they notice are well designed and look solid, the IP&I is frequently mentioned as a good all-round printer (especially on cleanness of engineering and manufacturing).

Taiwan manufacturers are doing better these days too: the GCC StellarJet 183uv today is significantly better than it was just six months ago. The GCC StellarJet 250UV is even better. This we can document because of a site-visit case study to a printshop where the best color and adhesion to ceramic tiles anywhere was being accomplished by a GCC StellarJet 250UV.

So, in theory, it is possible for Chinese to manufacture a printer that will hold up to being used every day all month. Most of the printshop owners who have Infiniti solvent printers say that these Chinese solvent printers are acceptable (unfortunately owners of Infiniti UV printers are not as content since their UV printers fall apart after less than four months).

Issues are not limited to Chinese-made printers. The Zund 250 failed (until it was redesigned, which took two years). The Gerber ion has not yet been successful (it has been popular, but can't yet be finished because of problems with cationic ink chemistry). The ColorSpan 5440uv series (now reborn as the HP Designjet H35100 and H45100) had issues after birth that are requiring redesign and retrofitting. But at least ColorSpan (and HP) know how to improve their printers. The HP version of the ColorSpan UV printers for 2008 has been upgraded and are now certified by HP.

Digital Equipment Company and Lexjet

The manufacturer of all DuPont, Raster Printers and LexJet printers is ShenZhen Runtianzhi Image Technology Co. Ltd. Digital Equipment Company is the name listed in PR reports. since this is the company through which the Flora printer is brought in from China as the Legend 72HUV. It is logical that there would be an importer as well as a distributor. LexJet is the owner of Digital Equipment Company. LexJet is one of the more successful sellers of wide-format inkjet media.

One thing I have learned is that no printer manufacturer or distributor will invite FLAAR to inspect their printer when they know it has defects. Even Canon told me that the reason they waited three years to invite me to do an evaluation of their printers is because they saw from my report that I already knew the deficiences of the really early models (circa 2002-2004). The reverse of this reality is that when a printer manufacturer or distributor does make the effort to invite FLAAR to visit, inspect, and test their printer, this means they themselves are confident that the improvements will allow their printer to survive an analysis by FLAAR.

So shortly after DRUPA it was possible to spend two days with the LexJet Legend in the offices of Digital Equipment Company in Sarasota. Two days of notes are too much for a single web page, so a separate FLAAR Report will be issued.

 

This model is no longer available new, but you might find it as a used printer. Regardless of what brand and model, before buying any used printer, we recommend that you realize spare parts may be an issue for printers no longer manufactured. Plus, the main reason why a model is retired is because engineers have developed new (and hopefully better) printheads, ink delivery systems, substrate transport systems, etc. So what may have been an acceptable printer when it was fresh and new, may be not as viable today.

Plus undersand that there are so many old models that it is not realistic for us to update each and every web page going back so many years. So if you need personal assistance, to decide which used printer is worth the risk, you can hire Dr. Nicholas Hellmuth for a personalized consultancy. For more information, contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

Most recently updated July 21, 2008.

First posted Sept. 27, 2006. Updated September 7, 2007. Updated again after SGIA '07, January 28, 2008, February 12, 2008, April 14, 2008, June 18, 2008.