|Jetrix 3015FQ and first reviews of Jetrix 2515, Jetrix 2513FRQ flatbed UV printer from InkTec ink, Korea|
The Inktec Jetrix 3015FQ was launched at FESPA Digital Europe in 2009. I inspected the 3015FQ a second time at VISCOM Duesseldorf ’09.
The nice new American-sized Jetrix 2515 printer from InkTec was launched at SGIA '08 in Atlanta. At SGIA 2009 the newer model appeared, the Jetrix 2513FRQ. The two models are because rigid signage boards in the US are one standard size and rigid boards for signage in Europe are a different size and proportion.
In terms of industrial design, the Jetrix 2515 was the most attractive new UV printer of any at SGIA ‘08. Actually it is more sleek design than any European UV printer at VISCOM Germany '08 in Frankfurt a few weeks after SGIA.
The InkTec Jetrix catalog was by far the best designed and most handsome catalog of any at SGIA '08. They had the same sophistication at SGIA '09. Nothing like this printer concept or sophisticated of the launch campaign (the graphic design) has come from Japan or Europe.
At SGIA ’08 and again at SGIA ’09 I visited the Jetrix booth to inspect the printer. But it has not been possible to inspect this printer in its factory since during the months leading up to SGIA they were very busy. With over 45 brands of UV printers there is no way to handle every brand at full coverage. I have to make decisions where to devote my resources, and I prefer to concentrate on the printers with distributor networks and where I can inspect the printer in its factory and demo room. A new printer with limited distributor network will not be sought after by printshop owners for the first several months, whereas the EFI Rastek T660 and Oce Arizona 350GT are both already on their way to commercial success even though in the past both were as new as the Jetrix. But I have been to the original Rastek factory in Alabama and several times to the Raster Printers headquarters in California and have access to adequate information on all Raster Printers products. I have been to the Oce factory and demo room near the Vancouver airport as well.
Plus I have visited print shops in America and Europe with Oce Arizona printers and have contact with several other printshops with this brand (as a result FLAAR knows the pros and cons especially of the Oce Arizona 250GT).
In mid-2011 it was possible to visit a printshop in Australia that had the Jetrix flatbed UV-cured printer. They were fully content. This printshop also had a Kongsberg XY flatbed contour cutter.
Dual Capability: dedicated flatbed plus roll-to-roll
Clearly the successful new trend is dual capability: flatbed plus roll-to-roll on the same chassis. The Oce Arizona 250GT was the first successful dual capability printer: I prefer to avoid the word hybrid and combo for this structure: combo has a moving transport belt; hybrid has no dedicated flatbed and needs roll-up tables to handle flat thick rigid material. The Arizona 250, Arizona 350GT and XT, Gerber Solara ion and now the Jetrix 2515FRQ offer much more than any combo or hybrid: you get two complete printers all together in once chassis.
White ink is crucial too
Even though most printshop operators say they rarely use white ink, most printshop owners and managers appropriately prefer a printer that at least offers the option of white ink (varnish is not as popular though the Roland LEC-300 will change the perception of varnish being close to unusable on most UV printers up to now).
The two most common wishes for people who were considering the Oce Arizona 250GT was less slowness and adding white ink. As a result the Oce Arizona 350 GT was born, though at a price point of almost $200,000. So if the Jetrix 2515 can offer a printer faster than the Arizona 250, with quality as good (or better), plus white ink, then the InkTec Jetrix has potential for healthy sales (but only once a distribution network is in place). And distributors also want to read an evaluation about both the printer, and the company behind it (another reason why visiting the corporate headquarters and factory is a key part of a FLAAR Report).
Questions about MEMS printheads?
The Jetrix 2515 exhibited at SGIA achieved its superior quality with Spectra M Class printheads. But then the printheads of the Jetrix were switched from Spectra M Class (MEMS technology) to Spectra Q Class heads. Same with the MEMS heads of the Rastek T1000 printer; they have also dropped the MEMS kind of head (and have now long ago switched to a different brand of head; not the Spectra Q Class).
Jetrix has intelligently decided to move away from MEMS heads to a more sturdy Q Class Spectra head. In 2009 the printer has now been relaunched with non-MEMS heads.
90% of the Korean brands of UV-cured flatbed printers are sturdy, well designed by capable engineers, and tend to be as good as (and sometimes better than) printers made in Japan, the US, or Europe (the best brands of UV-curing printers I know so far are Dilli, IP&I, and InkTec Jetrix). There is only one other brand Korean UV printer that is of cheaper kind of design (ScreenJet, not relation to Dainippon; it looked like it was made in China). So to make sure that the Jetrix is one of the well-made printers, this fact can only be documented by seeing the factory and visiting end-users who have the Jetrix printer in operation. This is what will document that this Jetrix printer is not made in China.
Honorable mention for having the UV lamp area enclosed
Too many flatbed UV printers have exposed UV lamps; even those made in Switzerland. The carriage on the Jetrix 3015FQ and Jetrix 2515, in comparison, do not expose the UV lamp light quite as much. A totally enclosed gantry is even better, but at least not having the UV lamps in your face is a good start. Hence the Jetrix looks significantly better for eye safety than the Oce Arizona and Fujifilm Acuity.
Jetting Primer: useful for printing on glass
For years UV-cured manufacturers claimed their printers could print on everything. Yet these same manufacturers neglected to warn end-users that many materials required a primer (even the common signage material Coroplast required a primer with most Sericol inks with Oce Arizona GT and XT printers).
Now Korean engineers have made it possible to jet primers within their printing system. Since then one or two other brands have added primers as well. Since jetting varnish has been a difficult task for other brands, I will need to inspect the jetting of primers out in the real world. But it should be pointed out how advanced the Korean printer engineers are in these fields.
The model displayed at SGIA 2008 was the JETRIX 2515. The model displayed at SGIA 2009 was the JETRIX 2513FRQ. The catalog handed out at SGIA 2009 listed it as the 2513RQ.
The model in Europe is appropriately for European size, the JETRIX 3015FQ. At Glasstec 2010, the booth of ESC had a Jetrix brochure listing the JETRIX 2513RQ and JETRIX 3015FQ. But there are sub-model designations also 3015FQ8, 3015FQ10W, 3015FQ10VP, 3015FQV, 3015FQP, 3015FQ12. W tends to stand for White ink; P would stand for primer. V would be expected to stand for varnish.
Until I can visit the factory it is not possible to comment on the company other than that I know them from several years at trade shows. But it is crucial to see what kind of company stands behind a printer. This visit is being discussed. Another necessary part of the evaluation is to visit a printshop that has this printer installed. We call this a site-visit case study.
One reason a site-visit case study is essential is to document the functionality of the varnish, glass primer, metal primer, and white ink channels. To my knowledge, this is the first printer in the world that offers the ability to jet primers. All other specialty applications require spraying by hand, or brushing on the primer (which means you can't get the identical load on all segments because you can't control your hand movement or the spray or how much primer is on the brush at the end of your brush stroke).
One final comment is how utterly impressive this printer is considering that it is their second generation (MEMS printhead was the first generation). Surely this will give both inspiration to others, and pause to others as well, since JETRIX now sets a new international standard.
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