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HP believes the rush of high-speed digital machines to the market will push screen printing from a mainstream process into a niche. Other factors that suggest a swing to digital include breaking up long runs into smaller batches of multiple versions, a drive to reduce wastage and lower operator costs. Avisar claims manning on a screen press might run to 10, whereas the FB can be run by a single operator. From there, it set itself the task of building a machine that would offer significant time and cost savings for a shop running two sheet jobs per shift for 20 days per month.
The FB has a maximum sheet size and printable area of 1. HP defines the output speed in both square metres per hour and number of full size 1. The machine has four point-of-purchase PoP quality modes ranging from the highest quality PoP 17, which is 17 sheets per hour 90m2 per hour through to PoP 42, which churns out 42 sheets or m2 per hour.
In addition, there are two higher speed modes producing 63 sheets per hour m2 per hour and 95 sheets per hour m2 per hour respectively. Productivity figures provided include loading and unloading times, so, according to HP, should reflect actual production speeds rather than theoretical printing only speed.
Flexible and rigid sheets up to 25mm thick can be handled, including paper, card, polypropylene, polystyrene corrugated boards, foam and PVC. The operator loads each sheet onto a feed table, which then registers the job before loading it onto the print table.
Printed sheets are automatically transferred to a stacker. The firm argues this arrangement provides the best compromise of productivity and substrate flexibility. Avisar claims this offers cost benefits, which are passed on to customers who will pay "hundreds of dollars for printheads, rather than thousands". The X2 head is a piezo-electric head. Each head has nozzles within a In addition to the six colours fitted, it is possible to fit another two taking the total up to eight.
HP says that it chose a 42pl drop size to help achieve strong flat colours typical of screen, with the addition of the two light inks to ensure smooth halftones, particularly flesh tones. The good news is that the printheads can be replaced by the user without the need for an engineer. HP says less than two heads per month need changing and the replacement head costs are included in the first-year maintenance contract. UV curing of the inks is provided by a cold mirror shuttered lamp system.
Figures depend on the actual ink coverage of your job mix, but HP estimates ink consumption averages out at m2 per litre. The FB is a well-thought out package and, while it may not offer headline-grabbing speeds, it has a sensible specification that delivers versatility and productivity.
Agfa says it can combine screen print with digital print to maximise the strengths of both. Type UV-cured flatbed.
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