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A tweaked Roland opens up new UV LED-based possibilities.

What does it do?
CSL’s DuraUV 1600 makes UV LED printing affordable and easy to use for the bulk of the wide-format market that previously only had the choice of eco-solvent or latex inks. The firm claims that the biggest benefit of UV over the rival technologies is that it makes it possible to print onto a wider range of media, in particular heat-sensitive substrates while lowering running costs and enabling instant turnaround.

When was it launched and what market is it aimed at?
Following a period of development and beta testing that began at the start of this year DuraUV was launched in June. “We’ve done a lot of work with Fujifilm with the Acuity 1600 series, which has proved very popular in extending the take-up of UV down into the market for printers costing £25,000-£40,000 but we identified that there was an opportunity for a machine costing £10,000-£20,000, which represents the majority of the market,” said CSL marketing director Huw Davies. “We identified an opportunity to do something with Roland DG using UV ink, so we took one of the most popular Roland DG printers in terms of performance and price point, the VersaExpress RF-640, and applied UV technology.”

Specifications
Ink type: UV
Print width: 1.6m
Throughput banners: 16-18m2/hr; self-adhesive vinyl: 11-13m2/hr
Colours: CMYK
Contact: CSL Digital 01628 560890 www.csl-digital.com

How does it work?
CSL takes the standard RF-640 and modifies it, adding LED UV lamp modules to the print carriage and making further changes to the electronics and ink supply to be able to use its DuraUV inks. Aside from those modifications, for which CSL offers its own one-year warranty, the machine is a standard Roland DG unit and uses the supplied VersaWorks RIP.

How does it differ from previous products?
Compared to other LED UV machines the DuraUV 1600 significantly cost less, while similar width and speed machines using eco-solvent and latex ink technologies cannot handle heat-sensitive materials, including some specialist plastics and textiles, due to the heat generated by their dryers. At the moment DuraUV is only available fitted to new machines, however, Davies said that a number of printers have asked about a retrofittable version (an option for its earlier LightBar product).

How fast is it?
“On self-adhesive vinyl: 11-13m²/hr; and on banners: around 16-18m²/hr at saleable quality, which is little different from an eco-solvent machine,” he said. However, focusing on the print speed misses the biggest advantage of UV inks – the elimination of time needed for out gassing before shipping or laminating, which makes same-day turnaround a practical option.

What is the USP?
CSL is not alone in bringing UV technology to the main stream in the wide-format market with Mimaki and Mutoh also recently launching machines. However, according to Davies brand loyalty in this sector of the market is strong, and there is a large base of Roland DG customers who would like the benefits of UV on a familiar machine.

How easy is it to use?
Anyone who has used a Roland DG printer and its VersaWorks software will be familiar with the controls on the DuraUV. Aside from usability of the printer itself CSL says that UV inks are much less sensitive to different substrates, eliminating the need for lots of tweaking the colour, print mode and drying settings to get good printouts. The output is also more robust during finishing.

What training and support is on offer?
CSL provides on-site training with every install and users can get additional training on the VersaWorks software if needed from Roland DG. A one year warranty from CSL covers the hardware and after that it offers phone and online support and an onsite breakdown service.

What is the sales target?
Davies has a conservative estimate of 24-36 sales in the UK in the next year for the DuraUV 1600.

Alternatives
Fujifilm Acuity LED 1600R
The 1600 series is more expensive than the DuraUV but for that you get Fujifilm’s Dimatix heads and a higher throughput. It can be field upgraded with white, varnish and light cyan and magenta inks too.

Mimaki UCJV series
The UCJV roll-fed UV machine was launched last September with two 1.6m wide machines - the 150-160 and the 300-160. The 300 version also includes white ink enabling higher value applications.

Mutoh ValueJet 1638 UR
A roll-to-roll UV machine launched earlier this year. White and clear inks are included.