Kontra Signs have expanded their already impressive range of products to now include digital large–format printing. Having invested in a Durst RhoPak 160 Corrugated Display Printer, an award–winning Quadro Array Inkjet flatbed printer, they can now print on virtually any substrate up to 160 cm wide, while the length of the printed area is restricted only by the length of the media. The maximum thickness of the media is restricted to 40mm. As its name says, this printer has been specifically developed to deal with corrugated media, and does an exceptional job on a media that has up to now been notoriously problematic to print on.
This printer makes use of patented UV–cured inks, which has been developed to meet the strictest environmental standards, thereby not just delivering exceptional quality prints, but in the process protecting both its operators and the earth from Volatile Organic Carbon (VOCs) compounds. These inks are proven not to emit any VOC’s, which may cause health problems ranging from irritation of the respiratory system and eyes to damage of the liver, kidney and central nervous system; in some cases, even cause cancer. By drying the inks by means of Ultra–Violet (UV) lights compared to thermal dryers also contributes to this printer having a smaller Carbon Footprint. Besides the environmental advantage of using UV to cure the ink, it also leads to much quicker drying times (inks dry in 0.2 seconds), and also allows for ink adhesion to a great number of substrates previously not printable at all.
It is this last point that is of course the great advantage of using this technologically advanced printer. Think of a substrate, and the chances are this printer can print on it. Look through the website, and you will get an idea of what has been printed on since we got this machine. Our production area door, corrugated iron, enamelled steel, aluminium sheets, carpet, wall paper, tenting material, cork tiles, wood, tiles, foam, corrugated cardboard, glass, the list is virtually endless.
A further advantage of this printer is that while it prints with the CMYK (Cyan Magenta Yellow blacK) colour space, but also can print in white ink making it ideal for translucent media, or media that needs to have white coating to cover its natural colour. Durst also has a patent on its white ink printing technology, delivering true, reliable white printing capability. In addition, the white ink is printed simultaneously with the CMYK inks, effectively doubling the speed at which this printer can deliver a print job as opposed to older systems where the white ink was printed either before or after the CMYK layer, depending on whether the white ink was a backing or a covering print.
The inks are guaranteed a lifespan of 3 to 5 years, but a trail here in Cape Town of material printed with these inks and exposed to the elements year round, is already past the 5 year mark, with no significant colour loss. An accolade to Durst’s inks, and the printing processes they have patented!
In the end, being able to print on virtually any substrate has no advantage if the quality of print is lacking. In this printer’s case, it prints at true 600 dpi resolution, which produces images of brilliant clarity, and colours that are saturated. The resolution is achieved by four print heads (hence the Quadro naming), each having 128 nozzles, delivering 512 nozzles that can be individually controlled. In addition to this exceptionally high-precision placement of each drop on the printed surface, the ink is fed at a constant temperature after it went through a "lung" where it was degassed by an osmotic filter. This combination of high precision placement, constant temperature and degassing makes for dependable drop size and geometry, producing photo-quality prints at 600 dpi.
After all this technical jargon, you might be asking yourself "Surely this printing is for high–end high–volume applications only?" Nothing could be further from the truth. This machine was designed to do "on–demand" printing, suited to small print runs, with high attention to personalisation and "just in time" production and delivery. Because the printing can be done directly onto the required substrate with quick drying times, it also lends itself to "real–life" prototyping and test media, allowing clients to see and handle samples before commissioning production.
Durst Rhopak technology has been used in the production of movie sets for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", "The Wizards of Waverley Place" and "Angels and Demons", to printing on truck tarpaulins, right to printing directly onto 270 144, 2cm x 2cm Venetian tiles for a mural in a Mexican restaurant. The applications of this printer are as versatile and limitless as your imagination. Give us a call with all your printing requirements, we are sure to be able to assist!