EFI has formally launched the very high speed display and signage printer it previewed at the Engage online user event held at the end of January. Based on the single-pass inkjet technology developed for the Nozomi C18000 corrugated printer, but so far lacking a similarly memorable name, the EFI single-pass for display graphics UV LED inkjet printer prints across a width of 1.6m at a rate of up to 1000 4 x 8ft boards an hour.

EFI says this makes it three to four times faster than any existing multiple-pass flatbed or hybrid inkjet wide-format printer and puts it in a position to challenge analogue methods such as screen printing, but with all the advantages of digital print. The development has come about as a result of interest in the Nozomi shown by display graphics companies – both installations in the British Isles are being used for this, rather than packaging applications.

‘When EFI announced EFI Nozomi single-pass technology at drupa 2016, the company was surprised at the level of interest expressed in this printer by display graphics customers, and we have been able to respond to demand with the most productive solution dedicated to that market,’ said Ken Hanulec, vice president of worldwide corporate marketing at EFI. ‘Single-pass technology, done right, has the potential to change every print vertical it touches and give our customers unprecedented new opportunities. As the leader in advanced UV LED digital production solutions, we are excited to bring the very important efficiencies and throughput advantages of EFI’s proven single-pass technology to the display graphics market.’

Like the Nozomi, the new printer offers a seven colour ink set, with CMYK plus optional orange and violet inks, plus white, for brand colour matching and wide photographic colour gamut. Details of print resolution and supported media weights/thicknesses were not supplied, but are likely to be similar to those of the Nozomi. EFI did confirm that the new machine will print on both paper-based and synthetic media, which presumably includes most popular display board materials.

The printer features on-board quality inspection for colour uniformity and nozzle checking and compensation. It is driven by a dedicated and scalable Fiery front-end based on the Adobe PDF Print Engine, and features Smart Ink Estimator for quoting/charging purposes and Fiery Edge for colour management and profiling. It is scheduled to be available ‘later this year’ and EFI says that a roll-media option will be added at some point. Pricing was not disclosed but EFI claims that it will offer lower total cost of ownership and cost per square foot of output for high volume printers than alternatives, including analogue ones.