Mimaki’s Mantras at Virtual FESPA Press Launch: Bigger is Better, Collaboration is Key, and Flexibility is Favourable

Mimaki’s Mantras at Virtual FESPA Press Launch: Bigger is Better, Collaboration is Key, and Flexibility is Favourable

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04/02/2020

Catherine Cresswell

In light of the postponement of FESPA 2020, Mimaki Europe responded quickly by announcing its planned product launches via a webinar. Ronald van den Broek (General Sales Manager, EMEA) provided an overview of the product announcements, Bert Benckhuysen (Senior Product Manager, EMEA) went into more detail on the products, and Danna Drion (Senior Marketing Manager) outlined Mimaki’s upcoming series of virtual meetings and customer/press communications as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company’s strategic objectives for this year include continued investments in innovation, efficiency, and competitiveness for all business units. The actual FESPA event, which is now scheduled for October 2020, is expected to bring further announcements. The primary sign & graphics and textile printing announcements from the webinar are outlined below.

The 3DGD-1800 Modelling Printer

The 3DGD-1800, a new gel dispensing 3D modelling printer with UV LED curing, is bigger than any other 3D device in Mimaki’s portfolio. It is capable of printing 3D objects up to 1.8m H x 1.45m W x 1.11m D. By using two interchangeable printheads at 1.8mm and 2.6mm, the device can also print two objects in a single print run or two halves of the same object with different printheads.

The device’s gel dispensing (GD) UV technology can produce a 1.8m object in less than a day (350mm per hour), compared to typical modelling times of days or even weeks. The process requires simply scanning an object and then printing in 3D. By using a gel rather than liquid or powders, the object can be cured with UV light layer by layer and printing can be performed without supports. Cleaning is also handled simultaneously, reducing required time as well as material waste. The printhead moves on the XY axis whilst the vacuum table moves on the vertical axis.

This product was scheduled to be introduced at FESPA rather than using Mimaki’s usual 3D printing channels because it is targeting the sign & graphics dealer channel for applications like 3D point-of-purchase displays, window displays, billboards, pop-up stores, 3D logos, frames for soft signage, and giant event show-stoppers. The offering enables a sign-maker to become a complete one-stop shop, facilitating the development of products that customers would otherwise need to seek elsewhere. The 3DGD-1800 offers an advantage over normal 3D modelling processes with its lighter weight because it produces a hollow structure that builds the model in two halves. As a result, it can also enable extra special effects, like illuminated signage. The device will be available from April 2020.

The Tx300P-1800 MKII Digital Textile Printer

Mimaki’s TS300P-1800 MKII digital textile printer was previewed at ITMA and was officially launched for sale during the week of March 24 (when FESPA was originally scheduled to occur). The MKII makes it possible to print with two new sets of ink combinations, thereby enabling greater application and fabric flexibility on one device. This is particularly useful for short-run printing and sampling.  

The existing Tx300P-1800 is already capable of using pigment inks and direct sublimation to offer direct-to-fabric printing on synthetics and natural fabrics. The new ink options offered on the Tx300P-1800 MKII enable switching between direct-to-fabric sublimation and paper transfer sublimation inks or direct pigment ink printing and paper transfer sublimation. The MKII comes with a vacuum platen that can be added or removed by the user in a matter of seconds to bring paper transfer sublimation printing capabilities to the device. This is particularly important for applications that require strong colour vibrancy on polyester-based fabrics. The so-called “hybrid ink system” device splits the printhead channels into two sections, meaning that two different inks can be loaded; eliminating the lengthy cleaning process when switching inks. Alternatively, the device can also be configured with a traditional single ink set. The TS300P-1800 MKII also brings customers the flexibility to explore new applications and substrates as their business needs grow and change.

The TS300P-1800 MKII is priced at about €24,000 and is available for use with six different ink types. Ink manufacturing is handled in Europe, so Mimaki expects to be able to respond quickly to ink demands even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We believe that this solution will be especially attractive for print establishments handling short runs or creating a wide range of substrates. It enables a great deal of flexibility, and its relatively low cost will likely prove attractive in today’s climate of change and uncertainty.                                                                                                              

UJV100-160

In keeping with its goal to further expand and innovate, Mimaki also launched its 1.6m UJV100-160 device. This solution is designed to bring inexpensive UV LED printing to non-European countries, where ink and device affordability have been barriers in the past. This device includes two staggered printheads and four ink configurations (combining CMYK and white inks or CMYK and clear). It is scheduled to be launched in May 2020.

SWJ-320 EA

Mimaki’s 3.2m wide SWJ-320 EA has been selling in the in the Middle East, Africa, and Russia since 2018; it has been available across Europe since the end of 2019. As of May 2020, the device will include an integrated BOFA Air purifier unit that removes almost 100% of ink odours during the first 50mmm of extraction. Mimaki has dubbed this device “the best 3.2m printer to win in a competitive market.” It is priced at about €40,000 including the BOTA filtration unit.

Oki Wide Format Product Integration

As part of Mimaki Europe’s international sales agreement with Oki (signed in January 2020), Mimaki has announced full integration and availability of the Oki Colorpainter H3-104s and Colorpainter M-64s wide format solvent machines through its EMEA channels with full server, warehousing, and support. 

These devices offer pigmented solvent inks for high-end durability in outdoor applications in 1.6m and 2.6m widths. The 1.6m M64S is positioned as a 900dpi industrial device that is particularly suitable for producing high-quality backlits in one pass with top-of-class production speeds. The 2.6m wide H3-104-S adds double-sided and mesh printing capabilities to the mix.

The partnership between Mimaki and Oki is said to bring together the largest digital printing product portfolio through Mimaki’s own channels while also opening Oki’s network of over 100 partners. This agreement should enable Mimaki to get closer to its customers as well as the overall market. Keypoint Intelligence believes that this collaboration will enable Mimaki to significantly expand its distribution channel and further grow its service department and training programs.

Ongoing Service and Support

Mimaki plans to maintain ongoing communications with the media and its customers by holding at least five weeks of online events. This will enable customers to virtually experience the company’s new offerings and connect with Mimaki’s team members as they might during an actual trade show. The line-up of events will be announced each week, and will include press conferences, guided tours, new product guides and videos, live chats with Q&A sessions, as well as virtual coffee sessions.

Mimaki hopes to support its customers during this unprecedented time so they can continue to build their businesses with advanced and relevant printing technologies. This should help minimize the need for support while also honouring service-level agreements.