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Under the Hood

Jeti Tauro H3300 UHS LED

Brian Sims looks at some of the latest updates to the Jeti Tauro H3300 UV LED wide-format inkjet printer range and how these have made the printers more productive than ever

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For the upgrade of the UHS model, Agfa added additional print heads to cope with the higher demand for ink

Ever-expanding potential

Agfa brought to market an inkjet printer, the Jeti Tauro H3300 LED, which was eye watering in size and production volume. Restless to ensure the potential of this machine was yet to be reached, recently it has added to the scope of the design and has on market a new high production volume model. The ultra high speed Jeti Tauro H3300 UHS LED has a new top production speed of 600m2/hr, up by 147m2/hr which is over a 30% uplift.

Reviewing the product, the size of the Jeti Tauro 3300 is the first thing that impresses even the most causal onlooker. It is nearly 8.5m long, over 2.5m wide and 2.5m high, without the new and upscaled automatic media transfer system. With this in mind, sign-makers need to be sure they have the space before purchase.

The size of the Jeti Tauro 3300 is the first thing that impresses even the most causal onlooker

At the heart of the printer is the print head shuttle that carries the 60 inkjet nozzle and piezo electric Rioch 5420 print module. For the upgrade of the UHS model, Agfa added additional print heads to cope with the higher demand for ink.
For the upgrade of the UHS model, Agfa added additional print heads to cope with the higher demand for ink

Heavyweight construction

Describing the heart of the machine, it has to be of rigid welded construction as it needs to span the 3.4m substrate width with minimum sag or distortion. The UHS model has upgraded rails to absorb the raised lateral forces produced at higher speeds.

Any changes in height across the width of the material will bring about changes in colour. These may be small in nature but the overall effect will be seen in colour changes when viewed from a distance. To ensure all colours are accurately deposited along the large span, the printer head moves along recirculating ball linear bearings.

An encoder strip ensures the Ricoh head is placed exactly where needed and there are new, more powerful linear motors and dampeners for the UHS model to move the head smoothly and quickly. This is referred to as ‘vibration-less’.

Along with its robust design, the print shuttle also carries an antistatic bar to minimise the build-up of static electricity that tends to build up when printing on plastics and safety sensors that can be easily adjusted or maintained.

The print head itself uses UV inks fired from four or six colour heads distributing CMYK colours along with light cyan and black. To help with extending the range of materials the Jeti Tauro 3300 can print on, you can also lay down a primer to help with adherence and white to add vibrancy. Gloss and satin modes are also available which enhance spot colour production without any loss of image quality.

The inks themselves are of a patented design which Agfa refers to as ‘Thin Ink Layer’ technology. This means the inks are highly pigmented allowing them to be laid down thinly without using excessive amounts of ink. The final part of the wide gamut of colour available on the Jeti Tauro 3300 is the algorithms used in the Asanti workflow software. Agfa claims the combination of Thin Ink Layer and the software means the Jeti Tauro 3300 has the lowest ink consumption of any printer on the market.

Speaking of the Asanti software, the graphic user interface (GUI) allows you to operate the whole process of printing on the board or sheet. You can draw down the images, lay them efficiently on the table and queue them up for seamless production.

As for ink consumption, yet another upscaling that has taken place is that the UHS model has new twenty litre tanks to ensure you are able to have almost uninterrupted production.

The Jeti Tauro H3300 is a highly productive UV LED wide-format inkjet printer range for rigid and flexible media

The final part of the vibrant colour output is the machine’s LED UV curing drying system. Over the last few years this technology has firmly established itself as the benchmark standard. It provides instant touch dry products but most importantly is cool and as such heat sensitive materials can be easily printed.

The lamps can be turned on and off on demand due to the size of the substrate being used. The nature of the technology means they do not need to heat up and switching them does not affect their lifespan of around 10,000 hours.

The lamps do not contain mercury and due to the low energy consumption and long life span, it all makes for a very efficient, cost effective drying system. Finally, the system running as cool as it does means it needs no ventilation nor does it produce ozone which makes the Jeti Tauro 3300 very comfortable for the operator to use.

Colour laid down on playing field sizes brings about a number of issues, the most pressing being the transport of the substrate itself. Agfa has invested as much in the solution to this problem as it has in the print head shuttle.

The previous fully automated model had both the loading and unloading of the sheets via a cleverly designed pick and place mechanism. To ensure the sheets and boards are placed correctly on the vacuum table, the Asanti workflow software raises and lowers the correct register pins depending on board size.

This is the same function on the new UHS model but again there are some significant design upgrades here, allowing the much elevated production speeds.

Moving substrate in volume

The main visual difference with the UHS model is the larger double gantry setup that allows the media to keep pace with the high speed Ricoh print heads. Here are all the expected media guides, board sensors and multi-sucker pick and place stacking system you would expect, and the new model can handle media up to 2.65m.

Inside the machine, the UHS model has a new dynamic vacuum control to ensure the momentum of the faster moving substrate is restricted to ensure dot to dot accuracy and colour reproduction.
Whilst the size of the new Jeti Tauro 3300 UHS LED is even more impressive than previous models, much like the printed material it produces from both afar and very close up you can see the printer is an extremely well designed and able machine.

Brian Sims Principal Consultant, Metis Print Consultancy, www.metis-uk.eu

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