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Mimaki UCJV300-160

Brian Sims discusses the Mimaki UCJV300-160 and thinks those looking to impress should investigate its four-layer printing that enables different images to be seen in the day and at night

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The Mimaki UCJV300-160 can print up to a resolution of 1,200dpi, with four-layer printing to create alternative night and day images

Leading the future

There are a number of very clever pieces of technology that add value for our increasingly demanding customer base. However, the latest release from Mimaki raises the bar further by offering a printer capable of printing two images in one pass. The obvious question is how do they achieve this? A second is what do they use?

The answer to the first question is Mimaki has made major inroads to developing four-layer printing, which gives you the ability to switch between two images each placed on top of the other. The use of a backlight allows you to switch between a night and day image, giving designers fantastic marketing options. The answer to the second question is simpler in as much as the Mimaki UCJV300-160.

So, what is the Mimaki UCJV300-160 and what makes it so special? At its heart is an inkjet printer with two drop-on-demand piezoelectric heads, and coupled to them is an LED UV drying system. In combination the printer will produce outstanding print quality that can be instantly finished via the integrated cutter option or passed directly through a laminator, greatly reducing turnaround times for the client.

Obviously there are a number of wide-format printers in the market with UV drying but with the recent launch of the UCJV300-160, Mimaki claims to have a unique printing application with the day/night images produced in four layers with a new environmentally-friendly ink called LUS-170 UV.

How do you get two images from one? The answer is quite straight forward, though not simple, and needs to utilise an all over white and black separation layer. To be able to print this series of layers, you obviously need a printer with the necessary capacity, hence Mimaki has designed seven colours into the UCJV300-160.

Wow factor

To the process, and firstly you print the night image on a clear substrate that you will only see when a back light is applied to the product. This image is printed in standard black, cyan, magenta, and yellow process colours. The second layer is an all over black—this masks the first night image when the product is being viewed as the daylight version.

The third layer is an all over white. This has the job of adding density to the fourth layer, which is the day image and is also printed black, cyan, magenta, and yellow process colours, but to view the day image no backlighting is applied.

The UV curing of the inks means they are not only vibrant in colour but also scratch-resistant

The results are very impressive; you can show a product in one scenario and change it with the addition of backlighting. Imagine a model showing a day time look using cosmetics, then with the addition of a back-light the model is made up with a night time look, with a corresponding change in background adapting both model and context with a flick of a switch.

The results are very impressive; you can show a product in one scenario and change the scenario with the addition of backlighting

This ability to use the same sheet to hold differing images can open the door to a number of marketing opportunities. Products can be shown in different settings dependent on mood or requirement. The printer comes shipped with Raster Link 6 Plus, the newest RIP software from Mimaki. One of the key features is a Fine Cut plugin for Adobe Illustrator, which will allow the designer to see the effect of the day/night printing outcome prior to printing.

Clearly this is an impressive ability and could be considered sufficient as a USP, but Mimaki has far more up its sleeve with the UCJV300-160. The new LUS-170 UV inks are vital to the four-layer day/night product, but in this day and age the environmental credentials are just as important as the product they produce.

The inks used in the UCJV300-160 hold the Greenguard Gold certificate meaning they have passed the most rigorous testing, have very low impact on the environment, contain very low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and are nickel free.

However, green does not mean less. The UV curing of the inks means they are not only vibrant and consistent in colour, but are scratch-resistant and suitable for the most arduous of outdoor applications as soon as they are finished. What is more they can also be used in schools and health establishments safe in the knowledge they are not harmful.

The UV curing of the inks means they are not only vibrant and consistent in colour, but are scratch-resistant and suitable for the most arduous of outdoor applications

We are all very familiar with the other benefits of UV LED, such as the reduced heat required by the lamp heads means heat affected substrates can be used. The fact that the product is dry as soon as it leaves the printer means that post-production processes such as laminating and cutting can be undertaken immediately.

Unique features

I believe there are two further USPs due to the adoption of LED UV drying in the UCJV300-160.

Firstly, the UCJV300-160 comes with an integrated cut functionality. This means the printer can cut labels, decal, window dressing, and POP displays in one pass. Due to the UV technology, it avoids common problems such as film separation and post-cutting problems you can experience with more common solvent and latex combination printers.

The UCJV300-160 comes shipped preloaded with the Raster Link 6 Plus software as mentioned earlier and is needed as it has a function called ID Cut. This clever solution places a barcode on the printed material which the cut function picks up and then uses to align the cutting head exactly in the right place on the sheet.

This function is particularly helpful for nested or multiple products as the whole process can be automated as the printer can read and position the cutting head with the information contained in the barcode. As each image is printed, the ID Cut function updates the printer where the image is to be cut.

Secondly, Mimaki can supply laminators that can be used in conjunction with the printer that can accept the printed material as soon as it comes off the press. Being dry instantaneously, the printed copy can be passed through the laminator with no marking issues. Added to this decreased production time, Mimaki has developed a new more flexible laminate that reduces ‘silvering’.

‘Silvering’ is the effect of making printed material seem slightly opaque once laminated. This is due to a very small air gap between the printed surface and adhesive on the laminate sheet. By making the laminate sheet more flexible, it follows the contours of the ink far closer, reducing the air gap and almost eliminating the silvering effect.
The new laminate from Mimaki is called the Vision 310 and will be available for its LA-160W and LA-170W laminators.

This printer is clearly a very impressive offering. Should the UCJV300 be a little out your league, there is the smaller sibling in the UCJV150. Both can produce at a resolution range from 300dpi to 1,200dpi and both have the ability of printing up to 1,600mm (62.9") in width. The smaller sibling cannot, however, print the four-layer process described as it only has one print head.

The day/night printed product is certainly innovative, so if you have desire to impress, the Mimaki UCJV300-160 can deliver that and much more. After all, Mimaki does say the machine is ‘leading the future of sign graphics through UV innovation’.

Brian Sims, principal consultant, Metis Print Consultancy, www.metis-uk.eu

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