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Epson SureColor S60600L and S80600L

The recent launch of the Epson SureColor S60600L and S80600L at FESPA showcases how small tweaks can make a big difference as Brian Sims finds out

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The Epson SureColor S80600L

Taking a major step up

There is a well tried and tested adage, ‘don’t fix it if it ain’t broke’. Quite often in the rush to bring new products to market, companies look to new equipment or designs and configurations to impress potential customers.

The more astute manufacturers take a different view, whilst you may not want to fix a problem with a new design, there are always areas that can be improved, Japanese producers do this well through lean manufacturing techniques like Kaizen.

Epson took the same view and at a recent launch at FESPA, it showed to the world the step change from its very successful SC-S60600 and SC-S80600 large-format signage inkjet printers. The addition of an L making them the new SC-S60600L and SC-S80600L may not look a lot, but it means in reality longer running and a much more productive printer. 

Epson has taken the printer that has seen service over the last two years and added bulk ink tanks with a size of 1.5 litres. There have been cosmetic changes to streamline and visually improve the appearance of the printer, but the reliance on the tested technology plus focused step changes is proving to be an excellent idea to expand the Epson inkjet stable.

Epson has taken the printer that has seen service over the last two years and added bulk ink tanks with a size of 1.5 litres

So what is in the printer that makes it worth an inspection apart from large ink pouches for up to eleven colours?

At the heart of the machine is the successful and proven Micro Piezo TFP printhead with 360 black nozzles and a further 360 nozzles per colour. The droplet size is as large as 4.2 pico litres which ensures that in high quality mode, the colour depth is bold and vivid.

Epson recently introduced the bulk ink tanks, which can hold 1.5 litres

Colour range is as would be expected on a large-format inkjet printer, black, cyan, magenta (all three in light versions) along with process yellow, orange and red. The SC-S80600L also has the ability to run metallic inks such as silver and whites.

These inks are the successful UltraChrome GS3 which comes with the benchmark eco-solvent standard, GREENGUARD Gold.

GREENGUARD certification is part of UL Environments ecological compliance program. UL Environment is part of Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and acquired GREENGUARD in 2011 which provides purchasers with assurances that the products being supplied will comply with the highest of ecological standards.

To satisfy the GREENGUARD gold standard, the inks supplied must meet the stringent emissions standards based on established chemical exposure criteria. Specifically the LUS inks meet the UL2818 standard which is for low chemical emissions for indoor production.

The GS3 inks used in the SC-S60600L and SC-S80600L which hold the GREENGUARD Gold certificate meaning they have passed the most rigorous testing and have a very low impact on the environment and contain very low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and are nickel free.

The coupling of the UltraChrome GS3 inks in 1.5 litre tanks and Micro Piezo TFP print head means Epson can provide you with a printer that can print high volume quality printed media with far less user intervention.

In the detail

Having bold and vivid colours in bulk means nothing unless they can hit the substrate accurately and reliably. Epson uses a sophistically designed substrate handling system, called AD-ATC which stands for Advanced Auto Tension Control. Whilst it may be sophisticated in design it is very simple to use.

The unit has a wide feed roller and anti-static system which ensures the substrate is gripped and fed into and out of the printer at the optimum level. The use of AD-ATC means you can deliver the 4.2 pico litre droplets on a range of media such as clear film, vinyl, canvas and photographic paper. When using fabrics, the SureColor printer has a cleaning head especially designed to remove stray fabric strands keeping up time to a maximum.

To avoid damage to the printer itself, there is a print head guard which will stop the printer in a controlled manner, should the substrate by rucked or have foreign objects on it. To monitor the production itself, the SC-S60600L and SC-S80600L have a wide clear inspection aperture back light with LED lighting to allow inspection of the work on the fly. To avoid contamination, the printers come with an ink mist collection system ensuring the safety of operators and avoid contamination of the printed copy.

A final element of the substrate handling system is the size of the media reel which is a large 45kg at the 64" or 1,625mm that should match the potential capacity of the new bulk ink pouches.

As with all inkjet printers, the device itself is driven or operated via an intuitive dashboard called Epson Edge.

All of the functions you would expect are shown in various screens that can be skipped between to manage all your projects and any firmware updates that are delivered by Epson.

Also sat behind the printer is a large library of different profiles to maximise the output of the printer itself and Epson Edge RIP software has been simplified to further maximise the up time of the SureColor device.

Up time is not everything, if you are not profitable the amount of time the printer is working is of little use. To ensure both up time and profitability are maximised in tandem, Epson supplies its software, called LFP Accounting Tool, which measures all metrics on the SC-S60600L and SC-S80600L printers whilst in production so you can get a very clear idea of the cost of each job.

The SC-S60600L and SC-S80600L show how minor changes in design can bring about large changes in production

The SC-S60600L and SC-S80600L show how minor changes in design can bring about large changes in production.

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

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