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Mimaki JFX200-2513EX

Brian Sims enters a different dimension – but not quite the world of 3D with the latest Mimaki flatbed, the JFX200-2513EX which made its UK debut at The Print Show in September

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The JEX200-2513EX was showcased in the UK for the first time at The Print Show 2019

Ever heard of 2.5D?  You have now 

We hear a lot of talk about the benefits of 3D printing and cornucopia of marketing opportunities there are for your client. But have we considered the other dimension that might provide interesting options; 2.5D?

Mimaki has; it has developed an entry-level flatbed printer to add to their stable of LED-UV printers, when combined with the new RasterLink6Plus software, can create multi-layered images. The output is eye-catching, vibrant and tactile; mimicking wood grain, brick work and ‘embossed’ raised print.

This effect is known as semi-stereoscopic printing and it is produced by applying ink in stacked layers which creates the undulating surface of the printed copy. Not only does it then look like a wall or piece of wood, but actually feels like it too.  The printer has at its heart a series of piezo-electric inkjet printheads arranged in a unique staggered set up.

An example of the 2.5D capabilities of the JFX200-2513EX

The JFX200-2513EX has this series set of heads with one being offset positionally from the other. The staggering of the heads allows for the inks to be applied more effectively in one pass, increasing productivity yet maintaining quality.

The staggering of the heads allows for the inks to be applied more effectively in one pass, increasing productivity yet maintaining quality

The JFX200-EX comes with well proven technology installed in the range of printers supplied by Mimaki. There is a thorough-bred theme running throughout from piezo-electric heads and the associated technology such as MAPS, WCT, NCU and NRS which are described in detail later. All these components are well proven in other Mimaki printers and as such are naturally found in the JFX200-EX.
The bed is wide and stable with a capacity of being able to print on an 8 x 4 sheet being 1,220 x 2,400mm in size and a maximum thickness of 50mm. The sheet is held in place by a two field vacuum system which is simply operated by a foot switch allowing the switching of suction areas easy.

The ins and outs

Due to the size and nature of the product being produced, the JFX200-EX and associated software system allows the printer to be linked to pre or post production equipment or material handling system via the use of an Ethernet connection. Simple downloads of MDL commands from Mimaki’s website and Software Development Kit (SDK) and you can add a number of peripheral devices.

The LED cured UV ink used on the JFX200-EX is the recently developed LH & LUS range. In this day and age when there is an added need for traceability or compliance, these inks are underpinned by the GREENGUARD gold standard.

The inks being used in the JFX200-EX hold this 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.

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 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 LH & LUS inks meet the UL2818 standard which is for low chemical emissions for indoor production.

Ink deployment is enhanced by a key Mimaki gadget the Mimaki Advanced Pass System (MAPS). MAPS disperses the ink pattern on the sheet in such a pattern in a very specific array to allow the even drying of the product. Obviously the even drying of the sheet means consistency across production and happy clients.

Further to MAPS the JFX200-EX models come equipped with Mimaki’s Waveform Control technology (WCT). With this system the printheads are able to round nearly perfect circles of ink droplet rather than the deformed circles that can form once the ink is deployed.

To provide the utmost control of the image and reduce graininess, the JFX200-EX has variable dot technology which software selects various sizes of dot at a minimum of 5pl. The benefit of all this is to allow the JFX200-EX to produce high-quality images with sharp letters and line and almost perfect sized dots.

To provide the utmost control of the image and reduce graininess, the JFX200-EX has variable dot technology which software selects various sizes of dot at a minimum of 5pl

Finally there is a Nozzle Check Unit (NCU) which checks and cleans each nozzle automatically but if the cleaning process has not been successful, the Nozzle Recovery System (NRS) monitors and swaps nozzles when any become clogged or blocked. Both NCU and NRS allow the Mimaki to keep production stable square metre upon metre.

One option the JFX200-EX has, is that it can use white inks which can be applied to transparent substrates and an over or under layer application. White inks can suffer from pigmentation separation which then ends up deposited in various parts of the machine, normally in the inkjet heads which then affects quality and production.

The Mimaki flatbed can also be used for decorative measures – for example in the home

The JFX200-EX overcomes this issue when deployed in seven-colour mode by the use of Mimaki Circulation Technology (MCT). MCT agitates the white ink by recirculating it through a device prior to passing it onto the printhead. In doing this, the pigments that may be inclined to drop out of the carrier medium, stay in place as required.

If you want to print feathers that look and feel like feathers, make a corporate name literally come out the page at you or make that tiger skin feel as if the animal was sat in front of you, then the semi-stereoscopic 2.5D printing produced on the Mimaki JFX200-2513EX is a must piece of equipment.

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

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