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SwissQprint Impala 4

SwissQprint has a series of high-end UV flatbed printers which can provide some of the graphic industry’s highest-quality output. Here, Brian Sims looks under the hood of the Impala 4

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Small Footprint, High Quality

SwissQprint has carved out a name for itself for supplying high-quality UV LED flatbed printers producing quite stunning deep coloured print at high speed. Speed can usually require you to compromise quality as the printheads cannot deploy the ink needed to provide vibrant colour. All machines in the Flatbed Generation 4 range do not need you to consider this; through both the design of its hardware and operation and the performance of its inks, high print quality is assured.

The model we chose to look deeper into was the Impala 4 which whilst it offers the same high level of quality and performance as its counterparts, sits in terms of size between the Nyala and Oryx models. Whilst the Impala offers the smaller of the choices of table size, it offers higher speeds due to there only being one row of printheads with the Oryx.

The Impala 4 has up to 18 printheads from which it can deploy your choice of colours. You can take the CMYK process colours as standard but there is the option of adding light colours (black, magenta, and cyan), orange, neon (yellow, pink) and any combination of white, varnish, or primer.

All the inks and varnishes are cured by integral LED UV systems and as you would expect from a company such as swissQprint, the eco-credentials are nailed down by them all being Greenguard Gold compliant. This means they are VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) and NVC (N-vinyl caprolactam) free meaning they meet strict safety standards.

This combination of colours and varnishes gives a wide range of applications which can be applied to an equally impressive series of substrates such as acrylic, aluminium, composite panels, wood, banners, polyester, polycarbonate, polystyrene, (high-density) PVC, flexible foam panels, glass, and metals.

The UV curing lamps are LED in what is becoming quite standard now; the lack of the need to heat up or cool down the system gives the utmost production levels and the ability to print on, what is described by swissQprint as, the lucrative market of heat-sensitive plastic substrates.

Regardless of the colours you choose to print, the Impala 4 can provide you with an addressable resolution of 1,350dpi which translates to a maximum visual resolution of 2,540dpi; these numbers are at the heart of the claim by swissQprint of the highest quality on the market. It is also worth noting that you can of course go below this depending on the application being produced.

Moving the Material

Obviously, the inks are only one half of the process of printing, the substrate being the second. The Impala 4 can handle many substrates such as previously described. Regardless of the media you decide to use, swissQprint has wrapped into the Impala 4 a lot of features quite often considered by other manufacturers as optional.

There are a number of options for moving your choice of substrate and swissQprint has a number of clever media handling options in all three of its Generation 4 machines as well as the Kudu model. The roll option for the machine can mean the Impala 4 can take a single roll of up to 2.5 metres and should you want to make use of the dual option provided, the Impala 4 can hold two reels of 1.2 metres in width.

Dual roll option: the Impala 4 can hold two reels of 1.2 metres in width

Ensuring the substrate is presented to the printhead in optimum condition there is an integrated smoother roller system which means any creases and wrinkles in printed material is a thing of the past. Should you look in the direction of rigid substrates, again swissQprint provides as standard with the Impala 4 several options making the final product on this form of media easy and productive.

Should you be producing a large number of sheets, a feature of the Impala 4 to improve production is what swissQprint has called Tandem printing. The principle is very simple in as much as the table has a front and rear section meaning once the operator has loaded the front section with the new substrate, the printer sets off printing on those sheets but the operator then turns their attention to the rear section loading new substrates there. 

As the printhead carriage has passed over the front sheets it starts to print the sheets placed on the rear of the machine allowing the operator to exchange printed sheets on the front of the machine with new substrate; all very clever and most of all, productive.

One of the key issues on any rigid media printer is how to locate the substrate in the correct place. The Impala 4 has in the design of the flatbed a fine grid system in which you can easily screw in registration pins which the substrate is then easily aligned against for accurate repeatability.

Registering each sheet can be easily achieved using a series of clever registration pins fitting into a fine grid on the table

If you are completing double-sided printing on the Impala 4, this register pin system comes to the fore. By planning the image on pre-cut substrate, you can simply flip the board and register it back on the same edges from the first image and the second will back up accurately.

Tandem printing: the table has a front and rear section meaning the operator can load the rear section whilst the front section is printed

The final part of the multi-substrate printing puzzle is how to secure the materials securely and yet again swissQprint has designed a unique feature to hold the substrate firmly to the table.

The bed has 256 vacuum areas which can apply a powerful draw down, but that is only half the story. There are a series of flip switches cleverly designed into the front of the bed so you can place the substrate on the table and then you just flip over the switches to a closed position in the areas not covered and the vacuum is then focused on the area needed.

As with any quality flatbed printer, the Impala 4 comes with light curtains which slow the printhead carriage if the area is encroached maintaining printing conditions and should there actually be a crash on the machine, the Impala 4 has software that works out where the stop happened, meaning it picks up where it left off; very clever.

Pulling the Parts Together

Key to high volume production and happy clients is the ability to have confidence in being able to produce the expectation of the client themselves. SwissQprint does this by making the Impala 4 compliant with Fogra’s Process Standard Digital (PSD).

At the heart of PSD is three values. The first is ‘Output Process Control’ which ensures repeatable print, time after time. ‘Colour fidelity’ is the second goal which addresses a consistent colour representation via authentic image reproduction and the motto for the process is ‘Printing the Expected’. The third feature is ‘PDF/X compliant workflow’ to ensure pre-flighting and printing is as seamless as possible.

The Impala 4 is an impressive package of technology, all of which pulls together all the printing variables to provide the highest of quality and unrivalled production levels.


  • Flatbed size  2,500 x 2,030mm
  • Flatbed substrate thickness (max)      50mm
  • Roll width (max)  2,500mm
  • Addressable resolution (max)  1,350 dpi
  • Visual resolution (max)  2,540 dpi
  • Maximum Print Speed  180sqm/h
  • Colours    C, M, Y, K, Lk, Lm, Lc, Neon Yellow & Pink, White, Vvarnish, Primer, and Orange
  • Printheads  Max 18

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

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