“Commentary & Analysis
Rocky Mountain High: Canon Debuts the UVgel-Based Colorado
At yesterdayu2019s Canon One event in Boca Raton, Canon Solutions America officially launched the Colorado 1640, the first model in the companyu2019s new line of roll-to-roll wide-format printers based on the revolutionary new UVgel ink technology.
By Richard Romano
Published: March 9, 2017
At last fallu2019s SGIA Expo, Canon Solutions America (CSA) teased a revolutionary new ink technologyu2014UVgelu2014that would serve as the basis of a whole new wide-format printer line. We hadnu2019t heard a peep about it sinceu2014until now. Yesterday, at Canon Solutions Americau2019s Canon One media event in Boca Raton, Fla., the company unveiled the new UVgel-based Canon Ocu00e9 Colorado 1640, a 64-inch rollfed printer. The new device was designed and built to address the constant need for faster printing and faster turnaround, better overall productivity, and as much automation as can be managed.
The issue of speed is handled in a unique way: by utilizing a whole new type of ink. Understanding that while traditional UVu2014and, yes, I guess weu2019re calling todayu2019s UV printing u201ctraditionalu201d nowu2014is very fast, one of the limitations on its potential speed is the need to print and cure virtually simultaneously. Couldnu2019t you print faster if you could print first and then cure later? u201cWe separated the laying down of the ink with the curing of the ink,u201d said Sal Sheikh, Senior Director, Canon USA Inc., Ocu00e9 Products LFS Marketing Support, during the Coloradou2019s unveiling ceremony. Essentially, itu2019s a kind of u201cprint then cureu201d process, although the curing isnu2019t done all that much later. Essentially, the printer has two carriages mounted a few inches apart, swishing back and forth in opposite directions to each other. One lays down the ink, while other runs the LED curing lamp over it.
The reason that printing and curing can be u201cuntetheredu201d is that the term u201cUVgelu201d is not a metaphor: u201cI emphasize the word u2018gel,u2019u201d said Kris Walewijns, product engineer from Canonu2019s Venlo headquarters. As droplets of gelu2014think of a substance having the viscosity of hair gelu2014they donu2019t spread out if they are not cured immediately (chemically, gels exhibit no flow; although mostly liquid, they behave as solids thanks to surface tension). Theyu2019ll just sit on the media as little microscopic blobs of jelly until theyu2019re cured. The idea was reportedly inspired by the u201ctoner pearlsu201d used in the Ocu00e9 Color Wave printers, which are melted down into a gloppy, gel-like substance.
The goal of UVgel is to offer all the advantages of the three major ink technologies, such as wide color gamut (eco-solvent), no odor and fast drying time (latex), and high productivity and low temperature curing (UV LED), while at the same time avoiding the disadvantages, such as the odors and VOCs of solvent, the high temperatures of latex, and the discernible polymer film of UV.”
“Commentary & Analysis