«List of all known Wide Format Inkjet Printers Mosaic of some of the most popular printers. FLAAR REPORTS 1 Comprehensive list of all wide format ...»
updated AUGUST 2002
List of all known
Wide Format Inkjet Printers
Mosaic of some of the most popular printers.
FLAAR REPORTS 1
Comprehensive list of all wide format printers that ever existed
By popular request here is a list of all large format printers we know about. We include primarily current
models (year 2002) along with models that are sufﬁciently recent that they are still readily available, as well as occasional relics that we have been able to ﬁnd out about.
I have not yet found any other comprehensive list nor a really complete history of large format printers, so this list had to be built up whenever and wherever information became available.
In a few cases we list prior models when we know the model designations. However if you are considering a used printer, you need to be sure to ask for the FLAAR Reports on Used Printers. In most cases a used wide format printer is not a good idea.
Inkjet printers are the core of this list, though we include other technologies such as LED digital photo printers and thermal transfer from colored tapes and so on. Up to now we do not include older technologies which were mainly for blueprints. The present list is primarily digital, not mere reprographic machines. However we get an increasing number of requests from architects, engineers, and planners who speciﬁcally want to know which monochrome wide format printer to consider buying, so we may add a special section on reprographic printers in the future.
This ﬁrst list is alphabetical. Alphabetical in every sense, by manufacturer and by model name.
Thus some equipment is included more than once, once under the company name, again under the model designation. There is no consistency however. Lesser known models are only under their manufacturer’s name.
Another list on www.large-format-printers.org is by technology (electrostatic, thermal transfer, piezo, etc). www.large-format-printers also has an extensive list of printers by theme: printers for billboards, printers for ﬁne art giclee, etc. However you can get such lists more easily, and with much more comparative information, by asking for the pertinent “FLAAR Reports.” Just remember to ﬁll out the Inquiry Form each time. The person who sent you your ﬁrst reports may not be the same person who receives your subsequent request, so may not have your earlier Inquiry Form at all.
We may have overlooked a few printers. If you know of any, please send us details. However we do not list one-of-a-kind printers, nor any printers where their speciﬁcations are not clearly presented on their corporate web site. Thus some printers advertised on the Internet have alluring labels, but if you peel off the sticker you ﬁnd it’s a basic Mutoh underneath. Mutoh is a perfectly good printer, but all Mutoh’s are essentially identical and have the same or similar piezo printheads as the Epson
9000. Its only the house brand and associated advertising claims that differ. Thus the purpose of the following list is to provide public information to assist people in making their decision of what printers are best suited for their speciﬁc needs.
This list includes cutter-plotters that also print (such as Roland, Encad, and Graphtec) but does not include vinyl cutters since they don’t print (they only cut).
FLAAR Inventory of Large Format Printers 3M, Scotchprint Printer 2000, electrostatic, toner, 400 dpi, for outdoor or dye sub heat transfer. Fast, low production cost, equipment is very expensive, electrostatic technology has been at a standstill for several years and has not improved in quality at all. 3M and RasterGraphics are the only electrostatic printers still available new (they were manufactured previously but were unsold and are in warehouses).
A.B. Dick, DeSign U. System, 42”. We know nothing more about 3M electrostatic printer this printer. Never saw it at a single tradeshow.
Accuplot, MileHigh Engineering Supply Company, OEM of Mutoh.
Several Accuplot branded Mutoh printers with Epson piezo printers were available in previous years. In its heyday Mile High was a known and reliable company with capable people to answer questions. In the years 1999-2001 you could ﬁnd the staff from Mile High at most major trade shows across the country. However we have not seen them at any tradeshow recently and their web site www.accuplot.com has been off the air. We were unable to ﬁnd either company’s home page (Mile High or Accuplot) on any Internet search engine (during repeated attempts May-June 2002). Thus we do not know the status of this company nor of their products.
Mutoh USA web site lists them for older models but Accuplot is not listed for the new Mutoh Falcon II. Accuplot Mile High Agfa, several years ago rebranded ColorSpan as Agfa Montana, Montana II. However Agfa no longer sells ColorSpan printers.
Agfa Sherpa, OEM of Mutoh Falcon but only 720 dpi. Agfa house brand of RIP is PosterShop (from Onyx, a division of Gretag and now Oce).
Agfa’s Sherpa 24” printer is just a barely relabeled Epson 7000 or potentially Epson 7500 if for pigmented ink.
Agfa GrandSherpa in various widths is rebranding of Mutoh Falcon 2 with Epson 10000 printheads. One version serves as a proofer;
another version serves as a sign printer. This printer has 8 colors (Epson 10000 on its own has six). As of March the printer was still in beta stage; as of July this printer was still rather new but is available via Agfa. Agfa GrandSherpa Alpha Merics, Spectrum, phase change, solid ink (melted wax), 612 dpi, upright, any material, any thickness. But little details on the web site. They did not respond to a request for information.
I understand that these printers cost over $100,000. Solid ink was used by Tektronix in their ill-fated Phaser 600, put out of its misery when Xerox bought Tektronix and eliminated its large format portion. Solid ink has not been very successful in other large format printers but there is always the potential of a miracle. Models are Spectrum 5248, 5290, 70100.
FLAAR REPORTS 3Comprehensive list of all wide format printers that ever existed
Barco, the.factory (that’s the name of the model, “the dot factory”), about one million dollars. Xaar piezo heads which limits dpi to 360 but has the advantage of accepting water-based inks, oil and solvent based inks, and UV curable inks. Made for wallpaper and other decorative wall coverings. Offhand 360 dpi is rather low for a design that is viewed as closely as wallpaper. Barco recently merged with another prepress company (PurupEskofot) and the resultant combo has a totally new name, Esko-Graphics. Since the.factory printer was shown at DRUPA 2000 under the Barco name, evidently this printer has shifted to a company named Dotrix.
Bel2000, a ﬂatbed inkjet printer using Aprion M.A.G.I.C. technology, 63 x 102 sheets, six color, 600 dpi. The web site offers zero additional information. Evidently this printer is intended to print on corrugated packaging material.
Bellise, Gretag, now Oce, Epson piezo heads, dye-based inks only. Bellise Plus, Gretag, Epson piezo heads, pigmented inks only. We heard that the Bellise was quietly dropped but have no confirmation. Although we like many of the Arizona and other Gretag (Oce) printers, the Bellise never impressed us. It suffered the usual problems of Epson printheads: slowness and banding defects.
Brady Corp, bought by Fuji, now Fuji-Hunt, Brady Colorpix Pro, Bellise piezo, 180 dpi; 32- dpi on 54” model. Discontinued though still exhibited at DRUPA 2000 and at Photokina 2000. Unlikely it would be seen at Photokina 2002. For comments on such obsolete printers, ask for the FLAAR Report on “Used Printers.” Brady (another Brady company not related to that which went to Fuji), see Variatronics poster printer.
CalComp Technology, CrystalJet; The original CrystalJet company went bankrupt; promising new piezo technology but never ﬁnished.
Evidently the printheads were difﬁcult (expensive) to manufacture.
Kodak evidently bought the remnants of CrystalJet. Kodak’s recent attempt to produce their 5260 piezo printer uses advertising hype uncannily similar to the hype of the failed CrystalJet.
Other CalComp printers are the TechJet 720C, TechJet 5500 and TechJet 5500GA.
CalComp 5524, 5536, 5624 CalComp Drawingmaster DM600, DM800 Calcomp ColorMaster I believe what is left of CalComp is now a division of Budde. Budde sells media for the CalComp printers that are still in existence.
ColorSpan (LaserMaster) DisplayMaker Express, a 406 dpi piezo solid-ink printer, one of the earlier piezo printers on the market.
LaserMaster DisplayMaker Professional 2 (300 dpi, based on Encad printhead) LaserMaster DisplayMaker Professional 3 (600 dpi, Encad, see FLAAR report on “should I consider a used printer”) I do not know of any web site which lists early models or which gives a complete history of the industry’s early makes and models. Thus we don’t have full lists of the early models of each manufacturer.
If you wish additional information on the ColorSpan printers, ask for the various FLAAR reports that provide comparative reviews, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Color Wings, we saw this German dye sublimation textile printer using Encad (Lexmark) thermal heads in the Compedo booth at a European trade show. Very impressive output. This is because 300 dpi is okay for textiles. You can’t see the beneﬁts of 1440 dpi on the weave pattern of a textile anyway.
Color Wings Texjet 152, 300 dpi, four colors, dye sub ink, prints Compedo ColorWings 150 cm on max 203 cm Conde, OEMed Mutoh Falcon printers for banner making system especially circa year 2000-2001. I do not know if they intend to continue and also to rebrand the Mutoh Falcon II.
DyeTransWF3600, WF4300, WF6200, DyeTransWFJ500, WFJ600 Copyer Co., Ltd (see Selex).
Iris4PRINT Iris Gprint no longer made; another company, Improved Technologies, retroﬁts the Iris 3047 as the Ixia. The non-giclee model of Iris 3047 and other models of Iris are changing rapidly as Iris evolves.
CreoScitex PressJet, sheet-fed wide format printer Scitex Vision is a separate company, Idanit Novo, super-wide format (grand format) If you wish additional information speciﬁcally on the Iris Gprint ask for the FLAAR report on this ﬁne art printer. Otherwise we do not have individual reports on any of the other CreoScitex printers.
Digital Printing Systems (DPS), piezo printers for wallpaper and comparable kinds of production. DPS is a new company and we have not yet seen their printers in action.
DPS65, piezo, via Aprion, 600 dpi, roll to roll for wall coverings DPS75T, via Jemtex, sheet-fed, 72” width, continuous inkjet technology.
DuPont, OEMs a textile printer from Vutek.
DuraChrome, SummaChrome, thermal transfer produces nice images.
Durst Rho 160, originally Xaar heads; I believe they switched to the better quality available from Spectra printheads, a ﬂatbed inkjet printer for printing on thick and/or rigid material with UV cured inks, over $150,000 and not fully in production. UV cured inks are not yet a mature technology.
Encad printers are also rebranded and sold by Kodak, OCE, Graphtec, and other companies. The initial Encad printers used Hewlett-Packard heads; quickly they switched to Lexmark when HP itself began showing interest in producing its own large format inkjet (Encad was ﬁrst).
We get the impression that even up to the model 600 the ink tube arrangement is most politely described as “ink splatter everywhere.” People complain about how many sets of clothes they have lost to Encad ink splatter (when loading ink, when trying to get rid of air bubbles, or when cleaning clogged heads). Otherwise, Encad Encad NovaJet 850 printers last forever. Just be aware of the quirks of the older models.
One advantage of Encad printers, you seldom see banding. New models (700 and 800 series) are pre-primed and no longer as messy installing new printheads. New models, however, have auto-shutdown printheads. The printhead turns itself off totally, forever, after a bit more than one liter of ink. No options that we know of.
FLAAR REPORTS 9Comprehensive list of all wide format printers that ever existed
Epson 1270, desktop, hybrid inks, suffers ozone vaporization of cyan ink.
Epson 1280, replaced the ill-fated 1270.
Epson 1520, an older model; slow, poor paper feed design.
Epson 2000p, pigmented inks; B+W may glow green, very slow.
Epson 2200, to overcome quirks and deﬁciencies of earlier printers.
They may ﬁnally have gotten it right.
Epson 3000, slow, paper feed system is the ﬁrst part to break; may Epson desktop frequently get digital indigestion due to inadequate software drivers;
needs a very expensive RIP to really function properly. The RIP costs more than the printer (which is why it does not come with the printer to begin with).
Epson 5000; used as proofer. We don’t hear much about this printer.
Epson 5500, introduced 2001, variable drop, pigmented ink.
Epson 7000 and Epson 9000, very colorful prints, very slow, occasional mechanical problems, may have inconsistent color.
It is my understanding that true dpi of this generation of Epson piezo printhead is 180 dpi.
Epson 7500 and Epson 9500, colorful output, good gamut considering pigmented inks, may have color shift problems, very slow;
limited kinds of media, uncertain about printing on glossy photo papers. The 7500, however, is the only 24” printer with inkjet Epson 10000 technology that has pigmented inks (the Encad Chroma 24 is not in the running due to grainy dot pattern, obsolete drivers and lack of economical RIP).
Epson 7600 and Epson 9600. Available either with dye inks or pigmented inks. New as of summer 2002, to overcome quirks and deﬁciencies of earlier 7000, 7500, 9000, and 9500. Actual dpi of printheads is 360; rated at 1400 x 2800 dpi.