Efi FabriVU 340i+ installed at Arrow Digital demo center

A soft signage and waterless polyester printer

Efi FabriVU 340i+ installed at Arrow Digital demo center
The EFI VUTEk FabriVU 340i+ printers, known for their low waste and efficiency, offer the same direct-to-substrate and sublimation printing options as the previous iteration.

Arrow Digital has installed its much-awaited Efi FabriVU 340i+, a soft signage and waterless polyester printer built by Efi Reggiani, at its demo center in Ahmedabad. 

Speaking on the possibilities in the soft signage space, Sam Patel, MD & CEO, said, “Sustainability continues to be a key point of emphasis among most brands and corporates. The soft signage graphics stand out in that context. They are easy to store and reuse, compared to other display graphics that are often displayed once and then discarded. The EFI VUTEk FabriVU 340i+ printers are known for their low waste and efficiency.”

Explaining its productivity and efficiency, Patel said that the new 3.4-meter wide ‘plus’ model offers the same direct-to-substrate and sublimation printing options as the previous iteration. “This technology has changed the way the colors are mapped and the way it lays down ink. It gives better ink density, efficiency, and productivity. It features eight Kyocera printheads, rather than four, doubling the resolution from 300 to 600 dpi and increasing POP speeds by 48% when compared to the current VUTEk 340i model. The VUTEk FabriVU 340i + offers customers the widest application range, the lowest TCO in the market, the highest income yield, and the lowest acquisition cost.” 

Other new features include a redesigned heat plate that regulates temperature uniformity, improved extraction with less outgassing, and a new flag ink removal kit that allows the system to manage high ink volumes without touching loaded materials. “This printer is perfect for use with all textile materials, including backlit, front-lit, blackback, and flag. It can handle both direct transfer and paper sublimation processes. The presence of an inline fixation unit negates the need for a separate heat press – saving time, money, and space.”

Patek said the VUTEk FabriVU 340i+ printer offers ultra-high resolutions up to 2400 dots per inch (dpi) and three-level grayscale printing with 7, 12, and 18 picolitre drop sizes. Its printheads optimize ink drops with no overlay for smooth transitions and perfect crispness. “The result is a dramatic four-color printing with a wide color gamut, rich black, and deep color saturation for exceptionally high quality on backlit fabric displays and other graphics. The FabriVU Plus series has a new CMYK x 2 configuration printhead array – along with new electronics, a new vacuum system, and a new heating element that delivers higher quality 600 dpi graphics with better saturation and more density.”   

Describing its possibilities and opportunities in soft-signage, Patel said that the VUTEk FabriVU 340i+ delivers premium results using high-end, water-based dye-sublimation inks. “With this technology, you can produce ravishing exhibition graphics, backlit and front-lits, POS/POPs, flags, banner wraps, teardrops, tents, displays, wall graphics, furnishing, and other high-end display graphics, including one-offs, etc.” 

The medium viscosity EFI ink contains a high concentration of dyes, which means less water, reducing the amount of energy needed for drying. The Efi FabriVU 340i+ uses up to 30% less ink than competing dye-sublimation systems and has an ink recovery system that saves more than 95% of the ink that other dye-sub printers lose during purging, he said. 

“Soft Signage is the upcoming sustainable trend that differentiates you from others. You can produce premium quality products with high margins, and get into short to medium runs of home décor, wallpapers, apparel, and much more.”

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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