Among other exhibits attracting a lot of attention at Sign and digital UK was the Durst Omega 2 Flatbed printer on stand D10, also exhibited by Perfect Colours. The Durst Omega 2 is a 1.6 Flatbed and roll to roll printer also known as a hybrid . The first noticeable thing about both the Omega 2 was the amazing print quality being produced and not just for a Flatbed, for any type of printer! The output particularly from the Omega 2 could only be described as stunning on the broad range of medias illustrated on the stand. The quality would easily go up against the best of standard ink jet print, so how is this great quality achieved and is are there down any down sides as far as the environment is concerned? Surprisingly the answer is no on both accounts. The Durst Omega 2 features LED UV lamps which differ from standard UV lamps in many ways, giving benefits not only in terms of quality but also in terms of its green credentials.
Compared to normal UV lamp technology the Omega 2 uses a staggering 60% less energy than its rivals, over a year the cost savings to the end user can be considerable, secondly the life of the lamps is much longer than standard mercury based UV lamps used in most UV printers which have to be disposed of after only 500 hours. Mercury is well documented as a substance hazardous to health and can have far reaching consequences to the environment. With the new LED UV lamp on the other hand it is unlikely these will need replacing during the life of the machine as they have a life of 10,000 hours which again means further savings to the user.
The Durst Omega 2 starts to add up on the environmental front, but what about the ink? Unlike any other UV Flatbed or hybrid UV printer the Omega 2 has certified Greenguard Inks. This gives many more openings for where the printed material can be used as the ink is virtually odourless, meaning that the output can be used in odour sensitive environments and has less environmental impact than traditional UV ink. All well and good, but does this compromise quality in any way? As previously mentioned the prints displayed at Sign UK on the Perfect Colours stand were breath-taking in terms of detail and vibrant colour, and this is achieved by the ability to print at 1728DPI, a much higher figure than many UV competitors which accounts for the great detail and pin sharp photo quality, the vibrant colour is thanks to the optional six colour set up on this unit which includes a light magenta and a light cyan along with the traditional CMYK set up.
The basic setup is four colour and unlike any other printer the unit can be upgraded retrospectively to six colour if required,. Another option is white, and this option comes in three guises, a white " under" option, or a white "over" option and a more cost effective option for both under and over. Unlike many other UV Flatbed printers the "whiteness" of the print is among the best in the market today and this is achieved in part by the lower heat output of the UV LED lamps and avoids the " creamy" white output of traditional UV Flatbed printers. The lower heat afforded by the LED lamps also has other advantages, the main one being the ability to print on heat sensitive substrates without the fear of cockling or bowing, indeed successful tests have been conducted printing onto bubble wrap, not something the traditional UV technology could live with.
Having established the strong environmental arguments and a good business case he last point to investigate is what the machine is like to live with day to day? Firstly the Omega comes bundled with the user friendly and print industry familiar Caldera Grand RIP. As with most the Caldera products the RIP is scalable and has a great user interface. A few minutes spent with Perfect Colour's Matt Kavanagh, who was demonstrating the Caldera product at Sign UK 2014 it is clear to see why Durst and Perfect Colours favours the Caldera product as it offers great features to control the print and the printer and gives the user a fantastic overview of what is happening. Secondly the Durst Omega 2 uses a moving Flatbed that has a powerful vacuum which holds the job firmly during the printing process and means that there is no need to tape the job down with masking tape, which saves time and avoids the possibility of damaging the work with the adhesive.
The bed is made from a durable and non-stick material, which the can easily be cleaned by the user if there is any overspray. Once sited on the bed, the printer features left to right registration which is incredibly accurate print after print. The roll to roll mechanism is logical and easy to set up, and definitely designed with unattended printing in mind due to the automatic take up roll. For a 1.6M hybrid printer the footprint is surprisingly small and only requires 15sqm of space to operate efficiently and the user will not have to move it from where the machine is situated for quite some time due to legendary Durst build quality that means the unit can be used 24 hours a day 7 days a week with very little down time for many years.
In summary the Durst Omega 2 makes a strong business and environmental case for itself and is easy to live with day to day and extremely durable. For more info contact Perfect Colours on 0845 680 9000