Amongst our several years studying and evaluating UV-Curing printers, we had the chance to perceive and understand the different types of structure and their evolution.
For example the well-known dedicated flatbed, which is a major success, and its improvement to the Dual Structure (known as hybrid on the large format industry market), with a selection of a Roll-to-Roll across front or over top; all details to get used to the different labels are listed below.
A dedicated flatbed printer prints only on rigid boards, unless it has a roll-to-roll mechanism at the front. We distinguish a flatbed printer (of any size) by whether they print across the narrow axis, or print across the wide axis, though it is faster to print across the wide axis.
An informal designation for a printer not as large as a 2×4 meter or 4×8 foot flatbed. A mid-size flatbed is also larger than a desktop, and 95% of mid-size flatbeds have their own base.
DESKTOP SIZE FLATBED
For A3 or tabloid size (or a bit larger); for printing on ballpoint pens, golf balls or any other small batch of objects.
About half the desktop size flatbed printers literally sit on any table or desk, but some of these printers have their own base. 96% of desktop size printers use UV-LED curing ink; but a few are made for eco-solvent ink.
DUAL STRUCTURE: ROLL-TO-ROLL ACROSS FRONT
A dual structure is a flatbed printer with a roll-to-roll mechanism at the front.
DUAL STRUCTURE: ROLL-TO-ROLL OVER TOP
A dual structure is a flatbed printer with a roll-to-roll mechanism where you load at the back and take-up at front.
The first UV-curing printers were small roll-to-roll solvent printers retrofitted with UV-curing lamps. In theory, these printers can handle rigid and roll material. This is why we called them hybrid.
But this kind of printer is inadequate for serious thick and flat material (as Neolt and Mimaki found out) because the pinch roller system is too lightweight to move most flat boards. Even 90% of Chinese brands stopped making this unrealistic faux (un) flatbed printer.
A dedicated roll-to-roll printer will handle only flexible media. The widest printers in this category are 5m wide.
COMBO TRANSPORT BELT
This is a printer that moves media with a conveyor belt. We have always called this type of printer a combo transport belt.
But in the brochures, most companies call this type of feeding mechanism a “hybrid”. We reserve hybrid as a name for pinch-roller over grit roller.
The conveyor belt kind of printers is best known thanks to manufacturers like Durst and efi VUTEk. These can handle both rigid and roll-fed materials.
IN-LINE, BELT STRUCTURE
Main reason for this kind of structure is to have a single-pass printing technology.
It handles a Post Print Heater on front.
If you would like to know all the details and the printers which handle each kind of these feeding mechanisms, download our recent reports about the TRENDs of structure printers on both APPPEXPO 2017 and ISA 2017.
Source: FLAAR Reports.