The 20th annual Electronics For Imaging (EFI), users conference, which took place from 22-25 January in Las Vegas, was an important platform for the release of digital print technology innovations.
The new, highly advanced FS350 platform for EFI Fiery digital front ends (DFEs) will drive new cut-sheet and continuous-feed digital production presses from EFI partners, as well as ultra-high-speed single-pass inkjet presses from EFI. It handles extended-gamut CMYK+ configurations and offers unique tools to save on specialty toners and inks, reducing waste while delivering amazing colour results on high-value print products.
Using the newest version of EFI Fiery Command WorkStation®, customers gain an intuitive and integrated user experience with a single shared interface for Fiery Driven digital equipment, including wide and superwide-format inkjet printers and ultra-high-speed inkjet presses. New Fiery integrations with Duplo finishing devices offer automated cutting, slitting, creasing and spot coating workflows.
For superwide-format inkjet production on EFI printers, the newest-version EFI Fiery proServer Premium DFE uses GPU-accelerated FAST DRIVE technology to process individual jobs twice as fast on average, eliminating idle printer time so users can maximise their printer investments.
The high-volume, premium-quality EFI VUTEk h5 hybrid LED printer, which made its debut at EFI Connect, is part of the VUTEk h series of devices that global EFI R&D teams developed from the ground up to establish new benchmarks for productivity and profit opportunity.
The 320cm (126 inch) wide printer can run up to 109 boards per hour and offers eight-colour and optional four-colour printing modes plus white, as well as an up to nine-layer print capability. The h5 model, which is also available as a field upgrade to the EFI VUTEk h3 printer, features UltraDrop Technology with native 7-picolitre greyscale printhead imaging and true multi-drop addressability, delivering exceptional smoothness in shadows, gradients and transitions.
VUTEk h series printers’ automated table and carriage alignment – along with a new camera-based vision system for subpixel alignment, printhead density balance, and step and bi-directional set up – significantly increase productivity and accuracy. And, the series’ drop-in ink design system eliminates ink waste and provides fill-while-printing functionality for continuous productivity.
The Connect exhibit floor also featured the EFI Pro 24f flatbed and Pro 32r roll-to-roll LED printers, along with the EFI VUTEk 3r+, a best-in-class LED roll-to-roll printer offering even higher throughput, image quality and efficiency. Plus, attendees could see the company’s latest advancement for the expanding soft signage market: the EFI VUTEk FabriVU 340i – an aqueous dispersed dye-sublimation printer offering in-line calendering at fast production speeds.
Connect also featured displays and VR demos showcasing the broader scope of advanced capabilities in EFI’s digital portfolio, including ultra-high-speed, direct-to-board corrugated production on the multiple award-winning EFI Nozomi C18000 single-pass LED inkjet press, and advanced tile decoration using new 5th generation EFI Cretaprint printers.
Several conference workshops, keynotes and demonstration areas highlighted important industrial production and re-shoring opportunities in textiles, featuring EFI’s unique ecosystem that includes cutting-edge EFI Optitex 2D and 3D CAD solutions and Fiery DesignPro software for textile design. Numerous samples of creative output applications were on display from EFI Reggiani, a line of technologies offering eco-friendly printing and new, high-volume single-pass production, with a colour fidelity using a variety of inks to support virtually any fabric type.
‘Our commitment to innovation means EFI customers have few limits in how they can create new opportunities in digital print,’ said Frank Mallozzi, EFI’s chief revenue officer. ‘With the advanced solution demonstrations, training and networking, EFI Connect has proven that it is an exciting time to be an EFI customer, and it was an exciting opportunity for all of us at EFI to once again put on what has become a landmark event for the industry.’
The dynamic speaker lineup at this year’s conference helped customers develop new strategies and processes that can spell future success in an increasingly diverse range of applications. Keynote and general session presenters included new EFI CEO Bill Muir; Joseph Popolo, CEO of The Freeman Co.; fashion designer Ariel Swedroe; Olivier Gariépy and Michel Savoie of the Cirque du Soleil Costume Workshop; EFI CFO Marc Olin; and Gabriel Matsliach, senior vice president and general manager, EFI Productivity Software. The conference also included more than 200 presentations and hands-on training sessions from top EFI specialists and some of print’s leading management and technology experts.
EFI partners participating in Connect’s solutions center included: 3M Commercial Solutions; Aberdeen Fabrics; Berger Textiles; Duplo; Enfocus; Esko; Highcon; Kodak; Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A.; Lubrizol; MBM Corporation; OneVision; The Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation; Print Speak; Printing United; Progress Software Corp.; Ricoh Americas Corp.; RISO; SpencerMetrics; Xerox and Zünd.