What is flatbed printer?

Guess from its name,The flatbed printer is for wide variety of materials with flat surface printing and its the reproduction of digital images using inkjet printing.  People started to make the flatbed printers based on EPSON office printers by adding mechanical structure and control systems. Main technology was based on Epson original printers.

Mean features of flatbed printers:

  • Print onto wide variety of all materials.Acrylic,wood,metal,glass,paper,pvc,cotton,etc.
  • Print on the materials surfaces ranging  in certain thickness as much as up to 30cm even.

Development history:

1.2000-2003.Start and slow development time based on Epson.

The first flatbed printer was made based on Epson Micro Piezo Technology InkJet printing. The flatbed printers started from Japan and Korea since 2000.Once launched into the market, the flatbed printers is taking the place of traditional silk screen,heat transfer,etc methods.. Typically used for commercial applications (retail and event signage), flatbed printing is often a substitute for screen-printing. Since no printing plates or silkscreens must be produced, digital printing technology allows shorter runs of signs to be produced economically. Environmentally, flatbed digital printing is based on a more sustainable system than its commercial predecessor of solvent printing as it produces fewer waste cartridges and less indoor air pollution.  As this stage,dreamjet in Korea and DMP were the pioneer in the industry. And China companies started to learn and study on it by buying Korean machines firstly. The China pioneers are: Beijing Softimage(Printer brand is CALCA),CrystalJet,BOYICHUANG(Printer brand is BYC),etc.

But at this stage,the inks and other necessary parts and consumables were not stable.People were still using normal Solvent inks for those printers which required pre-treatment on the materials before the print.

  • Machine sizes: A3 size and A4 size.
  • Machine models: Printer based on Epson R290 and R1290.
  • Ink situation: Solvent inks coating required/Pigment inks for textile.
  • Main makers: Korea,Japan,China.
  • Printer head: EPSON.
  • Main technology: EPSON.Main boards,mechanical things,etc.
  • Printers in use: 5% around.(From the feedback of buyers).

2.2003-2007.Fast growing development based on Epson and Konica/XAAR for large format printers.

Since the first launch of flatbed printers, the users and makers found its big potential and promising market. And many people in the inkjet printing industries invested in this kind of printing technology. Makers for inks and other consumables were developing fast the ink technology by direct printing mainly.Main machines were based on: Epson 1290,Epson 1390,Epson 290,Epson 1800,Epson 1900,Epson 4880,Epson 4800,Epson 7800,Epson 7880,Konica printer head,XAAR printer head.

This time was a fast developing time,the main technology had a new member: Industrial printer head XAAR,KONICA.  And UV curing printing system started.

  • Machine sizes: A4,A3,A2,A1,1300*2500cm,etc.
  • Machine models: Printer based on Epson R290 ,R1390,R1900,R1800,R2400,R4800/4880,R7800/7880,.R9800/9880 and Konica/XAAR control systems.
  • Ink situation: Free-coating eco solvent inks/UV inks/pigment water based inks.
  • Main makers: Korea,Japan,China.
  • Printer head: EPSON,Konica(UV),XAAR.
  • Main technology: Developers for KONICA/XAAR head control systems/EPSON.
  • Printers in use: 20% around.

3.  2008-2013. Time to get mature and more professional products raised up.

Its a booming time for the flatbed printing industry,all the related aspects developed fast including inks,technology,production skills,after sales service team,etc.The most important thing is: UV LED print technology turned up from Mimaki flatbed printers.

  • Machine sizes: A4,A3,A2,A1,1300*2500cm,etc.
  • Machine models: Printer based on Epson R290 ,R1390,R1900,R1800,R2400,R4800/4880,R7800/7880,.R9800/9880 and Konica/XAAR control systems.
  • Ink situation: Free-coating eco solvent inks/UV inks/pigment water based inks.UV LED inks.
  • Main makers: Korea,Japan,China.
  • Printer head: EPSON,Konica(UV),XAAR.
  • Main technology: Developers for KONICA/XAAR head control systems/EPSON.
  • Printers in use: 40% around.

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The advantages for flatbed printers

The biggest advantage that you can get from flatbed digital printing is the versatility that they offer. No matter what material, what shape, and what size of the material you want to print on, as long as it has a flat surface and does not exceed the maximum size of printable area of the flatbed, you can print on it. The resolution of prints produced by these devices is also very high and they can print in quick speed. The ink consumption of the device is also very efficient and you are able to use the ink as optimally as possible.Therefore the most important advantages are:

  1. No limit for the materials for direct inkjet printing.
  2. Low cost and fast production.

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