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Agfa makes its grand entrance into industrial inkjet

Monday, 02 October 2006
By Print21

Anapurna UV wide-format printer launched in the region at Visual Impact expo this week, marking Agfa’s assault on the industrial signage market.

Garry Muratore, regional marketing manager of Agfa graphic systems, hosted a presentation at the company’s new purpose-built premises in the Sydney suburb of Rydalmere. He claimed that while Agfa has worked with inkjet technology for a number of years, the launch of the Anapurna represents its first excursion into the sector characterised by super-wide billboards and signage.

“The Anapurna is the first of many inkjet innovations from Agfa. The company is moving from the prepress space into the inkjet space and while it won’t happen overnight, we believe that the technology has the potential to become the new offset,” says Muratore.

The Anapurna XL is the machine that is currently on display at the Visual Impact Image expo and is Agfa’s newest UV wide-format, hybrid roll-to-roll/flat-bed printing system for indoor and outdoor signs and displays.

Along with the smaller Anapurna L model, the XL is tailored for high-volume industrial printing applications for flexible and rigid media using UV-curable ink. Maximum print width is 250 cm for Anapurna XL and 160 cm for the Anapurna L. The dual-mode system on both systems enables printing of two half-sized media simultaneously.

Bruce Lowery, national sales manager of inkjet for Agfa (pictured right with Garry Muratore at Agfa’s new purpose-built Sydney premises), says the company has sold 48 units across Europe since the Anapurna was originally shown at Ipex earlier this year, and expects similar success in the region following its unveiling at the Visual Impact expo this week.

“Feedback from our customers in Europe says it is a very solid reliable workhorse that just keeps on printing, and those are the sort of comments that we like to hear,” he says.

Lowery says the Anapurna inkjet presses are positioned to reap the benefits associated with screen printers making the leap to digital production.

“It is an exciting step for Agfa because we are not traditionally known for being in this marketplace, but we expect to be there is the future. Agfa needs to start looking in new directions, and this is an exciting space to be heading into,” says Lowery.

Agfa labels its tailored range of inks and media for the Anapurna as the ‘silver bullet’ of its strategy, claiming that the UV capabilities of the press are in line with the global move away from solvent based inks.

Agfa also hails the flexibility of the Anapurna machines, which offer the ability to print on a wide range of applications beyond typical poster applications. Ease of use is also emphasised, with Agfa claiming it requires little or no operator maintenance and features operator profiles, allowing the user to automatically match the machine to the media types being used.

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