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Print Films on Desktop Printer

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  • Print Films on Desktop Printer

    Good Day All,
    As the title says, I am looking for a desktop printer to print films for Plate exposure.

    We have a large format Epson Stylus Pros – 9700, in which we use to output films to make flexo plates.

    We have to slug in very small items onto our plates during the tubing process.
    This happens quite often.

    So, to save on time and supplies, we are looking into a desktop printer that would provide the same process as are large formats.

    All of our tests so far, with different printers in the office and different film materials, have been unsuccessful. Not dense enough for the exposure unit.

    The closest we got was to print out two of the same print and paste them together then expose them and that got the job done. But it is a poor workaround.

    Does anyone have any ideas on how to achieve our goal?

    Thank you for any assistance.

  • #2
    Have you tried a toner printer rather than inkjet?

    Comment


    • #3
      I have not.
      Let me give that a shot.
      Thanks, Gordo.

      Comment


      • #4
        Just tried it.
        It doesn't print dense enough.
        I even adjusted some print settings to try and get a darker print and nothing.

        Comment


        • #5
          Once you get the imaged toner to print solids sufficiently black on suitable Polyester, it is popular to "flatten" the toner and make the image denser by spraying it lightly with a solvent. There are dedicated sprays but a silk-screen printer once told me he uses a commercial Carburetor Cleaner instead of the fancier stuff.

          Comment


          • #6
            I saw Xante laser printers specifically for this purpose.
            They used compatible consumables.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by tsfx View Post
              We have a large format Epson Stylus Pros – 9700, in which we use to output films to make flexo plates.

              We have to slug in very small items onto our plates during the tubing process.
              This happens quite often.

              Hello Tsfx,

              I'm having trouble understanding the problem. We use the same Epson as you. We use Filmgate 7 as our RIP. It lays out the artworks in the most efficient way for you. Does that help you?

              Comment


              • #8
                Tim-Ellis,
                This works just fine. for our large films.

                What I am looking for is a smaller desktop printer that will do the same job on an 8.5x11" film so that we do not have to waste 44" for one small slug-in.
                Similar to what Repro_Pro suggested. But the machine Repro_Pro mentioned is a bit too expensive for us.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Scratch that...
                  Looks like what Repro_Pro suggested will fit into our budget.
                  Now I just need to research if this will actually do the job.

                  Thanks all.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    While we sell Harlequin RIPs, we do a lot of work with film output and I figured it might be worth chiming in on this conversation to give you a brief overview of a few of the common ways film can be produced and a few of the different equipment and RIP options that are on the market.

                    THERMAL FILM OUTPUT
                    Thermal imagesetters are designed and manufactured specifically for the purpose of producing films for screen-printing, flexographic printing and etching, however these systems have been utilized in a wide range of other prepress applications as well including some offset markets. These systems require no chemistry, inks, or toners, which make the equipment extremely easy to operate and one of the most eco-friendly systems on the market. With this type of system, the only consumable used is the film; the thermal films produce high contrast positive and negative output with excellent density stability, with controlled densities between 4.0 and 5.0, which is well suited for screen-printing and flexographic environments. The systems also offer extremely accurate registration and repeatability (plus or minus 0.01% measured at a length of 60 inches). Films are both waterproof and archival for up to 20 years once imaged. Most thermal film technology is currently limited to a maximum of 1200 DPI and 120 LPI; this could change if the technology were to advance. You can find out more about thermal imagesetters and watch a video of the technology on the following page:
                    http://rti-rips.com/ImagesetterSystems.html

                    INKJET FILM OUTPUT
                    As others have mentioned, another option is an inkjet printer such as an Epson. An inkjet printer can produce film positives and film negatives for screen-printing, flexographic printing or etching. With Epson’s recent enhancements in their ink’s density, most customers are now choosing to use an Epson T Series printer because it means they can use the standard Epson inks without having to switch the system over to all black UV blocking ink. With standard Epson black ink and our Harlequin RIP software, customers can achieve densities of 4.0 or higher and have the ability to output up to 2880 x 1440 DPI with the Epson T Series. With a proper RIP, film and ink combination, users can achieve line screens of 133 LPI or higher. While inkjet systems typically cannot offer as precise registration and repeatability as a thermal or chemistry based imagesetter system, the inkjet system is an affordable alternative. One major difference between an inkjet and thermal or chemistry based film technology is that you usually have some amount of dry time depending on the amount and type of ink used. You can find out more about our Epson Film RIP-Kit and watch a video of the technology at the following page:
                    http://rti-rips.com/InkjetRIPKITSSeparations.html

                    CHEMISTRY BASED FILM OUTPUT
                    The third option would be a chemistry based film imagesetter such as an Agfa, ECRM, Heidelberg, etc. While we sell Harlequin RIPs for this type of equipment, these systems are typically no longer being manufactured, therefore only used machines that are 10-20 years old are available. The best feature with this type of system is that it offers great image quality with high resolution and high line screen capabilities. For customers that need the highest possible resolution and highest possible line screen, chemistry based film equipment is the only way to go, however the downsides are that maintenance may require an on-site technician if something does break on the system. Depending on the location and type of equipment, parts and service may also not be readily available. This type of system also requires purchasing both film and chemistry in order to produce usable output, which means you have to maintain both the imagesetter and the chemical based film processor. Customers with this type of equipment must maintain the processor and chemicals to keep a consistent density on film. Due to the age of this technology, chemistry based equipment is rarely a choice for new users. More often in fact, people that have this type of equipment are replacing them with new thermal or inkjet systems.

                    LASER PRINTER FILM OUTPUT
                    The fourth way to output films is through a laser printer. While this type of equipment has a low cost of entry, laser printers use heat to fuse toner to the substrate. This means if you need to output multiple films for multiple colors and need perfect alignment of those colors on press, or if you run oversized jobs, the laser printer is likely not going to be a good fit because of the registration and repeatability limitations of the equipment and film.

                    I hope this post helps you with your equipment search.

                    Regards,

                    rti-rips.com Sales and Support

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks to all.
                      What I ended up doing was getting 8.5x11 films from Ryonet and purchased a WF-7620.
                      This does exactly what I need. To be able to print small slug-ins for our print production.
                      The prints are dense enough for our exposure unit to produce plates.

                      In the end, turns out my two big factors that were causing me problems were:
                      1) Not having the right type of transparent film to print on.
                      2) Not having the proper drivers/software to edit the print to lay down dark enough blacks.

                      Once I resolved that all turned out well.

                      Thanks to everyone for your feedback.

                      Comment

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