Grapo Technologies and Orafol Partner to Bring New Capabilities to Traffic Sign Manufacturing

Brno / Olomouc, Czech Republic, March 23 2010 – Grapo Technologies, a manufacturer of UV large format roll-to-roll and flatbed UV printers based in the Czech Republic, today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Orafol Europe GmbH, a leading manufacturer of self-adhesive graphic products, special tape systems and reflective materials. Both companies agreed to develop an application package that uses Grapo’s Octopus UV digital printers and specially developed inks to digitally produce reflective traffic signs using Orafol`s microprismatic reflective film systems, replacing screen printing technology for many sign applications.

“We are very pleased have been selected by Orafol, a well-known and respected brand in the market, for this unique application” said Radim Kralik, CEO of Grapo Technologies. “Through this partnership, Orafol and Grapo will be able to sell this unique system. It is a rewarding experience for Grapo that Orafol’s due diligence efforts resulted in the approval of our technology for this highly critical application.”

Traffic signs are a very specific application with critical specifications and cannot be produced digitally using normal CMYK inks. In partnership with Orafol, Grapo Technologies has modified its Octopus UV printing system to the ORALITE ® UV traffic sign printer, developing special inks to address the seven-color requirement for traffic signs. “For printing on the Orafol`s microprismatic reflective material,” added Kralik, “each color must have perfect physical specifications to ensure proper reflection. The seven flat color inks we developed are able to be printed directly from one head on the ORALITE ® UV traffic sign printer, replacing traditional screen printing processes which are costly, time consuming and carry a heavier environmental footprint. In addition, screen printing is not a cost-effective process for shorter runs.”

Grapo Octopus

Migrating Traffic Signs from Analog to Digital Manufacturing

With this new system, traffic sign manufacturers will be able to cost-effectively handle short runs and print signs on demand to meet market needs, especially for signs with variable information, directions and other information that may only require a quantity of one or two.

Kralik points out that although Grapo can sell the system under the agreement, Orafol will be the primary coordinator of sales activities. “There are legal and testing procedures required to gain acceptance from each ministry of traffic,” he explains. “Colors must be certified, but more importantly, the entire system must be certified. Orafol will be leading the certification process based on their relationships, reputation and experience in this market.” Not only must colors be specific in order to pass certification, but inks also must demonstrate good adhesion to the reflective materials and last a long time under varying light and weather conditions. The new traffic sign manufacturing system consists of three components: the ORALITE ® UV traffic sign printer developed by Grapo, custom inks developed by Orafol, and microprismatic reflective material provided by Orafol.

“Because of this easy and reliable technology we expect to see good market reception to this breakthrough solution.” said Dr. Loclair, Managing Director of Orafol. “We are excited to be able to show samples of printed reflective material using this system at Intertraffic Amsterdam 23-25 March 2010 .” Orafol can be found in Hall 1, Booth 203 at the show.

Agile Development Ensures Fast Production of Niche Products

“This is only one niche market we have been investigating,” said Kralik, “and we are extremely pleased that our nimble and flexible R&D organization was able to respond quickly to the needs of this market as presented to us by Orafol. This is only one example of how our R&D efforts can benefit not only niche markets but the market as a whole in an environment where new applications arise frequently and requirements for existing applications can change quickly.”

About Orafol

ORAFOL Europe GmbH is a leading manufacturer of self-adhesive graphic products, special tape systems and reflective materials. The company strongly invested in the expansion of its core business during the last few years. It is currently represented in over 90 countries. The site in Oranienburg near Berlin employs more than 500 people. ORAFOL Europe GmbH is certified according to EN ISO 9001 and EN ISO 14001. A subsidiary, ORACAL USA Inc., was established in the United States.

About Grapo Technologies

Czech Republic-based Grapo Technologies is the only wide-format printer manufacturer with origins as a print shop. Grapo’s founder, Radim Králik, manufactured his first UV-curable wide-format printer for his own print shop in 2003. When he launched it commercially in 2004, Grapo Technologies was born.

Today, the company manufactures mid-market wide-format printers that use UV-curable inks. By drawing on its experience as a print shop operator and using smarter engineering, Grapo Technologies ensures that its systems are the most efficient and cost effective on the market. Grapo Technologies‘ printers deliver optimal performance and are easy to use and maintain, keeping training and operating costs to a minimum. All Grapo Technologies systems are put through a rigourous testing process in Grapo’s own print shop environment prior to customer shipment.

Grapo Technologies printers are manufactured in Europe and are used to produce billboard displays, building wraps, point-of-purchase (POP) displays and more. Grapo Technologies currently offers three models – Manta, Octopus and Shark – which are sold throughout Europe and the rest of the world through a network of distributors.

ISBA Germany installs Manta Printer from Grapo Technologies

ISBA Germany installs Manta Printer from Grapo Technologies.

ISBA Germany installs Manta Printer from Grapo Technologies

Grapo Technologies, a manufacturer of UV large format roll-to-roll and flatbed UV printers based in the Czech Republic, today announced that ISBA and its parent company, German charity organization Lebenshilfe e.V., have acquired a Grapo Technologies Manta UV flatbed wide format printer to better meet emerging customer demands, especially with respect to tighter timeframes for delivery of printed display graphics. Lebenshilfe e.V. helps psychiatric patients to build confidence as they re-enter society. The system was sold and installed by Grapo Technologies’ distribution partner, Igepa Group GmbH & Co.

“After careful consideration of a wide range of available UV printing solutions,” said Production Manager Ranier Laske of ISBA, “we found the Manta from Grapo Technologies to be the most viable option. We needed to produce graphics larger than A3, and we also wanted to be able to print on unique substrates and in unusual formats with the fastest turnaround time possible. Manta met all of those needs and more. The Manta offers us unlimited application possibilities for printing on rigid or flexible substrates.”

Laske also points out that the environmental considerations of UV printing were important in the decision process, adding, “With solvent inks, more than 95% is emitted into the air during the printing process.  This is not a healthy situation for our employees. With UV-curable inks there are no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted into the atmosphere. In addition to their environmental benefits, printing with UV-curable inks consumes less ink and offers significant advantages when printing on uncoated stocks.  We also love the ‘pause’ feature on the Manta, which allows us to stop printing if a problem is observed and restart at the same spot where the problem occurred. This saves us a significant amount of media, which can be quite expensive.”

ISBA’s Mission

Since 1993, ISBA has focused on creating a healthy working environment for psychiatric patients.  As a protected workspace, ISBA employs 140 people and offers them the opportunity, following their stay in the clinic, to enjoy  a positive work experience. A structured daily routine established in eight different work groups allows psychiatric patients to regain simple values they have lost during a critical phase in their lives and grow their self-esteem. Of the total work force, 20 are occupied with digital wide and small format printing.  ISBA draws its printing clients from a number of industries, including electricity suppliers, metal processing and the fashion industry.

Robustness and Flexibility Differentiate the Manta

ISBA opted for the four-color version of the Manta but has the opportunity to add white ink should they have an increased demand for this application. “In particular, we liked the robustness of the machine, its flexible application possibilities and its ease of use,” commented Laske. “Especially for the people we employ, it is of extreme importance that they can easily operate the Manta. After a very short training period, our people were able to operate the system.  Thanks to the robustness of the machine, we have very little downtime. Any small interruptions can be easily fixed by our team.”

Creativity Without Limits

With its previous configuration, ISBA could only handle job orders in smaller formats, but the Manta has changed that. “With the Manta, the sky is virtually the limit in terms of formats and materials to print on,” says Laske. “That is important for us, since we have experienced growth in demand for large format applications.” Typical jobs printed by ISBA on the Manta vary from exhibition stand layouts, to dividers, car wraps, sticker prints, floor prints, displays, textile printing and even printing on doors.  As a promotion for its cafeteria, ISBA developed personalized jute bags.  “We do a lot of personalized printing on demand,” concluded Laske. “Many companies are talking about personalization, but we have been doing it for years. The Manta adds more flexibility and capability to our personalization and other projects.”

Manta Product Details

Grapo Technologies Svang inks ensure optimal adhesion to print media without the need for pre-coating.  The white ink option enables printing on dark backgrounds.  Maximum printing size is 2 x 3 meters at 720 dpi, with small, precise controlled drop sizes and precise dot placement, enabling excellent reproduction of skin tones or pastel-colored surfaces without color cuts or sharp transitions.

The Manta has a production speed of 110 square meters per hour and comes with many time- and cost-saving features.  For example, Grapo Technologies’ unique Twin Mode System, allows users to print on one half of the machine while preparing a second job on the other. This innovative feature stems directly from Grapo’s early years as a print shop, when it learned the importance of maximizing available space, reducing man hours and increasing operating efficiency.  The Twin Mode System uses two independent desk areas. While printing on one area, operators can place material for printing on the other side without disrupting the ongoing printing process. The ability to switch between print desks when using rigid materials ensures that jobs can flow with no interruption between them and with no valuable production time lost.

UV-curable inks also provide the option to pause printing in case of errors or other occurrences. Users can halt the printer midway through a job, and then restart exactly where they left off once the problem has been corrected, reducing the amount of media waste.

INX Digital’s TDI intros new high-speed, single-pass UV LED-curing inkjet ink at DRUPA.

INX Digital’s TDI intros new high-speed, single-pass UV LED-curing inkjet ink at DRUPA.
San Leandro, CA – May 21, 2008 — Triangle Digital INX Co. (TDI), a member of INX Digital,
has stepped up the pace in global ink leadership, partnering with LED curing specialist
Summit UV in developing EVOLVE™ UV — the first UV LED-curing ink to deliver eye-popping
4-color with single-pass through-cure at speeds of 80’ per minute or higher, running with
Xaar™ 1001 piezoelectric printheads. All with no inert curing atmosphere.
DRUPA visitors can see the system in action at the INX Digital Exhibit CO2 in Hall 8b, from
May 29 through June 11, 2008 in Dusseldorf, Germany.
“We’ve been working with LED-cure inks for some time,” said Ken Kisner, TDI’s Sr. VP, Chief
Technology Officer, “but at slower speeds. A key to this technology’s success is formulating
EVOLVE UV to work with Summit UV’s unique, new LED. It has the ideal UV wavelength
and, importantly, ample power.”
“Compared to conventional high-intensity LED lights,” explains Mario Carluccio of Summit
UV, “our Black Diamond™ 365 Series has a shorter (365nm) UV-light wavelength and much
higher focused outputs — in excess of 6.0 Watts per cm2.
“This enables us, with TDI’s specially designed EVOLVE UV ink set, to achieve through cure
at far faster speeds than ever before.”

Breakthrough technology opens new avenues for digital growth.
“We’re now breaking barriers to digital printing in several areas,” Kisner points out, “including
short-run narrow web label printing, variable-data applications — and many more to come.
“Getting single-pass UV through cure in-line with one LED light at 80 ft./minute more than
triples previous speeds. And it’s just the beginning. We have the ability to tailor EVOLVE
UV inks for virtually any substrate — plastics, film, paper; even metal or certain textiles.
“We’re integrating technologies to provide high-speed printing at low cost. And, of course,
the standard digital advantages vs. conventional printing apply — faster startups and
turnaround with no plates, no cleanup or setup time.”
“Likewise, versus traditional mercury lamps for UV curing,” Carluccio emphasizes, “our LED
technology dramatically lowers power requirements while offering advantages such as
extremely low heat generation, instant on/off, no bulbs or other consumables. It eliminates
hazardous mercury, and avoids ozone emissions.”
“It’s a ‘double-green’ system,” sums up Kisner. “EVOLVE UV inks are formulated VOC-free.”
Fast, collaborative effort generates ‘buzz’ at RadTech, jump-starts DRUPA debut.
And it’s coming together quickly. Kisner and Carluccio both noted that mere weeks ago, this
combined technology didn’t exist.
Having previously collaborated on development work, INX Digital member TDI responded to
Summit UV’s invitation to test new EVOLVE™ UV inks with its new Black Diamond™ 365 series
LED-curing lights. Another INX Digital member, electronics engineering and system
integration specialist Innovative Solutions INX (ISI) has utilized advanced-generation Xaar
printhead technologies.

“When Mario told us the speeds at which they were getting through cure,” Kisner said, “we
contacted Xaar immediately — only a few weeks before RadTech (UV/EB Technology Expo).
Their Xaar™ 1001 printheads completed the system in time to demo at the recent Expo.”
The high-speed, single-pass UV LED-curing system created quite a stir, Kisner and Carluccio
concur. “Many observers said it was the most innovative system at RadTech this year,” Kisner
asserts, “and we anticipate a lot of interest at DRUPA.
“We’re excited about how far EVOLVE UV LED-curing inks have come so far. And even more
excited about where this technology can take digital printing in the future.”
Triangle Digital INX Co., a member of INX Digital group, is a leading global manufacturer of
inkjet inks for wide format, super-wide and new generation digital printers, and a supplier of
printer parts and related services. TDI also distributes selected advanced-design wide format
printers and recyclable polyethylene (PE) media.
INX Digital, the digital arm of INX International Ink Co., through INX Digital member
companies and global affiliates, offers a full palette of digital ink systems, advanced
technologies and integration services including chemistry, hardware, software, engineering
design & integration and media.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Susie Mendelssohn
510-346-7201