A “heavyweight” 3.2m-wide high-speed inkjet.

What does the printer do?
The Longier Hunter RU3200 is a 3.2m-wide roll-to-roll inkjet printer, with UV-cured inks and LED curing lamps.
It is built in China by Longier Digital Technologies Co, which was set up in 2011 funded by the local government together with a venture capital company. It makes several other roll-fed and flatbed printers, all with shared technologies.
The Middle East distributor is Helios Business Systems LLC and the UK distributor is Hallmark Equipment Services. Hallmark sells directly and through a reseller, Quality Print Services (QPS). The first Hunter RU3200 in Europe was sold by QPS for installation in September, and we spoke to Chandrasekar Thampi, chief executive officer of Helios Business Systems and Chris Bailey, managing director of QPS for this feature.

Max print width: 3.2m
Printheads: Ricoh Gen 5 piezo greyscale
Min ink drop size:  7pl
Resolution: 600x1,200dpi
Max speed: Production mode: 80m2/hr; standard: 40m2/hr; ‘good’ resolution: 25m2/hr; High resolution: 18m2/hr
Bottle size: 1 litre
Footprint: 5.6mx900mm
Weight: 1,200kg
Contact: Helios Business Systems LLC, +971 42674926

When was it launched and what market is it aimed at?
The announcement was some time ago, but the WAE Group in Leeds took the first one installed in Europe, in late September.  “Indoor and outdoor advertising industry is the primary target for Longier. Longier RU3200 is highly recommended for Interior furnishings, like Wall Paper applications. Longier is the right option for companies who wishes to enjoy the reliability & performance at lower ownership cost when compared to known brands,” said Thambi.

Who is it aimed at?
“Longiers are robustly built, they’re not insignificant pieces of equipment and they’re much more heavyweight than the 3.2m Mimakis,” says Bailey. “We’re gearing it for medium- to large-sized makers, trade houses, people like that. A little sign company wouldn’t have the space. A medium-sized signage company, people doing exhibition graphics, vehicle graphics, bigger trade houses, things like that, would take something like this.”

How does it work?
This is a reciprocating-carriage inkjet printer, using current Ricoh Gen5 printheads in three rows, which enables high-speed production. These are high-resolution greyscale heads, giving a good tonal range with CMYK inks alone. Longier lists light cyan and magenta options, but Bailey says they’re not needed. Additional dual-white or white plus clear inks are optional.  The maximum media width is 3.2m, but several narrower rolls can be run side by side if preferred.
The printer has a zoned vacuum bed to hold the media flat and help the accuracy of print positioning. The UV inks are supplied by Nazdar and made in the US. QPS is the UK’s main Nazdar distributor. The inks are all tested and profiled by Nazdar for the printer.
The RIP is SAI Photo Print Cloud running on a PC bought and warrantied in the UK, says Bailey. This can be run on a separate PC or integrated into the printer’s control PC (also UK-sourced), which uses a monitor, keyboard and mouse.

How does it differ from previous versions?
The RU3200 is the first of its exact type and width, though there have been roll-fed models before, all with LED curing. The RU3200 is the first with Ricoh Gen5 heads, as the others all used Konica Minolta heads. A forthcoming new flatbed, the FP2513, with a 2.5x1.3m bed, will use Ricoh heads too.

What is the USP?
“Mostly that it’s a fast, high-res, well-built machine for the price,” says Bailey. The high resolution and small drop sizes mean “you get wide-format results on a grand format printer,” he says.

What support and offer for this region?
Thambi says: “Helios offer on-site & free on-line technical support. Customers are given portal access for logging in the service requirement, in order to bring in accountability on response and redressal. However, Longier systems have less down time, as the system allows remote maintenance. Service Technicicns can log into the system remotely and check Software Parametres and rectification, bringing the “down-times” to negligible limits.

Mimaki UJV55-320
Introduced early in 2016, this is a 3.2m-wide grand-format roll-fed inkjet using Mimaki’s LUS-120 series flexible LED-cured inks, with a price that was half that of other 3.2m machines at the time. The target market is printers who previously have outsourced grand-format work to trade services with much costlier devices.

Fujifilm Acuity LED 3200R
Announced at Drupa, this is Fujifilm’s version of the Mimaki UJV55-320. Apart from the paint job the specifications and capabilities are almost identical. However, it runs Fujifilm’s own Uvijet inks (made in the UK) and offers a clear gloss ink as well as white in the eight-channel set. Multi-layer printing is possible.